◀  No. 9301 Apr 1990 Clue list No. 939  ▶



1.  Dr E. Young: Spikes, pierced by holes in front? (up in laces, & lit.; ref. golf).

2.  P. F. Henderson: Contrived a clue: ‘Chemists’ group?’ (The answer could be BOOTS) (anag. + PS).

3.  R. C. Teuton: Solved clues appear fruitless? Place us differently, we tie up in pairs (anag. less pear, anag.; ref. puzzle).


M. J. Barker: As distinct from P.E. casuals, possibly (anag. less as, & lit.).

C. J. Brougham: Bar these as ‘a brace plus buckles’! (comp. anag. & lit.).

E. J. Burge: Capsule incorrectly programmed: supporters at ground level undone before ‘take off’ (anag.).

C. A. Clarke: Oxford is one of these places associated with upper-class, dissolute loafers? Certainly not! (anag. incl. U, 2 defs.).

N. C. Dexter: They’re beginning to undo within fifty paces if loose? (u in L + anag., & lit.).

M. Earle: Clobber used on hikes (lace ups, & lit.; clobber, lace = thrash).

Dr I. S. Fletcher: More than one Oxford work in CUP sale? (anag.).

S. Goldie: Oxford types with useful tags – Latin ones hold at university (up in L aces).

J. F. Grimshaw: Stupe confused with Chelsea boots … ‘—— these?’ (comp. anag.; boot = kick about).

V. G. Henderson: ‘—— undone … I’ll give you a clue: PS, first of April!’ (anag. incl. A, & lit.; ref. stock April Fool joke).

C. Hobbs: First of April prankster cries excitedly ‘Look – shoes undone,’ when they’re tied up (anag. of first letters, & lit.).

R. J. Hooper: What scale models will circle aloft? Trainers – Oxford perhaps – but not Wellingtons (up in anag.; ref. aircraft).

F. P. N. Lake: There’s many an (e.g.) Oxford student on the road to outstanding successes (L ace ups).

D. J. Mackay: We won’t slip on these daft 1st of April clues (puzzling initially)! (anag. incl. A, p).

D. F. Manley: Have we all been given tongues? S Paul wants order round church (CE in anag.; ref. 1 Cor. 12-14).

C. G. Millin: When the penny’s dropped you see clues are displaced – you can’t be slipshod with them (anag. incl. a, p).

C. J. Morse: You need to sit with head down putting us on ((p)lace + p in us, & lit.).

R. F. Naish: Boots with eyes on novel way of dispensing capsule (anag.; ref. pharmacist).

F. R. Palmer: Onset of perplexity with first of April clues dispelled – ‘They’re tied crosswise!’ (anag. incl. p A).

T. E. Sanders: You’ll see us pace on long ramble in them (l + anag. & lit.).

A. J. Shields: We don’t slip on clues compiled with the First of April and a touch of prankery involved! (anag. incl. A, p).

I. C. Snell: Note: these can make neat couples: we are bent on securing them (comp. anag.).

A. J. Wardrop: People making good after censure – they’re certainly not loafers (lace ups).

A. J. Young: Open casuals? No, as these are tied up (comp. anag. & lit.).


W. G. Arnott, F. D. H. Atkinson, M. Barley, R. C. Bell, Mrs K. Bissett, Rev Canon C. M. Broun, J. M. Brown, Dr J. & Mrs K. Burscough, E. Chalkley, D. B. Cross, E. Dawid, C. Edmunds, P. S. Elliott, D. Fielker, B. Franco, H. Freeman, M. Freeman, F. D. Gardiner, N. C. Goddard, J. E. Green, R. R. Greenfield, O. Greenwood, B. Greer, D. C. Hall, D. V. Harry, S. Hastings-Bass, G. Hughes, Ms J. Hughes, R. Jacks, Mrs E. L. Jobling, G. Johnstone, A. H. Jones, R. E. Kimmons, A. Lawrie, R. Lawther, J. H. C. Leach, J. D. Lockett, A. Logan, S. G. G. MacDonald, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, L. K. Maltby, P. W. Marlow, H. W. Massingham, J. R. C. Michie, T. J. Moorey, R. S. Morse, T. W. Mortimer, S. J. O’Boyle, P. G. O’Gorman, R. J. Palmer, R. Phillips, Mrs A. Price, D. Price Jones, C. P. Rea, P. Rhodes, D. R. Robinson, H. R. Sanders, L. G. D. Sanders, W. K. M. Slimmings, G. Smith-Bingham, P. A. Stephenson, P. L. Stone, J. Taberner, P. Thacker, G. A. Tomlinson, Dr I. Torbe, I. Watts, Ms V. Webb, Mrs M. P. Webber, R. J. Whale, Ms B. J. Widger, Sir David Willcocks, D. Williamson, A. J. Willis.

327 entries, about half of them with the answers entered in reverse at their appropriate numbers. This put me in a real quandary. Should I disqualify all those who had found a valid way of entering the answers even though it wasn’t the one I’d intended? Was there, indeed, any guarantee that those who found the ‘correct’ way had spotted the acrostic message confirming their method? After much thought I decided to be generous and accept both types of completed diagram, aware that I was partly to blame for my own dilemma in not having spotted the alternatives as I should have done. It gets ever more difficult to devise April Fool tricks which are neither too obvious nor unfairly contrived. A few of you this time expressed annoyance that there was no indication of what was going on and that I was in effect cheating. Well, there was the acrostic. Several were clearly on the alert from the start and not bamboozled for long. Many (I’m glad to say) forgot the date, fell into the trap, climbed out, and were appropriately amused. I couldn’t ask for more. I’m told that the next 1 April Sunday isn’t till 2001 (is that right?). If so, I’m rather relieved!
I might also have insisted that clues submitted should begin with ‘S’ (to preserve the acrostic), or be disqualified. A number did (which might have been pure chance since no one mentioned it) but the vast majority didn’t, so I quickly forgot about any such stipulation. Did it occur to anyone, I wonder? I hasten to add that Dr Young and Mr Teuton earned their places regardless of their initial letters. There were some excellent clues to a word I was a little nervous of giving you. It seemed rather lacking in possibilities. I thought. I was wrong. The commonest idea by far was the capsule anagram, usually including Boots (the chemist), a neat and attractive ploy but just too popular, I’m afraid. And far too many defined lace-ups as ‘boots’ (or ‘Boots’). Lace-ups are not necessarily boots and boots are not necessarily lace-ups. This must be indicated somehow. Much the same criticism can be levelled at all those clues which referred in their definition parts to some general or unspecified form of footwear. Another (in retrospect) fairly obvious treatment of LACE-UPS involved first of April clues, with an extra ‘p’ to be dealt with somehow. I didn’t care for ‘1st (or 1) April’ for A, i.e. omitting the all-important ‘of’. I know this is implied – and often inserted when the phrase is read aloud – but for fair and accurate cluing I regard it as essential here.
A final disclaimer. One or two of you suspected me of including a red herring with SPRINGBOX, which shared four checked letters with a possible APRIL FOOL. The thought never occurred to me – honest!


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