◀  No. 190621 Dec 2008 Clue list No. 1910  ▶



1.  R. S. Morse: Christmas strain’s showing with the bombing offensive against heart of Palestine (w + anag. + reeking + s).

2.  H. Freeman: Worried when it’s Greek bearing gifts? That’s us! (anag.; ref. Virgil: ‘timeo Danaos…’).

3.  E. Cross: Our first course was from the east: moist, hot, smoky portion of samosa (wet H reeking s).

VHC (extra prizes)

D. K. Arnott: Carol Reed was knighted for directing (but not dad) (anag. less dad; ref. Sir C. R., film director son of Sir H. Beerbohm Tree (knighted for services to theatre)).

M. Barley: Lay about hiking west ere snatching glimpse of Infant (I in anag., & lit.).

C. J. Brougham: Merry minister keeps humming carol (wet + reeking in HS; wet = tipsy).

N. C. Dexter: After the kine grew restless, the stable’s opening for us (anag. + s, & lit.).

A. S. Everest: Itinerant regents hie West to welcome another ruler. That’s us! (K in anag., & lit.).

R. J. Heald: What’s the confounded humming? Must be waits outside, out of key – performing this? (anag. + reeking in w(ait)s; key3).

P. F. Henderson: Actively seeking the origins of World’s Redeemer? That’s us (anag. incl. w R, & lit.).

G. Johnstone: Behold a ray in the night coupled with weeks travelling – for us? (re in anag., & lit.; ray3 = re2).

J. C. Leyland: Us? Ones having left exotic Eastern thrones seeking leader of Way (anag. incl. E, W less ones, & lit.).

D. F. Manley: For us who acknowledge Jesus, then, Greek wisdom denying the Lord must be foolish (anag. less Dom; ref. I Cor., 1, 20ff).

T. J. Moorey: Carol turned heads on Richard’s enduring gameshow, and she knew it (anag. incl. R e g; ref. C. Vorderman and R. Whiteley in ‘Countdown’).

D. J. R. Ogilvie: Of themselves, the Magi may have spoken thus, ‘We’re knights errant traversing the Orient’ (E in anag.).

R. Perry: Boozy, hot and smoky with barely a hint of sobriety, ours was a right royal party (wet H reeking s).

P. L. Stone: What articulates royals’ introduction with the seeking done (anag. incl. r w, & lit.).

R. C. Teuton: —— trek when sign unfolds, heading for Nativity to become the origin of Epiphany (anag. with E for N, & lit.).

J. R. Tozer: Renew this keg after pouring wassailers’ favourite (anag.).

A. Vick: Meandering west, seeking the star’s end, that’s us (anag. incl. W, r, & lit.).

A. J. Wardrop: Nomadically seeking the origins of western religion? That’s us (anag. incl. w r, & lit.).

A. Whittaker: Seeking new mother in stables moves us to see inn’s ‘lamb’ (comp. anag. & lit.).


D. Arthur, D. & N. Aspland, R. E. Boot, Rev Canon C. M. Broun, C. A. Clarke, M. Coates, R. Dean, C. M. Edmunds, J. Fairclough, C. D. S. & E. A. Field, A. G. Fleming, Dr I. S. Fletcher, M. Freeman, R. Gilbert, G. I. L. Grafton, A. H. Harker, D. V. Harry, V. Henderson, M. Hodgkin, T. Locke, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, W. F. Main, P. W. Marlow, P. McKenna, C. J. Morse, R. J. Palmer, D. Parfitt, G. S. Parsons, A. Plumb, Miss E. A. Powell, M. Preece, W. Ransome, Mrs L. J. Roberts, D. Sargent, N. G. Shippobotham, I. Simpson, D. Somerville, D. H. Tompsett, R. Vaughan-Davies, A. Wallace, M. H. E. Watson, R. J. Whale, G. H. Willett.

An excellent entry for Christmas: 305, with some mistakes. (A few clued the wrong phrase, and rather more had CASE for CAME: ‘Part of window leading turned out …’.) Perhaps it wasn’t the most testing competition I’ve ever given you, especially with the degree of triple checking involved, but it seems to have been about right for the holiday period, with all its other distractions, and this may have accounted for the bigger-than-average entry. The one clue that gave significant difficulty was ‘Having taken a bit of a kip in a way woolly …’ for LANATE. I don’t think I’ve used or even come across at2 in Chambers before and can quite see that you wouldn’t normally think of looking it up, but there it is and I dare say I’ll have recourse to it again at some stage. Favourite clue was ‘Top golfer in tangle producing phrase that threatens people beside start of hole – one receiving counselling’ for OR ELSE/MENTEE, just ahead of that for CLAN/NESH.
The clue phrase, inasmuch as it is not a normal dictionary entry, presented a rather special challenge. Many otherwise respectable clues defined it as if it were ‘the three kings’, ignoring or overlooking the fact that what is required is wording that indicates (or could be read as indicating) a ‘we’ phrase rather than a ‘they’ phrase – I don’t know how to express what I mean more elegantly than that. So I gave preference to those clues whose authors recognized this. Another way of dealing with the problem, of course, was to define it simply as ‘carol’ (often with misleading reference to C. Vorderman), though this naturally was more restrictive. Most would agree, I think that ‘We Three Kings’ is normally treated as the title of this particular carol (though I see that OUP’s 100 Carols for Choirs rather surprisingly entitles it ‘Kings of Orient’, words 5-7 of the first verse).
Popular approaches to cluing the phrase included variations on the ‘Greeks bearing gifts’ idea, which I liked a lot (though Mr Freeman’s wording was much the best and many others fell foul of the problem referred to above), and the ‘sweet gherkin’ anagram, an attractive ‘find’ but one that proved very difficult to combine with a convincing definition. Perhaps the biggest problem of all was to come up with a clue which didn’t scream the answer out loud – even some of those quoted above came close to this. I have no objection to easy clues, but do beware of those which present the solver with no challenge at all.
And now I must get on with January. I should tell you that the results of the February competition will be announced a week later than usual because of a holiday my wife and I are taking in India.


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