AZED CROSSWORD 1866
1. V. Dixon: What meanders in Germany’s capital Berlin, cutting its centre? Spree! (anag. of G Be(rl)in; ref. River S.).
2. T. J. Moorey: Government nationalise finally, propping up northern bank nearly bust (bin(k) + G + e; ref. Northern Rock).
3. M. Hodgkin: Lift end of pen and get last forgotten pig out (nib (rev.) + ge(t)).
T. Anderson: ‘Gorge Bungie Jumps’ (Horseshoe Falls notice) (anag. less U).
M. Barley: See Jag, being faulty, have blow-out and crash, killing rookie driver (anag.; bing(L)e; jag2).
T. C. Borland: Where you might go crazy on case of Glenmorangie (bin + G, e, & lit.).
C. Boyd: Get run out of banger I renovated – not a Jag (anag. less r, a; jag2).
Rev Canon C. M. Broun: A lot of wine leads to gross excess – this? (bin + g e, & lit.).
E. J. Burge: Jag being serviced … big end mainly needing repair (anag., anag. less d; jag2).
R. Dean: Imbibing excessively? That’s only part of it! (hidden & lit.).
M. Goodliffe: Drunken bum imbibing eight bottles (hidden; bum2 = spree).
J. F. Grimshaw: Be lying about in gutter – out of it, say – the outcome of this? (in g(utter) in be, & lit.).
R. J. Heald: Jag’s big end damaged – diesel’s beginning to escape (anag. less d; jag2).
P. Heffernan: Initially big in Newcastle, Gazza epitomised drunken excess (first letters; ref. Paul Gascoigne).
P. F. Henderson: Person downs repeated quantity of beer in this (being with e moved to end, & lit.).
J. R. H. Jones: Have a quantity of wine and then throw up for example? (bin + e.g. (rev.), & lit.).
J. C. Leyland: See big meal lead to poor ’Enry perishing – lamprey one? (comp. anag. incl. p, & lit.; ref. Henry I’s ‘surfeit of lampreys’).
P. Lloyd: To —— duly makes you get blind drunk (comp. anag. & lit.).
D. F. Manley: Blind date departs to escape casual bedding (anag. less d d).
C. J. Morse: Imbibing excessively, that’s part of it – and grabbing eats (hidden twice, & lit).
D. Parfitt: What features a ‘clink’ at the start and ends in big headache? (bin + g e, & lit.; bin = jail).
N. G. Shippobotham: Sporting star with this Jag could be at Sebring (comp. anag.; jag2).
J. R. Tozer: A drunk lobbing empty bottles (hidden; drunk = drunken bout).
A. Allsworth, D. & N. Aspland, M. Barker, J. G. Booth, C. J. Brougham, J. M. Brown, C. J. & M. P. Butler, D. A. Campbell, C. A. Clarke, E. Cross, N. C. Dexter, T. J. Donnelly, W. Duffin, L. K. Edkins, C. M. Edmunds, J. Fairclough, D. Finkel, A. G. Fleming, Dr I. S. Fletcher, H. Freeman, A. Gascoigne, N. C. Goddard, G. I. L. Grafton, Mrs E. Greenaway, D. Grice, R. Griffin, J. Grimes, T. Hallam, R. B. Harling, D. V. Harry, R. Hesketh, S. G. G. Macdonald, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, D. W. Mackie, P. W. Marlow, L. F. Marzillier, J. McGhee, P. McKenna, J. R. C. Michie, C. G. Millin, P. M. Navin, D. Newbery, F. R. Palmer, M. L. Perkins, A. M. Price, D. Price Jones, D. Rainford, S. Reszetniak, D. R. Robinson, D. P. Shenkin, D. J. Short, I. Simpson, R. Stocks, P. L. Stone, Mrs A. Terrill, R. C. Teuton, Ms S. Wallace, T. Weakley, A. West, R. J. Whale, F. J. B. Wheen, D. C. Williamson, A. J. Young.
239 entries, no mistakes. I warned you of two possibly unfamiliar proper names, with IRANI and OGIER in mind. Perhaps I should have said three, to include CASCA, though I’d assumed (wrongly, as it transpired) that he’d be known to everyone as one of the conspirators in Julius Caesar. Ogier the Dane (aka Holger Danske, Olger Dansk, Ogier le Danois, Ogier de Danemarcke), a legendary figure from the chansons de geste and one of Charlemagne’s paladins, does turn up occasionally in crosswords. Probably not so Ronnie Irani, former Lancashire, Essex and English cricketer who retired a year or so ago. Favourite clue of the month (of 23 mentioned) was ‘Dépêche Mode’s losing supposed force, say when retiring’ MESSAGE. (‘Fancy you knowing about electronic rock bands of the 1980s!’ was one comment.) And I’m sorry I gave the wrong nationality for LAARI, through not reading the Chambers entry carefully enough.
BINGE was clearly a popular choice for clue word (‘probably the most friendly word you’ve ever given us’, said one). Variations on the ‘being drunk’ idea, with an ‘& lit.’ element, were understandably attractive to many, but the word clearly required something extra for clues to rise above the majority. Two nearly-good clues (both comp. anags. & lit. as it happens), deserve analysis. (i) ‘Fancy celebrating claret with one!’, ‘claret + binge’ being an anagram of ‘celebrating’. Here it seems to me that some link is required between ‘celebrating’ and ‘claret’; without it the cryptic reading doesn’t work properly. Wording such as ‘Celebrating? Claret one’s wasted in that!’ would render it more acceptable. (ii) ‘Dreadfully bottled on this? Get to be blind drunk’. Here we have two anagram indicators where only one is strictly needed. ‘Bottled on this? Get to be blind drunk’ would be better.
It has been suggested that the slips might in future be sent out by email as the norm, possibly thereby reducing the subscription charge and encouraging more competitors, especially overseas. At the moment there are about 220 subscribers, of whom 33 also receive a complimentary pdf version by email; five subscribers receive the email version only. I don’t want to introduce any changes without canvassing the opinions of those on the mailing list, so please let me know what you think, focussing especially on the following questions: (i) Would you prefer to receive the slip by email, even if it might not be laid out in its present elegant format? (ii) If you prefer to continue receiving a printed version of the slip by post, are you happy to continue paying your subscription knowing that email subscribers may be paying much less?
A final apology to Mr McKenna, whose VHC Spoonerism clue to UNALIKE last month should have read ‘Like cotton holed? …’ (not ‘hold’).