◀  No. 7745 Apr 1987 Clue list No. 783  ▶



1.  R. F. Naish: What makes blinking heap of stones a key to man’s development? (i.e. blinking missing link = bing; ref. e.g. Stonehenge).

2.  T. W. Mortimer: I create set with this. Strangely it’s item series isn’t lacking (comp. anag. & lit.).

3.  S. Goldie: Modern man (Wise type!) needed my transformation: unable to see the join! (i.e. missing (the) link; ref. homo sapiens, Ernie W.; t. = false hair).


K. Aaronovich: Strain of apes, this? Could be Peking man fossil is (comp. anag. & lit.).

R. B. Adcock: Beginning of ‘The Mikado’: lovers’ activity – jail – ‘to be beheaded, beheaded’ would complete the sequence (M + (k)issing + (c)link).

M. Barley: It’s me slinking abominably round foot of Himalayas? (mi + s in anag., & lit.; ref. yeti; me2).

Rev Canon C. M. Broun: Origin of man, or monkey, one such as might look for mate without tail clad in tailored skin (m + singl(e) in anag., & lit.).

N. C. Dexter: Semi simian slinking up a gum tree, maybe? (anag. & lit.).

C. M. Edmunds: Being not wholly a man, thus purblind type becomes bard (i.e. blinkard missing link = bard).

Dr I. S. Fletcher: Is one almost complete within motorway network’s confines? (is singl(e) in M1 + n, k, & lit.).

D. V. Harry: Subhuman brute, hiding-place unknown – old mistress must have vague inkling (miss + anag.; ape-men named by location).

A. W. Hill: Failure to catch connection one assumed to have existed (2 mngs.).

R. J. Hooper: Don’t get at Mikhail G, source of overtures for reduction – he’s presumably an advance on his predecessors (miss in Glink(a); ref. composer and M. Gorbachev).

F. P. N. Lake: In Peking man a fossil demonstrates evolution – practically making an ape of me! (comp. anag. & lit.).

J. C. Leyland: What’d make Glinka half gaga – omitted intermezzo? (i.e. Glinka missing link = ga(ga); ref. composer).

C. J. Lowe: Breakdown in train? – failure to catch connection! (2 mngs.).

H. W. Massingham: Wide of course reduced the figure needed to clinch the series (missing link(s); ref. golf, cricket).

F. R. Palmer: I’m not really a man – you’ll see me collapse after consuming just one short (mi + singl(e) in sink; me2).

G. Perry: Almost human character is nigh on unique in small animal (is singl(e) in mink).

D. R. Robinson: Cuff needing this to draw together loose ends for flapping ‘long arm’ (double mng.; cufflink, shirt; ref. Sergeant C., police, in ‘The Moonstone’).

A. G. Rowlinson: Failing to catch connection and being extremely late (2 mngs.).

H. R. Sanders: Young girl with old codger – long embedding essential for consummation (l in miss in gink).

T. E. Sanders: Does it have various signs of simian ilk? If so, a —— it may be (comp. anag. & lit.).

G. H. Willett: Not quite manly type gives girl strange inkling (miss + anag.).


R. Abrey, Mrs A. J. Anstead, D. W. Arthur, E. A. Beaulah, R. C. Bell, Dr P. M. J. Bennett, G. H. Booth, H. J. Bradbury, J. M. Brown, E. J. Burge, C. J. & M. P. Butler, E. Chalkley, E. S. Clark, C. A. Clarke, Mrs M. P. Craine, D. A. Crossland, G. Cuthbert, L. J. Davenport, H. F. Dixon, P. Drummond, C. S. Ellis, Mrs C. Firmin, W. S. Forsyth, H. Freeman, P. D. Gaffey, D. A. Ginger, N. C. Goddard, E. Gomersall, J. F. Grimshaw, A. O. Harries, H. A. Hayes, M. S. Taylor & N. C. Johns, G. Johnstone, A. H. Jones, J. F. Jones, Miss F. S. Kemp, C. W. Laxton, H. R. Lockhart, P. Long, R. K. Lumsdon, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, P. Maher, D. F. Manley, C. G. Millin, Dr R. G. Monk, T. J. Moorey, C. J. Morse, Mrs H. Norman, Mrs R. Page, R. J. Palmer, Mrs A. Price, D. Price Jones, E. R. Riddle, J. H. E. Russell, D. P. Shenkin, P. J. Simpson, D. M. Stanford, F. B. Stubbs, J. Tebbutt, Dr I. Torbe, A. J. Wardrop, R. J. Whale, J. R. Widdowson, D. G. Wilkey, D. Willcocks, M. G. Wilson, Dr E. Young.

431 entries, very few mistakes, though evidence of a fair amount of correction fluid having been used on SPHAER! (I notice that the 1983 edition of Chambers, though a huge improvement on its predecessor in its treatment of cross-references, still occasionally omits to include all variant or obsolete forms appearing as ‘dummy’ entries at the entries for the standard forms, as in this case.) As a rugby enthusiast (and former player of conspicuously little talent) I particularly enjoyed the Sharpe anagram which only occurred to me after embarking on a rugger theme for the clue. Comments on the puzzle as a whole were largely favourable though some feel that the possibility of arriving at the central word(s) without necessarily solving all the lettered clues is a weakness. I concede the point but still think it makes for an acceptable variation on the Right and Left theme (why not Left and Right, I sometimes wonder?), especially when one can find a nicely apposite centre word or words with 11 letters, as here. Not that MISSING LINK proved very easy to clue originally. Most popular idea by far was IS + SINGL(E) in MINK, with almost unique fur-covered creatures too thick on the ground to earn their creators more than H.C. mention in the main. On these occasions, i.e. when the most obvious idea is also one of the neatest and crying out for ‘& lit.’ treatment, I sympathise with those who opt for it but get lost in the crush, but as always there are other approaches and I’m always looking for originality when judging a competition entry. The three prize-winners all have that, I think you’ll agree.
This puzzle was the first in yet another new type style, which some of you liked and others didn’t (and yet others probably didn’t notice, I’ll wager!). It is in line with a face-lift to the Magazine as a whole, of the kind that crossword compilers don’t get consulted about. And whereas I am interested to know your reaction to such changes, I have little influence in these matters, so vehement protest (or the opposite) is better addressed to the Magazine’s editorial management. I personally find the new serif typeface quite elegant but it is less economical than what we had before, which may occasionally lead to a reduction in size – unless I can hone my clue-writing style to new levels of succinctness!


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