AZED CROSSWORD 2399
1. Dr I. S. Fletcher: Wanting soft weave purchase me, perhaps (anag. less p, & lit.).
2. D. F. Manley: A purse fashioned with me – such won’t need bit of pig (u/s!) (anag. less p, u, s, & lit.; ref. saying, ‘You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’).
3. R. J. Heald: Get headaches with rum drunk, not having had soft stuff like grenadine (anag. less had; grenadine 2 meanings).
M. Barley: Are the insides of garments tailored with such? (anag. incl. me, & lit.).
Ms K. Bolton: It’s material when male in casual work gains regular employment (m in chare + use).
T. C. Borland: It might make some ties much easier, not having Italy to play (anag. less I; ref. Italy’s absence from the World Cup).
C. J. Brougham: Fish department displaying stuff in drawers? (char + Meuse).
P. Cargill: Saree much more elaborate in a soft and lustrous fabric (anag.).
C. A. Clarke: Alternative to cashmere bearing posh label (U in anag., & lit.).
W. Drever: Fabric softener frequently leaves attire outwardly much improved (anag. less often incl. a, e).
M. Hodgkin: After Britain’s exit, beaches awash with rum and French silk (anag. less B).
M. Lloyd-Jones: Unusual opening for Amy Schumer: essentially clean material, not coarse (anag. incl. A + e; ref. typically risqué comedienne).
P. W. Marlow: Such elegant material is woven leaving all eg in tat unsettled? (anag. less anag., & lit.).
C. G. Millin: Wedding dress material cleaning woman cut to employ as dusters eg, saving money (cha(r) + m in reuse).
T. J. Moorey: Lightweight material in Daily Mail’s leader, against EU and second poll on exiting (char M + EU s e).
R. J. Palmer: M & S haute couture fashions Oldfield’s original tutu with this perhaps (comp. anag. incl. O, & lit.; ref. Bruce O.).
D. Price Jones: Tight Fit material rendered by Posh wearing crushed cashmere (U in anag.; TF, pop group).
T. Rudd: Matter of smooth, ‘soft’ bolt from EU’s stuck in torpor, getting behind daily (char + EU’s in ME; bolt = roll of cloth; ref. Brexit preparations).
R. C. Teuton: Make me a slip with ruches from this? (anag. & lit.).
P. Tharby: Fine stuff with a smooth finish made by processing meerschaum, mostly (anag. less m).
J. R. Tozer: Bride finally joins service after entrance in satin (charm + e + use).
Ms S. Wallace: Revamped ruched seam with no end of pleated fabric (anag. less d).
A. J. Wardrop: A bit of underwear in cashmere, possibly an alternative to silk (u in anag.).
P. B. Alldred, T. Anderson, D. Appleton, D. & N. Aspland, M. Barnes, T. Blakeson, Mrs J. M. Brown, Dr J. Burscough, C. J. Butler, J. A. Butler, A. & J. Calder, D. Carter, A. Chamberlain, M. Coates, Dr P. Coles, N. Connaughton (Ireland), E. Dawid, V. Dixon (Ireland), P. Evans, A. S. Everest, J. Fairclough, G. I. L. Grafton, Ms Y. Grantham, J. Grimes, P. J. Hartley, D. Henderson (Canada), J. Humpston, G. Johnstone, D. R. Jones, J. R. H. Jones (Mexico), S. Kemp, Ms A. Latham, P. Lester, J. C. Leyland, E. Looby, B. Lovering, L. F. Marzillier (USA), P. McIlhenny, P. McKenna, T. D. Nicholl, S. J. O’Boyle, C. Palfrey, J. Parke, M. Price, S. Randall, W. Ransome, G. Raven, Mrs I. Reid, Dr J. B. Reid, S. Reszetniak, Dr S. J. Shaw, D. P. Shenkin, I. Simpson, J. Smailes, B. Solomons, C. M. Steele, P. L. Stone, J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter, Mrs A. M. Walden, R. J. Whale, D. Whisstock (Italy), A. Whittaker, G. H. Willett, Dr E. Young, and an unnamed entry (‘Worms originally issued … open to abuse’).
188 entries, no mistakes that I spotted. Voting for favourite clue this month was close: of 17 nominated at least once the narrow winner was ‘One fixes eye on ball, one hit high, cover finally caught’ for SKRYER, from ‘Once at sea, I was off course by miles’ (ASWIM) in second place. The puzzle as a whole seems to have been of average difficulty, with no clues causing special problems. The clue word itself turned out to be a bit uninspiring, perhaps because of its rather limited meaning. This may have prompted a number of competitors to resort to cluing it in its French sense of ‘a female charmer’. I wasn’t keen on this approach, I’m afraid. It raises the spectre of all manner of foreign words spelt like English ones being clued in their place. I’ve learnt over the years that familiarity with international (or at least European) vocabulary is by no means as widespread as I’d assumed. More’s the pity, maybe, and another reason to dread Brexit, but there we are.
The most popular approach by far was the use of anagrams involving ‘ruche’ and ‘seam’, often yielding perfectly respectable clues which nevertheless lacked that bit of extra inventiveness I’m always looking for. I sometimes feel like a schoolteacher marking exam papers and on the look-out for that extra element of individuality and flair which is usually easy to spot. This knack is difficult to analyse; I can only urge competitors anxious to improve their clue-writing skills to study quoted entries each month, and to bring rigorous self-criticism to bear on their own efforts.