< Slip No. 388 View the clue list Slip No. 397 >



1.  M. D. Laws: Like the cockles in a barrow wheeled by road twisting about Ireland’s capital (in + a cart (rev.) + Rd + ca. I (rev.); ref. Molly Malone and c. of the heart).

2.  R. H. Adey: In a blood donor one welcomes an act carried out with no hint of egoism (I + anag. less e).

3.  F. B. Stubbs: Crumpled train ticket, the first clue central to pulsating action (anag. + card + 1 ac).


A. Bruce: Train defective. Motor dead. First clue is in the pump (anag. + car + d + 1 ac).

E. W. Burton: Racin’ car ’ad it; repairs needed in main pump (anag.).

Mrs D. M. Colley: Beat erratic and no end of ache, first clue (usually) – indicating this trouble? (anag. less e + 1 ac).

R. Dean: This noise, if erratic, might be aired in aortic scan (comp. anag. & lit.).

L. K. Edkins: What you might call a valve that modulates actinic radar? (anag.).

R. A. England: This form of surgery the key to mend a certain dicky heart? (comp. anag. & lit.).

C. E. Faulkner-King: Arctic air and jogging will produce this in the heart (anag.).

Dr I. S. Fletcher: Such operations can be made by a certain Parisian doctor (comp. anag. & lit.).

N. C. Goddard: Can tricar aid disabled in place of pace-maker? (anag.).

Dr J. F. Grimshaw: Car ain’t running right. Acid circulating in the bloody pump? (anag. + r + anag.).

Mrs R. Herbert: This operation could result in a darn cicatrix if unfinished and bungled (anag. less x, & lit.).

F. L. Jukes: Arctic air and storms penetrating your very heart (anag.).

F. P. N. Lake: Fantastic car in car ad! – It’s in organ catering for internal circulation (anag.).

D. F. Manley: —— bits being manipulated? It is act I associate with C. Barnard (comp. anag. & lit.; ref. heart surgeon).

D. P. M. Michael: Locating love even in a cold climate and arctic air possibly (anag.; ref. N. Mitford title).

C. G. Millin: Character in outrageous IRA action, devoid of love in the heart (card in anag. less 0).

F. R. Palmer: Which involves atria and several components of circulation? (anag. of atria and circ, & lit.).

M. L. Perkins: Conversion of radiant R.C. by leading light – in his heart of hearts? (anag. + 1 ac).

G. S. Prentice: Rancid raca – it spread inside claret pump (anag.; claret = blood).

H. L. Rhodes: Affected a Dracontic air, nothing less, yet not without heart (anag. less 0).

D. H. Tompsett: Like a fool’s saying – astray, arrant and acidic (anag.; ref. Psalm xiv, 1).

J. F. N. Wedge: In almost all radical art one needs to change about – is fancy breeding so? (in + anag. incl. radica(l) + c.; fancy n.).

Dr E. Young: Being it air can upset a heart, maybe stopping it (card in anag., & lit.; stop = fill).


Miss M. R. Adcock, D. R. Armitage, D. A. Arnott, R. L. Baker, M. J. Balfour, Miss G. Barker, A. Bottoms, Rev C. M. Broun, A. J. Bulman, E. J. Burge, M. Coates, A. E. Crow, L. J. Davenport, N. C. Dexter, R. P. Dowling, P. Drummond, C. J. Feetenby, G. H. Frazer, S. Furey, J. Gill, R. E. Gillson, S. Goldie, M. Goodyear, A. A. J. Griffiths, D. Harrison, P. F. Henderson, V. G. Henderson, J. G. Hull, C. Jones, Mrs S. L. Jordan, R. E. Kimmons, Dr D. R. Laney, A. D. Legge, J. P. Lester, C. J. Lowe, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, D. J. Mackay, L. K. Maltby, T. A. Martin, L. May, I. D. McDonald, Rev M. R. Metcalf, C. J. Morse, H. B. Morton, Dr P. Owen, C. P. Rea, C. W. Robins, Dr W. I. D. Scott, G. P. Shenkin, Mrs E. J. Shields, G. Snowden-Davies, T. A. J. Spencer, Mrs J. Steel-Jessop, J. G. Stubbs, L. E. Thomas, N. Trickett, V. C. D. Vowles, Sir David Willcocks.

About 490 entries, perhaps 50 of them with one or more errors. These tended to be SWAPT for SWOPT (‘women love a spot of prattle in street exchanged’) or various alternatives for BLATE (‘ “cowering, tim’rous”, what master curses laggard for being?’). Opinion for once was unanimous that the puzzle was on the easy side and that the clue-word was a stinker. I’m not surprised. Adjectives – and I’m sure this is one, despite the ambiguous definition in Chambers – always cause extra problems, especially when they have a precise meaning and are composed of such an unhelpful bunch of letters. And when adjectives appear in competitions I always find it easier to disqualify more entries at first sight than with other parts of speech. A useful way round the problem, for the benefit of those who fell into the trap or didn’t even see it, is to adopt the device of e.g. Mrs. Herbert above, where the clue-word can be seen as replacing the adjective ‘this’, even though the clue as a whole might seem to suggest a noun. This strikes me as quite fair, rather as though one had used a blank in place of ‘this’.
A few minor points relating to the puzzle, since I must be brief this month. My ‘baked potatoes’ for PEEL-AND-EAT was queried. Why baked? Why indeed. A mental association with ‘jacket potatoes’, I suppose, which I always think of as baked. Secondly, I’m pretty sure my SPEAL-BLADE was an unexampled invention. It isn’t in O.E.D.. Still, it ought logically to exist so perhaps some Scottish novelist will now feel free to use it. He would have my full approval. Thirdly MOG perplexed some (‘Cat – protecting us at home? That’s its speciality’). What I had in mind was mousing (us in in mog) as the subsidiary indication in a sort of extended ‘& lit.’ clue. On reflection perhaps a full stop in place of the dash would have been an improvement. I still think it’s quite a neat idea. Little words can be a problem. (Memo to self: it’s about time that lot were given one for a change.)
One final point for frustrated addicts. In the event of your failing to get hold of a copy of the Observer Magazine because of distribution problems or for whatever reason, a stamped addressed envelope and an accompanying letter saying which one you want, addressed to Miss Denise Rands, The Observer, 5 St. Andrew’s Hill, London EC4V 5JA, should ensure your receiving a photocopy of the puzzle in question. I gather there have been shortages in some parts of the country recently, though I hope the unlucky ones will not mind my continuing with the competitions regardless.


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