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AZED CROSSWORD 572

SNAKE-OIL

1.  W. J. M. Scotland: I.e. no Salk shot? (anag. & lit.).

2.  C. J. Morse: Duck in lake’s camouflaged: quack might draw your attention to it (anag. incl. 0).

3.  E. R. Riddle: Gets drunk, never works – like a son going to the dogs (anag.).

VHC

E. J. Burge: Inadequate preparation is almost evident in what we plough (nake(d) in soil).

R. Dean: Creep and ingratiate – it won’t do you any good! (snake oil).

N. C. Dexter: Simple that doesn’t end in purge, perhaps? (nake(d) in soil, & lit.).

H. F. Dixon: Standing almost starkers in manure will do you no good (nake(d) in soil).

R. A. England: Pain I slake? No (anag. & lit.).

C. J. Feetenby: I slake no wound (anag. & lit.).

Dr I. S. Fletcher: Quack’s root? Maybe one’s ail deteriorates swallowing it (kin anag. & lit.).

B. Greer: Mix on sale quack’s behind, taking one in (I in anag. incl. k, & lit.).

J. F. Grimshaw: I.e. no Salk could prepare this? (anag. & lit.).

R. J. Hooper: Could be mixture of aloes and ink! (anag. & lit.).

G. Johnstone: I slake no ill (anag. & lit.).

F. P. N. Lake: I slake no ill (anag. & lit.).

A. Lawrie: Product of Salk, that is? No! (anag. incl. i.e. & lit.).

J. C. Leyland: I slake no ill (anag. & lit.).

C. J. Lowe: Specific treatment for suckers almost fully exposed in the ground (nake(d) in soil).

M. A. Macdonald-Cooper: Risk’s extreme in wild North Sea – maybe what’s found there’ll hardly make one well! (kin anag. + oil).

D. J. Mackay: I slake no ill! (anag. & lit.).

D. F. Manley: I slake no fever (anag. & lit.; fever vi.).

J. D. Moore: What a quack hawks produced by scattering ducks in lake (anag. incl. 0’s).

D. S. Nagle: Mounting pride must be used to conceal old hurt? Not an effective recipe for the suffering (ake in lions (rev.)).

R. F. Naish: What quacks indicate is ducks in lake (Serpentine) (anag. incl. 0’s; indicate in med. sense).

A. Scott: Spurious concoction of ink and aloes? (anag. & lit.).

J. B. Sweeting: Is ankle receiving treatment? This will add nothing (0 in anag. & lit.).

M. G. Wilson: Quack medicine, i.e. no Salk compound (anag.).

HC

R. Abrey, C. Allen Baker, S. Armstrong, D. W. Arthur, F. D. H. Atkinson, G. E. Baker, M. Barley, E. A. Beaulah, Miss E. M. Blenkinsop, G. H. Booth, Rev C. M. Broun, A. Bruce, E. W. Burton, E. Chalkley, D. P. Chappell, C. A. Clarke, C. Collins, A. G. Corrigan, T. Davies, P. Drummond, M. Earle, Mrs J. Ferris, O. H. Frazer, G. A. Gerrard, J. Gill, D. A. Ginger, N. C. Goddard, R. R. Greenfield, D. V. Harry, R. N. Haygarth, P. F. Henderson, V. G. Henderson, A. W. Hill, Mr and Mrs A. K. Hobbs, C. L. Jones, M. D. Laws, J. F. Levey, C. Loving, L. K. Maltby, Rev W. P. Manahan, L. May, Rev M. R. Metcalf, C. G. Millin, T. J. Moorey, F. E. Newlove, Mrs H. Norman, J. O’Hagan, R. J. Palmer, W. H. Pegram, Mrs L. E. Pimlott, R. F. Ray, D. R. Robinson, T. E. Sanders, A. J. Shields, B. D. Smith, G. Snowden-Davies, R. A. Soward, T. A. J. Spencer, J. G. Stubbs, P. Thacker, I. Torbe, D. V. B. Unwin, A. P. Vincent, V. C. D. Vowles, M. H. E. Watson, T. Wightman, G. H. Willett.
 

COMMENTS
411 enries, the only mistake that I noticed being PLEASED for BLESSED which can only have been guesswork as there’s no way it can be made to fit the full clue. Otherwise I don’t think the puzzle presented any special problems – some seemed to regard it as more straightforward than average. A few expressed gratitude for my use of AKE (in the clue to DAKER) which they were able to use again when cluing SNAKE-OIL (though some clearly overlooked the Chambers note that it’s an old form of ACHE only as a verb) a few (strangely, I thought) felt that my having used it effectively pre-empted its use by competitors.
 
Chambers is vague about the type of medicine indicated by SNAKE-OIL (liquid or solid, for internal or external application); so is Webster, and the O.E.D. doesn’t even give it. So pills, elixirs, liniments and infusions of various kinds and with various (doubtless bogus) properties were all acceptable to me, and slake seemed a reasonable verb to describe what it fails to do to any of the ailments for which it is misleadingly prescribed. The ‘& lit.’ anagram featuring slake was one of relatively few different devices used to deal with this appealing but perhaps not very tractable word. The clue that I pondered on longest was Mr Greer’s, whose cleverly deceptive wording in an ‘& lit.’ context is acceptable so long as one can allow ‘quack’s behind’ K in a down word. I convinced myself that what one is asking the solver to do is to take the behind of QUACK (in its normal horizontal orthography), then mix it with ‘on sale’, then insert the mixture, with an added I for good measure, in the vertical mode. But I confess I had qualms about the logic of this and wonder if others would have felt likewise. It raises again the spectre of the back/up debate on which! maintain the traditional Ximenean stance so I hope I am not in this instance guilty of inconsistency.
 
One clue which did not achieve mention has the dubious honour of being the longest composite anagram I have ever received, illustrating how cumbersomely unacceptable this device can become if taken to extremes. I hope its author will not mind my quoting it in full: ‘This will not cure any ailments or illnesses of the sick. It’s like soda-water that has gone off. It Jacks merit, costs no less, and is like filthy sea-water.’ Nuff said.
 
Finally, the publishers Hamish Hamilton have sent me a copy of a new book called A Pleasure with Words by Eugene T. Haleska, the crossword puzzle editor of the New York Times. It is a likeable ramble through the fascinating by-ways of etymology and prosody edited ‘for cisatlantic readers’ by Hugh Young. The price is £6.50.
 

 

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