AZED CROSSWORD 2116
YULETIDE (with jumble of COMEDO)
1. D. & N. Aspland: Pro Come Dancing star who is released from reality show duties around Christmas (anag. less anag.).
2. D. F. Manley: When we deck the home do call – I’d exult with ye, naughtily stealing kiss! (anag. less x).
3. T. J. Moorey: Christmas puzzle I do comes clued yet bits of some corkers must be eschewed (anag. less s, c).
VHC (extra prizes)
M. Barley: The seasoned Como you’d get round tree with uplifting old words to sing (ule + dit (rev.) in ye).
G. Borooah (USA): Include dilute rum iced, moon the old-fashioned for a very merry time indeed (anag. in ye).
A. G. Chamberlain: Decode co-member’s feast: after last of austerity you will see diet abandoned (last letters + anag.).
V. Dixon (Ireland): Now, as end of year’s calmed, cooling, you should imbibe rum (or bubbly) dilute! (anag. in ye).
J. Guiver: A bit of extra housework taken up to get university room decent for Christmas term (u let in e DIY (rev.)).
D. V. Harry: When Kings come to stable and bed (moo-cow in front of little deity) and turn, travelling East (anag. incl. l, U + E).
R. J. Heald: Acceptable room, decent, procured by Judaean couple finally in time for Nativity (U let in Yid e; with apologies for use of offensive term).
C. G. Millin: When we decorate our home do call with gifts, you love removing contents elaborately tied (y(o)u l(ov)e + anag.).
C. J. Morse: Dietal uey – could good come of a ——? (comp. anag. & lit.; goof vtr; see Webster for dietal).
G. J. H. Roberts: Without three kingdom CEOs, rider truly heads east for now (anag. less r × 3 + E).
B. Roe: Christmas puzzle doomed, cue telly I left off (anag. less l).
P. L. Stone: ‘Pro Come Dancing’ – elite duo round off last of ‘Strictly’ before Christmas (y + anag. less o).
R. C. Teuton: Can turkey become OD? Ideal spread for this break! (comp. anag. & lit.).
J. R. Tozer: You hear you’re going to flood, then ice dooms the festive season (‘you’ll’ + tide).
Mrs A. M. Walden: Festive occasion that has the old imbibing dilute rum. (To come due again in 2018) (anag. in ye; Tue = Tuesday).
A. J. Wardrop: Feast for which tailless neat needs some doctoring in a stone shelter (tid(y) in yu lee).
G. H. Willett: Doomed crop leads to guilty deed whose devilry then makes time for Azed special (anag. less initials).
T. Anderson, D. K. Arnott, J. Baines, J. Biggin, T. C. Borland, D. A. Campbell, P. Cargill, I. Carr, N. Connaughton, N. Craggs, P. T. Crow, H. Darwen, M. Davies, R. Fentem, Dr I. S. Fletcher, D. Freund (USA), R. Gilbert, G. I. L. Grafton, J. Grimes, R. B. Harling, R. Hesketh, G. Johnstone, E. C. Lance, D. T. R. Lawson, P. R. Lloyd, C. Loving, W. F. Main, K. Manley, P. W. Marlow, J. McGhee, P. McKenna, Rev Prebendary M. R. Metcalf, J. R. C. Michie, D. R. Miller, R. A. Norton, M. L. Perkins, W. Ransome, C. P. Robinson (Australia), Dr S. J. Shaw, I. Simpson, P. A. Stephenson, P. Taylor, S. J. J. Tiffin, D. H. Tompsett, J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter, N. Warne, Dr M. C. Whelan, Ms S. Wise, A. J. Young, Dr E. Young, R. Zara.
214 entries, no noticeable mistakes. Favourite clues (of 20 mentioned), both with the same score, one each from acrosses and downs (and both featuring grandparents!): ‘Granny’s snaffling first bit of peasants’ bread’ (NAAN) and ‘It’s hard to communicate with grandpa , now he has Be/tty’ (COMEDO). One regular, a grandfather in his eighties and anything but dotty, commented that his family, including his wife Betty, were much amused by the latter.
This was a very tricky competition to judge. The format was generally well received. Very few apparently remembered that I’d given it to you once before (No. 1,544 back in 2001), when this variation on PD first occurred to me as worth trying. As many of you clearly discovered, clues of the type I asked you to come up with are not easy to construct convincingly (i.e. with both readings making reasonable sense) and I will readily concede that one or two of mine were on the creaky side. Some clues submitted were simply not cryptic when the superfluous letters of COMEDO were omitted; others were left with non-words after this process. Others again overlooked or ignored the part of the preamble that stated: ‘Closing up the gap [after jumbles are removed] may require some manipulation of the clue’s punctuation, but there is no further tinkering with word division elsewhere in the clue.’ Several otherwise excellent entries got carried away by the notion of devilry and introduced elements of it into their submissions. Why, someone wondered, did I introduce this restriction? It was really in the interests of solvability. With so much else challenging the solver of down clues I felt that this would present an excessive extra complication. I was even uneasy about allowing ‘manipulation of punctuation’ but decided in the end that this was taking Procrusteanism too far. So Mr Harry’s brackets and the dashes inserted by Mr Stone and CJM just passed the acceptability test. One weakness that cropped up occasionally was when the addition of the intrusive anagram (usually in the form of ‘do come’ unattached to words preceding or following it) barely if at all affected the overall sense of the clue and so could not really be seen as intrusive. With all this to wrestle with I congratulate all competitors on sticking with it and joining in the fun in the spirit intended.
It only remains for me to send you all belated good wishes for the coming year and to thank all those who sent cards and other seasonal messages to me and my family. As always I am sustained in my efforts to divert and amuse by the knowledge that my puzzles are appreciated by so many of you. Onwards, then, and upwards.