AZED CROSSWORD 1753
1. J. C. Leyland: Possibly I do anag. & lit. rendering it lamely: ‘A line doing a slant’ (anag. less it, anag. incl. l, & lit.).
2. R. R. Greenfield: With end of bigotry, what is shocking in a gay old bishop’s inclination? (anag. less y; ref. chess).
3. B. Burton: Deacon’s about to be dismissed for good – only course open to bishop (diaconal with g for c; ref. chess).
D. Arthur: A line doing a move obliquely? (anag. incl. l, & lit.).
M. Barley: Angling: contest between twisting fish and one with line (agon in id (rev.) a l).
C. J. & M. P. Butler: Canting Adonis toying with gal (no hint of sex) (anag. less s).
C. A. Clarke: Bias: a loading that’s skewed (anag.).
M. Coates: Obliquely I go and a line I am (anag. incl. l, & lit.).
R. Dean: Between two corners, assist from back’s heading for net in score (aid (rev.) + n in goal).
N. C. Dexter: An oblong’s extremities I’d obliquely join with a line (anag. incl. o, g + a l, & lit.).
M. J. Hanley: Going through the corners with one inside, Lagonda’s written off? (I in anag.).
R. Hesketh: Line taken by bishops relating to deacons – good for chapter (diaconal with g for c).
R. J. Hooper: Goal! – and international’s shot from a corner headed for another (anag. incl. I).
S. D. James: Cater for the locals having laid on a good spread (anag. incl. g; cater2).
Mrs S. G. Johnson: Biased government subsidy backed ruinous loan (G aid (rev.) + anag.).
J. P. Lester: Demonstrating Lagonda, I swerved through the corners (anag.).
D. F. Manley: Shaky old nag full of sloth going round point-to-point cutting corners? (ai (rev.) in anag.; ref. d. of quadrilateral or polygon).
P. W. Marlow: What might be constructed on a grid (a line) concealing setter’s end? (anag. incl. l, less r, & lit.; ref. AZ’s message in d.).
K. Milan: Slash aid, along with reconstruction (anag.).
T. J. Moorey: See New Orleans given little Government help, reflecting North/South’s divide? (la NO G aid (all rev.); solidus; ref. Hurricane Katrina).
I. Morgan: Struggle in ring? It engages both corners (agon in dial).
C. J. Morse: I’m a line that joins and I go aslant (anag. + a l, & lit.).
G. Perry: Both corners are connected with this struggle in ring (agon in dial).
R. Perry: Conflict in ring between red and blue corners (agon in dial).
N. G. Shippobotham: Bishop controls it – this rite involving God (inter alia) (comp. anag.).
T. Smith: Opposing corners are united by this struggle in ring (agon in dial).
J. R. Tozer: Catering line cooked in old Aga (anag.; cater2).
A. J. Wardrop: It comes in from a corner and goalie almost blunders (anag. incl. goali(e)).
T. Anderson, F. Anstis, W. G. Arnott, I. M. Barton, J. R. Beresford, P. Berridge, T. C. Borland, C. J. Brougham, Rev Canon C. M. Broun, E. J. Burge, Dr J. Burscough, Mrs M. J. Cansfield, N. Connaughton, E. Cross, D. J. Dare-Plumpton, E. Dawid, Ms P. Diamond, A. J. Dorn, W. Drever, M. Drew, C. M. Edmunds, J. Fairclough, Dr I. S. Fletcher, R. P. C. Forman, H. Freeman, Mrs E. Greenaway, J. Grimes, J. P. Guiver, A. Hodgson, R. Jacks, W. Jackson, Mrs D. B. Jenkinson, D. K. Jervis, Dr D. T. Lambert, E. C. Lance, M. A. Lassman, D. Little, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, N. MacSweeney, J. R. C. Michie, C. G. Millin, R. S. Morse, R. Murdoch, T. D. Nicholl, R. A. Norton, A. & S. Odber, F. R. Palmer, R. J. Palmer, D. Parfitt, A. Plumb, T. Powell, N. Roper, M. Sanderson, D. J. Short, C. M. Steele, R. C. Teuton, C. J. A. Underhill, Ms C. van Starkenburg, Ms S. Wallace, L. Ward, J. Waterton, R. J. Whale, G. H. Willett, Dr E. Young, R. Zara.
261 entries and no mistakes, clearly a relatively easy ride after the December challenges. In a close contest for favourite clue, with 22 receiving at least one vote, there was a three-way tie (9 votes each) between ‘Felt uneasy about going up in cable-car’ (TELFER), ‘Sheaths are adjusted in line for launching arrows’ (OCHREAE) and ‘Miss Grey in Cluedo? No, this is wrong’ (DULCIE), the last of these being despite my carelessly failing to check that the actress and playwright (born in Malaysia in 1919 and still with us) is Dulcie Gray. The annoying thing is that I could have used ‘Gray’ in the clue without affecting its validity. I think the ‘Miss’ in Cluedo is Miss Scarlett, but it’s a long time since I last played that excellent boardgame. It’s also a mystery to me now why I clued CRYER as a variant of CRIER (which it is, though a relatively rare one given in few dictionaries and not in Chambers). Did I originally plan to clue the comedy writer and performer Barry Cryer, or did I mean to change the word to COYER and simply forgot? No idea. Very sorry.
Quite a lot of you spotted my 1 January message (HAPPY NEW YEAR) in the NE-SW diagonal, signalled in the instruction READ DIAGONAL in the bottom row. This led a number of you to attempt what might be termed self-referential clues, perfectly acceptable within the context of a specific puzzle or an Azed competition, though none of them quite achieved the distinction of the clues quoted. In his book On the Art of the Crossword Ximenes tells how he once clued DIAGONAL with reference to the meaningless set of letters making up one of the diagrams in the grid, the only definitional part of the clue being ‘E.g. here’. This is, to my mind, taking playfulness just a bit too far – an ‘extreme outrage’, X calls it – though I dare say many enjoyed the joke (if they weren’t totally flummoxed) and, as X comments, ‘there were no protests’. He also says that he was ‘unable to think of anything very bright for DIAGONAL’, but he can’t have given it much thought, as there are plenty of good ideas to be exploited, as the list above testifies. Mr Leyland’s first prizewinner is a corker. Double anagrams need to be handled with care as they can be pretty obvious to spot, but this one is anything but, with that delicious inclusion of ‘& lit. ‘ performing a double role in the clue. I also enjoyed the exploitation of the ‘bishop’ idea, which was used less often than perhaps it might have been. Not having read the Harry Potter, I was unfamiliar with Diagon Alley, which also turned up quite a lot, though I assume J. K. Rowling dreamt up the name purely as a pun on ‘diagonally’, which weakens it as a cryptic device. As a clue that was flawed by misleading punctuation, consider ‘Coin, an old one with silver in like a solidus’ (Ag in anag. incl. I). To work cryptically ‘Coin’ must be seen as an imperative, telling the solver to make an anagram of what follows, but the comma, which needs to be there for the surface reading, effectively scuppers this.
Many of you will be as sad as I was to hear of the recent death of Catherine Schwarz. A member of the Chambers family, she worked for the publishing house for many years, chiefly on its dictionaries, remaining editorial consultant on the current edition of The Chambers Dictionary. She was a charming lady, always very keen on preserving the links between the Chambers list and the crossword world, and spoke about this at the Azed 1,000 lunch at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, in July 1991.