AZED CROSSWORD 2364
1. R. J. Whale: Canine requires pet shampoo after rolling about in this! (C + anag., & lit.).
2. M. Barley: A repository of fertile material, Chambers, the starting point for anyone entering competition (pos + the + a in comp.).
3. Dr S. J. Shaw: Scraps of organic matter piled outside, feeding cultivated patches (first letters in anag., & lit.).
D. & N. Aspland: Conservative MPs hope to spread around a resource to help green shoots? (C + a in anag.).
G. Borooah (USA): Surprisingly, champ’s pot heads to Englishman overseas for this pile of rubbish! (anag. incl. E, o; ref. AZ cup).
Dr J. Burscough: Containing organic material primarily, phosphate possibly – refuse tip for horticulturist (first letters + anag. less h, & lit.).
C. A. Clarke: MPs too embroiled in tatty decaying pile (anag. in cheap; ref. House of Commons).
G. P. Conway: Some patch with potato skin recycling? (anag. incl. p, o, & lit.).
Dr I. S. Fletcher: Common tip for garden leaves rotting happens to (com. + anag. less n, & lit.).
R. J. Heald: Chambers’ll have the answer when entering competition – it’s a fertile source for Don et al (pos + the a in comp.; ref. Monty D., D. Manley).
P. W. Marlow: Patch with some bits of peelings offloaded for decomposition (anag. incl. p, o, & lit.).
C. G. Millin: Bits of organic material – a pile – saving money outside (o, m + post in cheap, & lit.).
T. D. Nicholl: PM copes badly with troublesome throat – right time to depart for the rubbish pile? (anag. less r, t).
R. J. Palmer: Don’s a regular turn at this competition – he’s top banana ultimately for cluing (comp. + anag.; ref. Monty D., D. Manley).
T. Rudd: Ma’s pet pooch runs amok here, sprays and leaves waste in a pile (anag.; spray = branch).
A. D. Scott: Pile of fertiliser, inexpensive – order by mail received (OM post in cheap).
P. Tharby: Bits of organic material stop decomposing in inferior source of fertiliser (o, m + anag. in cheap).
J. R. Tozer: Ruck disintegrating, oppose match carrying on (anag.).
Mrs A. M. Walden: It provides fertilizer comprising potash mixed with earth (comp. + anag. incl. e).
L. Ward (USA): Trill a bit of Catullus and Sappho to me … it might help solve our problems in bed (anag. incl. C; ref. erotic poets).
A. J. Wardrop: Poem St Phocas endlessly reworked in which gardeners find enriching material (anag. less s; St P., patron saint of gardeners).
G. H. Willett: Some chaps endlessly opt out and refuse en masse to help in the garden (anag. less s).
P. Bartlam, T. C. Borland, Ms L. Davis, V. Dixon (Ireland), W. Drever, C. M. Edmunds, J. Fairclough, G. I. L. Grafton, J. Grimes, J. P. B. Hall, A. H. Harker, R. J. Hooper, G. Johnstone, J. P. Lester, J. C. Leyland, M. Lunan, Ms R. MacGillivray, D. F. Manley, P. McKenna, J. R. C. Michie, T. J. Moorey, Dr P. W. Nash, C. Ogilvie, D. J. R. Ogilvie (USA), S. J. O’Boyle, J. Parke, A. Plumb, J. & A. Price, D. Price Jones, B. Solomons, P. A. Stephenson, P. L. Stone, R. C. Teuton, J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter, J. Walker, Ms S. Wallace, K. & J. Wolff, A. J. Young, Dr E. Young, R. Zara.
193 entries, no mistakes. Two clues stood out as favourites well ahead of the rest (19 in all receiving mention): ‘One fully exposed and lacking a suit possibly? Clearly’ (NUDIST) with 12 votes, one ahead of ‘Brussels regular had Parisian frolic’ (EURO-MP). Two further clues drew a number of adverse comments, those for E-BAY and PRINNY (neither in Chambers, though I decided that this did not need mentioning – C is only recommended, remember). My E-BAY clue was poor, I concede, relying on your being familiar with the not-very-large Cumbrian town of Tebay (well known to me as one brought up in Westmorland, but that’s no excuse). But I really thought ‘Prinny’ (the future King George IV) would be familiar to most, and easily checkable via Google.
For many, I dare say, COMPOST HEAP will have been the first answer to be filled in. It was almost impossible to define in a way that was not obvious, and I did hesitate before making it the clue word(s) for this reason. Most of you rose to the challenge admirably by coming up with definitions which alluded to the meaning in oblique ways, often quite funny, demonstrating just how clever the best cryptic clues can be and why we all love this (to outsiders) arcane pastime. As an example of the ‘& lit’ approach, Mr Whale’s was a real gem, the exclamation mark for once being fully justified. On the debit side, rather a lot of clues submitted were overlong, sometimes running to three or four lines. Concision in the construction of clues is always worth striving for. I try if possible to write my own to fit into one line of type.
I must thank all those who sent me messages, cards and even gifts for my 75th birthday, which occurred on the previous Sunday and which I marked with a ‘Letters Latent’ puzzle. Had my birthday not occurred on a Sunday I would probably not have bothered to publicize it in this way. As it happens, on the day itself I was on board a wonderful river boat on the Ganges somewhere between Kolkata and Varanasi, where the event was celebrated with a superb meal, a special cake and much jollity. Life has now quietened down somewhat.