◀  No. 25323 Jan 2021 Clue list No. 2539  ▶



1.  C. J. Brougham: Balls start to weary a prince if lacking Cinderella (bottle + w a sher(if)).

2.  M. Lloyd-Jones: Betrothal we start to sense going wrong (fiasco with ring?) leads to domestic (anag. incl. s, bottle + washer).

3.  G. H. Willett: One left ignored below the salt at work. Right? (anag. less l + r, & lit.).


D. & N. Aspland: Throstles (WBA) surprisingly rejecting debut of star in favour of that of eager, unappreciated hard worker? (anag. less s incl. e; ref. West Bromwich Albion).

M. Barley: Belowstairs, scrubbing is the work for such (anag. less is, & lit.).

T. C. Borland: One very modestly employed towel, and bather’s changed (anag.).

Dr J. Burscough: Belowstairs, the boots is this perhaps (comp. anag. & lit.).

Dr I. S. Fletcher: Could be the belowstairs scrubbing is for me (anag. less is & lit.).

H. Freeman: Belowstairs scrubbing is the —— deployed? (anag. less is incl. the, & lit.).

R. J. Heald: Galley slave who strikes receives lash to back (welt to (rev.) in basher).

J. C. Leyland: Not the first to use brush and tea-towel at work (anag. less u, & lit.).

D. F. Manley: Below stairs the cook is being relegated – to become this? (anag. less is, & lit; relegate = banish).

T. J. Moorey: Excellent Aussie all round, Marsh brought on last in Adelaide but he cleans up in Perth (wash + e in bottler; but2; ref. Mitch M., Australian all-rounder).

J. Pearce: Wanting attention grabber, refurbished Bolshoi Theatre enthrals with Cinderella (w in anag. less hoi).

R. Perry: A harmless drudge that Boswell left out? Er … possibly (anag. less l; ref. Samuel Johnson).

T. Rudd: Perhaps Violet Elizabeth wails herself sick, but ‘Outlaw’ fils terrible? He’ll do anything (Bott + anag. less anag.; ref. William (Brown) stories).

Dr S. J. Shaw: He engaged in endless below-stairs working, with little time for independence (he in anag. less s, with t for i, & lit.).

A. J. Shields: You might find me in a pub, deploying the bar towels (anag.).

P. L. Stone: Drill or awl the best tool for boring jobs (anag.; see tool in C.).

K. Thomas: Bestow lather lavishly – he could manage that (anag.).

J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter: What could possibly be worth combining with best ale? A fag, perhaps? (anag.).

Ms S. Wallace: Menial work that’s elbow grease – taking flipping ages! (anag. less anag.).

A. J. Wardrop: Below stairs with the cooks – you might find —— is (comp. anag. & lit.).

A. Whittaker: Figaro, e.g., whose blatter tumbled out (anag.; ref Rossini’s ‘Largo al factotum’).


P. B. Alldred, T. Anderson, D. Appleton, Ms K. Bolton, J. A. Butler, P. Cargill, Ms U. Carter, C. A. Clarke, S. L. Claughton, T. Clement, W. Drever, C. M. Edmunds, Dr M. Ewart, A. Gerrard, R. Gilbert, G. I. L. Grafton, J. Grimes, G. Hart, M. Hodgkin, C. & S. Hosker, D. C. Jones, J. P. Lester, A. MacDougall, P. W. Marlow, J. R. C. Michie, K. Milan, C. G. Millin, C. Ogilvie, D. J. R. Ogilvie (USA), S. J. O’Boyle, J. & A. Price, Dr J. B. Reid, G. J. H. Roberts, A. D. Scott, N. G. Shippobotham, R. C. Teuton, J. R. Tozer, A. J. Varney, Mrs A. M. Walden, J. D. Walsh, L. Ward (USA), R. J. Whale.

158 entries, no mistakes that I could see. I’m sorry the details for submission of entries was omitted at first. I hope that the extension of the entry date compensated for this somewhat (though I’m sure regulars are familiar with the usual instructions). Favourite clue (of 13 mentioned) was ‘Gloom – end up dismissed for insolence’ for SASS. This I found especially pleasing as the clue word was one of those unpromising ones that one can stare at for ages before anything interesting comes to mind.
A fairly average plain, it seems – certainly less of a struggle than the Christmas competition, and a very friendly clue word, in terms both of its meaning and of its constituent letters, especially for anagrammatists. Exploitation of ‘belowstairs’ proved understandably attractive, though I am surprised that Chambers spells it as one word, without even a hyphen. Can anyone explain the origin of the odd phrase ‘chief cook and bottle(-)washer’, which I take to mean someone who readily performs any and all tasks, from the most to the least important?
I have been much heartened by comments from solvers recently who write to say how much the crossword has sustained them through the long pandemic days. Likewise, of course, it keeps me usefully occupied while we all wait for easier times. A mutually satisfying relationship for us all, clearly.


The Azed Cup

P. Jenkinson wins First Prize in competition 2539.

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This year’s honours table

The next Azed competition puzzle will be on Sunday 7th March

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All online Azed puzzles

Dr Watson reviews Azed 2539

From the archive

What ends urtica invading our plot in new allotment? (8)

First prize winner by M. D. Laws in competition 1325