AZED CROSSWORD 2157
1. C. J. Morse: Overstrained, semi-declamatory? Yes, that it could be (comp. anag. & lit.).
2. D. Appleton: Change cream to a mild yellow (anag.).
3. R. J. Heald: Such flicks made actor millions, at the expense of pride? (anag. less lions, & lit.).
M. Barley: Stirring film actor made lacks element of finesse – could be this? (anag. less f, & lit.).
Ms K. Bolton: Over-emotional Spice Girl admits renewed male adoration ‘not on’ (anag. incl. m less on in Mel C).
G. Borooah (USA): If gone off, pastrami (cold meat) is not kosher – rather like ham! (anag. less past).
N. Connaughton: A calm mediator would be otherwise if this (anag. & lit.).
J. Guiver: Sensational hit raised cheers in musical (ram + ta (rev.) in melodic).
B. Jones: How one might describe musical in which villainous character imprisons a maiden? (a m in rat in melodic, & lit.).
J. C. Leyland: What starts off Miliband raving to Dacre, Mail being this? (M + anag., & lit.).
C. Loving: Some claim a red-top’s splashed! —— poses possibly (comp. anag. & lit.).
D. F. Manley: Such as may be conveying a moralism, acted hammily? (comp. anag. & lit.).
J. R. C. Michie: ‘Cardamom-lite’ – could that be construed as description of spicy production? (anag.).
J. Nicholson (Spain): Theatrical tailor made claim to clothing queen (R in anag.).
M. Owen: No —— performing could portray moderation and calm (comp. anag. & lit.).
Dr T. G. Powell: Calm moderation in play is ——? No (comp. anag. & lit.).
W. Ransome: Dilemma actor suffers: excessively theatrical or crudely sentimental? (anag.).
Dr S. J. Shaw: Actress once wrestling with dilemma might create such scenes (comp. anag. & lit.).
J. Vincent & R. Porter: Dim male actor ludicrously O.T.T. on the stage (anag.).
Mrs A. M. Walden: Dim male actor raving might appear thus (anag. & lit.).
N. Warne: A Time Lord ham acting badly gives a —— night! (comp. anag. & lit.; ref. ‘Dr Who’).
R. J. Whale: Involving extremes of emotion, this – a term associated with old cinema, perhaps (comp. anag. incl. e, n, & lit.).
G. H. Willett: Tear-jerking musical about king and childminder rejecting him at first, finally compliant (R + ama(H) + t in melodic; ref. ‘The King and I’).
T. Anderson, D. K. Arnott, D. & N. Aspland, M. J. Barker, P. Bartlam, J. G. Booth, C. J. Butler, P. Cargill, M. Coates, P. T. Crow, V. Dixon (Ireland), W. Drever, C. D. S. & E. A. Field, J. Glassonbury, G. I. L. Grafton, Mrs E. Greenaway, P. Halse, A. H. Harker, D. V. Harry, L. M. Inman, G. Johnstone, J. R. H. Jones, L. Keet, E. C. Lance, J. P. Lester, J. A. Liddle, G. Longbottom, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, W. F. Main, G. Maker, K. Manley, P. W. Marlow, L. F. Marzillier (USA), C. G. Millin, T. J. Moorey, T. D. Nicholl, M. L. Perkins, R. Perry, N. Roper, T. Rudd, P. L. Stone, Mrs A. Terrill, R. C. Teuton, L. Toole, J. R. Tozer, A. J. Varney, Ms S. Wallace, L. Ward (USA), A. J. Wardrop, S. & J. Willis, Dr E. Young.
In view of the debacle that beset solvers north of Manchester, of which others may still be blissfully unaware, it is amazing that there were as many entries as there were: 179, with no mistakes (except one TONKA BEAN). As far as can be ascertained post eventum, it appears that at the last minute those responsible for putting the paper to bed in various northern locations suddenly took fright at the blank grid for Carte Blanche, assumed it was a mistake, and decided to print the following week’s puzzle in its place, but without changing the puzzle’s header (and, of course, without consulting the setter). It didn’t help, either, that the online puzzle did not appear on the Guardian Limited website on time, for apparently similar reasons, i.e. the supposed inability of their software to cope with a blank grid. I did everything I could to retrieve the situation, including an extended deadline, so I sincerely hope that everyone wanting to compete was able to do so, and I apologize once again, on the Observer’s behalf, for the whole sorry saga.
Your favourite clue, of 18 mentioned, was ‘Striving exists in what represents Japan?’ for NISUS, two votes ahead of ‘Endless hell? Girl coming round to give young parents a break’ (BABY-SIT). One unfavourite vote was cast for my NARDOO clue because of its inclusion of the word ‘Abos’, which I regret. No one would have objected to ‘Aboriginals’, I guess. I probably chose the shorter form to fit the clue into one line, but it’s a poor excuse.
‘Carte Blanche’ continues to be a popular ‘special’; although it involves no extra effort from me, the extra challenge for solvers clearly produces an added sense of satisfaction on completion. MELODRAMATIC was a friendly word to clue, with many anagram and composite anagram possibilities. If I’d been competing myself I’m sure I’d have seized upon the ‘actor + dilemma’ combination (as many did) and tried to bring ‘doctor’ in, with oblique reference to Shaw’s play. When an anagram like this is likely to be popular, it’s important to combine it with some additional bit of wit and subtlety, as I never tire of advising you.
I was sad to hear of the recent death at 93 of Alfreda Blanchard, to whom Brian Head pays tribute in the latest issue of Crossword. Until failing health took its toll, Alfreda was a regular and enthusiastic Azed competitor, with a good number of HCs and VHCs to her name and a meticulous approach to cluing. For many years she helped Brian by checking and correcting each issue of his splendid publication. In his own words, ‘It is highly likely that without Alfreda’s help, support and encouragement the Crossword Club would not have survived for so long.’