< Slip No. 770 View the clue list Slip No. 779 >



1.  J. C. Leyland: Trevi – coin thrown – a comfort if cold shouldered? (anag.).

2.  R. J. Hooper: Wrap it over chin if not hot? (anag. less H, & lit.).

3.  N. C. Dexter: Neckwear in civet or fox? (anag. & lit.; fox vi.).


J. D. D. Blaikie: Jam’s bound to take in some fruit (to r in in vice).

M. Coates: Marks, say, on skin when it is no longer ripe (Vic to rine, & lit; ref. V. M., cricketer).

Mrs D. M. Colley: Kind of peach put in jam or canned (or in tin in vice).

L. J. Davenport: Might a variety of citron be entered here, in clapped-out attempt to win a prize? (anag. in vie, & lit.).

Dr I. S. Fletcher: Foxy cover? Nit possessing one? (I in anag., & lit.; ref. animal rights campaign).

H. Freeman: What’s yellow, put in a can and conserved in jam? (or in tin in vice).

P. D. Gaffey: Bush, perhaps, fed with nitro compound (anag. in Vice; ref. George B., US V. P.).

F. D. Gardiner: Sylvester? Fashionable leader of early band of distinction! (Victor in e; ref. V. Silvester (sic), bandleader).

J. F. Grimshaw: What’ll do for laying up, skinned, in jam? ((s)torin(g) in vice, & lit.).

J. I. & B. C. James: Peach jam to take home bottled (to r in in vice).

M. S. Taylor & N. C. Johns: Peach – cover it in trifle (anag.).

A. Lawrie: Some stole – old screw shut gang quickly inside (to rin in vice; gang, rin vbs.).

R. K. Lumsdon: Could it be Sylvester, being skinned, disguised? (Victor + anag. of (b)ein(g), & lit.; ref. cartoon cat, V. Silvester (sic), bandleader).

M. A. Macdonald-Cooper: I contrive elaborate cape a character might display! (anag., hidden ‘peach’, & lit.).

D. F. Manley: Ban civil rioter – order going awry with exit of the unfortunate Blair Peach? (anag. less anag.; ref. campaigner killed in demo).

T. J. Moorey: A fruit split has one smothered in jam? (I in torn in vice).

R. J. Palmer: Notice vair hanging loose? Could be a —— (comp. anag. & lit.).

W. K. M. Slimmings: See what’s yellow, when tinned, and stuck in sorbet? (v. + or2 in tin in ice).

R. C. Teuton: Base of neck? I cover it extravagantly (n + anag., & lit.; b. = starting point).

A. J. Wardrop: See nice trio playing something soft and sweet (v. + anag.).


R. Abrey, S. Armstrong, C. Blackburn, G. H. Booth, C. J. Brougham, Rev Canon C. M. Broun, J. Campbell, C. A. Clarke, G. P. Conway, A. G. Corrigan, A. E. Crow, E. Dawid, R. Dean, R. V. Dearden, J. H. Dingwall, C. M. Draper, C. E. Faulkner-King, C. J. Feetenby, N. C. Goddard, S. Goldie, R. R. Greenfield, K. H. Grose, D. V. Harry, P. F. Henderson, S. Holgate, R. F. A. Horsfield, R. Jacks, J. F. P. Levey, D. J. Mackay, H. S. Mason, H. W. Massingham, L. May, W. L. Miron, J. J. Moore, C. J. Morse, R. A. Mostyn, L. Paterson, Mrs E. M. Phair, A. R. H. Pocock, D. Price Jones, B. Roe, J. H. Russell, R. Sharkey, D. P. Shenkin, A. J. Shields, D. M. Stanford, M. J. Tomkinson, Mrs J. E. Townsend, G. T. Wilson, Dr E. Young.

375 entries, and the biggest crop of mistakes for a long time, mostly LASER for MASER and YCLAD for YCLED. Neither alternative is defensible as far as I can see. Both lasers and masers could be defined as amplifiers hut a laser does not satisfy the rest of the clue, the homophony of MAZER (‘an old cup’). The clue to YCLED was ‘Covered in the saddle? Head off, once in gear’, indicating CYCLED decapitated. To tell the truth I was rather pleased with my clue and its double meanings of ‘cover’, ‘head’ and ‘gear’, and was puzzled that so many got it wrong. I admit that the transitive sense of ‘cycle’ as in ‘How many miles did you cycle today?’ is not indicated in Chambers (being perhaps not a true transitive) but as a substitutable definition ‘cover in the saddle’ is pretty close, and there is no way in which YCLAD could be made to fit the clue.
A few of you expressed disapproval of my including MESS-ROOM and ROOM with ‘space’ in the clue to each. Yes, a weakness, I agree, and one I hadn’t noticed. I write the clues for a puzzle at several sittings and, being human, tend to forget how I’ve clued earlier words in the same puzzle. Must try harder.
URIEL gave trouble. He’s an archangel, listed in my edition of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1974) and The Reader’s Handbook by the same author, a wonderful volume now, I think, out of print but still to be found in second-hand bookshops (I see I paid 15 shillings for my 1884 edition copy). But in any case Muriel Spark is surely well enough known as a novelist of today. And as I’ve said often before, I don’t feel bound to give explicit references when I include proper names not in Chambers. Azed solvers surely need no such spoon-feeding.
VICTORINE wasn’t particularly easy to clue, despite appearances to the contrary. Congratulations to Mr Leyland for finding the (to me) best single anagram and backing it up with a convincing definition. Clues generally were about equally divided between peaches and tippets (and note incidentally that Sir Michael has two t’s at the end of his name). One clue that initially appealed was Rev. Canon Broun’s one-word ‘Trumpery?’, with echoes of Victor Trumper, but I finally decided that, even with the question mark, the definition was not adequate enough to put it into the top bracket. There is no real reason to equate victorines with ‘showy and worthless stuff’.
Finally, a couple of queries from a seasoned campaigner. ‘Roughly how many people compete in the non-competition weeks? ‘Answer: anywhere between 400 and 1,000 usually.
Are prizewinners in competitions permanently banned from winning a prize in “first three” weeks?’ Absolutely not.
Sorry about the delay with this slip. Printing problems at The Observer.


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