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1.  J. P. H. Hirst: This might be drunk, on engagement of a Royal Highness, in Kashmir (comp. anag. incl. a RH, & lit.; ref. engagement of Prince Charles).

2.  A. J. Redstone: Champagne Charlie (2 mngs.; s. = fool, see OED).

3.  J. G. Hull: This can make Simla folk loosen indeed! (Simla kin less la!, & lit.).


T. Anderson: One way of seducing is with mink – this could be another (anag.).

D. W. Arthur: You’ll find me served up in society family (mi (rev.) in S kin, & lit.; me2).

Mrs K. Bissett: I’m used to break up a kind of vessel – or launch one? (I’m in skin).

A. J. Crow: I’m bottled (I’m in skin, & lit.).

P. Drummond: The widow in Pakistan is required simply not to importune relatives (sim(ply) + kin; the Widow = champagne).

B. Franco: Well off Pakistani mister might provide this at parties (comp. anag. & lit.).

S. Goldie: For what the ’eathen called the Widow – skin ’im alive (anag.; the Widow = champagne; cf. Kipling: Barrack Room Ballads).

J. F. Grimshaw: This – an easterly bubbly – may be recognised as mistakenly arisen (comp. anag. & lit.).

V. G. Henderson: Charley’s bubbly (2 mngs.; s. = fool, see OED; ref. Champagne Ch.).

N. Kemmer: Beastly drink from Simla, pink possibly (anag. less lap).

M. D. Laws: I’m imbibed by society folk (I’m in S kin, & lit.).

J. P. Lester: Perhaps the Widow is revolting, married – and catty (is (rev.) + m + kin2; the Widow = champagne).

L. K. Maltby: First draught in gluttony, perhaps (Mk I in sin, & lit.).

D. F. Manley: When I’m top man? What’s silver will be filled with this ((A)s I’m kin(g), & lit.; ref. AZ cup).

T. J. Moorey: Bubbly I am in pigeon (I’m in skin; pigeon, skin = fleece, cheat).

C. J. Morse: Strong drink corrupted Puritan family (sim kin; see Simeonite).

A. W. T. Mottram: Ape relative, Scot free, foams at the mouth (i.e. sim(Ian) kin).

R. J. Palmer: One getting married cracks a case – of this? (I m in skin, & lit.).

E. R. Riddle: I’m bottled (I’m in skin, & lit.).

T. E. Sanders: When one gets married it should fill the wine vessel (I m in skin, & lit.).

W. K. M. Slimmings: Unorthodox Pakistanis getting married find this apt as ‘bubbly’ (comp. anag. incl. m, & lit.).

F. B. Stubbs: It’s a pity about Mark I – no joy for the TT, pop (Mk I in sin; TT = race, teetotal; pop = champagne).

L. M. Sturges: As Charles’s love (and under some pressure) I’m given special protection (I’m in skin; ref. Champagne Charlie, Diana Spencer).

A. J. Wardrop: I’m what starts Kashmiri in religious transgression, perhaps (I’m K in sin, & lit.).

M. G. Wilson: I’m in Indian (not red) wine (I’m in (red)skin).


C. Allen Baker, D. R. Appleton, W. G. Arnott, M. J. Balfour, E. A. Beaulah, T. S. B. Bennett, H. J. Bradbury, Mrs A. R. Bradford, E. J. Burge, C. J. and M. P. Butler, P. Cargill, E. S. Clark, Mrs M. P. Craine, L. J. Davenport, A. L. Dennis, N. C. Dexter, H. F. Dixon, R. E. Ford, E. H. Freedman, F. D. Gardiner, S. C. Gilchrist, J. A. Gill, P. F. Henderson, E. M. Holroyd, J. Hopkinson, W. Jackson, C. H. Jaques, Mrs D. B. Jenkinson, G. Johnstone, A. Lawrie, C. W. Laxton, C. Loving, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, Dr R. A. Main, I. D. McDonald, C. H. Miller, W. L. Miron, J. D. Moore, J. J. Moore, F. Moss, R. A. Mostyn, J. J. Murtha, D. S. Nagle, F. E. Newlove, S. E. Nodder, F. R. Palmer, S. L. Paton, W. H. Pegram, N. A. Perkins, M. Postlethwaite, A. I. Rees, D. R. Robinson, W. J. M. Scotland, C. A. Sears, Mrs E. J. Shields, G. M. Stark, I. Torbe, K. Victor, H. A. B. Webster, Mrs J. Welford, R. A. Wells, S. Woods, L. C. Wright, Dr R. L. Wynne, Dr E. Young.

492 entries, no mistakes, though an unaccountably large minority submitted clues to either CHAMPAGNE or SIMPKIN. Do please read the instructions, to avoid, as they say, disappointment. The competition’s main challenge was to find alternatives to the very alluring I’M in SKIN treatment of the word, which was just too common to win high placing. In a situation like that it seems to me acceptable (if only just) to resort to the sort of ellipsis Messrs Crow and Riddle above used, but perhaps preferable to get away from the idea altogether and see what other possibilities present themselves. They always do. All the various nicknames for champagne had an airing (what a lot there are!) including one I’d never come across – ‘The Boy’ (vide Brewer). A number of questing competitors also unearthed alternative meanings for SIMKIN itself, either as a diminutive of Simon (see Chambers p. 1640) or in the sense of a fool or simpleton (OED), both fair game if well used. I was mildly surprised that there were not more references to the royal engagement, particularly with the song ‘Champagne Charlie (or Charley?)’ as some sort of subsidiary link. There were quite a lot of variants on ‘Among wines I’m king,’ on the face of it a rather neat hidden & lit.’ I rejected these for VHC status or above on grounds which I think, looking back, did not strongly influence my judgment in the past, but which I now regard as important. Although in the ‘& lit.’ reading the pronoun ‘I’ clearly indicates a noun solution, in the cryptic reading all we have is an adverbial phrase which can’t as it stands indicate a noun. What one means (but does not say) is ‘It is among wines I’m king’ or something of the kind. Here the ‘& lit.’ effect is preserved (the clue being read as ‘It is among wines (that) I’m king’ with ‘I’ as solution indicator) and grammatical accuracy is achieved (with ‘it’ as solution indicator).


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