◀  No. 20584 Dec 2011 Clue list No. 2064  ▶



1.  D. Harris: Under this listing might show up ‘a redneck plonker’ (comp. anag. & lit.).

2.  A. J. Wardrop: In Topeka ‘plonker’ is, with a touch of coarseness, translated into this (comp. anag. incl. c, & lit.).

3.  I. D. McDonald: ‘Lacking adult appeal, confused’ – critic describes Hollywood turkey (anag. less A + knocker; turkey = bad film/dullard).


M. Barley: Close to fine hundred, plonker KP is out after a yahoo (a + anag. incl. e C; ref. Kevin Pietersen).

C. A. Clarke: American for coarse, bumbling Peckham plonker (anag. with A for ham; ref. ‘Only Fools and Horses’).

Dr P. Coles: Rube dips foreign bread in pork with pecan nuts (lek in anag.).

Dr I. S. Fletcher: Turkey on Broadway – result of cutting article from local critic? ((the) Apple knocker).

G. I. L. Grafton: Wild extremes of pressure cause rain and keep outlook all across the pond a dull one (anag. of first and last letters).

Ms M. Irvine: Stupid American pickpocket nearly nobbled leaving city ground (anag. less anag.).

D. F. Manley: American to get peck confused with plonker? (A + anag., & lit.; ref. inappropriate kiss).

C. G. Millin: Wally, a Peckham plonker possibly, but not a bad actor (anag. less ham).

C. J. Morse: The makings of a pen-pal in a thousand? On the contrary, a boor from overseas (i.e. k in anag. + ocker, & lit.).

A. Plumb: Apparently pan’s stuck in oven, creating goop (app + knock in leer).

W. Ransome: American plonker, thick person possibly; in short, this (comp. anag. & lit.).

Dr S. J. Shaw: This crude hand could be cropper and knuckle-head abroad (comp. anag. & lit.).

P. L. Stone: Homer, for example, not forthcoming – New York lacking the big hitter ((the big) Apple + knocker; ref. H. Simpson; not forthcoming = uncivil).

P. Taylor: UK ‘plonker’ translated (with space) could be US ‘——’ (comp. anag. & lit.).

L. Ward (USA): Broiling boar with Kentucky people? You bet this rube could go for that (and elk and pork and pecan nuts, too!) (comp. anag., anag.).

R. J. Whale: Was ‘yankee plonker’ the non-PC translation of this sawney? (comp. anag. incl. PC, & lit.).

Dr E. Young: Jobs can’t have been that simple to find in US (i.e. Apple knocker; simple n.; ref. Steve Jobs).


T. Anderson, D. K. Arnott, D. & N. Aspland, M. J. Barker, P. Bartlam, J. Biggin, T. C. Borland, J. Brignal, Dr J. Burscough, B. Cheesman, P. Cole, N. Connaughton, C. Daffern, V. Dixon (Ireland), W. Drever, C. M. Edmunds, A. G. Fleming, R. Gilbert, J. Glassonbury, Mrs E. Greenaway, P. Halse, D. Harrison, D. V. Harry, R. J. Heald, V. Henderson, P. F. Henderson (New Zealand), M. Hodgkin, J. Hood, R. J. Hooper, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, P. W. Marlow, Rev Prebendary M. R. Metcalf, D. S. Miller, T. J. Moorey, C. Ogilvie, M. L. Perkins, D. Price Jones, B. Roe, R. J. Sharkey, D. P. Shenkin, P. A. Stephenson, R. C. Teuton, K. Thomas, J. R. Tozer, Mrs C. Velarde, J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter, Ms S. Wallace, N. Warne, J. Waterton, G. H. Willett, D. R. Williams, J. S. Witte.

218 entries, no mistakes. Favourite clue of the month (of 12 mentioned once or more, and perhaps vaguely appropriate in view of the clue word): ‘Old church plate and at least four cups’ (BRAS), a little ahead of ‘Nigella gargled wildly on broadcast day’ (RAGGED-LADY). My clue to ACETONES received one adverse vote because of the dubious plural, though I did feel that the subsidiary definition ‘any ketone’ in Chambers legitimized this.
Quite a colourful clue word this time. One of the neatest ideas for cluing it (variations on ‘Jonathan’s boob(y)?’) was unfortunately rather too popular. It also raised the thorny problem of whether the singular form ‘knocker’ in the required sense is ever found (any more than ‘bristol’ is). All the dictionaries I consulted insisted that it is only used in the plural, though I guess that the singular form does turn up, especially in spoken English. Interestingly, a couple of US-based competitors mentioned that they’d never heard the word APPLE-KNOCKER, and neither had any of their friends. It was certainly new to me.
I am now using the new edition of The Chambers Dictionary (which will be recommended from January). Apart from the inevitable new entries and a few old ones I’ve noticed as having been omitted, it is not very different from its predecessor, except for a new central section called ‘The Word Lover’s Miscellany’, a largely cosmetic pot-pourri consisting of ‘lists of quaint, poetic and appealing words for you to enjoy’ which inconveniently interrupts the normal sequence of the dictionary. Certain entries in the dictionary itself are highlighted, though the reason for this is not explained (unless I’ve missed something), and seem again to be merely words for us to enjoy. A pointless addition, I’d say, that kills for the user the joy of serendipity. Most regrettable of all perhaps is the reduction in the number of appendices from 22 to 13. Among those that have been dropped is ‘Some first names’, a significant loss. So if and when you acquire the new edition, I do urge you not to throw away the old one.
Finally my sincere thanks for all the cards and greetings addressed to me and my family. It is always good to hear that one’s efforts continue to amuse and divert. Merry Christmas to you all, and happy solving in 2012.


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