AZED CROSSWORD 1439
1. M. Barley: Celebrations Antiguan-style, whose origins lie in gospel story a long time back (C A in John + eon (rev.), & lit.).
2. C. R. Gumbrell: In this would you find how a jocund Noel is observed abroad? (comp. anag. & lit.).
3. R. J. Hooper: Seasonal celebrations in office, WC 1, with large number going (John can o(n)e).
VHC (extra prizes)
D. Appleton: Highlight of WI Xmas party? Joan Cohen’s cooking (anag.; WI 2 mngs.).
D. Ashcroft: Emburey, maybe, came on maidenless, sadly, delivering long hops hugely enjoyed by festive West Indians (John + anag. less m; ref. cricketer).
J. R. Beresford: Perhaps ladies once made crackers, holding a Christmas event in the WI (john + a in anag.; WI 2 mngs.).
Mrs F. A. Blanchard: First of January – oh, new century! Are no end of festive celebrations afoot? (J oh n c a no e).
E. J. Burge: H. Cronje on a roll runs out West Indian setting off boisterous celebrations (anag. less r; ref. Hansie C., SA cricket captain).
P. M. A. Crozier: Divine messenger, John, first of our era, leaping with joy at time of Saviour’s birth (John can o, e).
N. C. Dexter: WI dancing can-can? The present time knows no bounds! (john can + (N)oe(l); WI 2 mngs.).
V. Dixon: This conceals heads, around Christmas mostly (John ca. Noe(l), & lit.; festive mask).
A. J. Dorn: Find WI Xmas fete ending early, once jam and honey are shifted? (anag. of onc(e) ja(m) hone(y); WI 2 mngs.).
P. D. Gaffey: Composer, Johann, makes proms with this festival dance (comp. anag.).
D. Harrison: You might get frantic in ‘chanson de joie’ in this Indies dancing (comp. anag.).
F. P. N. Lake: Some transatlantic character’s energetic dance (not half!) for the big feature of December (John Doe with can(-can) for D, & lit.).
R. K. Lumsdon: West Indian traditional gig? (John (West) + canoe, & lit.; gig = long, light boat).
D. F. Manley: I am the Lord of the Dance, Jesus Christ, a shortened ‘Xmas’ hiding my name (oh n in JC a Noe(l)).
T. J. Moorey: One’s exhausted after more than one office party at Christmas (john can + o(n)e).
C. J. Morse: His Christmas revels could make Jamaican’s head ache on and on (anag. incl. J).
D. P. Shenkin: For this dancer you have a man – no nach is involved in it (anag. in Joe, & lit.; see nautch).
Mrs J. E. Townsend: First of January, hoc anno fizzing with energy for boisterous celebrations (J + anag. + E).
A. P. Vincent: Noel Jamaican hop – am I lap dancing with this? (comp. anag.).
D. Williamson: Jamaican hoedown could produce this, a mad W.I. dancing (comp. anag. & lit.).
A. J. Young: W.I. seasonal shindig with dominos and ladies’ craft (John canoe; WI 2 mngs.; domino = mask).
E. A. Beaulah, C. J. Brougham, B. Burton, C. J. & M. P. Butler, Mrs M. J. Cansfield, P. Cargill, M. Casserley, C. A. Clarke, M. Coates, D. J. Dare-Plumpton, E. Dawid, J. Dromey, J. English, A. G. Fleming, Dr I. S. Fletcher, R. Ford, H. Freeman, M. Freeman, N. C. Goddard, D. Gould, B. Grabowski, G. I. L. Grafton, R. R. Greenfield, R. J. Heald, G. Johnstone, J. P. Lester, J. C. Leyland, H. M. Lloyd, P. Long, C. J. Lowe, P. W. Marlow, Ms C. M. McGraw, C. G. Millin, B. J. Oakes, F. R. Palmer, D. Price Jones, D. R. Robinson, Mrs H. Rogers, M. Sanderson, V. Seth, D. J. Short, M. Sloman, P. L. Stone, J. B. Sweeting, K. Thomas, A. P. Vick, L. Ward, A. J. Wardrop, B. Webb, W. Woodruff, Dr E. Young.
259 entries, very few mistakes. Too difficult for a Christmas special? I was certainly disappointed by the low entry, given the extra solving time and increased prizes, I’d hoped that by involving JOHN CANOE in all three of the special clue types I was giving extra help in the solving process, to compensate for not telling you which clues were of which type. Those who commented said that this proved to be the case, and they were duly grateful for it, but perhaps overall it represented too much of a struggle, what with all the other available attractions and diversions over the holiday period. Many regulars did say that the puzzle presented about the right level of difficulty, though. I’d had JOHN CANOE up my sleeve for some time, having stumbled upon it in Chambers, my only reservation being that it didn’t seem to lend itself readily to imaginative cluing. How wrong I was. There were all manner of good ideas and no shortage of good clues to keep me busy. I didn’t get down to judging until after my wife and I returned from a memorable visit to South India for the millennial celebrations. (Among other highlights we saw specimens of that old crossworder’s standby the Nilgiri tahr, now a threatened species with only about 2,000 left in the world. It’s a shy sort of mountain goat, rather too trusting of homo sapiens for its own good, one suspects.) One regular competitor queried my use of ‘vaguely appropriate’ to describe JOHN CANOE. It wasn’t perhaps the best choice of words, but I intended it to reflect the wording of the Chambers definition in describing it as relating especially (i.e., by implication, not exclusively) to Christmas celebrations. Most of you went for the general definition, with only a handful opting for the leader of the dance or the mask he wears.
A general caveat: I expect clues submitted to be free of spelling mistakes. A couple this time included ‘boistrously’ and I’m afraid they were disqualified without further ado. So do take care. It is a shame to spoil one’s chances through carelessness alone.
The publishers Chameleon Books (an imprint of André Deutsch) have sent me a copy of Improve Your Game - 50 Crossword Puzzles by Paul Lamford and Mike Laws (ISBN 0 233 99728 8). The puzzles are thematic and of graded difficulty, those by Mike Laws being reprinted from Games and Puzzles magazine. It looks a varied and interesting collection. Price £4.99.