◀  No. 21611 Dec 2013 Clue list No. 2168  ▶



1.  R. C. Teuton: Batting four Root protects tail-enders in England collapse with series lost (d, e in anag.; ref. Joe Root, England cricketer).

2.  I. D. McDonald: Tour over for gutless England bats? That’s not cricket! (anag. incl. o, E, d).

3.  R. Hesketh: Do footer and rugby union for a change, not cricket (anag. incl. RU).


D. Appleton: Too rude for me (self-referential anag. & lit.).

M. Barley: Bust is on view for Roe when cavorting round centre of stadium (out + d in anag.; ref. Erica R., Twickenham streaker).

Dr J. Burscough: This do for ‘outré’? (anag. & lit.).

P. Cargill: Unseemly to-do with furore developing (anag.).

T. Crowther: It could be a sign of something not working when to-do and furore break out (anag. & lit.).

C. M. Edmunds: Offending propriety? This itself may engender furore and to-do (anag.).

R. J. Heald: Slot machines being so, you might have lost cash in ’em! (indicating anag. & lit.).

D. F. Manley: Root due for runs – wrongly placed in the line-up? (anag.; ref. Joe R., cricketer).

T. J. Moorey: Sign of abnormal lift short of a length floored bats in rout abroad (anag. less l in anag.; ref. current test series in Australia).

C. J. Morse: Oxford University to make crossing through Queen’s prohibited (OU to ford ER).

T. D. Nicholl: Root due for repositioning thus? (anag.; ref. Joe R., cricketer).

G. Raven: Former monk is not working as a night watchman (3 defs.).

Dr S. J. Shaw: When cashpoint’s like this it could be I can’t shop (indicating anag. & lit.).

N. G. Shippobotham: “Too rude” for this? (self-referential anag., & lit.).

P. L. Stone: OR with some fortitude suffering horrific times going over the top (anag. less anag.).

Mrs A. M. Walden: Excessive fouls do for Touré (anag.; ref. Man. City footballer).

R. J. Whale: Too rude for Nuts, displaying bust? (anag.; ref. lads’ mag).

M. Whitmore: True of door unhinged? (anag.).

G. H. Willett: How to describe OTT English utterance not unknown in the Gabba bleachers? (O(x)ford in outer (qv), & lit.).


T. Anderson, D. K. Arnott, D. & N. Aspland, A. Barker, G. Borooah (USA), Rev Canon C. M. Broun, C. J. Butler, A. G. Chamberlain, C. A. Clarke, A. Colston, V. Dixon (Ireland), W. Drever, Dr I. S. Fletcher, G. I. L. Grafton, A. H. Harker, D. V. Harry, G. Johnstone, B. Jones, E. C. Lance, T. Locke, C. Loving, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, P. W. Marlow, J. R. C. Michie, C. Ogilvie, D. J. R. Ogilvie (USA), R. J. Palmer, T. Powell, Ms A. Price, A. M. Price, D. Price Jones, Ms L. Quee, C. Short, P. A. Stephenson, P. Taylor, J. R. Tozer, J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter, Ms S. Wallace, L. Ward (USA), A. J. Wardrop, A. Whittaker, Dr E. Young.

211 entries, no mistakes and no real problems, it seems. Favourite clue (of 18 nominated at least once): ‘Distraught over pupil’s driving’ (PROPULSIVE), with ‘Not a bowler’s wicket? Worry about that – this team member’s vicious’ (DROOG) some way back in second place.
The clue phrase offered a wide range of possible approaches, as I thought it would. The opportunity to produce what might be termed ‘self-referential’ clues (with the answer itself acting as the cryptic indicator) was seized upon by many, the best of which are quoted above. There was also an abundance of cricketing clues, including all three prize-winners (again, see above). My fondness for the sport – indeed for many sports – is by now well known. Those who have no interest in cricket may be irritated by how often its special jargon turns up in my own clues and those of leading competitors, but there is no denying that this rich and rare vocabulary does often lend itself to use in the wording of cryptic clues. (That said, I have for some time been compiling a personal list of cricketing clichés done to death by radio and television commentators, which regularly have me hurling pointless abuse at the set or screen. Sad, or what?)
I must add my voice to the many that have mourned the recent passing of John Graham (Araucaria). That he was still setting crosswords on a regular basis well into his nineties was a truly remarkable achievement. His distinctive style and seemingly limitless invention endeared him to generations of both solvers and setters. We met on only a handful of occasions, usually in large gatherings of the kind he disliked, but I always enjoyed our chats (perhaps more than those who regard the Ximenean and ‘libertarian’ approaches as irreconcilable might imagine). There is no doubt that he will be remembered as one of the pre-eminent figures in the history of crosswords.
May I thank all those who have sent seasonal greetings to me and my family, and wish you all in turn a very enjoyable Christmas and happy solving in 2014? I hope you enjoy the Christmas competition, but please note that the results will appear later than usual. My wife and I will be visiting India for a two-week holiday early in the new year.
A final apology to the Asplands for omitting an exclamation mark at the end of their VHC clue last 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

Latest  AZED  No. 2,549  18th Apr

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From the archive

Something I craved nearly all the time (6)

Second prize winner by Mrs A. Boyes in competition 969