XIMENES CROSSWORD No. 673
1. C. Koop (Ferring): Regarding con´troversy or controv´ersy, it is clear which is wrong (anag.).
2. C. Allen Baker (Milnathort): In describing the scene between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, a considerable amount is concerned with its anger.—“Through the Looking-glass.” (lac its ire (all rev.)).
3. R. E. Scraton (Hayes): Vast multitude from Commonwealth, to its resentment, must be turned back; that’s controversial (lac its ire (all rev.)).
R. B. Adcock (N5): Prepared for fall-out? Order a Lacticiser and there’s no need to worry about calcium (anag. less Ca).
Lt Col P. S. Baines (Rochester): What is the derivation of Ulrica—strife—fur flying?! (anag. less fur, & lit.: all 3 eristical: U. = wolf-rule, C. names).
C. I. Bullock (Bournemouth): Dad’s back and he’s put on weight—it’s made him argumentative (sire (rev.) + tical).
C. O. Butcher (E4): With the Queen in Alice it’s mortifying to be this (R in anag., & lit.; mortify = become corrupt).
N. C. Dexter (Corby): What starts engine? I sit bemused in broken-down car—a learner! My sort’s at a loss when motionless (e + anag. in anag. + L; motionless, i.e. in debate).
Mrs N. Fisher (Stroud): Controversial rattle, to cause a stir in “Alice” (anag. in anag.; ref. Tweedledum; rattle = disconcert).
K. Gibson (Hucknall): Controversial article is subject to misrepresentation (anag.).
E. Gomersall (York): Describes cat and dog in characteristic altercation (hidden & lit.).
R. N. Haygarth (Manchester): “Your Majesty is back having put on some weight”—that’s controversial! (sire (rev.) + tical).
Dr T. J. R. Maguire (Dublin): “Throwing it aside, and stemming it with hearts…” What’s next? It’s clear I will need jogging! (anag.; “…of controversy,” J. Caesar i. 2).
D. P. M. Michael (Newport): Possibly it’s a relic, but I’m disposed to cultivate the spat! (anag.; s. = quarrel).
C. J. Morse (SW10): Controversial article is re-edited—and characteristically loses half its strength! (anag.; hidden).
R. Postill (Jersey): Ill-rehearsed recital is likely to involve discord (anag.).
Rev E. G. Riley (Manchester): Controversial article is in need of drastic editing (anag.).
T. E. Sanders (Walsall): It is Clare, perhaps, where one sees what sort of men wranglers must be (anag.; C. College).
H. S. Tribe (Sutton): Articles I must knit to be given to fighting causes (anag.).
F. T. Walton (Birmingham): Under the influence of a goddess—Ate her own baby—A revolting form of Salic rite (anag.; Ate, daughter of Eris).
J. W. Bates, R. T. Baxter, Mrs J. Chalkley, R. F. S. Chignell, R. N. Chignell, P. M. Coombs, T. Davies, C. R. Dean, A. L. Dennis, P. G. W. Glare, A. H. Jones, M. J. Lanchester, A. Lawrie, A. F. Lerrigo, H. Lyon, Mrs E. McFee, P. H. Morgan, L. S. Pearce, A. Robins, E. O. Seymour, W. K. M. Slimmings, R. J. Steel, F. B. Stubbs, J. Thompson, A. F. Toms.
COMMENTS:—225 entries, 159 correct—not such a shambles as last month, but pretty serious! This time the chief trouble was MOWER—one who mows (grimaces, mops) and one who mows (the lawn, and frequently mops his brow). The commonest variant was moper, which I think much too feeble to be acceptable. To mope is to be listless or yield to low spirits: one who does this may also grimace to express his feelings, but it is not specifically characteristic of him to do so, and the definition would be unsatisfying. Further, this solution makes the clue simply a single definition, unless one considers moping characteristic of someone who has much mopping to do, and I find this interpretation as unsatisfying as the other. I can see even less justification for other variations: “mouer” is not even a tolerable formation, as “moue” is not given as a verb. One might as well call one who grimaces a facer! And this certainly makes the clue a single definition only: I really don’t do this without at least some attempt at a subtle or interesting point! This last consideration also makes me disinclined to accept “hens” for PENS. This is at least sound as an answer, since a hen may be a female fish; but I must reject it on the score of dullness and feebleness. A few solvers put “fens”: to fen is to bar a right in boys’ games, but this could surely not be called to dam. The noun covers “in the water,” but I can’t swallow the verb. Finally there were the unfortunates who failed to find MEDRESSEH under “madrasa”: I wrote “You suggest that I shouldn’t go naked, do you?” as a paraphrase of “Me dress, eh?”, and I still think the indication was sufficient, but I sympathise with those who didn’t succeed. And I greatly hope there won’t be another disastrous entry for a long time!
The best of the clues sent were very good—hence the long H.C. list, considering the small number of successful solvers. My wife, a severe critic, who generally says, if I show her a winner, “Much too complicated for me,” was really enthusiastic about the winner this time: and I regard that as the highest praise! Some otherwise good clues had to be relegated to R.U.s because they made the word bear the “arguable” sense of “controversial”. I was sure it couldn’t mean this, and I find the O.E.D. bears me out: examples quoted show that it means “fond of arguing” (of persons) or “containing much argument” (of books, etc.) rather than “liable to cause argument” or “which may be argued about”. C. doesn’t make this clear, so again I feel sympathetic—hence the R.U.s: but I feel that we must be accurate about it. At least I did point the way with my definition “disputations”. though, of course, I never mean to suggest that competitors should give the word the same meaning that I do, as long as other meanings exist. Incidentally, the O.E.D. makes me think now that C. ought to have marked the word “obs.”
A happy Christmas to you all, and no disasters, I hope, in the Christmas competition; and DO POST EARLY then—it seems especially necessary in view of the threatened situation.