XIMENES CROSSWORD No. 647
1. E. Gomersall (York): Cake with nuts on top (mad + cap; C. gives cake = madcap).
2. D. G. Putnam (Nottingham): I need a restraining influence up top (dam (rev.) + cap, & lit.).
3. Mrs L. Jarman (Brough): Like the repast Alice was offered—a piece of mushroom—this makes one excessively elevated! (mad cap; A. in W., chaps. 7 (tea party) & 5 (caterpillar)).
D. B. J. Ambler (Kew): Jolly reckless bats to put in the first eleven! (mad cap (vb.)).
R. J. Atkin (Bromsgrove): Hot-headed, violently passionate salute (mad cap (vb.)).
F. D. H. Atkinson (Claygate): He’s over-exuberant but very keen on the summit! (mad + cap).
J. W. Bates (Westcliff-on-Sea): Rash caused by spending summer in unhealthy damp surroundings? (CA in anag.; accountant = s.s.).
R. N. Chignell (N. Cheam): Bats with peak outrageously inclined (mad + cap).
J. Cordery (Bushey): Rash, that’s what I am—a form of cell discharge where spots can be located externally (i.e. a DC in map; battery cell).
M. C. Foakes (Bushey): Wildly excited with sporting achievement—that’s the Hotspur! (mad + cap; ref. Tottenham H.’s League and Cup double, 1961).
C. E. Gates (Kettering): Heedless of danger, the policeman has come up with the first man and grasped him by the head (i.e. A of Adam inside PC (all rev.)).
J. Gill (Warlingham): It’s extremely foolish to select for an international match one of the Hotspurs (mad cap (vb.); ref Tottenham H. and football).
V. Jennings (Reading): Mum’s got 8/4d. coming to her from Dad’s rise—she feels quite reckless! (Ma + Pa C d. (rev.); C d. = 100 pence (8s. 4d.)).
A. A. Malcolm (Murthly): I get rash every now and then; but I’m always better after doctor’s seen about one! (a in MD + cap; cap (vb.) = better).
Mrs E. McFee (Rhos-on-Sea): Cuckoo, about April, is exceedingly fond of a lark (mad c. Ap.).
M. Newman (Hove): Crackers, with loud banger, would suit such a party! (mad + cap, & lit.; party = person).
K. Perry (Oldham): A daring rig is my delight, using only half a handkerchief (brightly-coloured) and something light for the top part! (mad(ras) + cap; rig2; madras = handkerchief worn on the head).
R. E. Scraton (Hayes): Master on six hundred per annum needs rise; he’s liable to take rash action! (MA + DC + p.a. (rev.)).
Mrs E. Shackleton (Newbury): Rash one got from taking portion of toadstool after having violent appetite? (mad + cap; mad = violently affected by appetite).
E. Taylor (Gosport): Red-headed test player, gone on to bowl, should ginger things up a bit (mad cap, mad + cap; see red-headed, gone, and cap2 in C.; poss. ref. to Jack Flavell, ginger-haired England test bowler).
Miss D. W. Taylor (Worthing): I like a lark am up to salute day’s first breaking (d(ay) in am (rev.) + cap (vb.)).
C. Allen Baker, Mrs P. C. Barclay, W. Barrow, E. A. Beaulah (Nairobi), T. E. Bell, H. Bernard, Capt A. S. Birt, G. Bradbrook, R. Brain, A. Bristow, J. Brock, J. A. Bulley, B. Burton, C. O. Butcher, P. R. Chapman, P. M. Coombs, A. E. Crow, G. Cuthbert, N. C. Dexter, G. H. Dickson, H. B. Drake, Sgt J. Dromey, J. Duffill, J. H. Eyre, A. G. Fleming, C. C. M. Giffin, S. Goldie, R. R. Greenfield, F. H. W. Hawes, Mrs E. J. Holmes, E. M. Hornby, A. H. Jones, P. W. W. Leach, Dr T. J. R. Maguire, P. H. Morgan, C. J. Morse, F. E. Newlove, Miss P. Oliver, F. R. Palmer, Miss M. J. Patrick, G. Perry, R. Postill, M. G. Powell-Davies, A. Robins, Mrs M. Robins (Salisbury, S Rhodesia), H. R. Sanders, T. E. Sanders, L. T. Stokes, F. B. Stubbs, J. Thompson, Mrs J. E. Townsend, H. S. Tribe, K. F. Unwin, G. R. Webb, M. Woolf.
COMMENTS:—583 entries, 539 correct. Though I am glad so many competitors said they enjoyed the puzzle, I have been kicking myself ever since entries began to come in! From comments, though they were very polite, it soon became obvious that I had made it too easy: it would have been much better to omit the order list and to make the clues nearer the normal “Plain” standard. I believe nearly as many people would still have arrived and would have had much more enjoyment from being held up a bit longer in the process. I always tend to get cold feet about the difficulty of novelties until they have been tried out: I ought by this time to have more confidence in solvers’ skill! I shall certainly remember this next time, and I shall always regard this puzzle as a pity! The only good thing about it is that it perhaps enabled some new competitors to enter for the first time—and it may have been a blessing to those who were particularly busy.
The entry was rather spoilt by the enormous number of staff officers engrossed in plans: very few clues of this obvious type stood out far enough even to become runners-up. But there were some uncommonly good clues too, and I think the winner deserves to rank very high indeed among our best. The other two prize-winners are also excellent, and I think Mrs Shackleton and Miss Taylor, especially, were unlucky to be kept out of prizes. Among common weaknesses which excluded some clues from the lists, the most prominent this time was the use of “back” for “reversed” in a clue to a “down” word. I may seem fussy about this, but it definitely violates our principle that we must say what we mean.
There have been several requests lately for another “Playfair”: there is one coming next month, though not for a competition. I think it wiser not to make these competition puzzles at all often, especially as “Playfair” figures prominently in the “Gallimaufry” type of puzzle; and I know that, though “Playfair” fans are apt to regard it as their favourite, there are many who either can’t cope with it or don’t like it much.