◀  No. 21223 Mar 2013 Clue list No. 2131  ▶



1.  Dr S. J. Shaw: Smash US TV series heaped woe for such housewives (comp. anag. & lit.).

2.  R. J. Heald: Hairless? Hate being without one’s wig (desp(I’s)e + rate2; wig2).

3.  G. H. Willett: At end of line? Fish in river has swallowed what’s there (e in sprat in Dee).


D. & N. Aspland: Misprint of ‘separated’ with E for A makes one furious (anag. with e for a; ref. common misspelling).

M. Barley: Padres might console the terminally ill in extremis (anag. incl. t, e, e).

Dr J. Burscough: Furious violation of speed limits snitch brought on the end of both Huhne and Pryce (e rat in anag.; ref. convictions of Chris H. and Vicky P.).

Dr I. S. Fletcher: About person, wild with nothing left to lose? (per. in des(0 l)ate, & lit.).

J. Grimes: Barge chap ignoring chart steered up the creek (anag. incl. (ch.)ap).

D. Harris: I’m so distraught, making such remedies apt (comp. anag. & lit.).

R. J. Hooper: Sinking with deep waters swirling about could make one this (anag. less w, & lit.).

Mrs M. Janssen: Lacking brother’s finish and energy, devious Ed’s repartee is hopeless (anag. less r, E; ref. Milibands).

D. F. Manley: As consumer of monstrous pie, person tucks into a steed, minced (per. in anag.; ref. D. Dan and recent horsemeat scandal).

T. J. Moorey: No ordinary love poems work – must be ‘hopeless’ or ‘dying’! ((o)des (o)perate).

C. J. Morse: Depart with See in disarray? That could be reckless (anag.; ref. former Pope’s resignation).

D. Price Jones: Discouraged the misspelling of SEPARATED with an E instead of an A (anag. with e for a).

P. A. Stephenson: Such housewives may show US viewers heated pose! (comp. anag. & lit.).

P. L. Stone: Dead shy speed dater circulating without hope (anag. less d).

R. C. Teuton: Pie-eater Dan’s seen as this in a comic (comp. anag. & lit.).

Mrs A. M. Walden: Gagging order predates end of case (anag. + e).

L. Ward (USA): Dying sun sinks into deep shimmering river at mouth of Euphrates (S in anag. + R at E).

R. J. Whale: On the ropes, a weed’s battered – one who’s this, perhaps? (comp. anag. & lit.).


T. Anderson, M. Barker, G. Borooah (USA), C. J. Brougham, J. M. Brown, C. J. Butler, D. A. Campbell, Mrs M. J. Cansfield, D. Carter, B. Cheesman, J. & B. Chennells, C. A. Clarke, P. Coles, N. Connaughton, N. Craggs, W. Drever, C. M. Edmunds, J. Emms, P. Evans, Mrs N. Fullarton, G. Gostling, G. I. L. Grafton, Mrs E. Greenaway, J. Guiver, D. V. Harry, J. R. Howlett, G. Johnstone, B. Jones, E. C. Lance, J. C. Leyland, S. G. G. Macdonald, W. F. Main, P. W. Marlow, J. McGhee, P. McKenna, Rev M. R. Metcalf, C. G. Millin, T. D. Nicholl, C. Ogilvie, M. Owen, M. L. Perkins, A. Phillips, W. Ransome, D. P. Shenkin, N. G. Shippobotham, I. Simpson, P. Taylor, Mrs A. Terrill, J. R. Tozer, M. Wainwright, Ms S. Wallace, A. J. Wardrop, Dr M. C. Whelan, Ms B. Widger.

222 entries, no mistakes. Many, if not most, of you noticed DESPERATE DAN in the top row, but no one seems to have linked him, as I’d intended, with ADIEU at the beginning of the second. I had no particular theme in mind (so searches for other Dandy characters or cow-pies will have proved fruitless), beyond the fact that at the time when I was constructing the grid it was announced that the print version of the comic was to be discontinued, though fans may still read it online. I meant it as no more than a small acknowledgement of the passing of an era. (Though I never understood why he was ‘desperate’, and never saw him actually use that ridiculously small pistol forever slung from his hip, DD was a great favourite of mine at prep school, where the comic was officially frowned upon, if not actually banned, and consequently even more eagerly read by torchlight under the bedclothes.) Fittingly enough the clue to ADIEU (‘Between two blowing final kiss … there’s one marking separation?’) was this month’s favourite, of 20 nominated at least once, followed some way back in second place by ‘She’ll hear car lock’ for AUDITRESS.
Clues to DESPERATE that included reference to DD (such as Mr Manley’s above) were entirely acceptable; those which led to DESPERATE DAN as a whole, as some submitted did, were not. And the enticing fact that the clue word consists of an anagram plus a synonym of SPEED proved altogether too popular for clues exploiting it to achieve special mention. That said, there were plenty of good ideas, and I found it a particularly difficult competition to judge.
A couple of seasoned competitors expressed surprise at my remarks about my opposition to the use of noun anagram indicators in last month’s slip. Over the years I have given my views several times on this issue, both in the slips and in my 2006 book A-Z of Crosswords, but it will do no harm to repeat them yet again. To quote the late Alec Robins in his book originally entitled Teach Yourself Crosswords, ‘it is only rarely accurate to use a single noun to indicate an anagram’. He then cites examples of such rare cases of accuracy: ‘rain storm’ for RANI and ‘car crash’ for ARC, where the phrases actually convey a whirling about of rain and the damaging of a car. Hardline purists would maintain that even these are suspect in that such cluing devices have to do with the disturbance of the letters involved, not with that of actual things or phenomena. Two further examples: would ‘speed violation’ be as good as (and less wordy than) ‘violation of speed’ as in Dr Burscough’s VHC clue above? I would say not, because what is meant by ‘speed violation’ is strictly speaking ‘violation of speed limit(s)’, i.e. it is not speed itself that is being violated. Likewise in ‘See petard explosion? That’s reckless!’ the solver has to regard ‘see’ as exploding as well as ‘petard’, a clearly meaningless concept. Some setters are unconcerned by such fine points of grammatical and syntactical precision (presumably on the grounds that the language of cryptic clues is not bound by the same rules as ‘normal’ English), but they remain very important for me. As I have written elsewhere, ‘when it comes down to it, it’s a case, as always, of saying what you mean’ and consequently ‘I make it a personal rule to avoid noun anagram indicators at all times’.
No time for more now. I hope to say more about offensive vocabulary next month.


The Azed Cup

Dr S. J. Shaw wins First Prize in competition 2543.


Skins of Argentine ruminant, processed with currying after being tanned initially

This year’s honours table

The next Azed competition puzzle will be on Sunday 2nd May

 NEW   AZED  No. 2,549  18th Apr

All online Azed puzzles

Dr Watson reviews Azed 2547

From the archive

Gifts I’ll reckon to get sorted before Santa’s entry (15, 2 words)

Third prize winner by T. J. Moorey in competition 2480