< Slip No. 352 View the clue list Slip No. 358 >



1.  W. K. M. Slimmings: Ark Royal, now? Gloom surrounds her being docked, and broken up (her + anag. in sulk; gloom verb).

2.  D. H. Tompsett: Bottom no longer decked with large pair overhead – simple bumpkin (sheer hulk; bottom = ship; ref. AMND).

3.  B. Franco: Female’s waggling her topless body. She’s old – not equipped to transport one (she + anag. + (b)ulk).


Mrs A. Boyes: Bowling ended thus – result of break by a yard (2 meanings; ref. song ‘Tom Bowling’).

P. Cargill: Stripped bark: clear green giant (sheer, hulk; Incredible Hulk T.V. series).

G. H. Clarke: Here’s battered, shortened hull and quarter deck – could have been seen in a breaker’s yard (anag. + hul(l), (dec)k).

E. V. Defley: Haggard heroine – oddly her topless torso carries much weight in the dock. (‘She’ + anag. + (b)ulk; ref. H.R. Haggard book).

N. C. Dexter: Here’s dismantled hull, docked – deck three quarters gone (anag. + hul(l), (dec)k, & lit.).

Dr I. S. Fletcher: Bowling, for example, that’s been taken apart (2 meanings; ref. song ‘Tom Bowling’).

R. H. F. Isham: Topless ‘lady’ all at sea, he messed about with her in a sullen mood (he + anag. all in sulk).

D. F. Manley: No tanker now travelling? UK is in chaos with her Shell running short (UK her Shel(l) anag.).

B. Manvell: Stripped body displaying uplift pair – quite incredible one! (sheer + hulk; Incredible Hulk T.V. series).

L. May: What a ship is called with her prow gone and timbers in confusion (she, (h)er, hulk; see hulk in C).

C. G. Millin: Ship familiarly – her broken topless hull? (she + anag. +(b)ulk).

W. L. Miron: He lurks: he slyly exposes a craft wherein strippers worked (anag.).

J. J. Moore: Here’s, in altered form, the body of a ship, docked, deck mostly cut away (anag. + hul(l), (dec)k).

C. J. Morse: She’s said goodbye to her last sailor – he abandoned her in a huff (he + anag. all in sulk).

F. E. Newlove: Set for future Ark Royal documentary? (Tom Bowling directs) (2 meanings; ref. song ‘Tom Bowling’).

F. R. Palmer: A ship? You’ll see her dismantled, a huge structure with its top part removed (she + anag. + (b)ulk, & lit.).

W. Rodgers: It makes her sulk, he can’t leave port alone (anag.).

H. R. Sanders: You’ll find her stripped and broke in a dump (he(r) + her anag. all in sulk & lit.).

R. C. Teuton: Craft that’s pulled down contains thin green ‘man’ – incredible! (sheer hulk; ref. Incredible Hulk T.V. series; ‘Men from Mars’).

G. H. Willett: That girl and her dancing – body topless, bottom stripped bare (she + anag. + (b)ulk).


M. L. C. Allen, C. Allen Baker, A. G. Bogie, G. Bradbrook, E. J. Burge, C. J. and M. P. Butler, D. A. H. Byatt, R. S. Caffyn, M. Coates, Z. Cole, Mrs M. P. Craine, F. H. Cripps, R. A. England, H. W. Evans, J. C. Felton, D. J. Fisher, R. P. C. Forman, J. D. Foster, F. D. Gardiner, R. Garnett, S. Goldie, W. E. Green, P. F. Henderson, J. P. H. Hirst, A. Hodgson, E. M. Holroyd, G. M. Hornby, W. Islip, Miss E. H. C. Jenkins, Mrs D. B. Jenkinson, A. H. Jones, A. Lawrie, C. W. Laxton, J. D. Lockett, W. F. Main, I. D. McDonald, D. P. M. Michael, R. S. Morse, R. A. Mostyn, R. J. Palmer, R. F. Pardoe, R. A. Percy, Mrs A. G. Phillips, J. Phillipson, C. P. Rea, D. R. Robinson, T. E. Sanders, W. J. M. Scotland, D. P. Shenkin, Mrs B. Simmonds, T. A. J. Spencer, J. G. Stubbs, A. J. Wardrop, P. Watkin, Mrs M. P. Webber, J. F. N. Wedge, D. C. Williamson, N. C. Wormleighton, G. D. Young.

Just over 400 entries. More mistakes than usual, mainly because of difficulty with KENGA and TEAN. The latter appears under TEIAN in Chambers (not perhaps too hard to find even without the benefit of a classical education), the former I resorted to in desperation from the pages of my Oxford Atlas (the only one I use), not as a deliberate bit of extra villainy. I was in one of those situations where abandoning it would have meant unravelling a large portion of the diagram, a spot of penelopizing that time simply wouldn’t allow. Most of you worked it out, but I have some sympathy for those who didn’t. I thought I was safe with Pat Eddery, but he too provoked a few disgruntled mutterings. As I’ve said before I shall continue to include proper names from time to time and shall not feel obliged to wave a large coloured flag when I do so.
One other clue of mine (to ONELY) puzzled some of you and I confess that I tinkered quite a bit with it before reaching the final version (‘Old bar, old bar this (literally)’). I was struck by the fact that the word (an old form of ONLY) can mean ‘except’ or ‘bar’ as well as ‘barely’ (BAR on ELY). One solver objected on the grounds that ‘except’ and ‘barely’ mean much the same thing, but I would dispute that. The two strike me as quite distinct. But I grant that the clue is a bit stilted.
SHEER-HULK cannot have been the easiest word to clue. I found it easier to pick holes in clues submitted than I usually do. Though Tom Bowling is one of my favourite tunes I’d forgotten that he was described as a sheer hulk (two words) in the first line of the first verse. And though OED quotes the song under its entry for SHEER-HULK (hyphenated) it seems clear that Dibdin used the term figuratively so that to define SHEER-HULK as ‘Bowling’ (with misleading allusions to cricket, etc.) as many did struck me as inaccurate. By the same token ‘incredible’ won’t do on its own as a definition or indicator of HULK. I’ve said before that an adjective is an inaccurate (because unfairly misleading) way of indicating a noun (and vice versa of course). I do accept however that a verb (in the appropriate person) can indicate a noun. ‘Barks and is man’s best friend’ defines DOG far more clearly than, say, ‘Furry and domesticated’.
As I’ve said the quoted list was a hard one to arrive at and I should add that some of the clues in it scraped in by a whisker. Mr. Isham’s ‘all at sea’ seems a dispensable bit of padding, just permissible in the context, Mr. Rodgers’s ‘makes’ is on the borderline as an anagram indicator, and Mr. Sanders’s ‘stripped’ is barely adequate as a synonym for ‘curtailed’. Had there been stronger contenders pressing from below I think all of these would have slipped to the HCs.
Finally, on the tie front, the response to my announcement in the Observer magazine was considerable and the manufacturer has been instructed to proceed with the preliminaries. When the jacquard has been made (the thing that sews the special motif into the basic fabric, I shall give him exact numbers and (through the Observer again) ask potential buyers to send me money in advance plus a suitably sized envelope. Price details will be communicated in a future slip and by means of a letter to all who have sent s.a.es. I hope everyone will accept my and my wife’s taste on trust. Sending ties on approval just isn’t feasible. Oh, and a few ladies have accused me of male chauvinism. Not guilty. I need an order for 50 plus Azed scarves and only a dozen or so have expressed any interest.


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