AZED CROSSWORD 1758
1. M. Barley: Vacuous blonde bit, me, feature of tabloid spread? (anag. incl. b(lond)e, t, & lit.).
2. P. McKenna: A dumb bit of stuff? A —— could be dimmest – but a babe! (comp. anag. incl. s, & lit.).
3. N. G. Shippobotham: RADA ——: she may be cast as theatre’s dim babe (comp. anag. & lit.).
J. R. Beresford: Grip snags laid with a bit of meat on a Barbie (m bet in bite; snag (Aust.) = sausage).
Dr J. Burscough: Scatty tit, mebbe? (anag. & lit.).
N. C. Dexter: Bubbly ‘it’ babe without a scrap of acumen met here (anag. less a, & lit.).
V. Dixon: Brainless, ingenuous miss, beautiful enough to turn everyone’s heads (first letters & lit.).
A. J. Dorn: Champ retains title with bit of taunting and simple knockout (MBE t in bite).
W. Drever: Is she a female parody somehow of a pretty dim babe? (comp. anag. incl. f, & lit.).
Dr I. S. Fletcher: Eat snags mate’s first put on Barbie (m bet in bite).
D. V. Harry: Having just a little brain, I’m almost more desirable (b I’m bette(r), & lit.).
R. J. Heald: One not half dumb on the inside, infinitely more appealing on the outside! (I (du)mb in bette(r), & lit.).
R. J. Hooper: I’m into books? One such as I will never reach the end – or even start (I’m in bb + (l)ette(r), & lit.).
Mrs S. G. Johnson: Brigitte minus kit entertaining heads of movie business empire? (m, b, e in B(rig)itte, & lit.; ref. Bardot).
D. R. Jones: I’m blonde, vacuous and kitteny with, above, all, very little brain (b I’m + b(lond)e + (ki)tte(ny), & lit.).
J. R. H. Jones: Beer almost takes award: has great body but no head! (MBE in bitte(r)).
P. W. Marlow: I might show pout captivating male and character almost wholly without head for learning (m in bib + (l)ette(r), & lit.).
C. Ogilvie: Millions speculated in Spice Girl (that’s really dumb) (m bet in bite).
D. Price Jones: Frontally beautiful is me, but extremely thick thinks everyone (first letters & lit.).
N. Roper: Timbale without porky ingredients in top recipe leaving a very thick but tasty dish? ((t)imb(ale) in bette(r); porky = lie).
R. C. Teuton: Dim little babes? All ——s I’d fancy (comp. anag. & lit.).
J. R. Tozer: Pretty daft baggage rule revoked to improve airline being held up (BMI (rev.) in bette(r)).
L. Ward: One encapsulated by B. M. (Ms Midler)? Yes and no (I in BM + Bette; ref. smart US comedienne).
G. H. Willett: I’m dimmer than other girls but under the heading of beauty I’m almost totally superior (b I’m bette(r), & lit.).
M. J. Barker, P. Bartlam, C. J. Brougham, Rev Canon C. M. Broun, E. J. Burge, C. J. & M. P. Butler, C. A. Clarke, M. Coates, R. M. S. Cork, K. W. Crawford, E. Cross, E. Dawid, T. J. Donnelly, C. M. Edmunds, H. Freeman, R. Gilbert, R. R. Greenfield, J. P. Guiver, R. B. Harling, R. Hesketh, C. & C. Hinton, S. D. James, G. Johnstone, J. C. Leyland, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, D. F. Manley, Rev M. Metcalf, C. J. Morse, R. S. Morse, R. A. Norton, F. R. Palmer, W. Ransome, Mrs L. J. Roberts, M. Sanderson, D. J. Short, K. Thomas, D. H. Tompsett, Ms S. Wallace, A. J. Wardrop, W. B. Wendt, D. C. Williamson.
A bit of a stinker this month, clearly: only 177 entries, though no mistakes that I spotted. ‘Carte Blanche’ puzzles present a stiff challenge at the best of times, but I made things harder for you (I now see) with PEROGI and the clue word itself, which several of you began by confidently entering as BIMBO. I simply didn’t spot this as a potential hazard and wish I had. In the context of a Carte Blanche puzzle one can do without these extra booby traps. I don’t normally select a Carte Blanche grid specially as such – for me it’s just the next plain puzzle from the stockpile, there being no special cluing requirements. That said, I knew PEROGI (and ILL BESTEAD) would be hard to find. Having picked them from Chambers Words I thought no more about them until I came to clue them, failed to find them, and only ran them to ground by searching on the CD-ROM version of the dictionary (which I recommend). Hence the rather wordy additional help I gave you under the clues (which some of you seemed to have overlooked, to judge from your exasperated comments). To repeat, PEROGI appears in Chambers as a variant at PIEROGI and ILL BESTEAD is implied, in italics, at BESTEAD. The other major source of puzzlement was MISCHALLENGE, with its reference to the celebrated Russian-American violinists Isaac Stern and Mischa Elman, who I assumed wrongly would be familiar to most. On a more positive note, your favourite clue (by far) this month was ‘Wild tussle involving grand bit of fisticuffs’ for SLUGFEST, with 21 clues receiving at least one mention.
I was a little nervous about giving you the dreadfully sexist BIMBETTE to clue, but it yielded lots of amusing ideas and many & lits. It wasn’t easy to convey the implication that a bimbette is presumably even dimmer than a bimbo, and I was inclined not to mark down otherwise good clues that failed to do this, while applauding those who clearly made the effort. There were a number of attempts to include (Norman) Tebbit as the total antithesis of a bimbette, a rather charming idea, though none quite made it to the lists. In general I found the judging extremely difficult, especially in its latter stages, but I’m grateful for the laughs I enjoyed along the way.
David Harry has kindly sent me a CD of all the photos (107 in all) which he took at the Azed 1,750 lunch at Balliol in December. Apart from including the participants themselves, they feature views of the venue and ‘Around the Displays’. David says he is happy to send a free copy to anyone who asks for one. He will send the CDs in a polythene sleeve rather than a jewel case, making it less bulky to send and store. I’m very grateful to David for all the trouble he has gone to over this excellent record of a happy event.