AZED CROSSWORD 2183
1. G. P. Conway: Bet you it may be discovered in Glastonbury, i.e. a fabled treasure (comp. anag.).
2. A. Whittaker: What develops mad plot with this? A production of Spamalot, darling! (comp. anag. & lit.; ref. musical based on ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’).
3. P. L. Stone: Quest for elusive cup? Comp. anag. & lit’s run away with it (ref. AZ comps.; anag. incl. r, less ’t).
M. Barley: Capturing lad’s heart, flirty girl’s an unobtainable object of desire (a in anag.).
C. J. Brougham: Divine platter is celebrated scoff (sang rail).
T. Crowther: Glasto not to rain – somehow that’s an almost impossible dream (anag. less to; ref. notoriously wet festival).
V. Dixon (Ireland): Legendary vessel celebrated by contrary fabulist (sang + liar (rev.); allusion to Dan Brown: ‘The Da Vinci Code’).
W. Drever: Cor anglais has no business playing the incredible theme of ‘The Mission’ (anag. less Co.).
Dr I. S. Fletcher: Scattering contents of jigsaw right and left one lost piece? (anag. incl. l, r, an; piece = wine cup).
D. F. Manley: Glastonbury’s had it possibly? Express thy doubts freely (anag. less anag. & lit.).
P. W. Marlow: Marginals swayed with no end of Euroscepticism – an unattainable ambition? (anag. less m).
C. G. Millin: A Christian relic or cross mostly wrapped in a sheet (angr(y) in sail).
C. J. Morse: ‘Impossible’ goal split bar (sang rail).
M. Owen: What’s Arimathaean hiding possibly near Glastonbury? (Could be a myth about ——) ( comp.anag. after deletion of anag., & lit.).
A. Plumb: Angrily sour, struggling to secure first in AZED? It could become your —— (comp. anag. & lit.).
Mrs L. J. Roberts: Analysing relic resolves this nicely (comp. anag. & lit.).
Dr S. J. Shaw: Holy Arthurian dish, initially leaving knight Sir Galahad bewildered (anag. less h, a, d, incl. n, & lit.).
I. Simpson: A. Darling’s converted? If so, that’d be Salmond’s ultimate —— (anag. less d, & lit.; ref. ‘Better Together’ campaign).
P. Taylor: Possibly I’m a bit of talent short: cryptic anagram and lit. is the ultimate goal (anag. less I’m a t).
R. C. Teuton: This bounty may be in a Glastonbury setting (comp. anag. & lit.).
J. R. Tozer: Project that’s all but mad to entertain (angr(y) in sail2, & lit.).
Mrs A. M. Walden: Fabulous goal celebrated by Argentina, Messi finally with header from left (sang + RA + i + l).
A. J. Wardrop: In which one might see blood flow, centuries ago (sang3+ rail4, & lit.).
R. J. Whale: Treating it with awe, this confounded Sir Gawain et al (comp. anag. & lit.).
G. H. Willett: Celebrated example of conductor realising the vision of Parsifal (sang + (conductor) rail; ref. Sir Percival, see Brewer).
T. Anderson, D. Appleton, D. K. Arnott, D. & N. Aspland, Ms K. Bolton, T. C. Borland, Dr J. Burscough, D. Carter, C. A. Clarke, M. Clarke, S. L. Claughton, S. Collins, A. Colston, N. Connaughton, B. & T. Coventry, T. J. Donnelly, C. D. S. & E. A. Field, R. Gilbert, M. Goodliffe, G. I. L. Grafton, J. Grimes, D. Harris, P. J. Hartley, R. J. Heald, R. J. Hooper, Ms M. Irvine, R. Jacks, J. C. Leyland, P. McKenna, Rev Prebendary M. R. Metcalf, K. Milan, D. S. Miller, T. J. Moorey, T. D. Nicholl, C. Pass, M. L. Perkins, Dr S. Poynting, D. Price Jones, S. Randall, W. Ransome, P. A. Stephenson, A. J. Varney, J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter, M. Wainwright, J. West, T. West-Taylor, F. J. B. Wheen, Ms B. Widger.
214 entries, no mistakes. Favourite clue, of 16 nominated at least once, was ‘Faith in WI tea rain’s ruined’ for SANTERIA. Despite the fact that there were distribution problems affecting the availability of the Observer in certain areas, and the delay in posting the online version on the Guardian website (which I know many go to), I think most of you got to see the puzzle eventually and I therefore decided not to cancel the competition. I do hope no one feels hard done by.
Slightly to my surprise, ‘Eightsome Reels’ has clearly established itself as a very popular ‘special’, to judge from all the positive comments it evoked. Its main weakness, which I fully recognize, is that solving can take a while to get started, whereafter completion becomes increasingly easy. Having all the entries of the same length also imposes certain limitations on the types of clue open to the setter. Never mind, they don’t appear that often. You’ve actually had 20 of them in all, but the last time before this that one appeared as a competition puzzle was No. 1,030 in February 1992. Such grids are tricky to construct, as you can imagine, but, with care, quite feasible. The July competition puzzle, which I’ve just completed, took me much longer. (Wait and see!)
SANGRAIL proved to be a popular clue word, offering plenty of opportunities for cryptic treatment, the best of which are on show above. Many of you spotted the possibility of doing something with Sir Galahad, omitting ‘had’ and adding ‘n’ (knight), with ‘errant’ as an anagram indicator. A very nice idea, but quite often let down by awkward syntax, as in ‘Sir Galahad, knight errant, had goes finding it’. The surface reading here is fine, producing a nice ‘& lit.’ effect, but I have difficulty with ‘goes’ (verbal in the cryptic reading) and ‘finding’. The first requires more of a pause before the ‘had’ than the comma provides, and the second seems grammatically unattached to what precedes it. A near miss, I’d say, which earned its author an HC.
Interesting news: John Tozer, creator of the excellent andlit.org.uk website, to which I refer Azed solvers in the notes for competition puzzles each month, is now in the process of capturing all the Ximenes slips and is interested to hear from anyone who has a set of the originals, even if not complete, especially from the early days. (Please don’t send copies at this stage.) John has calculated that the total number of X and AZ slips has now passed the 1,000 mark. His email address is on the website.
And finally, Tim Moorey has asked me to mention his newly-published How to Crack Cryptic Crosswords (HarperCollins), a revised and ‘generic’ version of his earlier How to Master The Times Crossword (2008), and a useful addition to any crossword library.