AZED CROSSWORD 2036
1. L. Ward (USA): Count on meal being ‘non-fixed’? This menu might fit the bill (comp. anag. & lit.).
2. D. & N. Aspland: Fixed cost of a meal in bar unexpectedly same if ——? (anag. less anag., & lit.).
3. Dr P. Coles: Training via this could be vocational, with courses priced separately (comp. anag.).
M. Barker: Against consuming a lot particularly ordered? Quite the opposite, dining thus (i.e. con in anag.).
M. Barley: Available as per trat menus: slice of veal con tortellini (hidden).
T. C. Borland: Gallery’s filling for As You Like It ((b)alcon(y) + to).
V. Dixon: You can choose odd items in a place (or not) so (alternate letters, & lit.).
R. Gilbert: Fancy a cool planet? Desperate plea ignored: ‘Not coal!’ – crazy! Thus the choice is ours (anag. less anag.; anag.).
J. Grimes: As trattoria list offering numerous costed options with assorted starters (anag. of first letters, & lit.).
R. J. Heald: Al Capone’s capital’s concerning tax officer – list of charges is thus drawn up (Al c on to; AC convicted of tax evasion).
Dr G. L. Heard (USA): Drinks, discounted nearly 50%, strangely not charged per item (alco(hol) + anag.).
M. Hodgkin: Dissatisfied customer not outwardly worked up once nothing charged for selected items (malcontent less ment + 0).
R. J. Hooper: How one might order starters in Calabrian osteria, Lombardy albergo or Neapolitan trat (anag. of first letters, & lit.).
J. C. Leyland: You’ll see starters to coffee and liqueurs normally offered on this list (anag. of first letters & lit.).
D. F. Manley: Offering consumer choice – a trick for saving pounds (L in a con to; ref. NHS policy etc).
P. McKenna: A Latin getting his greens is thus charged separately (a L conto; greens = money).
J. R. C. Michie: Way of ordering a lot to eat with Italian (con in anag. & lit.).
C. G. Millin: Location could be Italy with this kind of menu involved (comp. anag. incl. I).
R. Perry: How Zeffirelli might make a choice location shot (avoiding Italy) (anag. less I).
J. R. Tozer: Offering clienti a choice is neglected in locations abroad (anag. less is).
A. J. Wardrop: The sort of menu that offers a portion of veal con tortellini (hidden).
G. H. Willett: Berlusconi’s description of the selection of dishes engaged in immoral contortions? (hidden).
Dr E. Young: Eating in Italy, with selection from range (con in alto, & lit.).
T. Anderson, J. & J. Barnes, J. M. Brown, D. A. Campbell, Ms U. Carter, P. A. Cash, C. A. Clarke, S. L. Claughton, M. Coates, E. Cross, P. T. Crow, T. Crowther, N. C. Dexter, T. J. Donnelly, W. Drever, C. M. Edmunds, T. Evans, J. Fairclough, Dr I. S. Fletcher, E. French, J. Glassonbury, M. Goodliffe, G. I. L. Grafton, P. Halse, A. H. Harker, D. V. Harry, R. Hesketh, G. Johnstone, J. R. H. Jones, L. Keet, E. C. Lance, J. P. Lester, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, K. Manley, P. W. Marlow, J. McGhee, T. J. Moorey, M. Moran, C. J. Morse, T. D. Nicholl, M. L. Perkins, A. Plumb, A. M. Price, S. Reszetniak, M. Sambell, S. Saunders, Dr S. J. Shaw, A. J. Shields, N. G. Shippobotham, P. L. Stone, A. W. Taylor, R. C. Teuton, F. M. & C. J. A. Underhill, A. Varney, J. Vincent, Ms S. Wallace, R. J. Whale, A. J. Young, R. Zara.
This slip has been somewhat delayed as I have been in bed with some sort of viral infection for a few days. I also seem to have mislaid the small card on which I recorded the statistics for the competition and the points I wanted to raise in the slip. From memory, there were about 235 entries for what was, many found, a plain of above-average difficulty. Favourite clue was, I think, that for LARUMS (‘Lured mariners will be seen to have erred in tangling with such sirens’). I hope so, anyway, as this one gave me most satisfaction. It is very good to see first prize going Stateside for (I think) the first time ever. The US contingent of Azed solvers may be small but they are loyally persistent and it was only a matter of time before one of them won top honours. The Asplands also politely point out that their VHC to EMBROIDERY last month should have had a question mark at the end of it.
An interesting point was raised by a very experienced campaigner. In my clue to PLIANCY (‘Being flexible I can swim in strand’) should not ‘swim’ be ‘swims’ for the anagram to work cryptically? This took me back to a similar question I put many years ago to Ximenes when the late Eric Chalkley won first prize with this clue to PANTOPHAGIST: ‘What pig has to become when gripped by hunger? (anag. in pant, & lit.). Surely, I asked, it should be ‘becomes’, unless he accepted that as a singular string of words or a plural set of words, in this case three of them, it could govern a singular or a plural verb. He replied (I still have his pencilled note) that yes, he did think either a singular or a plural verb was OK, ever since when I’ve followed his dictum, both in my own clues and in my judgement on those of others. Does anyone hold strong contrary views on this? I’m pretty sure the practice is widespread. (On a separate issue entirely, I don’t think I’d accept ‘become’ as an anagram indicator nowadays – the words only become something else when something disruptive is done to them – but I don’t think at the time I’d the temerity to query the great man’s judgement twice in relation to a single clue.)
Many of will have read or heard of the recent death (at only 65) of Mike Laws, another leading figure in the crossword world. He frequently competed in Azed competitions in the early years and came to a number of the dinners, though in recent times he submitted entries only rarely. He will chiefly be remembered as a setter, under various pseudonyms, for many different papers and journals, having been latterly one of the three then setting Mephisto puzzles and finally editor of the Inquisitor series in the Independent Saturday Magazine. Several aspiring setters have recorded their gratitude for his help and encouragement. He was certainly one of the more colourful characters in his chosen field, once describing himself as ‘omnicruciverbivorous’.
More on abbreviations next time, I hope.