AZED CROSSWORD 2347
1. J. Grimes: What gets you this nightly? Tallying sheep, possibly (comp. anag. & lit.).
2. Dr I. S. Fletcher: Suffering poor circulation? Daily Express regularly could be (anag. of alternate letters).
3. J. C. Leyland: Thus see Christopher maybe tucked in after saying prayers initially? (Lee in first letters & lit.; ref. C. Lee, C. Robin).
M. Barker: Poor Pelléas, one left abandoned, dead (anag. less l; ref. Debussy opera).
M. Barley: Affected by hypnotics (pills we take on odd occasions when restless) (anag. of odd letters).
Dr J. Burscough: Having dropped dead, elapsed, perished (anag. less d, & lit.).
P. Cargill: Dead Sea left questionable record (anag. incl. l + EP; ref. DS scrolls).
C. A. Clarke: America to experience Trump’s extreme character, left caught napping (l in A see p).
J. P. B. Hall: A swipe wide going for fifty – out! (a sweep with L for w).
R. J. Heald: Brown bread left in afternoon sun turned stale (l in a S + pee (rev.); see bb (= dead), stale2).
M. Lloyd-Jones: In Chicago, whizz round chasing cabs regularly, ‘L’ being out (a, s L + pee (rev.); see whizz).
M. A. Macdonald-Cooper: Batting lapse in which Yorkshire’s tail-ender is caught out (e in anag.).
D. F. Manley: PM’s about to be returned – as many will be during election night! (Peel’s a (rev.); ref. Robert P.).
S. J. O’Boyle: Rail union strikes following extreme pressure with system in paralysis (ASLE(F) + EP).
W. Ransome: Reckless pleasure leads to unruly raver dropping dead (anag. less u, r).
C. W. Reid Dick (Germany): Out when quiet cradles shelter (lee in as p).
Dr S. J. Shaw: How a silent corpse, not having tics nor stirring, could mistakenly appear (comp. anag. & lit.).
P. L. Stone: One takes a second to undress when retiring late (a + s + peel (rev.)).
Mrs A. M. Walden: Pleased, mostly active, as those retiring hope to be? (anag. less d).
G. H. Willett: Is this when Labour’s leader and Scots eye power, or am I dreaming perchance? (as L ee P; ref. Hamlet soliloquy).
R. Zara: Like the dormouse, shelter in Alice’s surreal party initially (lee in first letters; ref. Mad Hatter’s tea party).
D. K. Arnott, Ms K. Bolton, C. J. Brougham, D. Carter, E. Dawid, W. Drever, J. Forsyth, G. I. L. Grafton, A. H. Harker, M. Hodgkin, R. J. Hooper, L. M. Inman, G. Johnstone, B. Jones, E. Looby, A. MacDougall, P. W. Marlow, P. McKenna, C. G. Millin, T. J. Moorey, C. Ogilvie, D. J. R. Ogilvie (USA), R. J. Palmer, R. Perry, A. Plumb, T. Rudd, I. Simpson, B. Solomons, R. C. Teuton, K. Thomas, S. J. J. Tiffin, J. R. Tozer, B. Vaughan, J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter, A. J. Wardrop, R. J. Whale, A. Whittaker, E. Woods, Dr E. Young.
177 entries, with no mistakes that I spotted. Comments ranged (as they often do) from ‘one of your toughest plains’ to ‘relatively straightforward’. Favourite clue, of 14 mentioned: ‘Star swallows cocktail – it’s gone down fast!’ for SKI RUN, some way ahead of ‘Before playing of test, ball zigzags’ (DANCETTES).
On the face of it a harmless-enough word, ASLEEP proved difficult to clue originally. Anagrams of PLEASE were two a penny, with not much to distinguish them. Wording such as ‘Please change …’ ruled themselves out as unsound when what was intended was ‘Please changes, etc’, (and I don’t really accept that it can be seen as a sort of retro-active imperative, putting, I reckon, too much of a strain on the syntax). For some reason ‘rejected’ to indicate reversal cropped up quite a lot this month. I don’t care for this: ‘rejected’ to me (and to the lexicographers) doesn’t mean ‘thrown backwards’ despite its Latin etymology. And while we’re on the subject of anagram indicators, I’ve never been too enamoured of ‘on’ being used as one on the strength of the dictionary definition ‘on the way to being drunk’ (my italics), i.e. not there yet!
Many of you will have read that The Observer and The Guardian will be going over to the tabloid format early next year, doubtless for financial reasons. (There are very few Berliner presses in the country, I’m told.) I’ve registered my wish to be consulted on any design changes that may be made to the crossword, so I shall do my best to ensure that it remains as elegantly readable as possible. Fingers crossed.
The editor of the Bookplate Journal has kindly sent me a copy of the latest issue, New Series Volume 15, No. 1, Spring 2017, which contains an interesting article on the Ximenes/Azed crossword prize bookplates. The original Ximenes prize bookplate was the winning entry by Enid Marx in a competition run by The Observer in 1952 and used until 1963 when a new design was adopted. The current Azed bookplate was designed in 1992 by Reg Boulton (a member of the Bookplate Society). It replaced one featuring a portrait of Fray Diego Deza, Archbishop of Seville and a leading figure in the Spanish Inquisition. Some of you will doubtless have a complete set.