XIMENES CROSSWORD No. 676
1. D. Hawson (Malton): Like a giggle? Then hear Charlie Chestnutt tell risqué tales on Borderline network to-night!
2. R. Postill (Jersey): If your best girl lets you down, don’t fret! Ring Universal Popsies for a replacement.
3. R. E. Scraton (Hayes): Kurem’s have fine array of lozenges for all winter ills.
H.C. (extra prizes)
R. Bryan (Beckenham): Don’t look weather-beaten, Land Girls! Let Sunkist Skin Salve make you an ornament in the garden.
R. M. S. Cork (Kingsworthy): Girls! Let us help you remove those unwanted pounds—train on the bars at the Gymnomat!
R. V. Dawson (Bradford): Flattum, the belt with the criss-cross support, will rest tired muscles.
Rev D. Ford (Chesterfield): Runners—train on Criss Cross Bars! Results will be better still.
B. Franco (Banstead): All off-licences sell triple-distilled Oxy-gin. Mountain climbers train on it.
S. B. Green (NW10): With the Tum-Tone patent lattice-construction corset, ill feeling vanishes!
A. J. Hughes (Sutton Coldfield): “Lexicano” for crossword setters includes all sizes of grid with bars adjustable as required and magnetic letters; it’ll save hours.
J. D. H. Mackintosh (West Wickham): MacRum & Co., Distillers, serving you through a network of bars and hotels.—Don’t be glum—have a “MacRum”
D. P. M. Michael (Newport): With a Fit-U-Round open-work bedside screen, every patient will rest in peace in no time!
C. J. Morse (SW10): Ye Olde Elizabethan Grille serves traditional “Boar’s-head” suppers till Twelfth Night.
R. P. C. Mutter (SW5): Like a portcullis in your garden? Put a Barongate on your shopping list—reliable, dignified, and burglar-proof.
M. Newman (Hove): Getting cross over figurework? You’ll need a Decimator for £ sterling/decimal conversions—10% labour cost reduction guaranteed (£ = L).
R. V. Penycate (Clacton-on-Sea): Your train on rails will go faster still if you use the “Steppamup” patent transformer.
M. A. Vernon (N14): Is your fair charmer still unresponsive? “Nocrack” plastic pebbles thrown through her lattice work wonders!
C. W. Willink (Eton): Mountjoy’s Excelsiboots will carry you higher still—they’re ideal for climbing sports.
Dr R. L. Wynne (Wallasey): Does your plant support the demands of higher output? If you still require help, consult Factripower.
R. B. Adcock, C. Allen Baker, P. C. Barclay, R. T. Baxter, T. E. Bell, C. O. Butcher, R. N. Chignell, D. L. L. Clarke, V. A. R. Cooper, S. H. Dallas, L. L. Dixon, Miss P. Dodd, J. H. Eyre, J. A. Fincken, F. D. Gardiner, J. Gill, S. Goldie, E. Gomersall, L. W. Jenkinson, L. Johnson, G. Kirsch, N. A. Longmore, Mrs S. Macpherson, Mrs E. McFee, T. W. Melluish, E. J. Miller, Mrs J. Robertson, Miss B. M. Smoker, A. J. Souter, H. S. Tribe, J. F. N. Wedge, G. H. Wilde.
COMMENTS:—225 entries, 130 correct. This was undoubtedly a very hard puzzle, much harder than predecessors of its type. The Playfair proved unusually obstinate, partly, I expect, because solvers didn’t think of looking up “cote” to see what “a modern form” of it might be—this could have led straight to “quo-is-t(e).” The “Pollux” variations were elusive, too: I suspect that a good many solvers missed the fishy puns and got them right by guesswork—others were less lucky and guessed wrong. The P. D. clue to “sloe” ensnared many. “What i/s loe/ss? A feracious …” is correct; if “aloe” is fitted in, thus:—“What is/a loe/s? A feracious …”, there is an ‘s’ missing at the end of “loess,” and I can see no other way of fitting it in. And “aloes” isn’t a feracious deposit. Then there was “craves” for “crates” in the Ladder, which fits “starve” but has two letters different from those of “secret.” All these claimed several victims, but the worst stumbling-block was “meeken.” About 50 solvers wrote “maeden,” with the misprint not in the clue, as intended (wild for mild), but in the answer, “m-add-en.” I tried hard to justify accepting this, but I couldn’t get over my conviction that “husband” cannot be a definition of “add.” To eke something (“often with out”—C.; therefore, presumably, not always) is to make it go further by additions and economical use: so is to husband something: therefore “eke” is soundly clued by “husband.” But C. doesn’t say that “eke” means “add”: it says “add to”; and the “to” makes all the difference: the object is the thing added to, not the thing added: I’m sure neither “eke” nor “husband” can mean “add.” I feel a brute to disappoint so many, after such a tough struggle; but I don’t think I have any option. For one thing, it is unfair to those who have surmounted all the difficulties to accept inferior alternatives. But I am sorry for those who wrote “maeden.”
One solver pointed out that the plural of “Pollack” is probably “pollack,” generously adding that I deserved to get away with it! I think he’s got something there, and I had qualms about it beforehand; but I justify “pollacks” thus:—A waiter, after receiving orders, might say “One duck, three grouses, four salmons”—Heaven help the man who pays the bill—and pollack is of the cod family, and therefore presumably edible (just). So I hereby admit plurals in -s of edible fishes (sic)—but not sheeps, in case anyone tries that on me, unless he, or she, can think of an excuse!
No time for comments on clues sent, except that they were well up to standard and not easy to differentiate. I preferred those of the advertisement type like my own, to make the puzzle neatly complete. I have waited till Thursday instead of Tuesday, to include entries delayed in the post. Thank you very much for Christmas cards, greetings and especially the far too kind remarks in your entries—I don’t think I’ve ever had so many, and I do appreciate them. A happy New Year to you all.
P.S. You might be interested in “Take a Number,” on ITV on Wednesdays—clues supplied by X.