AZED CROSSWORD 2447
1. M. Hodgkin: Leave campaign’s right wing and European right like birds of a feather (congé + n, E, r).
2. P. W. Marlow: Greenock largely developed round navy – making key addition to port? (n in anag. less k).
3. W. Drever: Odd characters in crown green bowling having a match (alternate letters + anag.).
T. Anderson: Tory, Green, Liberal in coalition? This will boost party spirits! (Con. + anag.).
D. & N. Aspland: Conservative and Green (awkwardly) in a relationship (Con. + anag.).
M. Barley: Show what could be inside bottle, leaving one with hangover ultimately? (con gen(I)e + r, & lit.).
T. C. Borland: Argument against sex, if there’s no depth in relationship (con + gen(d)er).
Dr J. Burscough: Enron and GEC, once involved in communication (anag.).
C. A. Clarke: Candidate minister dismissed for information appearing from a close group (contender with gen for tend; ref. Gavin Williamson).
Dr I. S. Fletcher: Enhanced gin or rum could be had with this in (comp. anag. & lit.).
H. Freeman: After discharge, Queen welcomes new relative (n in congé + ER; ref. royal baby).
J. C. Leyland: Given lack of it, a trained négociant may be withering with conclusions on nose and flavour (anag. + e, r less anag., & lit.).
M. Lloyd-Jones: Not once entertained by G. Coren, but crazy for sib! (ne in anag.; ref. Victoria C., sister of Giles).
B. Lovering: I’ll avoid drunken gin encore, it may worsen the hangover (anag. less I).
D. F. Manley: What could make head not entirely normal with a Zinfandel finally drained? (con(k) + gener(al), & lit.).
T. J. Moorey: What originates character of navy and green rum? (c o’ n + anag., & lit.; ref. St Patrick’s Day drink).
R. J. Palmer: It may give a boost to sack leader of Conservatives and put in one ERG ordered (C + ’n’ in anag.; ref. Con. pro-Brexit group).
Dr S. J. Shaw: René’s cognac, without some form of this, possesses merely hints of strength, colour and aroma (comp. anag. incl. s, c, a, & lit.; ref. R. Briand).
J. R. Tozer: Part of family tree, if missing, needs info to be entered (gen in con(if)er).
J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter: Conservative leader finally admits embarrassment – a contributory factor in sack, perhaps? (gêne in Con. r).
Mrs A. M. Walden: Against sex, but not heading off desire for something of the kind (con gen(d)er).
Ms S. Wallace: Cast in the same mould, Tory renegades left in chaos after rejecting various deals (Con. + anag. less anag. incl. l).
R. J. Whale: It’s with this you could make Negronis etc (comp. anag. & lit.).
A. Brash, C. J. Brougham, A. & J. Calder, M. Calverley, D. Carter, N. Connaughton (Ireland), E. Dawid, Dr M. Ewart, R. Gilbert, J. Grimes, P. Halse, R. J. Heald, G. Johnstone, D. C. Jones, J. R. C. Michie, C. G. Millin, T. D. Nicholl, A. Plumb, S. Randall, M. Reid, S. Reszetniak, T. Rudd, A. D. Scott, C. Short, I. Simpson, P. A. Stephenson, P. L. Stone, K. Thomas, A. Varney, G. H. Willett, Dr E. Young, R. Zara.
172 entries, no mistakes. Comments generally suggested that you found the puzzle easier going than last month’s PD challenge, but why then, I wonder, was the entry not bigger? Was it perhaps the unusually large number of unfamiliar words in the grid? Favourite clue, of 14 mentioned, was ‘Like a good looker, with parts amounting to XL?’ for TWENTY-TWENTY, with one vote more than ‘I’m off drinking, the French party included – strong words from the vicar’ (BIBLE-BASHING), the two of them a long way ahead of the rest.
The clue word was clearly unknown previously to many of you, as it was to me. Several of you sent extracts from published sources, referring to its chemical sense, in particular as a component of alcoholic drinks, and a major cause of hangovers. ‘Fine traditional brandies, for example, would be drab without ‘fusel oil (aka congeners).’ Not surprisingly, perhaps, many of you went for this meaning as the definition, the current political fiasco in Westminster being the other most popular context. The quality of clues submitted was very high overall (apart from an unaccountable rise in the number of indirect anagrams in some), affording me much enjoyment as well as difficulty in shortlisting the best. If I have a specific criticism, it is to mention my lack of enthusiasm for clues that included an indication in their cryptic wording of the ‘gene’ element in CONGENER (or ‘genera’ without its final ‘a’), the point being that it is already an integral part of the target word and therefore too close to it in semantic terms for such treatment to be sufficiently cryptic.
Finally, I should like to offer special congratulations to Dr E. C. Lance for last month gaining his first first prize after competing for exactly 60 years in Ximenes/Azed competitions, a real triumph of persistence. His earlier near misses (including VHCs and HCs) are recorded on the andlit.org.uk website.