AZED CROSSWORD 1901
1. R. Hesketh: It is covered by ‘compos mentis’ and ‘clean round the bend’ perhaps (it is in sane).
2. J. C. Leyland: A NHS sister’s aim? —— hospital MRSA’s contaminated (comp. anag. incl. H, & lit.).
3. J. R. Tozer: Player taking on the rest is going in with a full set of marbles, to clean up (‘it’ is in sane).
M. Barley: Deploy antiseptics: put another way, —— with TCP (comp. anag. & lit.).
C. Boyd: Purge Stalin orchestrated with revolutionary energy succeeded in isolating Left (anag. incl. E s i’ less l).
V. Dixon: Unhappily, Auntie’s is not universal purge (anag. less U; ref. J. Ross, R. Brand scandal).
A. S. Everest: ‘There’s not a pagoda in A Passage to India,’ exploded censor (anag. less sequential letters).
C. D. S. & E. A. Field: Purge of offensive elements – from Auntie vacuous smut is (when broadcast) ‘non-U’, regardless of time (anag. incl. s(mu)t less U t).
G. I. L. Grafton: Head of State, i.e. Stalin, without a shred of leniency, organised purge (S + anag. less l).
R. J. Heald: Stalin’s ire roused? Liberal resistance must be eliminated in purge (anag. less L R).
P. F. Henderson: Remove offensive stuff from it before corruption of tinies (SA + anag.).
E. C. Lance: Antiseptic’s deployed to do this with TCP? (comp. anag. & lit.).
D. F. Manley: Make sound with deletion of ‘f——’, holding protest back? (sit-in (rev.) in sa(f)e, & lit.).
P. W. Marlow: End for Ross? Auntie is disowning sign of uncouthness in order to turn clean (s + anag. less u; ref. Jonathan R.’s offensive phone prank).
T. J. Moorey: Government wanting gains in crunch note banks of ‘shame’ clean up (anag. less G + ti + s, e; ref. banking crisis).
R. S. Morse: Antiseptics will do this (and TCP too) (comp. anag. & lit.).
A. Plumb: Fine anagram I sent is securing first in AZED (A in anag.; fine, anagram, vt.).
R. C. Teuton: Make PC stable with thingy one’s installed (it I’s in sane; PC, 2 mngs.).
A. Varney: Three sit in a sunlounger – lying back it splits clean through (hidden rev.).
L. Ward: Remove undesirable elements from a contingent of the sit-in ASLEF backed (hidden rev.).
G. H. Willett: Clean up broadcast nastiness, removing last signs of Jonathan Ross for one (anag. with I for n s; ref. offensive phone prank).
Dr E. Young: Edit i.e. as in s**t (anag. & lit.).
R. D. Anderson, D. Appleton, D. Arthur, D. & N. Aspland, M. Barker, M. Bath, T. C. Borland, C. J. Brougham, C. J. & M. P. Butler, C. A. Clarke, D. C. Clenshaw, M. Coates, R. Dean, W. Drever, W. Duffin, A. G. Fleming, H. Freeman, N. C. Goddard, J. F. Grimshaw, M. J. Hanley, D. V. Harry, G. Hearfield, V. Henderson, Mrs M. Henthorn, L. M. Inman, Ms M. Irvine, Mrs S. G. Johnson, J. R. H. Jones, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, W. F. Main, K. Manley, P. McKenna, K. Milan, C. G. Millin, R. J. Palmer, G. S. Parsons, M. L. Perkins, D. Price Jones, D. R. Robinson, D. P. Shenkin, Ms M. Stokes, P. L. Stone, Mrs A. Terrill, K. Thomas, Ms S. Wallace, A. J. Wardrop, W. B. Wendt.
209 entries, no mistakes. Favourite clue: ‘Streaks crazily round the middle in Lord’s – thus?’ (STARKERS), 31 clues receiving at least one mention, a record I think. One or two provoked adverse or puzzled comments, including ‘One’s can, crooked, inebriate’ (ANCON) and ‘A drinker’s measure with this fish could be a lie!’ (TROUT). The first of these won a second prize for Mr F. R. Palmer many years ago, and it is admittedly quite dense: in the cryptic reading ‘One’s’ should be read as ‘One has’ and ‘inebriate’ as an adjective, so one has an anagram of ‘can’ + on (= getting drunk), and an overall ‘& lit.’ clue, i.e. regular bending of the elbow, e.g. in a pub, leads to drunkenness. Yes, I know it’s not the elbow’s fault that one gets squiffy, but the sense is clear enough once it has been worked out. My TROUT clue was also a little unusual (‘a litre’ (drinker’s measure) with ‘tr out’ gives ‘a lie’) but I don’t think it’s all that far-fetched when the penny drops. I had in mind the old stereotypical angler exaggerating (e.g. in the pub afterwards) the size of the one that got away.
‘Jigsaw’ is clearly popular as a variant on ‘Carte Blanche’. I borrowed the idea from Araucaria, who regularly uses it in his puzzles in the subscription magazine 1 Across, and have given you eight of them so far. Getting started can be tricky of course – and I deliberately designed the grid so that there were multiple answers of the same length – but the ‘x’ where TWIN AXIS and EXITANCE crossed clearly helped. I can’t remember if that was deliberate or not! Clues submitted were generally of a high standard, but for one major and widespread fault, of which even experienced competitors fell foul: the fact that SANITISE is exclusively a transitive verb. (I checked this in a wide range of dictionaries, from the OED downwards.) So if a definition includes a direct object (as in ‘Expunge dirty bits, i.e. stains that must be shifted’) it inescapably indicates an intransitive verb. Lexicographers often put direct objects of such transitive verbs in brackets to show typical collocations, but the brackets are crucial. It was pleasing to discover that SANITISE + TCP produces an anagram of ANTISEPTICS, but the device needed careful handling to get over the problem I have just described, and some failed in this. The recent BBC scandal involving Messrs Ross and Brand was also understandably exploited by many.
Many of you will, I know, be sad to hear that Anthony Ellis died a few days ago, at the age of 87. Before retirement he had worked for The Observer for many years and he was my direct link with the paper from the start of the Azed series, always courteous, sympathetic and painstaking in our dealings with each other. When he retired he took over (unpaid) the handling of the slip (subscriptions, mailings, much of the correspondence) and endeared himself to ‘slippers’ (as he liked to call you) by the patient way in which he handled the many details this involved. He only relinquished the job when he felt that advancing years were making it harder for him to give the job the dedication he had brought to it. I shall miss his integrity and his friendship, and offer his widow Evelyn much sympathy.