XIMENES CROSSWORD No. 669
1. S. B. Green (NW10): A ridge of high pressure (2 mngs.).
2. A. Robins (Manchester): Give the bullet—not half!—encompassing end of career! (r in dum(dum) & lit.: mil, slang).
3. L. E. Eyres (York): Melodious at a distance, O.K.—a feature of well-fed ruminants (hidden; ref. Omar Khayyam, XIII, “rumble of a distant d.”).
G. F. Bamford (Llanfair): Roll out the barrel—there’s a late party for the beat generation! (3 mngs.; ref. def. in C., “…beating up crowds…”).
Capt A. S. Birt (Twickenham): “Roll out the barrel” can still be heard here (3 mngs.).
Mrs G. Bonsall (Morpeth): Call a copper, queer old party seems to have been beaten up by housewife (d rum; ref. def. in C., “…beating up crowds…”).
C. O. Butcher (E4): A Haydn symphony with Roll out the Barrel—there’s something for all ears (3 mngs.; ref. Symphony No. 103, ‘Drum Roll’).
R. N. Chignell (N. Cheam): Here’s something that might roll out the “ridge” (2 mngs.; ref. Lord’s).
C. R. Dean (Colombo): Roll out barrel for good old fashioned beano (3 mngs. [see comments]).
T. N. Dowse (Cardiff): Cashier, if tight, takes a rap (3 mngs.; ‘tight as a d.’).
V. Jennings (Reading): Dead queer strike—even beats come out! (d rum).
J. D. H. Mackintosh (W. Wickham): Small copper coin of unusual interest to cashier (d rum).
E. L. Mellersh (Enfield): Meagre fish, been in the deep freeze, and the Duke of Plaza Toro’s particular (3 mngs.; drumfish, glaciated ridge, and ref. Gondoliers, “own particular d.”).
C. J. Morse (SW10): Just a roll and a bit of cold rumpsteak?—the party must have been overcrowded! (hidden, 2 defs.).
M. Newman (Hove): Copper, taking spirit, must be tight on the beat (3 mngs.; copper = washtub).
G. Perry: Captain urged England in extremity to use this ridge to beat Australian bunch (4 mngs.; Drake’s Drum).
E. G. Phillips (Bangor): Penny on drink having been saved, you put a penny on this! (d rum; ref. Salvation Army song, “throw a penny on the d.”).
T. J. Pimbley (St Albans): A “bundle” for Benaud’s boys—five hundred odd! That’ll take some beating (D rum, 2 defs.; ref. Richie B., Aus. cricket captain).
T. E. Sanders (Walsall): In a crowd rumours impress by repetition (hidden).
F. D. H. Atkinson, C. Allen Baker, N. M. Brown, R. S. Caffyn, R. F. S. Chignell, A. E. Danher, G. H. Dickson, L. L. Dixon, A. B. Gardner, C. E. Gates, C. C. M. Giffin, G. P. Goddard, Mrs E. J. Holmes, A. J. Hughes, J. G. Hull, A. Lawrie, H. Leys, Dr T. J. R. Maguire, W. M. Martin, T. W. Melluish, H. B. Morton, F. E. Newlove, F. R. Palmer, Lady Reay, G. J. S. Ross, L. J. Sears, Mrs E. Shackleton, Miss B. Smoker, M. Spink, R. J. Steel, L. T. Stokes, Miss D. W. Taylor, J. Thompson, D. H. Tompsett, S. A. Weatherfield, G. R. Webb, C. E. Williams.
COMMENTS:—404 entries, 209 correct! The greatest disaster ever: the last big one was caused by “pixes” in No. 447—382 entries, 217 correct. Since then there have twice been a lot of errors in “non-plains”—“Libelle” and a “Printer’s Devilry”—but nothing to approach this in a “plain”. As I did in the case of “pixes”, I have examined the offending clue, 10 across, and its possibilities, most critically, and I can’t see nearly enough justification for accepting “abandoned”. “I may be cheated in a cause of wreck” was the clue, and a c. of w. it certainly was! I suppose one might cheat someone by abandoning him in a situation which causes him to be wrecked, but it is, at best, a very clumsy indication—hardly a definition—quite inadequate as a straight clue. So one must try the subsidiary indication, “done” in “a band”. The only sort of band I can find that could conceivably be called a cause of wreck is “a troop of conspirators”: they might cause the wreck of something, but it is not of the essence of conspiracies to be aimed at wrecking: it is again a very unsatisfying definition. Putting the two together into an “& lit.” clue, one gets something which I hope I am justified in maintaining that I couldn’t perpetrate. An abandonee, on the other hand, is legally a person who may be cheated in a cause of wreck at sea—a case of what I believe to be called “barratry”; and “a cause of wreck” is a clear definition of “a bane”. So there it is; and I hope the sufferers will kick themselves and not me!
There were two other causes of a few wrecks. The spelling “Radigund” is that of the standard Oxford edition of Spenser (1924) and was indicated by the subsidiary clue to “dig”: “dug” might also satisfy that, but I can find no authority for “Radugund”. Then there was “bendy”, indicated, as opposed to “bandy”, by “by about closing time” (end). It is true, as some solvers pointed out, that C. only gives the heraldic sense; but the meaning “inclined to bend” is surely in common colloquial use—a bendy stem of a plant, a bendy stick—and I have said many times that I don’t consider dictionary authority necessary for common colloquialisms.
In conclusion, I’m sorry about it all, but I don’t, though perhaps some may think I should, feel guilty! There’s hardly room left now for full comments on the clues sent, but I must add that I thought the best of them well up to standard. And I must thank many solvers for appreciative comments on the snorter, No. 666: several pointed out that it bore “the mark of the Beast” (Rev xiii 18)! This was a coincidence: I never thought of it.
P.S.—The following clue, received in time by wire from Colombo, signed “Dean” (C.R.?), gets an H.C. if the solution to follow proves to be correct: “Roll out barrel for good old fashioned beano”.
Later—correct solution has now arrived.