AZED CROSSWORD 534
1. H. J. Bradbury: Union perhaps should have poll before it calls for strike action from drivers (dod gem; union = pearl).
2. B. Franco: After exciting rides on this, some doddering may ensue (comp. anag. & lit.).
3. L. May: A fair treat, with first fare a penny, years ago (do d + gem (= something admirable), & lit.).
R. S. Caffyn: Go with me, determined first and last to bump (anag. incl. d, d, & lit.).
C. A. Clarke: Margaret being returned after poll might have to make a U-turn to avoid impending crash (dod + Meg (rev.); ref. M. Thatcher).
Mrs M. P. Craine: Aggressively odd type drives for fun (anag. + gem).
J. V. S. A. Davies: In violent demo thank God for buffet-proof car (DG in anag.).
N. C. Dexter: It’s extraordinarily odd me going round without bang in the rear (g in anag. + me (rev.), & lit.).
J. F. Grimshaw: Wild West city approaching noon? Don’t hang about here or you’ll be hit (Dodge m; ref. ‘High Noon’).
G. B. Higgins: Distraction near roundabout leads to dozens of drivers getting enamel marked (first letters).
Mrs D. B. Jenkinson: Bumper crop brilliant! (dod gem).
J. H. C. Leach: A bumper crop’s something greatly to be admired (dod gem; ’s = has).
J. G. Levack: Tail to tail, head to head colliding – Goodbye Decorum (last letters & lit.).
D. F. Manley: There’s celebration with David’s first stone – one taking fair knock is bumped off (do + D + gem; ref D. and Goliath).
J. D. Moore: Where striking drivers must watch out – if poll in country gets Maggie returned (dod + Meg (rev.)).
C. J. Morse: Early poll to get Maggie back? That promises a bumpy ride (dod + Meg (rev.)).
F. R. Palmer: Bumper, a fair device? Something skilfully designed to go after head? (dod + gem; head = cut the top off).
R. J. Palmer: Transport charging fair fares – former cut upset Maggie (dod + Meg (rev.)).
W. K. M. Slimmings: George and Margaret’s return a bumper attraction? It draws fair crowds (Dod + Meg (rev.); Dod = dim. of George; ref. play).
D. M. Stanford: Bumper crop’s brilliant (dod gem).
L. M. Sturges: Ken’s short with Margaret over fair machinery for negotiating strikes (Dod(d) + Meg (rev.); ref. K. Livingstone).
I. Torbe: Odd misprinted old boys’ magazine; there’s opposition to its free circulation (anag. + Gem (early boys’ comic paper)).
R. H. Adey, Rev R. E. Allsopp, F. Bastian, Mrs F. A. Blanchard, Rev C. M. Broun, J. M. Brown, E. J. Burge, P. Cargill, G. H. Clarke, A. J. Crow, R. Dean, A. L. Dennis, P. S. Elliott, Mrs W. Fearon, Dr I. S. Fletcher, A. L. Freeman, N. C. Goddard, D. Godden, S. Goldie, P. F. Henderson, V. G. Henderson, J. P. H. Hirst, S. Holgate, J. G. Hull, A. H. Jones, A. Lawrie, C. W. Laxton, J. F. Levey, L. K. Maltby, S. M. Mansell, H. W. Massingham, R. P. McGrath, J. P. Mernagh, J. J. Murtha, D. S. Nagle, F. E. Newlove, S. E. Nodder, G. B. Patrick, G. Perry, B. A. Pike, G. S. Prentice, C. P. Rea, A. J. Redstone, D. R. Robinson, B. Roe, B. Stuart, J. G. Stubbs, D. H. Tompsett, Mrs M. P. Webber, J. F. N. Wedge, D. B. Wedmore, E. G. Wren.
A disappointingly low entry – only 332 for what was general agreed to have been an easier puzzle than most. Were other would-be competitors afraid of postal delays or simply away on holiday? The only words in the puzzle that caused serious difficulty seem to have been PIKUL and BINK crossing at the K, which despite my warning note does appear in Chambers – not in the list of abbreviations and symbols but in the appendix on SI metric units of measurement on p. 1644. I should have thought of looking there. (Though ‘K’ is often used nowadays in business jargon to mean 1,000(s) when specifying a person’s salary, etc., especially in the higher income bracket.)
With ‘dod = poll’ and ‘Meg = Maggie,’ political clues involving drivers and the like were an obvious ploy this month and most of the best clues took this line or something like it. Although Chambers defines DODGEM or DODGEMS as the fairground amusement itself, other dictionaries (notably COD.) confirm that in the singular it is often used for the individual vehicle, so I had no hesitation in accepting the latter usage. It’s an interesting sociological fact that however much the inventors of the thing may have intended drivers to exercise their skill by avoiding each other, the majority nowadays strive to bash as many others as hard as possible before the allotted time-span brings their vehicles to a grinding halt. They were certainly always ‘bumper-cars’ to me in my youth. One delightful coinage among the H.C.s christened the whole side-show a ‘colliderscope.’ I wish I’d thought of that.
I’ve nothing more to add this month before rushing off for my summer holiday except to say that many more comments received with entries endorsed my general approach to the ratio of plains to specials as competition puzzles, so I hope we can let that one rest, for a while at least.