◀  No. 8956 Aug 1989 Clue list No. 904  ▶



1.  N. C. Dexter: Quack medicine? Crooked liar has bottles to flog (tan in anag.).

2.  J. F. Grimshaw: Bottom’s taken aback when covered in monstrous hairs: ‘This is knavery …’ (natal (rev.) in anag.; ref. MND, esp. III.1.105).

3.  J. P. H. Hirst: What a liar at NHS might turn to (anag. & lit.).


Mrs K. Bissett: Wanton taking one in place of love is an exotic beguilement (harlot with a for 0 + anag.).

C. J. Brougham: What’s a liar ‘working with NHS’ at? (anag. & lit.).

E. J. Burge: Rain halts a game – the paying customers could feel cheated by it (anag.; game = crippled).

M. Earle: A long train has to have a buffet? That may be a false assumption (anag. incl. l).

F. D. Gardiner: Pretending to skills one doesn’t have, as in a harlot badly wanting love (anag. less 0).

N. C. Goddard: Humbug! What could make Ebenezer finally hail Santa? (anag. incl. r).

Ms H. Grayson: A satin (not seconds) woven into flax fibres will produce a lot of flannel (anag. less s in harls).

J. G. Hull: Mixing duck with it has rational results – quackery! (comp. anag. less 0).

A. Lawrie: Ailment (a rash) should be treated without me (anag. less me, & lit.).

D. F. Manley: In Harley St as a phoney you could get done for this, yes? (comp. anag. & lit.).

H. S. Mason: Bluff hard Australians whipped us out (H + anag. less us).

T. J. Moorey: Endless great cheer all round, but second 900 perhaps is promising the impossible! (tal(l) rah (rev.) + (s)an + is; ref. AZ series).

C. J. Morse: Hey, suggestion of aureoles shimmering ain’t penned by Tusitala – that’s humbug (ha + a + anag. in RLS; ref. AZ clue to ROSE-LAURELS and pen-name of R. L. Stevenson).

R. A. Mostyn: Hospital caught out in treatment of scarlatina – using unethical medicine? (H + anag. less c).

F. R. Palmer: Empiricism? What’s ensured I’m so confused with it? Possibly, rationalism has! (comp. anag.).

W. K. M. Slimmings: It shows a liar hasn’t abandoned advocacy of snake-oil ( anag.).

A. J. Wardrop: A natural heartlessly treated in his unprofessional doctor’s practice (anag. less u in his).

M. H. E. Watson: Sham medicine – e.g. it might be ‘Art as Healing’ (comp. anag.).

Dr E. Young: Dress a rash with lint and a surface medicine (anag.; surface = superficial).


M. J. Barker, M. Barley, Mrs F. A. Blanchard, Ms P. Brown, D. B. Cross, P. M. A. Crozier, P. W. Davenport, R. V. Dearden, B. Drummond, C. M. Edmunds, P. S. Elliott, R. A. England, B. Franco, D. Giles, D. A. Ginger, B. Greer, W. Gundrey, D. V. Harry, P. Heap, P. F. Henderson, P. D. Hinchliffe, C. Hobbs, Dr J. M. Hutchinson, G. Johnstone, R. E. Kimmons, J. D. Lockett, C. J. Lowe, H. W. Massingham, J. R. C. Michie, T. W. Mortimer, H. B. Morton, G. M. Neighbour, S. J. O’Boyle, R. J. Palmer, R. F. Pannell, S. L. Paton, Mrs A. G. Phillips, R. Phillips, J. T. Price, D. R. Robinson, H. R. Sanders, B. W. Sayer, A. F. Scott, J. M. Sharman, Mrs E. J. Shields, J. B. Sweeting, G. A. Tomlinson, Mrs J. E. Townsend, Mrs J. Waldren, R. J. Whale, D. Williamson, and an unnamed entry from Chalcot Square, London NW1.

405 entries, virtually no mistakes. Clearly most of you tumbled to the theme pretty quickly – some had even been expecting it (am I that predictable?) – but I wonder how many spotted the significance of the omitted full point in the ‘title’ of the puzzle (i.e. ‘No 900’, not ‘No. 900’)? As many of you surmised it was quite hard to construct the grid, there being not that many words, especially short ones, with C and M in and in the right order. I originally tried to make every word in the diagram undergo the same treatment but abandoned that as impossible if I was to keep a normal balance of longer and shorter words. The purist in me would also have preferred acrosses with only one C and one M each but that too had to go out of the window. I don’t suppose anyone was offended. One query concerned the ‘irregular’ comparative form COMPACTER ( = ‘more compact’) – ought I not to have indicated that it isn’t given in Chambers? Well, it’s regular enough, if perhaps not often found. Webster acknowledges that it and COMPACTEST occur ‘sometimes’. But it raises the question, discussed at some length by Alec Robins in a recent issue of the Crossword Club magazine, whether the standard rubric ‘Every word is in Chambers …’ will really do where plurals and other modified forms not given there in bold type are concerned. It is of course intended to give the solver extra reassurance where thematic puzzles are concerned, but perhaps the vaguer, if less strictly inaccurate, ‘Chambers … is recommended’ would be better for all puzzles. Your comments would be welcome.
Anyway, an enjoyable special, it seems, if not in the ‘CAT’ bracket of difficulty! I much appreciated the many generous comments (or oments?) on reaching this new milestone and am already musing on an appropriate way of dealing with the big M. Please keep taking the medicine. I promised a corrected Honours List for the last complete year (to May 1989), and here it is.

1. D. F. Manley (2 prizes, 10 VHCs); 2. C. J. Morse (2,7); 3(equal) N. C. Dexter (1,8), P. F. Henderson (1,8); 5. E. J. Burge (1,7); 6(equal) C. J. Brougham (2,4), C. G. Millin (2,4); 8(equal) F. P. N. Lake (1,5), T. W. Mortimer (0,7), F. R. Palmer (1,5); 11(equal) H. J. Bradbury (1,4), J. C. Leyland (0,6), D. Price Jones (1,4), Dr E. Young (2,2); 15(equal) Dr J. Burscough (2,1), C. A. Clarke (0,5), Dr I. S. Fletcher (1,3), H. Freeman (1,3), R. R. Greenfield (0,5), D. V. Harry (1,3), T. E. Sanders (0,5); 22(equal) D. W. Arthur (1,2), M. Barley (0,4), L. W. Davenport (1,2), S. C. Ford (0,4), V. G. Henderson (1,2), R. J. Hooper (0,4), H. W. Massingham (0,4), J. R. C. Michie (1,2), T. J. Moorey (1,2), W. J. M. Scotland (0,4), R. J. Whale (1,2).
T. W. Mortimer, J. C. Leyland, C. A. Clarke, R. R. Greenfield, T. E. Sanders, M. Barley, S. C. Ford, R. J. Hooper, H. W. Massingham, W. J. M. Scotland.


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