AZED CROSSWORD 2543
1. Dr S. J. Shaw: Skins of Argentine ruminant, processed with currying after being tanned initially (anag. of outer and first letters, & lit.).
2. R. C. Teuton: Chambers regularly finishes off the last light and may save my hide (alternate letters + e, t, t + (m)a(y)).
3. T. Rudd: Hide, e.g. in glove compartment, boiled treat (cab + anag.).
D. Appleton: Soft leather hats, one unfinished, one usually with a pompom missing one (ca(p) + b(i)retta).
D. & N. Aspland: What might be seen in soft shoe shuffle ‘cabaret’ including a bit of tap-dancing (t in anag.).
M. Barley: Arrange to rent a cab, saving on shoe-leather (anag. less on).
P. Bartlam: Soft leather initially creases and bends relatively easily then tears apart (first letters).
W. Drever: ‘R & B’, a term for music reflecting Ms. James’s beautifully smooth material (R, B a c (rev.) + Etta; ref. E. James).
Dr I. S. Fletcher: Material for upper chamber regularly irritated about amendment finally being overturned (alternate letters + t in ate (rev.)).
A. H. Harker: Formed with eyeholes, this soft leather could make a better lacey shoe (comp. anag.).
R. J. Heald: Penthouse article about bosom passing as material suitable for chaps (bre(as)t in cat a; pass = omit).
J. C. Leyland: When moving a tab, etc, right clicker’s essential? (anag. incl. r; ref. computing; clicker = leather cutter).
T. J. Moorey: Specially treated kid close to title withheld, better off in California, anonymous (anag. less e in CA a; ref. ‘Prince’ Archie).
A. Plumb: Leather chair seat has to be regularly recovered (anag. of alternate letters).
A. D. Scott: Tear coat carelessly – head for boutique to replace old sheepskin (anag. with b for o).
A. J. Shields: Liming initially is needed for this leather to become tractable (anag. less l, & lit.; see lime1).
K. Thomas: With no hot bath cater roughly for what chaps need (anag. less H; ref. chaparajos).
S. J. J. Tiffin: Luxurious cover drive in Perth by Lee (Australia) (ca Brett A; ref. former Australian cricketer).
J. R. Tozer: I’m like kid, investing energy in spoilt brat act (E in anag.).
A. J. Varney: Leather Paraguay exported, pretty US handbag’s covering (pretty less PY in caba).
Mrs A. M. Walden: A kind of leather thong primarily seen in risqué cabaret (t in anag.).
A. J. Wardrop: Tabards etc could be made from this, dead sheep initially being involved (comp. anag. incl. d, s, & lit.).
R. J. Whale: Leather bindings of august tome stuck up after dictionary suffers regular fall-out (alternate letters of Chambers + a, t, t, e (rev.)).
K. & J. Wolff: Retrimmed, twenties Bearcat could be sweet in this fine leather (comp. anag.; ref. early US sports car).
T. Anderson, T. C. Borland, A. Brash, Dr J. Burscough, P. Cargill, A. G. Chamberlain, E. Dawid, C. M. Edmunds, P. Evans, J. & H. Fowles, H. Freeman, E. Hall, S. Hicks, M. Hodgkin, T. Jacobs, D. C. Jones, M. Jordan, M. Lunan, A. MacDougall, K. MacKenzie, D. F. Manley, P. W. Marlow, P. McKenna, Rev Prebendary M. R. Metcalf, C. Ogilvie, M. Ollerenshaw, S. J. O’Boyle, J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter, M. Price, S. Randall, W. Ransome, N. G. Shippobotham, C. Short, P. L. Stone, Ms S. Wallace, A. Whittaker, G. H. Willett.
157 entries, no mistakes. In a competition puzzle that was perhaps just on the easier side of average, 12 clues received votes as your favourite in a largely two-horse race, the winner being ‘The most important thing, half of what’s due’ (NUMERO UNO) ahead of ‘Is Holding about the ultimate in fast bowlers maybe? (HATS). And yes, I do accept that a lower-case initial letter may be converted to upper case if the surface reading requires it, though the opposite process is not acceptable. On the subject of favourite clues, I rarely have the time or inclination to choose my own, but I admit to mild disappointment that my clue to USUAL received only one vote. I was quite pleased that the svelte Frau von der Leyen (astonishingly a mother of seven, I read) and Boris Johnson (not the best of friends, I imagine) helped me to deal with an uninspiring word. It just goes to show that one is not always (or even ever) one’s own best judge. One of my clues that puzzled some was ‘She memorably lacked footwear – scan toes wriggling’ for CONTESSA, referring to the Oscar-winning film The Barefoot Contessa (1954), directed by Joseph Mankiewicz and starring Ava Gardner and Humphrey Bogart, a big hit in its day.
A few of you exploited the name of Brett Anderson (new to me), one-time lead singer with the group Suede (a near-definition of ‘cabretta’), which looked promising but needed careful handling of the clue’s wording. Cluing a word like this, with its very specific definition, ideally called for wording that disguised its meaning somewhat, the sign of a more thoughtful clue-writer, as I hope those quoted above illustrate.
In response to queries I’m sorry to say that there is as yet no end in sight to the moratorium on the issuing of prizes. I suppose we should all just be grateful that the Observer continues to appear, along with other newspapers, during these uniquely stressful times.