◀  No. 686 Clue list 1 Apr 1962 Slip image No. 694  ▶



1.  Miss D. W. Taylor (Worthing): Find the right answer? Sure—the first of April’s over! (A ’s certain; date of puzzle).

2.  C. J. Morse (SW10): “A canter is, when unorthodox”—that could be SECTARIAN, but you want to make sure! (anag. & lit.; puzzle offered alternative solutions).

3.  J. A. Fincken (N11): To resolve, solvers must regard as inevitable! (as certain; resolve = solve again; ref. puzzle).


J. E. Biggin (SW16): Prove Cartesian coordinate (anag.).

Rev C. M. Broun (Cambuslang): Arsenic taken (but with no chance of being discovered)—poisoned! What we need is to get proof (anag. less ken; i.e. outside our ken).

C. O. Butcher (E4): See the light? Don’t look on it —— —— like some will do! (as certain; ref. puzzle).

G. H. Clarke (S. Croydon): Deranged sectarian? One carries little weight in Rome, see? (anag., as (= weight) certain (= one)).

J. McI. Cruickshank (Orpington): To make sure of getting south in a first class service, take a different train (S in ace + anag.).

H. W. Flewett (SW15): Cartesian puzzled how to find indubitable truth (anag.).

S. B. Green (NW10): Frantic scare over Tory leader: Mac’s own following determines to discover the facts (anag. + T ain; ref. Harold MacMillan).

R. R. Greenfield (Ruislip): Sectarian ties himself in knots to find the truth (anag.).

C. Koop (Ferring): In case Art goes astray, make sure that’s kept right here! (anag.; ref. e.g. Leonardo painting).

Dr J. P. Lester (Walsall): Cartesian co-ordinate provides a way to find the correct answer (anag.).

W. L. Miron (Nottingham): It’s an acre—plough it to make sure (anag.).

R. Postill (Jersey): Satire can wound: however, some also helps to discover the truth (anag., as certain).

A. Robins (Manchester): Prove unreliable in car-seat (anag.).

T. L. Strange (Colwyn Bay): What The Observer may do—set crania in a whirl! (anag.).


Other correct solvers:—R. J. Atkin, E. Clark, Mrs W. J. Dennison, Mrs N. Fisher, H. J. Godwin, W. F. Goodman, Mrs L. Jarman, W. Ledger, Miss M. J. Patrick, E. G. Phillips, Miss J. E. A. Robertson, Capt C. Tyers, B. C. Westall, C. E. Williams.
One letter wrong :—P. Badham, P. M. Coombs, J. Goldman.
COMMENTS—263 entries, 229 mahoganies! First let me offer my sympathy to the three unfortunates who weren’t caught but got a fatal letter wrong—one “sputare”, one “tertial” and one “twaits”. But I think I ought to extend it further, for the leg-pull was far, far more successful than I meant. What I intended was that you should solve an apparently easy puzzle quickly till you came up against OATMEAL/KEENER, having on the way wondered a little about the clumsiness of some of the “wicked” clues, and that you should then think about the date and search for, and find, the right answers. In their first forms several of the “wicked” clues led less soundly to the spoof answers; when I reread them, I said to myself “No, they’ll never fall for that”, so I took a lot of trouble to make them as convincing as possible. I wish now that I had left them alone: to judge by what eventually happened, quite enough legs would still have been pulled. As it was, I can’t be sure that what I intended did happen in more than 14 cases: none of the other 20 senders of RAMBUTAN, etc., referred to the leg-pull, and I expect a good many of them got one or two of the right answers without thinking of the wrong ones and went on from there, without being spoofed at all. I had this possibility in mind when I altered my first version of the clues; but I don’t think I even then prevented it, and I certainly ruined many solvers completely, which, I repeat, was not my aim. I can only hope that I am forgiven: I can picture the enjoyment of the solvers who reacted as I meant, but they were all too few, and I fear there may be some hard thoughts elsewhere. In case their thinkers have lost confidence in me, I assure them that I wouldn’t dream of doing anything like this on a normal occasion. If they did lose confidence, it would be a Pyrrhic victory indeed for me. My final view, anyway, is that the whole thing was, as Bernard Darwin might have said, quoting his beloved Dickens, “rayther too rich”.
To change a possibly sore subject, many thanks for all the comments on “Spot The Theme”—far too many for me to acknowledge individually. If their senders are a fair cross-section of all solvers, I can conjecture that about two-thirds spotted it and that very few of those who didn’t thought it unfair, which is as it should be. And now no more larks—till 1973!
Later—And now Mr. Allen Baker, our leading Scottish solver, tells me that “wean” is pronounced “wane”, and C. says so too! Sassenach that I am, I have never dreamt of this, and, having no doubts, I didn’t verify it. I see that Webster is as wrong as I am, but that is no excuse. Profound apologies, especially to all Scots and any others who think it might have misled them.

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