AZED CROSSWORD 2235
1. P. L. Stone: Heaving pack to secure one against the head (chock a block; ref. Rugby Union).
2. R. Perry: Packed house transported back in time (ho. + anag. in clock).
3. V. Dixon: Bursting ham muscle when breaking record (hock ab in clock).
D. Appleton: Start of coup: pawn has bishop in a jam with no room to manoeuvre (c + hock + b in a lock).
M. Barley: Use this term for network in grip of vehicle jam? (hoc k in cab + lock, & lit.).
C. J. Butler: Jammed together, adapted Bach OK in hit (anag. in clock).
P. T. Crow: White wine in old measure (about 3 pints), with seal, quite full (hock in cab2 + lock).
C. M. Edmunds: In congested position, 3rd rank pawn advanced with check (c hock a + block).
Dr I. S. Fletcher: Centre’s first to stop back running forward of scrum (c ho + anag. + lock; see scrum).
G. I. L. Grafton: Roughly grabbing pawn, black king seizes place, leaving us stuffed (hock in ca. + loc(us) in B K).
R. J. Heald: Puss stuffed with ham and tail of sea bass is full to bursting (hock a B in clock; puss2).
M. Lunan: Very full punch contains wine and a dash of bitters (hock a b in clock).
W. F. Main: In time a white wine with a drop of brandy will make you flush (hock a b in clock).
D. F. Manley: Champion Scot, leader emerging OK with C. and Lab. spinning stuffed? (Ch. + (J)ock + anag.; ref. N. Sturgeon, TV election debate).
P. McKenna: Cape wine with a nose of burnt jam that’s full (C hock + a b lock).
C. J. Morse: Full measure of drink they had of old including wine with meal as a perk (hock in cab + lock2).
J. Pearce: Packed cold wine and a hamper (C hock + a block).
P. Taylor: Crowded bar supports service offering guidance about wine (hock in CAB + lock).
R. C. Teuton: You could get quite full stuffing face with this interminable Bake Off (hoc + anag. less e in clock; ref. TV series).
A. J. Wardrop: Scotch after cold wine and a nip of armagnac makes one awfy fou (C hock + a block).
R. J. Whale: Generously-filled cold ham sandwiches to serve mixed party group? (C + ka bloc in hock).
A. Whittaker: Wine in a two-litre measure put on bar once is full (hock in cab + lock; see SOED for measure).
Dr E. Young: Packed all sorts of jam sandwiches (a’ in chock, block).
P. B. Alldred, D. K. Arnott, D. & N. Aspland, M. Barker, C. J. Brougham, J. M. Brown, Mrs S. Brown, Dr J. Burscough, D. A. Campbell, Ms U. Carter, B. Cheesman, C. A. Clarke, S. L. Claughton, Dr P. Coles, Mrs L. Davis, E. Dawid, W. Drever, J. Fairclough, J. Grimes, D. V. Harry, M. Hodgkin, Mrs D. B. Jenkinson, G. Johnstone, J. C. Leyland, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, P. W. Marlow, K. Milan, C. G. Millin, C. Ogilvie, A. Plumb, J. D. Plummer, D. Protheroe, W. Ransome, P. Sant, Dr S. J. Shaw, D. P. Shenkin, N. G. Shippobotham, I. Simpson, P. A. Stephenson, S. J. J. Tiffin, L. Toole, J. R. Tozer, A. J. Varney, Ms S. Wallace, L. Ward (USA), Ms B. J. Widger, K. J. Williams, J. S. Witte, A. J. Young.
183 entries, no mistakes. Favourite clue, of 21 receiving at least one vote: ‘Precocious chit married first male to appear’ (MADAM), with 12 votes, followed by ‘Not in French, but in English or Spanish’ (HORS), with 9 votes. No special problems, except perhaps my reference (in the clue to GENET) to Gene Tierney, in her day a major Hollywood star who appeared in a number of films with Dana Andrews, another leading (male) star of the period. I have a soft spot for the glory days of the cinema (movies, if you insist) on both sides of the Atlantic, and have little time for most of the noisy, ultra-violent, CGI-dominated films of today. So stars of the silver screen from yesteryear will occasionally feature again in my clues.
A tricky clue word this month, though luckily one with plenty of definition possibilities. (That in Chambers is woefully ambiguous, but I think we all know that ‘quite’ here means ‘completely’, not ‘rather’.) Rugby forwards with wine in a taxi, a not totally convincing image, occurred predictably often, so I was on the look-out for more original treatments. The three prize-winners were commendably concise. I hesitated briefly over Mr Stone’s ‘against’ meaning ‘in contact with’ in the cryptic reading, CHOCK-A-BLOCK being a down word in the grid, before deciding that such contact could be from any direction. Another popular approach involved references to chess (with ‘pawn’, ‘bishop’ and ‘king’ all lurking there). I play chess a bit, not very well (being too impatient for the long game), so such treatments are fine with me, as long as they’re not too complex. I did have reservations over ‘lock’ being defined simply as ‘meal’. Chambers labels it an obsolete Scottish legal term at lock2 as ‘the perquisite of a mill-servant’, a strange relic from the past. CJM’s clue just squeaked into the list above by virtue of its reference to old-fashioned usage and mention of ‘a perk’.
Allan Scott has kindly written to tell me that the Everyman Crossword No. 3,573, in March, was his last, after 21 years – a splendid innings – and that Colin Gumbrell has now taken over from him. He also draws my attention to a comment made by Ximenes in his slip No. 63 (in 1947) on the subject of what are now generally referred to as composite anagrams: ‘… an anagram involving added letters offers such wide scope, and opens up such terrifyingly tortuous possibilities, that it should not really rank beside first class clues which do not go outside the word itself …’. Given that he subsequently awarded prizes to comp. anags. occasionally, I assume he modified his stance a bit as the years went by.