◀  No. 19233 May 2009 Clue list No. 1932  ▶


TONSURE (Spoonerisms)

1.  J. C. Leyland: Yield from our nets hit by erratic harbour’s trade? (hieratic barber’s; anag.).

2.  E. C. Lance: Tot crept towards nurse unsteadily (tête cropped; to + anag.).

3.  C. J. Brougham: Capital cart that’s propped against new stable (part that’s cropped; to n sure).


D. Arthur: What’s to blame – lacking Chancellor of the Exchequer called Brown? (bald crown; to (CE)nsure).

M. Barley: Waste of time and no use, right called Brown (bald crown; anag. incl. t, r).

T. C. Borland: United are denied opening after loads spot Wayne’s shoved (spot one’s shaved; tons + U (a)re).

C. Boyd: It results in Brown being called terribly stern and dour at heart (crown … bald; anag. incl. (d)ou(r)).

V. Dixon: Brown, called apparently not over reliable, counters angrily, spurning Conservative’s leader (crown, bald; not (rev.) + sure).

R. Gilbert: Former minister’s called Brown ‘washed-up object of scorn leading a moribund operation’ (bald crown; snot (rev.) + ure).

R. B. Harling: Brown called for Chancellor of the Exchequer to be removed from blame (crown, bald; to + (CE)nsure).

R. J. Heald: Amongst characters in Chesterton, surefooted priest’s called Brown (bald crown; hidden; ref. GKC’s Father Brown stories).

P. F. Henderson: Leering shocks le beau monde without fail (shearing locks; ton sure).

M. Hodgkin: Ripped clothing and latest in nose-rings on upper-class punk’s mate (monk’s pate; ’n’ s U in tore).

C. Loving: Roe grilled with nuts – that’s what Hovis she ate needed on top (novitiate heeded; anag.).

P. W. Marlow: One abandoning grooming routines dropped comb (cropped dome; anag. less I).

J. R. C. Michie: Court shut – our net’s broken (short cut; anag.).

T. J. Moorey: Leaving the crown exposed, Lear shocks many on completely ceding power (shear locks; tons + (P)ure).

C. J. Morse: Clare hipped by Francis’s followers stirring unrest about head of Order (hair clipped; O in anag.; ref. controversies surrounding St F.’s successor Brother Elias; hip5).

J. Pearce: Following tense old doctor nurse dropped comb (cropped dome; t o + anag.).

R. C. Teuton: Clear out nuclear store drastically? Brown’s called for such a cut (crown’s bald; anag. less clear).

J. R. Tozer: Labour unrest about focus of controversy called Brown (bald crown; o in anag.).

G. H. Willett: The fashion’s stale, not in vogue for punks and their mates (monks … pates; ton’s + ur(in)e).


D. K. Arnott, D. & N. Aspland, M. Barker, M. Coates, T. Crowther, E. Dawid, R. Dean, N. C. Dexter, T. J. Donnelly, W. Drever, C. M. Edmunds, J. Elliott, A. G. Fleming, M. Freeman, J. F. Grimshaw, D. V. Harry, P. Heffernan, V. G. Henderson, Mrs S. G. Johnson, W. F. Main, D. F. Manley, Dr M. Martin, P. D. Martin, P. McKenna, C. G. Millin, R. Murdoch, M. Nichols, C. Ogilvie, F. R. Palmer, R. J. Palmer, M. L. Perkins, R. Perry, Mrs A. Price, W. Ransome, N. G. Shippobotham, Ms M. Stokes, P. L. Stone, D. H. Tompsett, Ms S. Wallace, A. J. Wardrop, N. Warne, D. C. Williamson, Dr E. Young.

195 entries, no mistakes (except for a few clues submitted which failed to fulfil the requirements). A stiff challenge, clearly, but an enjoyable one on the whole, despite a few dissenting voices (‘rather tedious’ being one comment, made more in sorrow than in anger). I have to admit that I do rather enjoy setting Spoonerisms puzzles, even though they take longer than average, especially in the construction of the grid, and many expressed welcome appreciation while admitting, in a few cases, that not all the pennies had dropped. The very full solution notes should have removed any lingering uncertainties. (Are these notes useful, by the way? Without wishing to insult your intelligence, I am never entirely sure how full to make these and would welcome comments, both on content and on style.) Favourite clue this time, of 24 mentioned, was ‘Two lines in stitches, we hear? One making panel chortle, soon set off again’ for RO-RO, some way ahead of ‘Privy law short case dreads? (GENLOCKS), a clue of the other type.
Poor old Gordon B. got a lot of (not always complimentary) treatment this month, the ‘called Brown’ Spoonerism being understandably very popular, with ‘monk’s/monkish pate’ not far behind, but many found less obvious ways to Spoonerize a definition of the (pretty flexible) clue word. I had a great deal of fun, and not a little difficulty, picking the best of the bunch, in the end awarding the highest honours to clues whose cryptic elements are relatively simple. And yes, I acknowledge that (with reference to Mr Leyland’s clue) the vowels in the first syllable of ‘erratic’ and the second syllable of ‘hieratic’ are not identical when the two words are pronounced in isolation, but when they are uttered as part of the phrase as a whole the difference appears imperceptible. Worthy of Spooner himself, I’d say, and a lovely clue for all that, as was Mr Loving’s rather outrageous offering, which begs the question, ‘What does “heeded” mean in the unSpoonerized form?’ I decide that a novitiate might well reasonably be expected to ‘attend to’ his tonsure so as to ensure that it didn’t become obscured by a fresh growth of hair! Less forgivable perhaps was my own treatment of ‘rep lit’ as a Spoonerism of ‘ripplet’, whose second vowel is normally pronounced as a schwa (neutral vowel) or an ‘i’ sound: ‘lip rit’ would have been a better Spoonerism. My thanks to the lone competitor who picked me up on that.


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