< Slip No. 649 View the clue list Slip No. 657 >



1.  R. J. Hooper: One not effective in bending certain union (anag. less a, & lit.; ref. miners’ strike).

2.  A. J. Crow: Not out centurion, crocked, calls for runner (in + anag.; ref. cricket).

3.  H. J. Bradbury: Rome’s —— might be seen in minor courts, diplomatically employed (comp. anag. & lit.).


R. Abrey: I act for both sides in turn once I get involved (anag. & lit.).

S. Ainley: No truce in Northern Ireland? I might arrange that (anag. incl. NI, & lit.).

F. D. H. Atkinson: Perhaps ACAS could convert certain union (without Arthur’s lead) (anag. less A; ref. A. Scargill, miners’ strike).

M. Barley: Roughly expressed in ‘I recount latest from Vatican’? (anag. incl. n, & lit.).

E. J. Burge: I go from side to side coming out of inn – Cointreau leaving one tipsy (anag. less a).

C. J. & M. P. Butler: One who’s sent in number three hooks, gets duck (in tern unci 0).

C. A. Clarke: Formation of union certain to be complicated without one? (anag. less a, & lit.).

R. V. Dearden: See certain union in disarray without a go-between (anag. less a).

N. C. Dexter: One linking Innocent I with a couple of rulers abroad? (anag. incl. ru, & lit.).

M. Earle: Certain union is without one – result of breakdown (anag. less a, & lit.).

Rev S. W. Floyd: Papal official, I tune in on R.C. broadcast (anag.).

F. D. Gardiner: Church official? Not in Runcie’s set-up! (anag.; ref. Robert R.).

J. F. Grimshaw: Rome’s —— might arrange to be seen in minor court! (comp. anag. & lit.).

A. Hodgson: Incite run on jam. Hartley’s perhaps (anag.; ref. L. P. H., ‘The Go-Between’).

J. I. James: Nine in court after crashing party charged with going from one to another (anag.).

A. H. Jones: I go from party to party, being shattered once I turn in (anag.).

W. F. Martin: In re unction – arrange for papal official to appear (anag.).

W. L. Miron: After I disrupt inn counter I appear in court – Papa supports me (I + anag.; Papa = Pope).

T. J. Moorey: Do I run notice about latest in Vatican? (n in anag., & lit.).

R. J. Palmer: Certain union wrangling wanting a role for ACAS? (anag. less a).

Mrs C. Shaw: I go from one party to another, and am befuddled once I turn in (anag.).

G. H. Willett: Trendy bird engaged in erotic dancing – one who keeps going from one party to another (in + nun in anag.).

Dr E. Young: I go from party to party, then I’m ill once I turn in (anag.; then = at the same time).


R. H. Adey, C. Allen Baker, M. Barnes, A. G. Bogie, R. Brain, C. J. Brougham, A. F. Coles, Mrs D. Colley, G. P. Conway, F. Craig, E. Dawid, P. Drummond, C. M. Edmunds, C. J. Feetenby, H. Freeman, N. C. Goddard, E. J. Griew, D. V. Harry, P. F. Henderson, V. G. Henderson, C. Hobbs, S. Holgate, R. H. F. Isham, W. Jackson, Mrs N. Jarman, B. K. Kelly, R. E. Kimmons, F. P. N. Lake, A. Lawrie, C. W. Laxton, S. M. Mansell, H. W. Massingham, L. May, J. P. Mernagh, Rev M. R. Metcalf, C. G. Millin, J. J. Moore, D. I. Morgan, C. J. Morse, Mrs P. Murray, D. S. Nagle, R. F. Naish, F. R. Palmer, K. Pearce, E. R. Riddle, H. R. Sanders, T. E. Sanders, A. D. Scott, D. P. Shenkin, D. M. Stanford, J. G. Stubbs, J. B. Sweeting, D. H. Tompsett, M. H. E. Watson, J. F. N. Wedge.

361 entries, no mistakes, none that is except my own deplorable lapse in cluing SOUGHED as if it were SLOUGHED. This can only be put down to carelessness under pressure and I’m truly sorry for it. Those who commented were mostly kinder than I deserve. The small mercy is that, ‘centre’ clues having no unches, no other solution was possible. I doubt anyway whether I would have perpetrated such a gaffe had the word been unjumbled.
Like the other specials I’ve devised with a central column dividing two sides this posed extra problems in composition, with many letters being triple-checked, but it adds an extra dimension and challenge to the Ximenean ‘Right & Left’ which seems to have been widely appreciated. It also of course opens up a new range of possible clue-words with appropriate connotations which should keep me going for a while. This one looked a bit unpromising for the clue-writer (three N’s usually bode ill) but turned out to offer plenty of opportunities. The temptation to involve the word ‘union’ in a topical clue was understandably hard to resist but as the list above shows it was only one of several good ideas that proved popular. Most involved anagrams of some kind. It may be worth repeating a general word of caution I’ve mentioned before: beware of too-vague definitions, even when cryptic indications are fully explicit. The first three words of the Butlers’ clue above could apply to a wide range of individuals either dispatched or enraptured, almost beyond the point at which ambiguity ceases to be fair. The test should always be what is a reasonable challenge for the solver. In this case I decided he would be unlikely to feel misled.
Last-minute preparations are now in hand for the Superbrain Competition final in Oxford on 8 December. I shall report on how it went in the next slip but you may like to know that it is hoped to feature the final puzzle (a 15 × 15 monster) in The Observer itself after the event, for any who care to tackle it outside the tense atmosphere of the University Examination Schools.
A final word of apology to Mr Bradbury whose name appeared as Bradley in the printed list of results for this competition. The perils of a crackly telephone line, I’m afraid.


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