AZED CROSSWORD 1888
RASTER (Printer’s Devilry)
1. G. T. McLean: Solving Azed is a seve/n-days’ task.
2. J. R. Tozer: With no forward docking, spaceship’s going to moo/n.
3. D. F. Manley: Ambler won’t be placed in the classics with a swift o/ne (ref. horse racing/classic authors).
M. Barker: The Treasury thinks it’s not fai/ling; crisis may result from dollar ‘credit crunch’
P. Bartlam: I find new baby wea/ry, nappy too rough.
J. G. Booth: A Victorian child often had a firm fat he/n, one ready to flog if need arose.
C. J. Brougham: Tristram could be a lover of Iseult, o/ne character shrewd and bawdy (ref. T. Shandy).
Rev Canon C. M. Broun: Being in Indi/a I felt hat protected me from the sun.
Dr J. Burscough: Though her old man regularly took Vi, ag/ility on her part prevented pregnancy.
Dr I. S. Fletcher: See hospital hand simple men text/ile cleaning to counter MRSA.
G. I. L. Grafton: Our vicar’s sermons are not as lacking in substance as this parson’s no/se.
D. V. Harry: UK gymnast does floor exercises with flai/ling effort.
S. B. Hart: Drug squad gives toke/n warning.
Ms M. Irvine: Puritan theologians offe/nd our way of life.
J. C. Leyland: What can beat atmosphere as opera buffs start clapping and jostling o/f elbows (ref. Bryn Terfel).
C. J. Morse: Tail-ender in speedboat race had dropped fa/n (fan = propeller blade).
R. S. Morse: Two tugs in front should be enough to straighten the line/n.
R. J. Palmer: For teachers marking exams: was something to be a/mended?
N. G. Shippobotham: Silver medallist may not be fa/n of winning yacht.
P. L. Stone: In winter I buy de-ice/r, if I can’t I freeze.
R. C. Teuton: Performing Stabat Mater that’s topped the pops? Not exactly elect/rifying act! (ref. Clytemnestra, Agamemnon, etc.).
L. D. Urquhart: Catching lad smoking pot, will police just give toke/n telling-off?
R. D. Anderson, D. Arthur, D. & N. Aspland, M. Barley, G. D. Bates, M. Bath, C. Boyd, B. Butler, C. J. & M. P. Butler, D. A. Campbell, P. Cargill, N. Connaughton, E. Cross, V. Dixon, T. J. Donnelly, D. Fielding, A. G. Fleming, H. Freeman, M. Freeman, P. D. Gaffey, R. J. Heald, R. Hesketh, M. Hodgkin, L. M. Inman, G. Johnstone, J. R. H. Jones, E. C. Lance, P. Lawler, Ms R. MacGillivray, J. McGhee, T. D. Nicholl, R. Perry, D. J. Sargent, J. M. Sharman, D. P. Shenkin, D. J. Short, C. M. Steele, A. Varney, Ms S. Wallace, A. J. Wardrop, J. Waterton, R. J. Whale, F. J. B. Wheen, Dr M. C. Whelan, Ms B. J. Widger, Dr E. Young.
A clearly popular return for an old favourite (for the great majority, that is – one non-regular wrote intemperately to describe PD as ‘this absurd lottery masquerading as a crossword’). There were 223 entries and very few mistakes, including (oddly) a couple of ROSTERs. Favourite clues, of 26 mentioned, were those for REWAREWA and STERNER, in joint first place just ahead of SALMANASER (the one that gave me most trouble). Least favourite was (of course) ‘I like the look of the soup – do you, Fan/ny’ for CYAN, in which I failed to count the n’s correctly, though I must have checked it half a dozen times. I do apologize. Such criticism as I received for this was typically gentle and forgiving.
Clues submitted were in general of a very high standard, with much less unsoundness than usual. A few tried to include a definition of RASTER: definitely not a requirement in PD, and rather more made the old mistake of creating clues which made much more sense in the devilled version than in the undevilled – making the tail wag the dog, as it were. Ideally of course both versions should read easily and convincingly, but if either is to appear a bit forced or unnatural it should always be the devilled version, i.e. the clue itself. One comment I received suggested that the part of the standard preamble in which I give guidance on where the breaks should come in devilled and undevilled readings is ‘untypically opaque and confusing’. When I first set a PD puzzle, years ago, I modified Ximenes’s wording in an attempt to make it clearer and more helpful. I’ll have a fresh look at it when next a set a PD. As my correspondent conceded, it is hard to convey the relevant information succinctly (and there are always a few competitors who ignore or overlook it). If any of you would like to have a go at rephrasing this part of the preamble, feel free.
A further comment on the new edition(s) of Chambers, since a few of you brought this up. I decided against explicitly recommending the 2006 edition (the tenth) because the publishers informed me that it was only a minor revision, and that it was better to wait for the eleventh edition (the one just out, which includes Jeremy Paxman’s now infamous foreword). I’m pretty sure I explained this in a slip at the time. It seemed the most sensible thing to do, though I sympathize with any solvers who have only recently invested in the 10/e.
And a footnote to last month’s honours list, a corrected version of which you should get with this slip (thank you, Brian!). It has been pointed out to me that the two in joint first place (with identical scores of 4 prizes and 8 VHCs each) broke the previous record of 15 points, held by Colin Gumbrell. Nobody has ever yet scored in all 13 puzzles, either in the Azed or in the Ximenes series. Now there’s a challenge!