◀  No. 3232 Jul 1978 Clue list No. 332  ▶



1.  E. M. Holroyd: No sensation above knee now – what has tumbler in it? (hem lock, & lit.).

2.  A. J. Wardrop: This in water is disastrous near the milk-cow (comp. anag. & lit.; water h.).

3.  T. E. Sanders: It’s bound to put a stop to movement in a number of senses (hem lock; numb-er; bound = boundary).


R. H. Adey: It can make you choke, imbibing a very small dose (ml in anag., & lit.).

E. S. Ainley: Marge with jam on: a deadly diet (hem + lock; marge = margin).

C. Allen Baker: Makes a man become stiff, a measure having been swallowed (m in he lock, & lit.; m = em).

D. R. Appleton: Choke badly swallowing a little liquid – this one? (ml in anag., & lit.).

P. R. Best: Would Keats’ Melancholy be as neatly composed without this irregular number (comp. anag.; numb-er).

A. J. Bulman: Tough guy slipping one Judo hold could give you lethal nip (he-m(an) + lock).

Miss L. C. Eveleigh: Fringe toupee found in carroty family (hem lock; umbellifers).

Dr I. S. Fletcher: Is it the end of one with small drop in pop (e ml in hock3, & lit.).

I. F. Haines: It can bring about the end of life, with just a drop taken in wine (e ml in hock, & lit.).

G. Hobbs: Suicide’s end – with small dose put in wine (e ml in hock, & lit.).

S. Holgate: A knockout drop after clear throat hold (hem2 + lock).

Mrs M. Humpage: H. M. Cole, (King), merry, has potentially last drink (anag. incl. K).

R. E. Kimmons: Reinforcement for chastity belt? It’s a killer! (i.e. hem lock).

D. Martin: This might be OK for border security but is disastrous for internal affairs (i.e. hem lock).

D. P. M. Michael: Bane of Socrates’ life – having to shut up, after he married? (he m + lock; ref. Xanthippe).

C. G. Millin: Witches’ potion makes you choke horribly, swallowing a small quantity (ml in anag.).

R. A. Mostyn: The beginning of the end – small quantity in drink! (e ml in hock, & lit.).

Mrs E. M. Phair: Lethal drink this Rhine wine – left me churned up inside (anag. incl. L in hock).

Rear Adm W. T. C. Ridley: Halve lemons and squeeze into pop – a breath-taking drink! (anag. of lem(ons) in hock3).

W. Rodgers: Border engagement results in fatal shot (hem lock; shot = drink).

H. R. Sanders: Behead them! – Leaders of law and order campaign knock humane means of execution ((t)hem + initial letters).

D. P. Shenkin: Attic had this terrible draught – get mechanics to close door behind them (hem3 + lock; ref. Socrates).

Brig R. F. E. Stoney: A spruce, virile chap wanting one to embrace closely (he-m(an) + lock).

R. J. Whale: It’ll make you choke terribly after swallowing a small measure (ml in anag., & lit.).


C. Adie, D. A. Arnott, Dr J. M. Bennett, Mrs K. Bissett, A. G. Bogie, Mrs A. R. Bradford, J. M. Brown, M. A. Cooper, Mrs M. P. Craine, R. G. Crosland, A. J. Crow, G. Cuthbert, J. V. S. A. Davies, A. L. Dennis, C. M. Draper, D. M. Duckworth, B. Franco, N. C. Goddard, S. Goldie, J. J. Goulstone, B. Greer, Dr J. F. Grimshaw, Dr R. A. Hardman, A. H. Harker, P. F. Henderson, E. M. Hornby, A. H. Jones, G. Jones, F. P. N. Lake, A. Lawrie, M. D. Laws, Mrs M. Lazarides, J. P. Lester, C. Loving, D. F. Manley, H. S. Mason, C. J. Morse, F. R. Palmer, R. J. Palmer, G. S. Prentice, J. T. Price, N. Roles, W. J. M. Scotland, Mrs E. J. Shields, W. K. M. Slimmings, M. D. Speigel, A. A. Vinson, Mrs M. P. Webber, T. Wightman, C. E. Williams, Dr R. L. Wynne.

315 entries, no noticeable mistakes. Those that commented all thought it a more difficult competition than most, with WOODWALE and LUNTS giving the most trouble. The clue to the first was intended to suggest those childhood riddles I remember delighting in such as ‘Q. Why did the razorbill raise ’er bill? A. So that the sea-urchin could see ’er chin.’ Or ‘Q. Why couldn’t the viper vipe ’er nose? A. Because the adder ’ad ’er ’andkerchief.’ And so on. One competitor suggested an alternative answer to my riddle: ‘Because the woodpecker be’ind would peck ’er be’ind.’ With respect I slightly prefer my homemade effort. I thought the Lunts (Alfred Lunt and his wife Lynn Fontanne) were well enough known as an acting duo to include, even to those who never saw them act, myself included.
I think HEMLOCK was perhaps a more difficult word to clue than might have seemed apparent at first. References to Socrates had to be handled with subtlety and care if the clues containing them were not to be immediately obvious. I was very impressed by each of the three top winners, which for once stood out from the pack at an early stage in the judging. By contrast selecting the VHCs from the HCs took longer than usual. Life is never easy. One clue which appealed to me at first but failed on closer inspection was Mr. Clemow’s ‘K2 tog. – simple’. ‘K2 tog.’ apparently means ‘knit two together’, the two referred to being hem-(stitch) and lock-(stitch). I feel fairly certain, however, that such an instruction to knitters would probably only be intelligible if both stitches were of the same type. A nice (if difficult) idea, though.
And now a miscellany of points from this and earlier competitions. In querying my clue to PREMORSE one naval solver suggests that a heliograph would not be used without morse. If this is so I apologise. Secondly, cuckoos apparently neither soar nor fly in a way that makes them easily spottable by the skyward observer. I am grateful for this bit of education but doubt whether if I’d known it before my judgement would have been different. Thirdly, someone rose to the challenge I gave out on computing the possible number of symmetrically patterned Azed diagrams. Without going into his figures in detail (and he made the point that there really are too many variables for total accuracy), he reckons about 1018 ‘reasonable’ diagrams. ‘Quite a few Sundays,’ he adds, with commendable meiosis.
Another apology, this time to Mr. O. H. Frazer, whom I called Miss in the HC list for No. 319 – I can’t think why. And finally may I remind all competitors that competition entries should be addressed to ‘Competition Azed’ at the Observer. If you omit ‘Competition’ there is a chance that they will get mixed up with the other weekly puzzle entries from which only the first three correct solutions are opened. And if you want to write to me about anything (and I’m happy to get such letters), (i) mark envelope in some way to distinguish it from puzzle entries when you send them to the Observer, or (ii) enclose your letters and/or comments with your monthly competition entries, or (iii) write to me direct at my home. These three requests are in the order of my preference, except in cases of extreme urgency. And if you want a reply please would you enclose a stamped addressed envelope. It gets a bit expensive otherwise.


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