AZED CROSSWORD 1960
NGANA (3 defs + letter mixture)
1. R. J. Whale: Getting mad cow disease, broken down Jersey in gaga-land! (RAGING ANALYSED).
2. Dr I. S. Fletcher: Missing team on sleigh Santa curses illness of Prancer et al (LOSING ANATHEMAS).
3. H. Freeman: ‘This man’s got variant mad cow disease’ – medical experts (RAVING ANATOMISTS).
VHC (extra prizes)
M. J. Barker: Painful horse disease – ‘nag clinic’ has a gentle painkiller (ACHING ANALGESIC).
Dr J. Burscough: Zoonosis (Angolan, Ugandan?) resembling sleeping sickness in animals (SNOOZING ANALOGOUS).
J. A. Elliott: Arranging eel mass affords disease (undoing jumble) (RELEASING ANAGRAM; anag. of measles).
M. Hodgkin: Disadvantage in a skimpy undergarment – open flies cause such trouble (TANGA NAIVE).
R. J. Hooper: Skimpy garb for beach bum acquiring tan at sea – could it drop lower? (TANGA NATES; lower noun).
G. Johnstone: Sickly animal infection launched flu menacing all (FLUNG ANAEMIC; ref. swine flu).
B. Jones: Money worries the cause of stock collapse? Wrong – ask anyone! (WONGA NARKS).
E. C. Lance: Livestock disease: malignant, so causes downfall of African people (TONGA NAILS).
D. Lawson: Disorder (horse disease) ravaging ranch yet again (EATING ANARCHY).
P. Lloyd: Set of animals hooting at an unexpected wise man – disorder in the stable? (TOHUNGA NATION).
M. A. Macdonald-Cooper: Syndicate member mismanage own money? It’d affect stock fatally (WONGA NAME).
D. F. Manley: Complaint of oxen et al. not leaving hay in manger: ‘Incarnation’s chaos!’ (REMAINING ANARCHY).
C. G. Millin: Wise man associated with birth – that annual gold – cattle get sick of it (TOHUNGA NATAL).
C. J. Morse: Bum’s hurting again, damn – a gluttonous animal’s ailment (DAMAGING ANAL).
Dr S. J. Shaw: Sickly animal once signifying wasting disease of livestock (LOSING ANAEMIC).
Mrs A. Terrill: Tsetse disease researcher manhandling beast – a gnu, say – in lab (ABUSING ANALYST).
R. C. Teuton: What might top African steed gain now as a racehorse? Money, African money (WONGA NAIRAS).
A. Varney: Sleeping sickness, a disease caused by tsetse flies, remains a giant encumbrance (RESTING ANAEMIA).
L. Ward: Recalling newborn in a manger, ass proclaimed affection that his kind and oxen share (RANG ANAMNESIS; affection = disease).
A. J. Wardrop: Person enabling assessment of tewel disorder found in horses (BEING ANAL).
T. Anderson, D. K. Arnott, D. & N. Aspland, J. Baines, M. Barley, M. Bath, D. Bolton, J. G. Booth, A. W. Brooke, D. Carter, M. Coates, Ms S. Curran, P. Dacre, E. Dawid, T. J. Donnelly, M. Draper, A. Everest, B. Grabowski, P. F. Henderson, R. Hesketh, J. Hood, P. Jenkinson, A. Knott, J. C. Leyland, Dr R. M. MacGillivray, W. F. Main, T. J. Moorey, T. D. Nicholl, D. J. R. Ogilvie, A. Plumb, W. Ransome, J. Reardon, Mrs L. J. Roberts, B. Roe, N. G. Shippobotham, D. J. Short, K. Taylor, J. R. Tozer, Ms J. Udris, Ms S. Wallace, N. Warne, I. J. Wilcock, G. H. Willett, K. J. Williams, Dr E. Young.
192 entries, eleven of which arrived well after the (extended) deadline and were therefore unacceptable. (Given the patchy postal service resulting from the wintry weather I bent over backwards to accept as many entries as possible and still allow myself sufficient judging time.) There were no mistakes and, well, yes, it was a tough one to give for Christmas, I see that, and I do hope it didn’t spoil too many family gatherings. Despite a small handful of adverse comments, the general reaction was nevertheless very positive and highly complimentary to the setter, for which I’m thankful. Constructing such a grid does present an extra challenge, it’s true, but one does have an extra degree of flexibility, especially in the downs, which don’t need to be real words (and rarely are, except by chance). The corollary of this is that the downs are probably harder to solve as a result. The real challenge is in producing clues which are reasonably short and make a modicum of sense.
This was the fourth ‘Parcels’ puzzle I’ve given you; all have been Christmas competitions and the cluing specifications have changed a bit over time. I’ve asked for clues of either type in the past. NGANA I chose because it was easily splittable at any point despite its tricky definition. When it came to the judging I was looking at three main criteria (the same that I applied to my own clues): clues should make sense and not be too long; they should contain absolutely no superfluous words, not even small connecting words; and overlong parcel words, however tempting, load the dice unfairly against the solver. Most of you realized the need for these strictures, and I applaud you for this. As a departure from normal clue-writing it does require the application of quite unfamiliar mental processes, and I sympathize with those who forgot or failed to observe all the criteria, especially the one about letter-mixtures beginning at the beginning and/or ending at the end of a word in the clue. I should add that a dash of humour and/or topicality helped in catching the judge’s attention. All in all, therefore, a stimulating exercise, but probably not one to repeat too often.
Thank you all once again for all your generous remarks and seasonal good wishes. This year will be a momentous one, of course, in that I should pass the 2,000 mark, and shortly thereafter ‘overtake’ the number of the year, if you see what I mean.
A final footnote: two solvers have kindly informed me that the term AMBER GAMBLER comes from a 1970s public information film.