< Slip No. 644 View the clue list Slip No. 653 >



1.  E. J. Burge: Massage at parlour’s for Sydney’s heavy layer, perhaps (anag.).

2.  R. J. Whale: Put ‘rasorial’ as possible order for this one? (comp. anag. incl. I, & lit.).

3.  Mrs E. J. Shields: It may be dished up roast à la King (anag. incl. R, & lit.).


C. Allen Baker: What is no doubt free-range in a rural spot (anag. & lit.).

Mrs K. Bissett: What may be roast – or pilau, if it’s old one (anag. less o I, & lit.).

C. J. Brougham: A poult Canberra’s developed (can be plucked) (anag. less can be, & lit.).

C. A. Clarke: Modified part with universal solar battery might be packed with this type of layer (anag. incl. U).

R. V. Dearden: A ploughed up rural spot could reveal a fertile layer down under (a + anag.).

N. C. Dexter: A free-range rural spot would satisfy me (a + anag., & lit.).

Dr I. S. Fletcher: Victim of dingo, maybe, created stir in a rural spot (anag.; ref. celebrated Australian trial).

N. C. Goddard: Violent uproar, last to give Victoria crosses for battery? (anag.).

E. J. Griew: Our pal Art’s broken down under strain of laying birds (anag.).

R. J. Hooper: A variety of our Partlets, not a little alien (a + anag. less ET, & lit.).

A. H. Jones: I lay down under a rural post, drunk (anag.).

J. H. C. Leach: Mixed-up bird gets starry about sign of class (or Prince) (U in astral + or P).

L. K. Maltby: I’m found in a rural spot, suffering battery (anag. & lit.).

L. May: Layer raised by digger disturbed little of rural past (anag. incl. o’).

C. G. Millin: Gold strike – not half! – mountain contains gold layer down under (Au str(ike) + or in alp).

J. J. Moore: A wild rural spot, it provided just what Victorian poachers needed (a + anag.).

R. C. Teuton: I could serve up roast meal, right? Pluck me first though! (anag. incl. r less me, & lit.).


K. Aaronovich, C. J. Anderson, D. W. Arthur, M. J. Balfour, E. A. Beaulah, R. Brain, E. Dawid, J. Dromey, C. M. Edmunds, Rev S. W. Floyd, S. Goldie, J. Grainge, J. F. Grimshaw, R. S. Haddock, D. V. Harry, E. M. Hornby, Mrs D. B. Jenkinson, G. Johnstone, R. E. Kimmons, A. Lawrie, S. G. G. MacDonald, Rev W. P. Manahan, D. F. Manley, J. D. Moore, C. J. Morse, R. A. Mostyn, T. Ormanroyd, F. R. Palmer, R. J. Palmer, Dr J. D. Renwick, H. L. Rhodes, D. R. Robinson, J. H. Russell, T. E. Sanders, F. B. Stubbs, D. H. Tompsett, A. J. Wardrop, M. G. Wilson.

352 entries, quite a lot with PLATE for PLATY. I thought hard about this as an acceptable alternative but couldn’t see how it could fit any but a non-cryptic reading of the clue (‘Laminate, flat when affixed’). I have stated repeatedly in slips my belief that an adjective or adjectival phrase won’t do as the definition of a noun, and PLATE can only fit this clue if ‘laminate’ is seen as a noun and ‘flat when affixed’ is likewise seen as representing a noun (i.e. the sort of plate that adorns the outside of solicitors’ offices, perhaps?). I would find a clue interpretable in that way unsound, not to say rather feeble. What I was getting at was ‘laminate’ as an adjective, and the rest of the clue indicating the prefix (or affix) ‘platy-’. I am sure those who entered PLATE hurriedly or without fully understanding the clue will see that PLATY fits it far better.
I’m glad that I wasn’t forced to abandon the competition because of the distribution problems which beset the Observer Magazine initially. It’s always a toss-up whether potential competitors will read announcements printed in the newspaper but as the Magazine goes to press well in advance of publication (i.e. at least a week before) it is impossible for these to appear alongside the puzzles themselves. And while on the subject of delays generally I can only apologise for the slowness of slips recently. At the moment I am in the hands of my masters at The Observer but I am investigating alternative means of supply and hope things will improve.
This month’s ungainly clue-word produced a generally uninspired clutch of entries which had me searching in vain for true inspiration. There seem to be some words like this which defy even the subtlest wits, a situation which it is not easy to foresee. I mean no discredit to the quoted winners and VHCs, merely that the strain of attaining their lofty eminence is occasionally apparent. An example of what I mean is Dr Fletcher’s ‘created’. The past tense is preferable for the (misleading) contextual reading of the clue, but it is a little strained in the cryptic reading of it, which requires something like ‘that creates’ or ‘that was created’, i.e. a present or past present tense, indicating the immediate relationship between the solution and the anagram of it.
Despite a few disgruntled comments from some unenthusiastic regulars, the ‘Superbrain’ competition seems to have attracted considerable interest, more indeed than I had dared to expect. Total number of entries for the qualifying round was around 750. It has therefore been felt necessary to introduce a tie-breaker for those completing the eliminator puzzle. Those not involved may like to know that this requires contestants to submit a cryptic clue to the word SUPERBRAIN.


The Azed Cup

R. J. Whale wins First Prize in competition 2521.


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Dr Watson reviews Azed 2521

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