AZED CROSSWORD 2096
1. C. A. Clarke: Sell old fob watch (3 meanings).
2. T. Crowther: Cooper’s craft would include this, which with fine working could produce firkin, etc (comp. anag.; ref. Tommy C.).
3. M. Barley: Watch as cricketer disconsolately leaves crease when out (comp. anag.).
T. C. Borland: Sucker, take in (r in tick, & lit.).
Dr J. Burscough: Fob watch? (2 meanings).
V. Dixon: Origin of timing error? Defective toy watch! (t + rick3; 3 meanings).
J. Fairclough: I contest this stratagem furiously – it’s not cricket! (comp. anag.).
G. I. L. Grafton: The short, half-neglected oriental conveyance, with which one is taken for a ride? (t’ rick(shaw)).
R. J. Heald: Mo Farah’s heart goes into producing a magical performance (and a fast one) (r in tick; ref. Olympic gold-medallist).
R. Hesketh: In US u/s Jiffy bags start to rip (r in tick).
R. J. Hooper: Mo keeps lead in race – it’s a fast one (r in tick).
J. C. Leyland: Those facing tyrannical rule imposed charter on King John (first letters + K; see John).
D. F. Manley: Watch fox run into cover and dodge hunter? (4 meanings & r in tick; hunter, type of watch).
K. Manley: Earliest indications of the Runnymede incident consternated King John (first letters).
P. W. Marlow: John Terry’s original mistake is getting caught in ethnocentric kerfuffle (T + rick3, & hidden; ref. racial row in football).
T. J. Moorey: Tip Mo to retain primacy in Rio (R in tick; tip3; next O. Games).
C. J. Morse: Where Bolt runs, I for one take in a bit of magic (track with I for a; 2 meanings).
M. Owen: Mo takes lead in race: astonishing performance (r in tick).
R. C. Teuton: Alternatively this term for timepiece could be ticker (anag. incl. e, & lit.).
M. Wainwright: Where Usain B. competes, one’s in for a dazzling performance (track with I for a).
A. J. Wardrop: John Travolta’s no. 1, written with Little Richard? (T + Rick).
N. Warne: Fantastic cricket that could produce hat ——, etc (comp. anag.).
M. Barker, Dr P. M. J. Bennett, J. G. Booth, C. J. Brougham, C. J. Butler, D. Carter, S. L. Claughton, A. Colston, W. Drever, C. M. Edmunds, C. J. Ellis, R. Fentem, R. Gilbert, Mrs E. Greenaway, J. Grimes, D. Harris, G. Hearfield, E. C. Lance, J. P. Lester, G. Longbottom, M. Lunan, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, W. F. Main, C. G. Millin, F. R. Palmer, G. S. Parsons, M. L. Perkins, Dr T. G. Powell, W. Ransome, N. Roper, R. J. Sharkey, Dr S. J. Shaw, N. G. Shippobotham, P. A. Stephenson, D. H. Tompsett, Mrs A. M. Walden, R. J. Whale, A. Whittaker, Ms B. Widger, G. H. Willett, Dr E. Young.
Away on holiday? Glued to the Olympics? Whatever the reason, it was a decidedly low turn-out this month: only 181 entries, though with no mistakes apart from a couple of failures to complete the grid or slips of the pen (obviously wrong letters entered), inadvertent. I’m sure. I do urge everyone to check their entries before putting them in the envelope. It only takes a few seconds. Then there was the silly error, made at post-proof stage, which resulted in the puzzle being wrongly numbered 2,092 instead of 2,096. I received an apology from The Observer about this, and got Stephen Pritchard to mention it in his ‘Errors’ section the following Sunday, though I dare say many solvers were blissfully unaware of the mistake. (It was correct in the online version, though there may have been discrepancies elsewhere. Matching the two versions exactly is a recurrent headache.) All of that said, I’m pleased, and I hope you are too, that the puzzle, with its fancy new pink header, is now located with the other games and puzzles and consequently much easier to find. (The unworthy thought crosses my mind that some would-be solvers may have looked for Azed among the book reviews and lost interest when they failed to find it. Surely not.)
Favourite clue of the month (of 13 nominated one or more times) was ‘One game in Scotland in which there’s very little between the two sides’ for LAMITER, two votes ahead of ‘Blowing kiss king’s mistress turned in after a change of sheets?’ (REMADE). One regular queried the capital initial M in ‘Pay out from urn excited Murray?’ (UNREEL), where the reference was to murray (moray) eels. I’ve mentioned before that, following Ximenes, I regard such upcasing as just about acceptable (see Mr Hesketh’s ‘Jiffy’ above), but not the opposite, i.e. downcasing initial letters of proper names where this suits the reading of the clue. Another general query concerned the use of question marks, mainly at the end of clues, there being quite a few of these in the present puzzle. It’s a point well raised, and I’d like to give it some thought before giving a considered response. It may well be that I overdo them somewhat, though at the time of writing such clues they seem called for. One to come back to.
I was a bit nervous about giving you TRICK, but (as so often) I needn’t have worried. Olympic Games clues abounded, of course, (especially with the enticing ‘Mo’ a possibility) and the word’s many diverse meanings clearly offered plenty of scope. Clues quote above amply demonstrate this, I hope. I just wish the entry had been a lot bigger.
And here’s a charming footnote. One regular competitor (half of a duo) writes to tells me that he has recently finished building a motor launch which he has named ‘Highly Commended’ in honour of the Azed puzzle. Isn’t that nice?