XIMENES CROSSWORD No. 456
1. S. Goldie: You see many admiring me in the Sistine Chapel almost fall head over heels in the piscina! (fal(l) (rev.) in pond).
2. G. P. Goddard: Endless drama, foolishly romantic, is apt to give the viewer a pain in the neck (pla(y) fond).
3. Miss S. Dorrington: Forward baggage in love, not wisely but too well, underneath the arches (PLA fond; Passengers’ Luggage in Advance).
D. Ashcroft: Metropolitan Harbour Board requires Tender for old Bridge, prior to Contract (PLA fond; Port of London Authority).
J. W. Bates: If badly made it may be down shortly with a flop! (anag. incl. dn, & lit.).
A. N. Clark: Fell head over heels fatuously in love—the outcome of some fancy work under the stairs! (alp (rev.) + fond).
S. B. Green: I’m high—plastered—and my pal is also getting a bit maudlin (anag. of pal + fond; i.e. also plastered).
A. Lawrie: See the old fool in the Palladium rendering that artistic work “Underneath the Arches” (la fon in Pd).
Mrs E. McFee: You’ll find this above your head, being past taking in Latin and bottom in French (L in pa. + fond).
C. J. Morse: “Above-the-line” bridge makes players open short—then get foolish and flop disastrously (pla(yers) + fond, anag.).
D. A. Nicholls: Jittery “flap” over a round object—no date given for upshot. Gaze upward to admire its convolutions! (anag. + O + n.d.; ref. Sputnik, launched Oct 1957).
G. Perry: What’s overhead? Satellite no network picked up before today (pla(net) + fond (obs. vb.); ref. Sputnik, launched Oct 1957).
R. Postill: You must turn up for this game: it’s silly to play one short! (pla(y) + fond, 2 mngs.; for = in order to see).
T. E. Sanders: A possible result of floating is to make mountain climbing foolish (alp (rev.) + fond; floating by plasterer, levitation).
Mrs E. M. Simmonds: High up in the French Chamber—plastered with decorations—reshuffle and flop! (anag.).
W. K. M. Slimmings: Fully plastered, I’m bossy: on the way to that condition, inclined to be amorous! (pla(stered) + fond; boss2).
D. H. Tompsett: Elevated feature, possibly Italian, sticking up and seldom attempted nowadays (alp (rev.) + fond (obs. vb.), & lit.).
J. S. Young: Some coves might find this game a bit above them (2 mngs.; cove, archit.).
J. A. Adamson, C. Allen Baker, Miss R. L. Benn, J. M. Bennett, F. H. Bernard, E. C. Bingham, V. E. Brooke, C. M. Broun, Mrs J. Chalkley, R. N. Chignell, Miss L. M. Collins, G. H. Dickson, P. G. Drazin, Dr W. M. Easther, Mrs J. O. Fuller, C. E. Gates, E. Gomersall, P. Holtby, D. S. M. Imrie, V. Jennings, B. K. Kelly, J. J. Kerr, C. Koop, C. J. Lowe, A. W. Maddocks, W. L. Miron, P. H. Morgan, H. B. Morton, F. E. Newlove, Dr S. L. Paton, L. S. Pearce, E. G. Phillips, Rev E. G. Riley, J. R. Scarr, E. O. Seymour, F. B. Stubbs, Miss D. W. Taylor, J. Thompson, H. D. Wakely, J. F. N. Wedge, H. F. C. Williams, Mrs M. Wishart, C. P. Wroth, A. J. Young.
COMMENTS—255 entries, 227 correct: even some hardened experts found the puzzle more difficult than usual, but there was no outstanding cause of mistakes. A hint to solvers to check their solutions may be timely: nearly always a few solutions are spoilt by obvious slips in filling in. This time one entry in the running for a prize was spoilt by “shairl” for “shairn,” which must, I think, have been a slip.
I am asked by a newish solver for a statement of my principles in using words not in the new Chambers without saying so. The first obvious case is proper names. Then come slang words which in my opinion are reasonably well known. Then come words formed by the use of simple prefixes and suffixes: the dictionary is quite arbitrary about these, giving, for instance, “shirtless” but not “coatless.” It would be absurd to bind oneself down in this matter. This point accounts for “gnarler” without apology in No. 422, for example. On the other hand, if I use (which happens very seldom) a rare word that isn’t in the new Chambers, I invariably say so in a footnote and also endeavour to give it an easy as clue, as I also do with unfamiliar proper names, especially geographical ones. To sum up, my principle is that if I go outside the new Chambers, I say so in a footnote unless (a) the word is a proper name or (b) I consider that it is unlikely to cause difficulty through rarity or obscurity. On the occasions when, in special puzzles, I say “Every word is in C.”, I mean what I say, of course, literally. I try to do this when some special difficulty seems to call for compensation.
My practice in the use of abbreviations in clues is similar to my practice with regard to slang. I do not confine myself (or competitors) to the list in Chambers, as long as I feel reasonably sure that an abbreviation is in common use. For instance I have without any hesitation passed “P.L.A.” in this puzzle for both Passengers’ Luggage in Advance and Port of London Authority. C.’s list appears to me an arbitrary and even, at times, eccentric one in its inclusions and omissions. but I don’t pass one unless I feel pretty sure about it. The abbreviations “ac.” and “dn.” for “across” and “down” have been used in these puzzles since the earliest days of Torquemada and constantly by me, so they clearly don’t demand dictionary authority. I hope this dissertation is clear and will meet with approval.