◀  No. 23184 Dec 2016 Clue list No. 2324  ▶



1.  M. Barley: Fat-bellied character starting Christmas round must squeeze into chimney shaft (C, o in vent rise).

2.  J. C. Leyland: This fat? We could give recent ‘five twos’ a shot (comp. anag. & lit.; ref. 5:2 diets).

3.  T. J. Moorey: Clue victor seen with a pot (anag.; ref. AZ cup).


D. & N. Aspland: Bulging erections found awkward after introduction of Viagra (V + anag.).

J. G. Booth: Paunchy, distressed I’ve corset on, obscuring a hint of obesity (anag. less o).

T. C. Borland: Misshapen, given corset that’s no good (anag. less g, & lit.).

C. J. Brougham: Very huge in loco enteric? (v + OS in anag., & lit.).

C. A. Clarke: Following early market upturn company involved with prominent corporation (vent3 + co. in rise).

N. Connaughton: Being so, I’ve corset on tight, hiding a blob (anag. less o, & lit.).

W. Drever: Viagra’s beginning to get floppy erections quite tumescent! (V + anag.).

Dr I. S. Fletcher: See one in centre so having gone pear-shaped (v + I in anag., & lit.).

R. J. Heald: Venerable Mo, after winning both finals in Rio Olympics, is puffed out (last letters in Ven. trice; ref. M. Farah).

R. J. Hooper: Stout Cortes: name I’ve conjured with (anag. incl. n).

J. R. H. Jones (Mexico): Having pot, coven tries stirring (anag.).

M. A. Macdonald-Cooper: Contrives somehow to encapsulate what’s central to opera such as Falstaff? (e in anag.).

R. J. Palmer: Tenor voices must ring out like Pavarotti (anag. less O).

N. G. Shippobotham: Albeit this may mean inevitable corset coming under strain (comp. anag. & lit.).

P. L. Stone: No time to throw out corset sadly accepting one’s fat-bellied (vent less t + anag. incl I).

P. Tharby: Conservative, not very active, involved with large corporation (anag. less v, a).

J. R. Tozer: See senior vet about showing signs of bloat (anag. incl. c; disease of livestock).

Mrs A. M. Walden: After a bit of Viagra you’ll find erections abnormally tumescent (V + anag.).

Ms S. Wallace: Tight corset starts to nip – excruciating if very big-bellied (anag. incl. n, e, i, v).

A. J. Wardrop: Very endomorphic, initially uncomfortable in corset? (v, e + anag. , & lit.).

G. H. Willett: Like a mother-to-be in Feb/Mch, perhaps, fine but short of energy? ((E)ric in Ventôse).


D. Appleton, D. K. Arnott, M. Barker, M. Bath, R. C. Bell, Dr P. M. J. Bennett, G. Borooah (USA), A. Brash, J. M. Brown, A. & J. Calder, M. Coates, G. P. Conway, P. T. Crow, E. Dawid, C. D. S. Field, R. Gilbert, J. Grimes, D. V. Harry, L. M. Inman, G. Johnstone, B. Lovering, D. F. Manley, K. Manley, P. W. Marlow, P. McKenna, J. R. C. Michie, C. G. Millin, T. D. Nicholl, C. Ogilvie, M. L. Perkins, S. Randall, W. Ransome, S. Reszetniak, M. A. Steele, P. Taylor, J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter, L. Ward (USA), R. J. Whale, A. Whittaker.

143 entries, no mistakes. The low entry must have been due to the fact that the wrong rubric was printed with the puzzle, for which I apologize. Regulars realized what had happened and sent their entries to the PO box as usual. There was a fair number of ‘clueless’ entries submitted to The Observer, and non-competition prizes went to the three lucky winners from this group. It seemed the fairest way of dealing with this regrettable lapse, which I hope won’t happen again. Thank you for your forbearance. Favourite clue, of 18 receiving one or more votes, was ‘Like a damp squib? Hate it going off cold after 6th of November’ (BATHETIC), just ahead of ‘Bother includes this for new parent – it’s bottomless’ for ABYSM, a sort of extended Printer’s Devilry clue.
VENTRICOSE offered a wealth of possibilities, including a friendly set of letters and a definition which could be played around with in all manner of ways. Corsets and corporations were understandably much in evidence. Several competitors spoiled their chances by defining it as a noun. I’ve mentioned this often before, but it is essential that the wording of your clue should clearly and unequivocally indicate the part of speech of the target word. Solvers have a right to expect no less. One perfectly sound clue which won no prizes but made me laugh, with its echoes of the boyfriend of Samantha, the score-keeper on I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue who is never heard from but always the butt of smutty double entendres, was ‘Sven, erotic, overwrought, overweight’.
With the Christmas competition still to judge, I will close my comments by thanking all who sent seasonal greetings and/or cards to me and my family. It is so good to hear that my puzzles continue to provide a pleasurable challenge. Best wishes for the new year to you all, and happy solving in 2017.


The Azed Cup

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First prize winner by A. K. Gregory in competition 460