◀  No. 23136 Nov 2016 Clue list No. 2322  ▶



1.  N. Connaughton: Privates exposed if shielded by very small fig leaf (men open in tiny).

2.  B. Jones: Lovers, naked, inhibited by diminutive thingy! (men open in tiny).

3.  V. Dixon: Male members exposed? They’re covered by diminutive fig leaf! (men open in tiny).


D. K. Arnott: Hands-free is cracking little gadget (men-open in tiny).

D. & N. Aspland: A makeshift leader in Trump I’m expecting initially to have no power overseas in New Year (T + I’m + e + no p en (Fr. etc) + n, y).

M. Barley: No term of exactitude, it – sign of memory misfiring a bit? (anag. incl. e, m + penny, & lit.).

R. C. Bell: Widget in can of beer? The change Australia rejected (menop(Aus)e in tinny).

T. C. Borland: Element of rigging in money spent on polling battle (anag. less s; poll = remove top of).

C. J. Brougham: Partners with patent plugging minute gismo (men open in tiny).

R. J. Heald: Before public, such as David should wear small fig leaf (men open in tiny).

E. C. Lance: Corrupt MEP, one engaged in tawdry artifice (anag. in tinny).

M. A. Macdonald-Cooper: Line that’s not rounded and resonant introducing version of vacuous narrative poem (anag. incl. n, e in tinny; line = rope).

D. F. Manley: Tiddly around ships unrestricted? Sailors must get that tight! (men open in tiny; tiddly = alcoholic drink).

S. J. O’Boyle: Doodah band taking money? No, taking the pee! (m in tie + no penny; ref. 1970’s Bonzo Dog Doodah Band).

Dr T. G. Powell: A fig leaf or well-placed pinny, one item wanting a bit of imagination (anag. less i).

Dr S. J. Shaw: A salt may be resolved to stop many a neat line getting tangled with a —— (comp. anag. & lit.).

N. G. Shippobotham: Ropey item spread between two points, with a touch of ‘Yo-heave-ho!’ (anag. + N open N + y, & lit.).

P. A. Stephenson: An expedient Trump’s first. One with money given a swing to secure Pennsylvania (T + I + Penn. in anag.).

P. L. Stone: Thingamy? One recalled in empty name tossed around (one (rev.) in anag. incl. n).

R. C. Teuton: Trump’s dropping behind before nominee’s running with Pence on board ends in Republican victory – this deflects snarls of ‘rigging’ (T(rump) + p in anag. + n, y).

J. R. Tozer: Name conspicuous in vile enmity, I should stop snarling (n open in anag.).

Mrs A. M. Walden: Locum collected pin money with bits of temporary night-time employment (anag. incl. t, n, e).

A. J. Wardrop: What’s-his-name, obscure English MP, nonentity abandoning Tories’ leader (anag. incl. E, less T; ref. resignation of Stephen Phillips MP).


T. Anderson, D. Appleton, M. Barnes, J. M. Brown, Dr J. Burscough, P. Cargill, D. Carter, Ms U. Carter, Mrs L. Davis, C. M. Edmunds, J. Fairclough, Dr I. S. Fletcher, D. V. Harry, L. M. Inman, J. C. Leyland, M. Lloyd-Jones, B. Lovering, P. W. Marlow, C. G. Millin, T. J. Moorey, J. Parke, M. L. Perkins, Ms L. Roberts, G. C. Rosser, P. Taylor, A. Whittaker, G. H. Willett, K. & J. Wolff.

122 entries, and several mistakes. It’s clear that I badly misjudged the puzzle’s level of difficulty; many of you commented on how tough they found it, though plenty said how much they’d enjoyed the challenge. To my surprise, spotting the theme proved elusive for many (despite the title, which I’d assumed would be a dead give-away) and for some the penny never dropped at all: some entries had TIMENOJENNY and there was even one TIMENOKENNY. I was quite pleased at having managed to work so many thematic entries into the 13 x 13 grid, though I can see that identifying some of the boys’ names whose omission left only one or two of the letters of the original defined answers must have been tricky. EHEBEE for EPAULE, with two rather crucial unchecked letters, defeated quite a few. I know Hebe isn’t in the Names appendix in Chambers, but she does have her own entry in the body of the dictionary. Both OLEO/OMARIE and VIANDS/VBESSDS also claimed a few scalps. NICKEL, with its normal clue, was an unintentional red herring. And though no one actually mentioned (or noticed?) it, it gave me special pleasure to include the names of both my sons, TOM and NED. Favourite clue was ‘Swans turning muter beside one on board ship’ for TRUMPETERS/TRUMESMES.
Have I used this idea before? I honestly can’t remember, though I do seem to recall a Ximenes competition puzzle from long ago in which alcoholic drinks were to be replaced by non-alcoholic ones (or possibly vice versa). Can anyone give chapter and verse? I still think it’s quite a nice idea, exploitable in different ways, but perhaps the solver needs more help than I gave this time. I could for instance have given the lengths of thematic answers before treatment, but this of course would in many cases have revealed which clues were thematic, which I didn’t really want to do. The very low entry seems to indicate that I was wrong.
All that having been said, you still came up with some excellent clues. I hope the three prizewinners don’t offend any of you or lead you to suppose that the judge has a one-track mind, but few others went for this approach and it did tickle my sense of humour.
Advance warning that the Christmas competition puzzle will appear on 18 December, closing date 31 December. There will be no issue of The Observer on Christmas Day.


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