◀  No. 14392 Jan 2000 Clue list No. 1446  ▶


Word containing MM displaced by a bug

1.  J. R. Tozer: Puzzle consisted of one bug after another (flummox / wasp; flu + was pox).

2.  C. J. Morse: To start year of historic significance, I’m having a bust (mammate / ked; make date).

3.  H. Freeman: Close the blasted Dome – I hate it! (immediate / moth; anag.).


J. R. Beresford: Review hope it can put puzzling around end of Business (comment / aphis; s in anag.; ref. position of AZ puzzle).

C. W. Clenshaw: Severely criticize sentimental glory attaching to US general (hammer / locust; halo Custer).

E. Cross: Prime suspect in Scotland Yard (jammy / louse; jalouse + y).

D. J. Dare-Plumpton: Electronic check in new chiliad sorted out problem (dilemma / chinch; E ch in anag. incl. n).

N. C. Dexter: Handicap – Dome being constructed? For minister it’s a benefit (commendam / aphid; anag.).

C. M. Edmunds: Introduction of millennia as a signal to delete small creatures? The reverse (Emma / cimex; axe mice (all rev.); i.e. signaller’s M).

S. Gould: Reduced length of play with a limited edition (trimmed / flea; trifle a ed).

R. R. Greenfield: You may attain it only after sweat (summit / dor; sudor + it, & lit.).

C. R. Gumbrell: Puzzle was beset by bugs! (flummox / wasp; was in flu pox).

R. Hesketh: Puzzle involving swap (initially Lake’s idea). (dilemma / wasp; anag. incl. L; ref. F. P. N. Lake, credited with idea for puzzle).

P. R. Lloyd: What should accompany the turkey? A rich dessert, I sang drunkenly (trimmings / flea; trifle + anag.).

R. K. Lumsdon: Rank screen belle (rammish / ked; rake dish).

W. F. Main: Public appearance is cut short by runny nose (common / louse; colou(r) + anag.).

D. F. Manley: Yule fare’s out of season in August (summery / flea; anag.).

J. R. C. Michie: The locality favoured by small, meaner fly (brommer / weevil; bro wee viler).

T. J. Moorey: Excellent start to January indeed, including spectacular on the river (jammy / hornet; anag. incl. r in J + ay; ref. London celebrations).

F. R. Palmer: Endlessly predicted cause of chaos proved a damp squib (bummer / wasp; bu(g) was per).

R. J. Palmer: One in mad rush round start of Hogmanay shed inhibitions to celebrate (lemming / thrips; H in let rip + sing).

R. Parry-Morris: Dingy lavatory bowl (dimmish / ked; dike dish).

Dr T. G. Powell: Tricky periods in year beckon (summon / spider; anag. in sun).

D. R. Robinson: Coughing a lot and keeping away from people (hemming / aphid; heap + hiding).

S. J. J. Tiffin: Worker in extreme pain after illness? Humbug! (flummery / mantis; flu + ant in misery).


W. Anderson, D. Appleton, W. G. Arnott, M. Barley, I. M. Barton, M. Bath, E. A. Beaulah, Dr P. M. J. Bennett, Mrs F. A. Blanchard, C. Boyd, C. J. Brougham, E. J. Burge, Dr J. Burscough, C. J. & M. P. Butler, P. Cargill, I. Carr, P. A. Cash, M. Casserley, C. A. Clarke, I. Clarke, R. Dean, R. V. Dearden, P. Dendy, V. Dixon, D. Durrance, G. I. L. Grafton, B. Higgins, J. Highton, B. Hitman, R. J. Hooper, F. P. N. Lake, J. C. Leyland, G. Loder, E. Looby, C. J. Lowe, Mrs J. Mackie, P. W. Marlow, Rev M. R. Metcalf, K. Milan, C. G. Millin, I. Morgan, R. A. Norton, A. J. Pinel, L. J. Roberts, M. Sanderson, W. J. M. Scotland, Mrs E. J. Shields, D. A. Simmons, C. W. Thomas, D. H. Tompsett, Mrs J. E. Townsend, J. L. Turner, Dr A. J. Varney, P. J. Wagstaffe, J. Walsh, A. J. Wardrop, Dr M. C. Whelan, P. O. G. White, D. C. Williamson.

That’s more like it! 406 entries, with few mistakes (mostly IFLYED for IFLYEW through failure, presumably, to spot the uncorrupted word IMMEW. A few submitted clues which didn’t follow the ‘rules’, either by choosing uncorrupted words which did not contain MM, or by choosing bugs of more than six letters (e.g. ladybird), or by choosing one that I’d used. One competitor used a word with KK in it, which seemed oddly perverse.
In general the puzzle was much appreciated, proving not too difficult to solve when the penny dropped, less so than the Christmas special, and the unusual luxury of being able to choose your own clue word was welcomed by most. The idea for the theme was suggested to me several months ago by Mr Paul Lake (FPNL). It struck me immediately as worth trying, and I am very grateful to him for it. I was agreeably surprised that I was able to work in so many bugs (having rejected the idea of allowing myself disease-type bugs as well as insects) and still produce a standard 36-word grid with a normal range of word lengths. I’m told there were other ‘Millennium Bug’ puzzles over the new year period though I didn’t see them myself and I gather none of them used exactly the same idea as mine.
No fewer than 44 legitimate bugs were used in clues submitted, the most popular being WASP, KED, LOUSE, FLEA and MOTH (in that order). Less familiar ones included GRUGRU, ZEBUB and ZYME. The challenge was clearly to find a word which when corrupted by the appropriate bug yielded a form which lent itself to neat cluing that was not too obscure for the solver and, if possible, had an added touch of wit and/or topicality. Judging was fun and not easy. Many perfectly sound submissions just lacked that vital imaginative ingredient I’m always looking for. ‘& lit.’ clues were rare though quite acceptable (the cryptic reading leading to the corrupted word, the literal reading to the uncorrupted word), as in Mr Greenfield’s clue above, but I did not favour ‘linking words’ suggesting that a clue’s cryptic part and its definition part referred to the same form – clearly not the case in this type of clue. I carefully avoided such linking words in my own clues.


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