AZED CROSSWORD 1932
1. R. J. Heald: Occupying such positions you’ll see memos from tiresome managers! (i.e. hidden rev. at positions 9 to 5, & lit.).
2. T. Anderson: This could be clued as ‘of not very inventive career’ (anag. less v, & lit.).
3. D. V. Harry: Liberal vote in fine form highlighting Labour’s limitations (anag.).
D. Appleton: If in north-east vote labour; it’s routine (anag. incl. NE).
M. Barley: See one’s office routine unfold in course of such working (comp. anag. incl. v, & lit.).
T. C. Borland: ‘Groovy’ once, even if no rebel with it (anag.; groovy = following set routine).
C. J. Brougham: One very finite career? (anag. incl. v, & lit.).
Dr J. Burscough: On shift, if one with no event? (anag. incl. I, & lit.).
D. A. Campbell: Often almost half of Countdown is humdrum (i.e. almost half of 10 to 0; ref. TV show).
M. Coates: Keeping time, I’ve no FE in working thus? (t in anag., & lit.; Further Education).
T. Crowther: One is in the middle of this tedious job description (i.e. 1 pm halfway between 9 and 5).
R. Dean: Invite one female to work about eight hours in the office (anag. incl. f).
V. Dixon: Worthy old-timers against famous youngsters, implying limited activity, no extra time? (Nine to Five; ref. Nine Worthies, E. Blyton’s Famous Five).
A. S. Everest: What’s found briefly in appendix to volume of tedious work (i.e. hidden as ix to v).
D. Harris: Countdown’s part of the daily routine (2 mngs.; ref. Channel 4 game show).
P. F. Henderson: Occupying office, after turning up I’ve often worked – thus? (in (rev.) + anag., & lit.).
J. C. Leyland: Lord, —— PA work? I’ve no life! – D. Parton (comp. anag. & lit.; ref. ‘9 to 5’, 1981 hit by Dolly P.).
T. J. Moorey: Indeed in ‘flipping’ houses to suit, tons emerging about what’s routine in office (to fi(t) in even in (rev.); ref. MPs’ switching of homes).
C. J. Morse: Following ‘Spoonerisms’ it’s nice to have a stab at this ‘plain’ type of job (cf. fine to knive; ref. AZ puzzle types).
R. J. Palmer: If No 10 performs reshuffle this person has short time in office perhaps (anag. incl. ten + I’ve).
K. Thomas: F° to C°? Such is environment for modern temp. (i.e. temperature conversion ratio; temp, 2 mngs.).
A. J. Wardrop: In drag, wearing fragrance by Chanel? That typifies a certain kind of routine (i’ net in No. Five; ref. Chanel perfume).
R. J. Whale: If vote in NE collapses, is it limiting time in office for Labour (anag.; ref. local elections).
M. R. Amey, R. D. Anderson, D. K. Arnott, D. Arthur, J. M. Brown, C. A. Clarke, P. Coles, E. Cross, P. T. Crow, J. A. Elliott, D. Finkel, A. G. Fleming, J. Grimes, V. G. Henderson, R. Hesketh, J. Hood, Mrs D. B. Jenkinson, Mrs S. G. Johnson, L. Keet, D. F. Manley, P. W. Marlow, L. Marzillier, P. McKenna, B. G. Midgley, K. Milan, R. Moss, T. D. Nicholl, D. J. R. Ogilvie, F. R. Palmer, D. Price Jones, W. Ransome, D. R. Robinson, D. P. Shenkin, N. G. Shippobotham, D. J. Short, C. Spiller, P. L. Stone, R. C. Teuton, Ms C. Thomas, J. R. Tozer, A. Varney, Ms S. Wallace, Ms B. Widger, G. H. Willett, D. C. Williamson, A. J. Young.
198 entries, and only a handful of mistakes (mostly through failure to find CONI, the plural of CONUS). Your favourite clue, of 25 receiving mention, was ‘Where you may see bowler spinning in the gap’ for HATPEG (yes, cricket again!), just ahead of those for EROSE and POURPARLER. I’m very sorry about the two transposed clues, which clearly caused a fair amount of head-scratching before the penny dropped. A few of you even suggested that it was a deliberate bit of devilment on my part, but please be assured that I would never do anything so unfair just for the hell of it. I think what happened was that I spotted a minor bit of asymmetry in the bars at a very late (i.e. proof) stage and had to do some emergency reconstruction work but failed adequately to check the consequent renumbering required. As ill luck would have it I was out of the country during the crucial period before and after the puzzle appeared and didn’t return until it was too late to make any announcement about my mistake. So, sincere apologies once again. And look out for a genuine ‘Wrong Numbers’ competition puzzle in August. One final point on the grid for this puzzle: NUMA was, I admit, a bit obscure, especially for non-classicists, but easily traceable in reference books, on Google, etc (and had an easy enough clue). To those who complained that it wasn’t to be found in Chambers let me say, yet again, that C is only recommended and I don’t as a general rule specifically mention it when I use proper names which are not to be found therein.
NINE-TO-FIVE presented you, and me, with something of a problem. Chambers and virtually all other dictionaries I have consulted label it solely as an adjective. Most but by no means all of you heeded this and took care to define it as such. I am however reliably informed that the New Oxford Dictionary of English (known informally as Noddy), a dictionary I don’t possess, also gives it noun status, and I have to admit that personal usage and common sense seem to support this, so I was tolerant of clues submitted which treated the compound in this way, even though I suspect that many of you didn’t really give the matter much thought either way. I was also ignorant of the 1981 Dolly Parton pop song 9 to 5 (the hyphen-less form in which it appears in my now very dated Guinness Book of British Hit Singles (6/e 1987), kindly presented to me in 1987 by a solver who felt rightly that my knowledge of popular music was woefully deficient). Mr Heald’s first prizewinner struck me as a brilliantly unconventional and grammatically subtle treatment of an awkward word. It was one of those occasions when a clue submitted instantly struck me as deserving top honours.
Another unhappy piece of news to report. Dorothy Taylor died on 31 May at the age of 98. She was for a number of years one of the team setting the Everyman puzzle in The Observer, and she competed with great success in Ximenes and (for a time) Azed competitions under the pseudonym Mrs B. Lewis, the surname borrowed by Colin Dexter for Inspector Morse’s No. 2 in his series of whodunnits. I did not know her well and indeed met her only once, but she had a fine crossword brain and never wrote a duff clue. She also overcame cancer late in life and, I hear, continued solving until the end. It is always sad when one of the redoubtable old guard leaves us.