AZED CROSSWORD 1818
1. D. F. Manley: This wheeze? I hope AZ soIver wised up! (comp. anag. & lit.; up = in an excited state).
2. M. Goodliffe: Legumes drink fluid, a type of sap (pois soda vril).
3. A. J. Wardrop: One who’s had a drop of vodka spoils radio broadcast (anag. incl. v).
D. Appleton: Trivial spoof one associates with special date – silly, not often funny (anag. incl. s, d less anag., & lit.).
R. E. Boot: Could be dubious spaghetti trees or unusual ravioli’s pods (anag.; ref. famous ‘Panorama’ spoof).
D. J. Dare-Plumpton: Voilà! Pris! So … dupe at the 1st being ragged (anag. incl. d, & lit.).
G. I. L. Grafton: Gull avoids P&O’s liner at sea (only odd bits of neep thrown out) (anag. less n, e).
R. J. Heald: Batter should primarily avoid slip or he’s sure to be caught out by a fast one (anag. incl. s).
P. F. Henderson: Ravioli’s ‘pods’ confused one taken in by spaghetti ‘trees’ (anag.; ref. ‘Panorama’ spoof).
R. Hesketh: Avoid slips or blunders to get a mark one’s been after in French translation (anag.; mark = suitable victim).
M. Hodgkin: Rancid old pissoir, outside convenience left off annual urine extraction routine? ((l)av in anag.; i.e. taking the piss).
L. M. Inman: Davro spoils one funny foreign joke (anag. incl. I; ref. Bobby D.).
S. D. James: I fall into trap door via slips in performance (anag.).
I. D. McDonald: Avoid slips or possibly one will be victim of spinner (anag.).
D. Parfitt: Cuckoo solo is very rapid – a mark of Spring? (anag. incl. v; mark = suitable victim).
R. Perry: Gauloise butt lawyer deposited in rickety old pissoir (Av. in anag.).
Mrs L. J. Roberts: Spring fall, so violas drip, soused (anag.; fall2).
V. Seth: Perhaps spaghetti tree sap could be processed to make square ravioli pods (anag. incl. S; ref. ‘Panorama’ spoof ).
N. G. Shippobotham: Date 01/04 ends in leg-pull for this sap abroad (anag. of d 0 I 0 IV l r s sap, & lit.).
G. H. Willett: In France what is typically green clod very taken in by devious liar? (pois + sod + v in anag., & lit.).
D. C. Williamson: Origins of spaghetti spoof, found in shredded ravioli pod? (s, s in anag., & lit.; ref. ‘Panorama’ spoof).
N. Ainley, T. Anderson, D. Arthur, D. & N. Aspland, K. Badman, C. Boyd, C. J. Brougham, Rev Canon C. M. Broun, E. J. Burge, D. Carter, R. Dean, N. C. Dexter, V. Dixon, M. Draper, C. M. Edmunds, C. D. S. & E. A. Field, Dr I. S. Fletcher, C. George, R. Gilbert, J. F. Grimshaw, B. Hitman, M. Jones, N. MacSweeney, W. F. Main, P. W. Marlow, L. F. Marzillier, J. R. C. Michie, T. J. Moorey, C. J. Morse, W. Murphy, F. R. Palmer, G. & J. Parsons, W. Ransome, D. R. Robinson, D. Shiell, D. J. Short, I. Simpson, P. L. Stone, K. Thomas, D. Tilley, Ms S. Wallace, L. Ward, J. Woodall, Dr E. Young, R. Zara.
192 entries, with quite a few mistakes, mainly through failure to understand the April fool or through having done so only partially (e.g. by leaving the central colunm completely blank, despite my instruction in the preamble that the grid should be completed, or by cluing POISSON D’AVRIL with one of its other letters missing in the wordplay). In response to queries from some newer solvers and from some older ones whose memory has clearly dimmed, I have always produced an April fool puzzle when the first of the month has fallen on a Sunday. It seems to do this roughly (though not exactly) every seven years, so there have been six of these altogether, all different, since the start of the Azed series, in 1973, 1979, 1984, 1990, 2001 and 2007. Thinking up a new joke each time gets increasingly challenging, so I was gratified by how many of you said you found the latest one about right in terms of elusiveness and amusement when the penny dropped. I did not notice RIGHT-O(N) as a (much less satisfactory) alternative to RIGHT-O(H), which caused problems for some. And I certainly didn’t spot that 14 Across (the clue word) could be read as 1/4, i.e. 1 April. You give me too much credit altogether! Favourite clue of the month was, by quite a wide margin, ‘Struggled getting roast out of one oven into another’ for STROVE, with 22 clues in all receiving one or more mentions.
The observance of April Fool’s Day seems to be pan-European, but of French origin. Despite the limited definition in Chambers, there is plenty of evidence for ‘April fool’ and ‘poisson d’avril’ referring to the trick itself as well as to the victim on whom it is played. I also read that ‘the April fish is the mackerel, abundant in that month, and known in French as maquereau but since maquereau is also French for “pimp”, by the end of the fifteenth century poisson d’avril was in common use for a pander or go-between, especially a page sent to arrange a love affair’. I don’t know why everyone remembers the Panorama piece 50 years ago on the spaghetti harvest as the great April fool (see several of the quoted clues above), delightful though it was. Many newspapers rise to the challenge every year, often with great ingenuity. My own favourite is the announcement in the London Evening Star in 1846 of a grand donkey-show to be held in Islington on 1 April; readers who made the journey found no donkeys on show but themselves.
A nearly-good clue to finish off with: ‘This jape perplexed jovial Paris dopes, possibly’. As I think I mentioned in a recent slip, I don’t like past tenses (in the surface reading) doing double duty as past participles indicating an anagram, as here. My reaction when reading this clue is to ask myself ‘When did this jape perplex jovial Paris dopes, and why has it stopped doing so (if it has)?’ The problem is dealt with so easily, e.g. by changing the tense (‘This jape perplexes jovial Paris dopes, possibly’) or by inserting a linking word (‘This jape has perplexed jovial Paris dopes, possibly’).