AZED CROSSWORD 2012
1. P. D. Martin: Ewe with ——’s right badly: ’appen that’ll give ’er gas in t’ bowel (comp. anag. incl. r, & lit.).
2. A. J. Wardrop: What’s leader of Liberals at in bog, shiftily? Smoking (anag. incl. L; ref. N. Clegg’s admission on ‘Desert Island Discs’).
3. M. Coates: Complaint of sheep having grass for feed – too much can lead to this? (oat for eat in bleating).
VHC (extra prizes)
M. Barley: Source of bellyache, it, along with distension (anag. incl. b, & lit.).
Dr J. Burscough: Drying process – one used in making biltong, jerky? (a in anag.).
C. A. Clarke: Result of endless overindulgence having consumed a lot indiscriminately (anag. in bing(e), & lit.).
V. Dixon: Sheep’s complaint when its middle’s displaced by gas (O (oxygen) for e in bleating, & lit.).
J. Guiver: Complaint in which sheep’s belly becomes round (o for e in bleating, & lit.).
D. Harrison: Result of endless guzzle – blown up a lot inside (anag. in bing(e), & lit.).
D. V. Harry: Result of endless indulgence, scoffing a lot unrestrainedly (anag. in bing(e), & lit.).
R. J. Heald: Result of endless spree in which a lot is drunk? (anag. in bing(e), & lit.).
P. F. Henderson (New Zealand): Complaint of sheep, say, with energy going to zero? (0 for E in bleating, & lit.).
R. J. Hooper: A belt going tight, eg, this will lead to (comp. anag. & lit.).
J. R. H. Jones: Left shepherd’s pipe in local tip, turgid wind upsetting sheep (l oat in bing).
J. C. Leyland: Till diets start in earnest, isn’t answer to this … indigestion tablets? (comp. anag. incl. e, & lit.; till vb).
Rev Prebendary M. R. Metcalf: Swelling up with boundless joy for earth, it’s what shepherds hear (bleating with (j)o(y) for E; Christmas story).
T. J. Moorey: Money in endless global supply can lead to inflation (tin in anag.).
C. J. Morse: I’m tabling nothing exotic or fattening: shed the rich showy stuff and discover cereal (anag. incl. 0; bloating less bling = oat).
G. S. Parsons: Big loan arranged with Head of Treasury, increasing inflation (anag. incl. T).
A. Plumb: Bragging about first in Law? Bar student’s head is swelling (L in boasting less s).
S. Saunders: Rumen with this condition may give off a rumbling note (comp. anag. & lit.).
D. H. Tompsett: Puffing Billy’s first along it – off the rails (anag. incl B; ref. early rail and road steam engines).
J. R. Tozer: Left round a tree’s first present in pile that’s swelling (l o a t in bing).
A. J. Varney: Pound Sterling’s restrained by activity between banks, perhaps, partially curing inflation (L in boating; 2 defs.).
Ms S. Wallace: Wild binges (overeating by loads) could result in severe —— (gas in body) (comp. anag. & lit.).
T. Anderson, D. & N. Aspland, M. Barker, M. Barnes, M. R. E. Boot, T. C. Borland, C. J. Brougham, P. Cargill, P. T. Crow, N. C. Dexter, A. J. Dorn, W. Drever, C. M. Edmunds, M. Freeman, R. Gilbert, B. Grabowski, J. Grimes, R. Hesketh, Mrs S. G. Johnson, E. C. Lance, P. Lloyd, P. Long, C. Loving, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, W. F. Main, D. F. Manley, K. Manley, P. W. Marlow, Ms L. Marriott, C. G. Millin, R. S. Morse, D. J. R. Ogilvie, R. J. Palmer, Ms F. Plumb, Ms L. J. Roberts, R. J. Sharkey, Ms J. Shaw, Dr S. J. Shaw, A. J. Shields, N. G. Shippobotham, I. Simpson, P. A. Stephenson, P. L. Stone, Mrs A. Terrill, K. Thomas, T. West-Taylor, F. J. B. Wheen, G. H. Willett, A. J. Young, R. Zara.
214 entries, more than a few with COMMENT for COMPEND, I’m unclear why – were some unfamiliar with ‘AZ’ as an abbreviation I often use for my pen-name? Favourite clue by a long way, of 17 receiving one mention or more, was ‘Each one swirls, giving yacht no hope?’ for TYPHOON. The clue that gave the most trouble was ‘Marriage portion includes love, care of lassie’s modern kind of lover’ (DOOCOT), where in the cryptic reading ‘lover’ is to be seen as the obsolete spelling of ‘louvre’ (qv). I’m sorry about the annoying misprint in the preamble for the online version, giving the wrong clue number for SOCENTLA (annoying because I had told the Guardian Unlimited people about it well in advance of publication). It was corrected within 24 hours but by then the damage had been done.
It was clearly a stiff challenge for a Christmas competition. (‘Thank goodness for the extended deadline’ was a typical comment.) I was surprised by the number of competitors who said they’d never met the Christmas rhyme I based it one. I gave you a Christmas puzzle with the same title years ago (No. 660 in 1984) but its theme was completely different. As the years go by it becomes increasingly difficult to come up with new ideas for the festive season; in fact I was told that the Sunday Independent this Christmas used a very similar idea to mine. Great minds, etc… Many of you confessed that the penny took a long time to drop (!), but that the moment of realization was all the sweeter as a result. A lot of entries reached me well after the deadline date but in view of the disruption to the postal service caused by the wintry weather (any excuse will do in the Oxford area, it seems) all were accepted.
There is a degree of sameness about many of the VHCs above, using an anagram of ‘a lot’ in ‘binge’ curtailed, a natural and excellent choice in the search for an ‘& lit.’ treatment. Had only one person opted for this idea it might have scored even higher. Picking the prizewinners was unusually hard, I found, but in the end the northerner in me couldn’t resist Mr Martin’s effort for top honours. (‘Badly’, incidentally, can be an adjective in N. Eng.) Some of you mentioned the fact that you’ve now had four ‘special’ (i.e. thematic) competitions in a row. This wasn’t deliberate – it was just the way things came about, what with the milestone numbers and all. I certainly have no intention of abandoning normal plains as competition puzzles, and things will settle down to the usual balance of plains and specials as the year progresses. So my very best wishes to you all for 2011, and thanks for all the many cards and greetings I and my family have received in recent weeks.