< Slip No. 982 View the clue list Slip No. 991 >



1.  R. J. Palmer: Border, opening up now, needs one run further before close of play (I r on + curtain; ref. Allan B., cricketer).

2.  R. J. Hooper: With force of gravity, this could have crashed ruining actor’s composure (anag. less g, & lit.).

3.  R. Phillips: ‘Communication barrier’ fits this, and ‘Commie bar’, loosely (comp. anag. & lit.).


M. Barley: The result of dismantling this barrier with US is … ruction in Russia? (comp anag. & lit.).

Mrs A. Boyes: A production ‘Rain’, in court for borderline obscenity (anag.).

E. J. Burge: Drop of the hard stuff? It’s often downed during interval in theatre (i.e. curtain of iron; drop = theatre curtain).

C. A. Clarke: Proceed with brief to crack IRA by total bar on communication (on curt in IRA + in).

Mrs J. M. Critchley: An unyielding bar – Ir – Uri cannot bend (anag.; Ir = iridium; ref U. Geller).

M. Earle: I’m suffering ruination – cold war’s ending (anag. incl. c, r, & lit.).

C. M. Edmunds: Not in RUC? IRA admits ‘error’ – a barrier of politics and bigotry (anag.).

P. S. Elliott: Downfall of rain in court – it must lift before play can restart (anag.).

H. Freeman: One drawn on rails in the National? We see it pound Aintree course and win (comp. anag.; ref. the National Theatre).

J. F. Grimshaw: Action in R.U.R. represented metal men engaged in dramatic flare-up (anag.; ref. Čapek play about robots).

Mrs D. B. Jenkinson: Without Ruth Draper’s sort of material, it fell heavily on stage (iron curtain; ref. US comedienne).

G. Johnstone: Border, renowned for impenetrable defence, smashes a hundred in run riot (anag. incl. C; ref. Alan B.).

R. E. Kimmons: Crash Cortina, ruin screen which just disintegrated (anag.).

F. P. N. Lake: Woven in rancour, it’s torn, I see – a ruin – under perestroika (anag., anag. incl. c, & lit.).

D. F. Manley: One ton ‘Hurricane’ slammed – he ignored traditional requirement for safety in theatrical break (I + anag. less he; ref. Alex Higgins, snooker player).

H. W. Massingham: Reunion it bedevilled with onset of cold war and East / West splitting (anag. incl. c less E W, & lit.).

C. G. Millin: One drops, giving on stage brief protection (on curt in I rain, & lit.).

J. B. Sweeting: Goose hanging? Screen from the flies (iron curtain; g. a type of iron).

R. C. Teuton: Its breakdown could effect the start of Communist ruination, right? (anag. incl. C, r, & lit.).

G. A. Tomlinson: Maybe Whitehall’s outdated screening system provoked ruction with Iran (anag.; ref. Whitehall theatre).

Mrs M. Vincent: What’s built up in the way of communication, riot can ruin disastrously (anag.).


J. Abernethy, Mrs K. Bissett, H. Bradbury, Rev Canon C. M. Broun, B. Burton, K. W. Crawford, D. B. Cross, R. Dean, R. V. Dearden, Dr V. G. I. Deshmukh, N. C. Dexter, V. Dixon, R. A. England, M. B. Fisher, Dr I. S. Fletcher, M. Goodyear, Ms s. H. Grayson, R. R. Greenfield, R. W. Hawes, H. Hayes, Mrs B. E. Henderson, A. W. Hill, J. Horwood, J. G. Hull, A. Lawrie, C. W. Laxton, J. F. P. Levey, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, D. J. Mackay, L. K. Maltby, Ms A. McConnell, W. L. Miron, T. J. Moorey, R. A. Mostyn, D. Price Jones, A. J. Redstone, T. E. Sanders, W. J. M. Scotland, D. M. Stanford, Dr I. Torbe, G. Vinestock, A. J. Wardrop, Mrs H. D. Williams, D. Williamson, M. Woodroffe.

348 entries, quite a lot of mistakes. The main problem was over GHIZAO, for which 70 competitors had GHIOAO. This must have been guesswork, resulting from failure to consult an atlas or failure to find it even after consulting one. I sympathize, and regret having had to resort to this obscure geographical location. It all came about after I’d pencilled in GHERAO when constructing the diagram and then found I couldn’t construct a lettered jumble-word with it. GHIZAO was in the first three atlases I consulted (the Times Atlas of the World, the New Oxford Atlas and a rather elderly Bartholomew’s Advanced Atlas of Modern Geography), so I felt reasonably confident that the place would figure in any world atlas of moderate size. If I was wrong, I’m sorry. My use of ‘zero’ and the fact that the elusive ‘z’ fell on an unchecked square was unfortunate and didn’t, I’m afraid, occur to me at the time. My apologies to those who fell foul of this unintentional trap. A handful – well, perhaps a dozen – had DROP-CURTAIN for IRON CURTAIN. Chambers hides this hyphenated compound among the definitions for DROP. Again this can only have been guesswork, as the ‘d’ and the ‘p’ make no recognizable words to fit the lettered clues. (I deliberately made these tough, by the way, so that arriving at the clue word would not be a formality.)
One regular solver criticized ‘Left, Right & Centre’ as a waste of ingenuity on the part of the setter in that it adds little to the fun of solving. I won’t conceal the fact that the triple checking of certain squares puts an extra self-imposed strain on the setter, but this is solely in the interest of ‘consumer appeal’ and several of you were kind enough to say you found this particular special a favourite. Everyone, it seems, has his favourites and his bêtes noires.
My clue to PARSEE caused widespread puzzlement, though no one got it wrong. In case the penny still hasn’t dropped, the reference was to ‘How the Rhinoceros got his Skin’, one of Kipling’s Just So Stories, which was required reading when I was a lad but is perhaps less popular nowadays. I cannot see the word PARSEE without thinking of the story, of the Parsee-man’s hat ‘from which the rays of the sun were reflected in more-than-oriental splendour’, and of the dire warning in the moral:

A final word of apology to those who were disappointed that I didn’t set you a double clue for the competition (I’m sure there were some). When I came to look at the completed grid I couldn’t actually see a single pair that looked interesting enough to give you – with the possible exception of the long words AGRIPRODUCT and INTERLOPERS. I then thought I’d get a deluge of similar clues treating AGRIPRODUCT as A GRIP ROD + anagram of CUT, and that it was better avoided. And IRON CURTAIN seemed so replete with possiblities, as experience confirmed. (I suppose there must be some theatres where iron curtains are still in use, so I was perhaps overly generous to those who ignored the ‘(arch)’ label in Chambers if their clues were otherwise of superior quality. I’m likewise a bit dubious about Mr. Freeman’s ‘rails’, since I suspect all iron curtains were raised and lowered rather than pulled across, though I can’t prove it. Nice clue though.)


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