AZED CROSSWORD 2031
1. T. J. Moorey: Aida’s embellishment by Verdi more relaxing with volume turned down (anag. less v; see aida; turn down = reject).
2. R. J. Heald: Use worsted maybe in order to create an —— (comp. anag. & lit.; see worsted).
3. R. J. Hooper: Cracking Briers comedy with central couple dropping out – something Penelope worked on for years (anag. less s, c; ref. TV comedy series ‘The Good Life’, P. Keith & wife of Odysseus).
D. & N. Aspland: Get married with ‘obey’ involved: not a detail the spinster wanted adding? (anag. less a; spinster (obs) = spinner; ref. royal wedding).
Rev Canon C. M. Broun: Fanciful hype involving royal bride – English maiden lacking a bit of lineage (anag. incl. E, m, less a l).
J. M. Brown: This could decorate my border that is in need of alteration (anag. incl. i.e. & lit.).
M. Coates: What might make elaborate my dire robe? (anag. & lit.).
T. J. Donnelly: Finely-wrought silken flowers perhaps, scattered o’er my bride (anag.).
Dr I. S. Fletcher: Errant, I embody not an element of truth elaborately (anag. less an, t, & lit.).
R. Gilbert: This worn with tiara could be a rare item by Dior (comp. anag. & lit.).
G. I. L. Grafton: My red Biro scribbled about what’s most common in examinee’s excess verbiage (e in anag.).
E. C. Lance: This slash is repaired in royal bride’s hem with special decorative stitching (comp. anag. incl s).
J. C. Leyland: Melville’s ending? Dire – Moby ran amok, that’s not an exaggeration (anag. incl. e less an).
M. A. Macdonald-Cooper: Work in yarn that’s strangely frightening, containing morbid fancy (anag. in eery; work in yarn = contrive to narrate story).
W. F. Main: I’m bored silly with vessel deficient in art and imaginative detail (anag. + (art)ery).
D. F. Manley: A task ultimately beyond clumsy DIY robe maker? (anag. less a, k, & lit.).
A. Plumb: Dizzy bored, almost, with my dire jazz (anag. less d; ref. D. Gillespie).
D. Price Jones: Might this embellish my dire robe? (anag. & lit.).
P. L. Stone: Sewer’s rich output fouling up bay more making all swimming dire (anag. incl. anag. replacing a’).
A. W. Taylor: What might enhance my dire robe? (anag. & lit.).
J. R. Tozer: What could make diary be more racy though less accepted (anag. less a, & lit.).
A. J. Wardrop: Seamstress’s skill can make bride more shapely in the rear (anag. + y).
R. J. Whale: It can make derrière of queenly bride more elaborate (anag. incl. y, & lit.).
T. Anderson, D. Appleton, M. Barker, M. Barley, R. E. Boot, J. G. Booth, T. C. Borland, C. J. Brougham, D. A. Campbell, C. A. Clarke, G. P. Conway, E. Cross, E. Dawid, V. Dixon (Ireland), W. Drever, J. Grimes, J. P. Guiver, R. Hesketh, J. R. H. Jones, C. Loving, P. W. Marlow, C. G. Millin, C. J. Morse, R. A. Norton, M. Owen, M. L. Perkins, W. Ransome, T. Rudd, M. Sambell, D. P. Shenkin, D. A. Simmons, I. Simpson, P. Taylor, J. Vincent, Ms S. Wallace, T. West-Taylor, Dr M. C. Whelan, G. H. Willett, K. J. Williams, A. J. Young, Dr E. Young.
227 entries, no mistakes. Joint favourite clues of the month, with 11 mentions each: ‘Navy yielding to e.g. Napoleon in Spanish town, not a real port’ (GEROPIGA) and ‘What Piaf never felt for Parisian location?’ (RUE), closely followed by ‘Dressing-gown? You can include me, wearing a stunner!’ (KIMONO), with 10 votes. Sixteen clues received one or more mentions.
In the wake of that wedding, and with EMBROIDERY being a near-anagram of ‘royal bride’, topical references were understandably to the fore. Nothing wrong with that, though as always it required an extra bit of verbal flair to raise clues above the ordinary. More than a handful included ‘R’ as an abbreviation for ‘Royal’, as in HRH etc, but I found this unacceptable. By the same token ‘H’ might be used to indicate ‘his/her’, which I guess most would not countenance. The whole area of abbreviations is a tricky one, not often discussed in detail. By and large, I accept abbreviations listed in Chambers, while admitting to a certain ambivalence when it comes to the distinction between upper and lower case. For example, Chambers gives ‘R’ as an abbreviation for ‘River’ (not ‘river’), presumably on the grounds that it is used on maps followed by the name of the river in question, but there seems to be a long-established and widely accepted convention among crossword setters, myself included, that R/r = river is OK. Inconsistencies linger, none the less. Following some ancient Ximenean pronouncement, I have always nurtured a dislike of, for example, F = Fellow (or fellow), in that it is only really used as the first initial in a longer string, e.g. FRS, FRCP, etc, though this is not significantly different to the R = River/river example. And it must be admitted that dictionaries differ widely in their choice of which abbreviations to include. When a competitor justifies his or her use of an abbreviation not in Chambers by citing some other dictionary source, I am in something of a dilemma (especially as a former lexicographer myself), being reluctant to dismiss such evidence as somehow second-class. It comes down, as so often, to a matter of fine judgement regarding what the solver would consider acceptable, and of course bearing in mind the fact that acceptability changes with time. I should be interested to hear your views on this.
I was very sorry to read of the recent death at 79 of Harold (H. W.) Massingham, a regular for many years in both Ximenes and Azed competitions until emigrating to Spain after his retirement, only returning to the UK after the death of his wife. A Yorkshireman, Harold was a teacher, a much-published poet and (as Mass) a prolific and ingenious setter of (especially circular) crosswords. Full obits and his Wikipedia entry may be found on the Internet.