AZED CROSSWORD 2539
TORSE (Printer’s Devilry)
1. P. Jenkinson (Switzerland): When repairing frayed tapestry, I kno/w the snapped threads.
2. D. Whyte: To the non-religious, specta/cular music may be preferable to hymns.
3. Mrs A. M. Walden: A c/an (beans) – a tasty dish for some (Sean Bean).
C. J. Brougham: Angry head can/es choristers misbehaving.
A. Chamberlain: What anaesthetics safe for reptiles can vets prescribe? All, I ga/ther.
T. Clement: A cry of ‘Remember the Alamo’ may inspire a Texan’s cou/ntry.
W. Drever: ‘Behind’ when at Harvard? One could use ‘tu/sh’!
A. S. Everest: Was rec/ent open letter to parish mag about tithes?
Dr I. S. Fletcher: Environmentalist’s concerned about jet’s ammoni/a pollution.
R. J. Heald: The ‘demons’ tra/duced by Trump’s rhetoric reacted furiously in Washington (ref. US Capitol riot [see comments]).
M. Hodgkin: Juggling with knives, you may get cu/rious injury.
T. Jacobs: This Tu/esday, boys study before they go home.
Ms S. Martiny: Will they continue to ba/ttle for a draw?
D. Price Jones: Amo/ng ‘inequalities’, include manifold, differential, and smooth operation.
Dr S. J. Shaw: Despite fighting regularly, our cat is cu/riously injured rarely.
N. G. Shippobotham: Part-time, Tu/esday students, working once a week.
I. Simpson: Thea c/an be a nonce – played a part in Game of Thrones (Sean Bean).
R. C. Teuton: After doing bird, contrite male fac/es the error of his ways.
J. R. Tozer: It’s hard to kno/w if one’s clue is inadequate (clue2 = ball of thread).
S. Vollam: Tu/x could be unwelcome at college dinner.
L. Ward (USA): The New Testamen/t is a tough challenge for a child.
A. J. Wardrop: New Testamen/t gave me some helpful guidance.
R. J. Whale: Campaigners never forgo the C/ND, a body committed to the long haul (ref. Hector’s body dragged behind Achilles’ chariot).
T. Anderson, D. K. Arnott, D. & N. Aspland, M. Barley, M. Barnes, J. G. Booth, Dr J. Burscough, J. A. Butler, A. & J. Calder, D. Carter, P. A. Cash, N. Connaughton (Ireland), P. T. Crow, Ms L. Davis, E. Dawid, C. M. Edmunds, H. Freeman, M. Freeman, G. I. L. Grafton, J. Grimes, C. & C. Hinton, G. Johnstone, M. Jordan, J. C. Leyland, M. Lloyd-Jones, A. MacDougall, D. F. Manley, L. F. Marzillier (USA), P. McKenna, Rev Prebendary M. R. Metcalf, C. G. Millin, T. J. Moorey, J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter, S. Randall, C. Reed, Dr J. B. Reid, S. Reszetniak, A. D. Scott, A. J. Shields, P. A. Stephenson, P. L. Stone, A. Vick, Ms S. Wallace, D. Whisstock (Italy), A. Whittaker.
153 entries, no discernible mistakes. No fewer than 23 clues received votes as those you favoured above the rest, the overall winner being ‘I’ve solved crosswords for years – is this my first g/etting up to scratch?’ for OATS, with the Ramsbottom clue for ONAGRA a close second. Four voted for the ERATHEM clue – not mine but Mr Lance’s fine first prizewinner from the previous PD competition. A few of you (to judge from comments) remain unenthusiastic about PD puzzles (‘not proper clues’; ‘a bit like Marmite’), but the great majority clearly enjoy them and would happily have more. Given the length of time it takes me to set one, this is unlikely to happen. This one was the first since No. 2,443, and JRT (thank you, John) tells me it was my 29th, and the 54th since the start of Ximenes. Each one takes at least twice as long as a normal plain to complete. Grid and clues require extra time, and it often requires much tinkering to fine-tune the wording of clues. Many of you said you found this puzzle especially difficult. The level of difficulty is often determined by the relative difficulty in spotting the point at which the target word has been removed. (Apologies, incidentally, for not indicating that THUNDER GOD is two words, causing some unintended head-scratching.)
One further clue attracted specific comment: ‘Who took control after shocking event in the senate that wa/y?’ for SANTON. Given that the puzzle was set some time before the attack on the Capitol in Washington by hostile hooligans whipped up by Trump’s rhetoric (see RJH’s clue above), the link with Julius Caesar’s murder was entirely coincidental, though none the less pleasing.
Judging PD clues of course requires a different mind-set from the usual. Ideally, both devilled and undevilled versions should read as naturally as possible. If one reads less naturally than the other, it should always be the devilled one. It always shows when the undevilled version has been worded to ‘fit’ the devilled, thus weakening the clue somewhat. And as I’m sure I’ve said before, better PD clues are worded in the form of complete sentences, i.e. containing main verbs.
[Irrelevant footnote: several of you, and my son Ned, have commented approvingly on the appropriacy of the name of the Covid vaccine Oxford AstraZeneca, for which I receive no royalties. In point of fact I was inoculated with the Pfizer jab, which seems to have reached Oxford first, and have had both doses already.]