AZED CROSSWORD 2058
1. R. J. Hooper: Tough as old boots from crate in cobblers (bus in rot).
2. P. F. Henderson: Hardy book supplied in Kindle? (b in roust).
3. D. Price Jones: Hardy book? Kindle has one loaded in (b in roust).
D. & N. Aspland: ‘Constitutionally healthy’ EU denied by euro knockers ((EU)ro bust).
M. Barley: EU must avoid euro collapse and staunch decline surrounding business ((EU)ro bust; bus in rot).
T. C. Borland: With out of bounds on right, leader goes for long iron (r OB + (l)ust).
Dr J. Burscough: This clue acceptable for ‘tuberculous’? Not normally (comp. anag. incl. U, & lit.).
E. Cross: Wanting a coffee break after beginning to regret a drop of oatmeal stout (robust(a); r o bust).
P. Evans: Tuborg’s no good; drunk stout (anag. less g).
V. Henderson: What reportedly wowed Twickenham crowd, bouncing? (‘Roe bust’; ref. Erica R., streaker).
J. P. Lester: Tubs or churns for stout (anag.).
D. F. Manley: Hardy’s hero, he exiting with kiss shortly before end of conflict? ((he)ro + bus(s) + t; ref. death of Nelson).
T. J. Moorey: In cast iron, knockers should be this ((i)ro(n) + bust, & lit.).
C. J. Morse: Strong currency left by EU in ruins ((EU)ro + bust).
C. Ogilvie: Very well, take our money then, but not the girl (rob us + t(hen)).
Mrs L. J. Roberts: Strong line taken on public transport in speech (‘row bussed’).
D. P. Shenkin: The EU ——? The Eu—— ——, more like! (EU robust/Euro bust).
Ms S. Wallace: Blooming tipsy on a —— Merlot wine I could display raw emotion until sober (comp. anag.).
Dr E. Young: Strong round after run features in cups (r O + bust).
D. Appleton, D. K. Arnott, P. J. Ball, M. Barker, J. G. Booth, Rev Canon C. M. Broun, J. M. Broun, D. A. Campbell, J. & B. Chennells, C. A. Clarke, N. Connaughton, N. C. Dexter, V. Dixon (Ireland), C. M. Edmunds, M. Ferrier, A. G. Fleming, D. D. Freund (USA), J. Glassonbury, G. I. L. Grafton, B. Hallissey, D. V. Harry, R. J. Heald, R. Hesketh, C. & C. Hinton, M. Hodgkin, Ms M. Janssen, G. Johnstone, M. Joslin, E. W. Kelly, T. King, Dr A. Kitching, M. Lunan, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, K. Manley, P. W. Marlow, P. McCarthy, J. R. C. Michie, C. G. Millin, R. Murdoch, R. A. Norton, D. J. R. Ogilvie, M. F. O’Brien, R. Perry, A. Plumb, W. Ransome, B. Roe, A. J. Shields, C. M. Steele, P. L. Stone, P. Taylor, R. C. Teuton, K. Thomas, D. H. Tompsett, L. Toole, J. R. Tozer, A. J. Varney, J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter, M. Wainwright, L. Ward (USA), A. J. Wardrop, J. Waterton, R. J. Whale, K. J. Williams, D. C. Williamson, A. J. Young, R. Zara.
230 entries, very few mistakes (mostly HOGGINS for HOGGING). Favourite clue (of 16 receiving one or more votes): ‘A magic mantra when this is this’ for ANAGRAMMATIC. Several of you, including some hardened campaigners, commented that they found the puzzle more than usually difficult, especially the NW corner. I suppose there is always a fair chance that this part of the grid, where I naturally start when filling the words in, will contain a number of colourful (i.e. unusual or little-known) words. I make no apologies for this, so long as the clues are sound and not overly contrived. In this instance what seems to have held many up was ‘Wells maybe’ to indicate ‘H. G.’ in the clue to HOGGING, not too far-fetched, surely, once the penny drops.
ROBUST yielded an excellent crop of clues for a straightforwardly familiar word, many of them agreeably topical. One near contender for VHC status deserves special analysis: ‘Berlusconi to set organized elections going? That’s constitutionally good’. Here we have a composite anagram, the letters of ‘elections’ having to be removed from those of ‘Berlusconi to set’ and then shuffled to give the answer. But I think it is important to indicate that the component letters of ‘elections’ do not appear in their correct order in the phrase from which they are to be subtracted. ‘Organized’ cannot work both backwards and forwards, so another anagram indicator for ‘elections’ is necessary. I know that this is a view not universally held among crossword setters but it is one I am confidently committed to.
A couple of advance warnings: there will be no issue of The Observer on Christmas Day (a Sunday), so the Azed Christmas competition will be No. 2,064 on 18 December; and I shall start recommending the new (12th) edition of The Chambers Dictionary from January 2012.
Final mini-gripe: I’d be very grateful if competitors could use a reasonable size for their clue sheet (such as that of a standard sheet of writing paper). Some I receive are tiny or of giant proportions, the latter requiring several folds. Not a huge problem, but greater uniformity would make my life just a little easier.