AZED CROSSWORD 2438
MONTE DI PIETÀ
1. R. J. Palmer: Liberal loans with this could be arranged by old-time Neapolitans (comp. anag. incl. L, & lit.).
2. P. L. Stone: Broke, last of liras spent, deposit an item here (anag. less s, & lit.).
3. N. G. Shippobotham: Where to pop petite diamond when penniless? (anag. less d, & lit.).
M. Barker: Here one pledges to state time appointed for settlement when short of a penny (anag. less p, & lit.).
M. Barley: Pop into me and get paid, leaving item of gold behind? (anag. less g, & lit.).
Ms K. Bolton: Last of euros spent, deposit an item, sadly, here? (anag. less s, & lit.).
C. J. Brougham: When broke, dip item at one (anag. & lit.).
C. A. Clarke: ‘This is where government keeps pledges’ desperate May endlessly petitioned (anag. less y).
N. Connaughton: Dip item at one abroad (comp. anag. & lit.).
Ms L. Davis: Artfully I mend tip of imari teapot spout (anag. incl. i).
R. J. Heald: Papa and I engaged in card game to pass time, a better alternative to tiddlywinks (p I in monte die t a; see Papa).
G. Johnstone: Lacking money a Piedmont item is popped here (anag. less m, & lit.).
J. C. Leyland: Popping item on iPad saves time with latest in software here? (t, e in anag., & lit.; save = protect).
T. Locke: Dante poem, is it? Not special, if languishing here (anag. less s, & lit.).
B. Lovering: Regular instalments of debt paid on time, unusual for an Italian state bank! (anag. incl. e, t).
D. F. Manley: What would realign pawned item to minimum of interest? This would, originally (comp. anag. incl. i, w & lit.).
A. D. Scott: What’s dip at one time used? (anag. & lit.).
I. Simpson: Cash short and needing bob for diamonds fast? About time to get in here (t in mone(y) + diet with dip for d + a, & lit.).
P. A. Stephenson: Dip item at one abroad (anag. & lit.).
J. R. Tozer: Shylock’s adversary perhaps made petition artfully (anag.; ref. Portia in ‘MoV’).
J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter: EU and May both endlessly tied into wrestling about conclusion of backstop – this is where things go up the spout! (p in anag. incl. E, Ma).
Mrs A. M. Walden: Where Italians pop dope intimates endlessly supply (anag. less s).
R. J. Whale: Pignorated items: possibly popped here with the last of your savings disappearing? (comp. anag. incl. r, s, g, & lit.).
A. Whittaker: Pawn in one, at time when in distress (dip in anag. & lit.).
T. Anderson, D. Ashby, D. & N. Aspland, P. Bartlam, J. G. Booth, T. C. Borland, W. Drever, C. M. Edmunds, J. Fairclough, Dr I. S. Fletcher, H. Freeman, R. Gilbert, J. Grimes, P. Harding, D. Harris, M. Lloyd-Jones, A. MacDougall, P. W. Marlow, J. R. C. Michie, K. Milan, C. G. Millin, C. Ogilvie, S. J. O’Boyle, A. Plumb, C. W. Reid Dick (Germany), T. Rudd, Dr S. J. Shaw, D. P. Shenkin, J. Smailes, R. C. Teuton, P. Tharby, Ms S. Wallace, J. D. Walsh, A. J. Wardrop, D. Whisstock (Italy), G. H. Willett, Dr E. Young.
176 entries, no noticeable mistakes. Favourite clue, of 18 nominated once or more, was ‘Five points released by government department? They reveal a lot!’ for MINIS, a long way ahead of the rest. (Distant echoes there of ‘Abbreviations not in Chambers, but should not be looked up anyway!’ for MINI SKIRTS, first prize by M. C. Raphael in Ximenes No. 936, January 1967.)
This was a terrific competition, despite the lowish entry, possibly because of the clue phrase, which offered plenty of scope for creative clue-writing. It’s not a term I remember coming across before. Despite having been established centuries ago and in various continental countries, monti di pietà etc still exist in some of them at least. One regular competitor included with his entry a photo of the monte di pietà in Valetta (at 46 Merchant’s Street since 1773), which he happened to be visiting. The phrase offered a field day for anagrams, of course, especially as part of ‘& lit.’ clues. And the world of pawnbroking includes a wide range of seductive vocabulary, some of it new to me, such as ‘tiddlywinks’. And I had no idea that ‘up the spout’ originally meant ‘pawned’.
A factor that gave me pause for thought in judging this month was the extent to which clue writers should go in indicating elements additional to the basic meaning of the target word/phrase. Should they in this case aim to indicate (however obliquely) its Italian origin, the fact that it is state-run and/or its historicity? This is something I regard as impossible to legislate on precisely, while applauding those who tried and pointing out that definitions that are too vague or imprecise are usually weaker as a result.
In conclusion, you may like to know that two Azed regulars, Richard Heald and Ian Simpson, have devised a new weekly word-based logic puzzle, called ‘Square Routes’, which made its debut in The Times on 16 March. Ingenious, and trickier than it looks.