◀  No. 19185 Apr 2009 Clue list No. 1927  ▶



1.  R. J. Heald: Describing a two-dimensional shape explicitly involved axes x and y (anag. less x, y).

2.  J. C. Leyland: Unfinished cello trio of Tippett’s – I improvised missing part of exposition (anag. of cell(o) Tip(pet) I).

3.  M. Barley: Oval et al, are rejected – IPL heads for Capetown instead to play (anag. less a incl. C i; ref. recent IPL decision to play in SA, not England).


T. Anderson: Lacking line, sadly inadequate ball gets lofted to stand in Oval (pill (rev.) in (path)etic).

D. Arthur: Explicitly avoiding unknown factors? Not exactly so (anag. less x, y, & lit.).

C. J. Brougham: Explicitly expressing things needing deduction? Wrong! (anag. less x, y, & lit.).

Rev Canon C. M. Broun: Oval track rolled with this could make ‘pill’ at cricket go out of shape (comp. anag.).

Dr J. Burscough: Using pith, & lit. clue’s thus —— (comp. anag. & lit.).

P. F. Henderson: Explicitly not using algebraic quantities in reformulation of geometric shape (anag. less x, y).

V. G. Henderson: Oval: vital to drop head and duck when receiving lifting ball (pill (rev.) in (zo)etic).

R. Hesketh: Explicitly rendered without variables? Yes and no! (anag. less x, y).

D. F. Manley: End of June – it’ll start to pour, turning freezing almost, such is our annual trip! (e + anag. incl. p + ic(y); ref. planetary orbit).

R. S. Morse: Comprehensive slamming of police with list – so flipping unnecessary (comp. anag.; ref. outcry re Bob Quick).

M. L. Perkins: Oval, perhaps, where a rising ball may break up odd bits of the pitch which are out of true (pill (rev.) in anag. of alternate letters).

Dr S. J. Shaw: Certain pills we can mould to be … (answer) (comp. anag. & lit.).

P. L. Stone: Fond political spiel turns out to be this load of spin (comp. anag. & lit.).

Mrs A. Terrill: Oval capsule popped by name in need of a lift (pill in cite (all rev.)).

A. J. Wardrop: Oval sickener: opening pair dismissed, undone by turning ball (pill (rev.) in (em)etic).

G. H. Willett: Hard to interpret? A kiss for conclusion of farewell could make it explicit (anag. with x for l).

D. C. Williamson: What’s showing explicitly coordinated axes x and y? (anag. less x, y, & lit.; ref. Cartesian coordinate geometry).


M. Bath, A. Butler, C. J. & M. P. Butler, D. A. Campbell, P. Cargill, C. A. Clarke, M. Coates, P. Coles, P. T. Crow, N. C. Dexter, V. Dixon, C. M. Edmunds, C. D. S. & E. A. Field, R. Gilbert, M. Goodliffe, S. L. Gorringe, G. I. L. Grafton, J. F. Grimshaw, D. V. Harry, R. J. Hooper, J. James, J. R. H. Jones, J. P. Lester, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, P. W. Marlow, P. D. Martin, L. F. Marzillier, P. McKenna, J. McNally, C. G. Millin, T. J. Moorey, C. Ogilvie, D. J. R. Ogilvie, D. Parfitt, G. S. Parsons, J. Pearce, A. Plumb, D. R. Robinson, D. J. Short, I. Simpson, G. R. E. Spark, Ms S. Wallace, R. J. Whale, N. Woolliscroft.

A disappointingly low entry, I don’t know why – only 194, with some mistakes, mostly through picking the wrong unchecked letter in NOLL. I thought (wrongly, it seems) that O. Cromwell’s nickname would be well enough known. Other clues that clearly caused extra trouble were those for SHEEP-STEALER (‘Bruce’s incredible girl (acc. to Rev. William) runs off with Jacob, etc’) and TORN (‘Rent in one end of town?’). I didn’t give a note for the latter, thinking it pretty straightforward (one end of ‘town’ being t or n); the former was based on the Spoonerism ‘steep Sheila’ and I used ‘Rev. William (Spooner)’ just to get away from the more obvious ‘Spooner’ for a change. (Watch out, by the way, for a ‘Spoonerisms’ competition puzzle next month.)
Favourite clue by a long way, of 19 receiving one mention or more, was ‘Roger Clark, wealthy eccentric’ for TALLYWHACKER, a colourful if indelicate word that was new to me. This was one of those occasions when I only discovered the word’s meaning when I came to clue it, having used Chambers Words to place it in the grid.
Would I have avoided it if I’d looked it up at the grid-filling stage? Who’s to say? The fact is that many of you were pleased to be introduced to it, and my clue was even (to my surprise) chosen as Tim Moorey’s ‘clue of the week’ in The Week, so it seems we’re all pretty broad-minded these days, even if some newspapers might not have allowed it. Incidentally, I haven’t managed to track down the word’s origin. It doesn’t appear in the Oxfords or any other major dictionary I’ve consulted. It has, for me, an antipodean ring to it though it is not in my (admittedly rather small) Concise Australian National Dictionary (OUP, 1989). Can anyone shed light on its derivation?
Despite a few grumbles about the clue word, there was a nice range of ideas, with ‘oval’ perhaps predictably looming large. Quite a number were disqualified for using ‘back’ to indicate reversal, forgetful of my ingrained objection (inherited from Ximenes) to this when used in a down word. As several of you commented, ELLIPTIC certainly has a wide variety of definitions in Chambers, with meanings that at times seem almost the opposite of each other, but all grist to the clue writer’s mill.
Many of you will be interested to know that the rare Armchair Crosswords by Afrit (A. F. Ritchie), originally published in 1949 and out of print for many years, has recently been republished in a facsimile edition by Derek Harrison and the Rendezvous Press, ISBN 978-0-95554000-2-8. Though Afrit’s cluing style is at times prolix and his grids seem a little odd by today’s standards (ignoring digraphs, for example), he was without doubt a major figure in the early development of cryptic crosswords and is acknowledged as such by most major setters. It is good to have this trail-blazing volume available once again.


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