AZED CROSSWORD 2291
AVESTA (Printer’s Devilry)
1. T. J. Moorey: Sadly for the party, nutty Brown lo/st, Ed half-baked.
2. Dr J. Burscough: Countryside’s aligned along le/y lines (Country sides … Leave/Stay).
3. P. Taylor: Several candidates were charming but the su/pplicant got the job.
M. Barley: After England scrum, he/ctic Welsh try involves counter-attacking.
Dr J. M. Bird: My house has high e/ll-shaped cornices and a thatched roof.
C. A. Clarke: Laissez faire government le/t a steel company free to close plant (ref. Tata Steel).
N. Connaughton: A vintage so/ng can be too dry for some tastes.
C. M. Edmunds: Will fellers le/nding stump up for the wild life?
Dr I. S. Fletcher: Tasting wine, experts consider so/me in comparison to Chablis.
R. J. Heald: On a wine tour of Italy you may find the reso/rt next to lovely Frascati.
G. Hobbs: An opened bottle of so/y’s fresh if kept airtight.
B. Jones: I’m no good with figures, so I say ‘le/t’s work’ to the number-crunchers.
E. W. Kelly: Claudio drinks, so/dium lights of Leicester ablaze with glory! (ref. C. Ranieri, Leicester manager).
J. C. Leyland: Believers joyfully regard Turin Shroud with gr/ins as proof of resurrection.
D. J. R. Ogilvie (USA): Running quickly through race day forms better s/kin gloss on horses.
A. Plumb: One might le/t Ely home to the National Trust.
T. Rudd: Leicester h/unchback in ground here, old, foxes aficionados (ref. Richard III, football).
C. Short: Pensioner stripping up a mountain, Pat holds her pash/mina.
Mrs A. M. Walden: Criticism su/rfaces: looks the part but can’t act.
L. Ward (USA): The inept baker’s lo/st every tart and crumble.
A. J. Wardrop: Operating to remove body art, surgeon le/t too many criticise.
R. J. Whale: We’re UK citizens surely – those of us offshore but working, righ/t? Us too!
D. Appleton, Ms K. Bolton, D. Bolton (Australia), G. Borooah (USA), C. J. Brougham, A. & J. Calder, A. G. Chamberlain, M. Coates, M. Davies, Ms L. Davis, J. Doylend, H. Freeman, Ms J. Gore (France), G. I. L. Grafton, J. Grimes, A. Harker, D. V. Harry, Ms S. B. Hart, Ms M. Irvine, Ms M. Janssen (Ireland), Mrs D. B. Jenkinson, G. Johnstone, J. R. H. Jones (Mexico), M. Joslin, E. C. Lance, J. P. Lester, B. Lovering, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, D. F. Manley, T. D. Nicholl, R. J. Palmer, J. Parke, J. & G. Parsons, S. Randall, W. Ransome, P. Sant, A. D. Scott, Dr S. J. Shaw, N. G. Shippobotham, C. M. Steele, P. L. Stone, R. C. Teuton, J. R. Tozer, A. J. Varney, Ms S. Wallace, T. West-Taylor, D. Whisstock (Italy), G. H. Willett, K. J. Williams, J. Woodall (France), A. J. Young.
171 entries for what was clearly a pretty tough PD (aren’t they all?), with a strong showing from the overseas contingent. If it’s any consolation, devising the clues takes at least twice as long as those for other types. I don’t know, for example, what I’d have done with TEOSINTE if I’d not found BUTEO (any ideas?). Pleasingly for me, no fewer than 23 clues were chosen as favourites by one or more, the winner being ‘Her gold hoard gave her such a thrill I often saw her chuck l/ots’ (INGATHERING) some way ahead of ‘For any, gra/tis, an end-product’ (INTRADERMAL). Weakest clue, I concede, was the one for NACELLE, which, though sound enough, might have benefited for a bit more polishing. That’s the way it is with PDs. This particular special doesn’t appeal to everyone, but it has many fans and will remain in the repertoire, though probably only once every two years or so. (RJH tells me that there have been 51 PDs, by Ximenes and myself, demonstrating some sort of enduring appeal.) In this one 15 entries had SANDAL for SENDAL. It was perhaps a bit sneaky of me to opt for the latter, and I almost included a note warning solvers of the possible wrong answer but decided against this as SANDAL really made no sense in the undevilled version.
One regular commented that he finds the instruction about where the target word in a PD clue should appear in the undevilled version a little hard to understand, and offered alternative wording. It isn’t easy to express this ‘rule’ both succinctly and clearly. The wording I use is based on that of Ximenes with a bit of subsequent tweaking. If he’ll forgive my saying so, I wasn’t entirely convinced that the suggested improvement was much clearer, but I’m grateful for his taking the trouble to try and I’ll keep his suggestion in mind when PD comes up again. In point of fact only one entry this time broke the ‘rule’ by ending AVESTA at a natural word break in the clue. (It isn’t a rule at all, of course, merely a preference, but a sensible one, as I think most would agree.) One tip I’ve found helpful when writing PD clues is to make sure that the finished article is a complete sentence (i.e. containing a main verb), not a phrase. And, of course, as I’ve said many times, the sense of the undevilled version should not be sacrificed in the interests of the devilled version.
Finally, I was reminded by a regular with an astonishing memory that I myself clued AVESTA in an earlier PD competition puzzle, No. 1,888, which must have been nearly eight years ago. I didn’t look to see how I’d dealt with it until after I’d finished judging this month’s entries. Here it is: ‘Young rebels often hid parents they want to escape’. No prizes.