AZED CROSSWORD 2040
EASTER (Printer’s Devilry)
1. M. Barley: Sailor lengthens stay as hor/rible wind hits port.
2. R. C. Teuton: Summer wine’s austere character appeared in the l/ot I chose (ref. Nora Batty in ‘Last of the Summer Wine’).
3. K. Thomas: Chelsea fans were sor/ry scandal hit tabloids (ref. John Terry, footballer).
P. Biddlecombe: ‘The big br/a’ might be a good name for the ‘sweater look’ years.
C. J. Brougham: Primmest party people constitute the l/ot I crave.
Dr J. Burscough: Did the demise of Mansfield and Monroe spell the end of the Hollywood br/a?
I. Carr: Global warming and oceanic pollution are what? Many scientists’ se/minal planetary afflictions.
E. Cross: Several dolphins were sighted ahead that night and mor/n.
M. Cutter: Azed marks the competition word with th/is knowhow to clue well.
C. M. Edmunds: Speedy clipper left Portlands shor/n in a trice.
D. Harris: There are no more Eng. Lit. lectures to com/mend Snow (ref. C. P. Snow).
S. B. Hart: Will closer analysis of fossil records av/oid conjecture? (ref. theory re end of dinosaurs).
R. J. Heald: I hope to emulate Co/lin G, ex-champion with an amazing track record (ref. Sebastian Coe, Colin Gumbrell, 6 times AZ champion).
J. Hood: Superman’s motto is ‘Av/oid showers falling to earth’
R. J. Hooper: Experts on The Planets studied larg/o I’d recently discovered.
D. T. R. Lawson: The last visit to the Medici – perhaps se/minal.
D. F. Manley: Maybe a change of mood Will com/mends for the whining schoolboy (ref. AYLI, ‘seven ages of man’).
C. J. Morse: Th/is kiss – o me! – how suggestive of an oath being sworn!
D. J. R. Ogilvie (USA): Hardy orders the fleet to formal in/n following victory.
Dr S. J. Shaw: The Summer holiday’s com/mended at school.
N. G. Shippobotham: When clippers depart they leave the shor/n.
J. R. Tozer: You’ll find in the Star tabl/oid’s position in relation to the Observer.
A. J. Wardrop: Crude cosmetic surgeon made abr/upt, insensitive cracks.
R. J. Whale: In a candid feature on G. Ramsay, a r/isk’s unavoidable?
Dr E. Young: Clippers soon had us leaving home shor/n.
T. Anderson, D. Appleton, D. & N. Aspland, J. Baines, M. J. Barker, G. D. Bates, D. Bolton, G. Bravington, Ms B. Buss (Ireland), J. A. Butler, Ms A. Cadle, D. A. Campbell, C. A. Clarke, P. Coles, T. Crowther, N. C. Dexter, V. Dixon (Ireland), W. Drever, C. D. S. & E. A. Field, A. G. Fleming, Ms J. Gore (France), G. I. L. Grafton, D. R. Gregory, J. Grimes, D. V. Harry, Dr G. L. Heard (USA), Ms M. Irvine, G. Johnstone, B. Jones, A. Knott, J. C. Leyland, P. W. Marlow, Dr M. Martin, I. D. McDonald, P. McKenna, Rev Prebendary M. R. Metcalf, C. G. Millin, R. A. Norton, M. Owen, R. J. Palmer, D. Price Jones, W. Ransome, S. P. Saunders, Mr & Mrs G. R. Scott, V. Seth, D. P. Shenkin, A. J. Shields, M. Sloman, P. L. Stone, A. J. Varney, P. P. Voogt, M. Wainwright, T. West-Taylor, G. H. Willett, R. Zara.
A very low entry this month: only 173, but with no noticeable mistakes. Quite a number of you said how hard you found the puzzle, so this probably accounts for the size of the postbag. I find it hard to judge the difficulty of PD clues when writing them; one is concentrating so much on creating clues that read well and are fair that the degree of difficulty seems almost irrelevant. Only one competitor actually said he’d failed to understand a clue (the one for ANDERSON – see bilander), so I applaud the diligence of those who stuck to the task. I completely failed to spot that TREE and PERFORATE were possible (though in my view slightly inferior) alternatives to TWEE and PERSONATE and had no hesitation in accepting both. There were even a few with THEE but I thought this would have produced a very odd undevilled version and decided not to accept it. It was also unfortunate that AMIR fitted the clue to which the answer required was MIRA, thus holding up the solving process for some. I’m afraid these things just happen. Nineteen of my clues received one or more votes as solvers’ favourite, the winner by a long way being ‘Can you afford to r/esand a second car?’ for UNAMERCED.
Despite all the above problems, it seems to have been a welcome return for an old favourite. I don’t know who invented Printer’s Devilry – Ximenes or Afrit, I dare say – but it presents a quite different challenge to the usual, and though it has its detractors they are far outnumbered by its fans. Clues do take longer to devise than normal, which is why PD puzzles don’t occur too often. I have given you twenty of them over the years, all but one being a competition puzzle; that’s roughly one every two years. Ximenes reckoned to produce about one a year, I seem to recall, but then his repertoire was less extensive than mine. EASTER turned out to be less susceptible to good ideas than I had hoped (though the clues quoted above are all of high quality) and uncomfortably close to RASTER, which I gave you on a previous PD occasion but had forgotten. As always the challenge was to produce clues which read well and convincingly in both devilled and undevilled forms (the latter being the more important of the two) and not to ‘force’ the wording of the undevilled version to accommodate that of the devilled version. This tends to stand out a mile.
On the abbreviations debate, I can do no better than quote verbatim a comment from this month’s first prizewinner, with which I wholly concur. Mr Barley writes: ‘One abbreviation practice that seems to me to be clearly unacceptable … is the creation of what are, in effect, indirect anagrams incorporating abbreviations. For instance, “Suit and hat Queen sported” does not do for HEART, in my view. It would have to be “Suit and hat ER sported”. The position may be slightly different for “One disliking Queen that endlessly misbehaves” for HATER, where ER is precisely replicated (not jumbled or separated) in the solution. However, I’m not really convinced by that device’s acceptability either.’ Neither am I.