◀  No. 17416 Nov 2005 Clue list No. 1750  ▶



1.  D. F. Manley: No insect, mite could be in —— set, mistakenly (comp. anag. & lit.; mite is an arachnid).

2.  M. Barley: Characteristic of bug – it’s for hiding in small space with microphone (to in en mic).

3.  Dr I. S. Fletcher: Dell computer screens are cleared of bugs (tom in eniac less a; see dell2).


B. Burton: Concerned with flies, perhaps (partly open, to micturate) (hidden).

Mrs M. J. Cansfield: Epithet given to microlepidoptera, wholly or in part (hidden).

N. Connaughton: Organize rare —— safaris into America’s rainforest (comp. anag. & lit.).

K. W. Crawford: ‘Not mice’ could be descriptive of six-footers (anag.).

J. Grimes: What one changes in mien for parody of flits, say (i.e. changing en to mic in mien = mimic).

J. P. Guiver: Residing in Ecuador, I’m not fearful of insects (anag. in EC).

R. J. Heald: Income tax cut in US ruled out, sadly, for Wasps and suchlike (anag. less ax).

R. J. Hooper: Computer that Dell’s invested in needs absolute eradicating of bugs (tom in eni(a)c; see dell2).

R. Jacks: Developing nit may become this? No ‘maybe’ involved (anag. less may be, & lit.).

M. A. Macdonald-Cooper: Supply organised to men in command of soldiers in colonies, typically? (anag. + i/c; supply adv.).

C. G. Millin: Net’s contaminated: micro’s corrupted: run’s aborted it’s all to do with bugs (anag. + anag. less r).

T. J. Moorey: Upshot of Ashes not half gripping for millions of cricket (& other) types (to m in cine(rary) (rev.)).

R. S. Morse: Wasps’ class is epitomised by this nice scrummaging round hooker (tom in anag.).

D. J. R. Ogilvie: Electronic COMINT purged of bugs? (E + anag.).

F. R. Palmer: ‘Divided into three parts’ in Caesar’s first tome (all translated) (anag. incl. C; ref. Caesar’s ‘De Bello Gallico’ I,i).

R. C. Teuton: You might see hideous nit come to do with bugs (anag.; ref. song ‘The Ugly Bug Ball’).

D. H. Tompsett: Millions notice bust on such as Dors and Painted Ladies (anag. incl. m).

A. J. Wardrop: Tonemic variant of lice, for example (not mice, however) (2 anags.).

D. C. Williamson: You’ll find this is frequently rendered as ‘insectiform’ (anag. less is fr., & lit.).

A. J. Young: Centimo – different version of a mite, say (anag.).


D. Appleton, M. Barker, I. M. Barton, E. J. Burge, Dr J. Burscough, D. A. Campbell, C. A. Clarke, D. C. Clenshaw, R. Dean, N. C. Dexter, W. Drever, H. Freeman, G. I. L. Grafton, D. A. Harris, M. Hodgkin, Mrs D. B. Jenkinson, E. C. Lance, P. W. Marlow, R. J. Mayled, P. McKenna, C. J. Morse, W. Murphy, T. D. Nicholl, R. J. Palmer, R. Perry, A. Plumb, W. Ransome, A. Streatfield, K. Thomas, J. R. Tozer, Dr E. Young.

213 entries, over 80 with errors, a mass self-immolation reminiscent of Zuleika Dobson. All the wrong entries had the (in Chambers, at least) non-existent CANONIA for CENOBIA (‘Church dignitary, one presiding over active religious communities’). Many with CANONIA said they assumed it must be right though they couldn’t find it. In retrospect I ought perhaps to have warned you that CENOBIA was hard to find, and I’m sorry I didn’t, though it is certainly implied at the entries for coen- and coenobite taken together. But I would never knowingly include a non-existent word or one that required delving into other dictionaries to verify it, and I’m a bit surprised that more of you didn’t make that assumption and search a bit more diligently. Four competitors actually chose it as their clue of the month, though the overall favourite was ‘Duck à la française in crumbly suet may make you this’ for ESURIENT, and 28 getting at least one mention. One clue which scored highly was the one for MAJOR MITCHELL, a delightful discovery for me as well, clearly, as for many of you. A few of you also commented on the unusually large number of two-and three-word entries, including the three 11-letter Latin phrases. Their inclusion was largely fortuitous, but the reason I now include more multi-word entries than heretofore is that the latest edition of Chambers Words (an invaluable tool for diagram-filling) includes them for the first time.
Though I had fewer entries to assess than usual because of the CENOBIA debacle, the overall quality of clues submitted was high, with some nicely disguised definitions of ENTOMIC (see above). As I’ve said before, this is often (not always) the key to creating a good clue to a ‘definition-specific’ word such as this. I was, however, not keen on ‘buggy’, playing on its use as a noun, because ‘buggy’ means ‘infested with bugs’, which is quite different from ‘relating to bugs’. One regular asked what my reaction would be to a clue containing wording like ‘what Buzz Aldrin stops’ meaning (for the purposes of the definition) ‘what buzz aldrin stops’. Leaving aside the question of whether the part of speech is adequately indicated, which I doubt, I accept (just) that normally lower-case initials may be capitalized for the purposes of the clue, but not vice versa (i.e. down-casing capitals). There’s a lot more to be said on punctuation generally, and I’d like to come back to this in future slips.
The coming month will be a busy one. The competition puzzle on 4 December will be No. 1,750, and I hope to announce the prizewinners at the lunch being held to mark this milestone event at Balliol College, Oxford, on Saturday 17 December. 1 and (three generations of) my family look forward to seeing many of you at that event. Then there’s the Christmas competition, which will appear on 18 December (there will be no issue of The Observer on Christmas Day), and the January competition on New Year’s Day.


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