◀  No. 21481 Sep 2013 Clue list No. 2157  ▶



1.  N. Connaughton: Troublesome turf shifted after spades budge sod (s + anag.; see budge2).

2.  Mrs A. M. Walden: Balls, Ed: endlessly stroppy, bombastic type (stuff (= nonsense) + Ed + shirt(y)).

3.  Dr I. S. Fletcher: Finicky duffer? His trait’s putting out affected air (anag. less anag., & lit.).


D. K. Arnott: If member’s this, constituents could become most annoyed (i.e. tie’s stuffing shirt = shirtiest; & lit.).

M. Barker: One standing on ceremony, this duffer’s possibly adhering to the core of punctilio (anag. + t).

M. Barley: You’ll find this duffer pompous but ultimately inept (anag. incl. s, t, & lit.).

D. A. Campbell: Pompous fool’s literary copy getting editor cross: that’s not unknown (stuff + ed. + shirt(y)).

T. J. Donnelly: What taxidermist did skilfully, Hirst butchered – pompous self-important fellow! (stuffed + anag.; ref. Damien H.).

P. Evans: T-this duffer’s affected (anag. & lit.).

J. Guiver: This duffer’s affected to a T (anag. + T, & lit.).

R. J. Heald: Touch of subtle delicacy lacking in art by D. Hirst outraged pompous twit (s + t(art)uffe + anag.).

J. R. H. Jones: Bed, Emin’s original, D. Hirst remade? Pompous ass! (stuff (vb) + E + anag.).

M. A. Macdonald-Cooper: This duffer’s ridiculous, ultimately unimportant (anag. + t, & lit.).

A. Plumb: Conservative silly to obstruct and dither about Syria’s leader in motion (stuff + S in anag.).

Dr S. J. Shaw: He’s stiff and turgid, bumbling without signs of genuine importance (anag. less g, i, & lit.).

R. C. Teuton: ——: a man so styled could be unashamed stiff sort (comp. anag. & lit.).

J. R. Tozer: ‘A pretentious stiff’: material first exhibited by enfant terrible D. Hirst? (stuff + e + anag.).

A. J. Wardrop: Who’s self-important, without substance – this duffer possibly? (anag. incl. s, t, & lit.).

R. J. Whale: Blimp, primarily for Specsavers’ use, drifts along with the broadcast (anag. incl. f, S,u; ref. Sky Sports Ashes coverage).

A. Whittaker: Did farce take in this ‘translated’ pompous ass? (stuffed + r in anag.; ref. Bottom in MND).

G. H. Willett: Farce by Italian subversive, ‘Off with his Head’, portraying Colonel Blimp (stuff + (R)ed shirt).


D. Appleton, T. C. Borland, G. Borooah (USA), Rev Canon C. M. Broun, E. Bushell, P. Cargill, D. Carter, C. A. Clarke, T. Crowther, V. Dixon (Ireland), W. Drever, A. S. Everest, E. French, N. M. Fullarton, R. Gilbert, J. Grimes, A. & R. Haden, D. V. Harry, P. J. Hartley, R. Hesketh, Mrs D. B. Jenkinson, E. C. Lance, J. C. Leyland, T. Locke, D. F. Manley, P. W. Marlow, C. G. Millin, T. J. Moorey, C. J. Morse, T. D. Nicholl, M. Owen, S. J. O’Boyle, D. Pattenden, R. Perry, D. P. Shenkin, Mrs A. Terrill, S. J. J. Tiffin, J. Vincent & R. Porter, L. Ward (USA).

192 entries, no noticeable mistakes. Several of you were puzzled by my clue to MERCER (though none got it wrong): ‘Ten of a kind taking part in summer ceremony’. ‘Ten’ here refers to 10 Down in the same puzzle, the answer to which was TRADER. A bit sneaky, perhaps, but I’ve used this device before and don’t see much wrong with it. ‘10’ would have been less devious, I concede. Favourite clue (of 15 receiving one or more mentions) was ‘Copper’s excited with end of beat in sight’ (PROSPECT), with the clues to RED CARPET and TZETSE close behind in equal second place.
STUFFED SHIRT proved tricky. A very experienced regular asked whether the clue word I give you is chosen after I’ve tried it, found it difficult, and decided to leave it to you. Absolutely not. Almost always (i.e. when there is no special reason for picking a particular word) I make my choice before embarking on the clue-writing process. I base my choice on various factors: meaning, structure, length, part of speech, etc, in the hope (not always realized, I dare say) that it will prove amenable to a range of different treatments. This time the anagram of ‘this duffer’, with the additional ‘s’ and ‘t’ needing to be dealt with, proved unsurprisingly popular, so only the best clues using it made it into the lists above. Other approaches were available (as they always are). Your challenge, again as always, is to find the one which fewest have gone for, while preserving all the basic elements of soundness which I keep going on about. I hate to appear unnecessarily repetitive about these, but I know there are newer solvers who are unclear on the meaning of frequently-used terms such as ‘&lit.’. So perhaps it’s time to go over these again. Please let me know which of them you’d like to see clarified and I’ll set aside a future slip to deal with them.
I tried but failed to find a wholly convincing explanation for the origin of the term STUFFED SHIRT. It seems to have originated in the US and Merriam Webster gives 1904 for its first recorded use. There is a suggestion that it might have been coined on the analogy of scarecrows, but this doesn’t seem to have much relevance to its current meaning. Any other ideas?
One last point: in the light of the recent debate about offensive language in crossword clues, I hesitated briefly before awarding the top two prizes above, each of which contains a word labelled vulgar slang in Chambers. I quickly decided that no one (not even a stuffed shirt!) would be at all shocked by either of them. I hope I was right.


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