◀  No. 3842 Sep 1979 Clue list No. 393  ▶

AZED CROSSWORD 388

ALEXIPHARMIC

1.  R. J. Palmer: With this elixir a chap gets restored having swallowed a bit of monkswood (m in anag., & lit.).

2.  D. P. M. Michael: Answer to unknown quantity in a phial – crime thwarted? (x in anag., & lit.).

3.  Mrs E. J. Shields: With this admitted freely one might follow Mithridatic example A.D. (comp. anag. & lit.; ref. King M. V of Pontus d. by poisoning).

VHC

C. Allen Baker: What is lexical I hamper – resort to me for that (comp. anag. & lit.; re-sort).

D. R. Armitage: Maybe draught, one with power against bane, taken in to cut off poison (ale + I P harm in (to)xic, & lit.).

Dr J. K. Aronson: Drink unknown quantity of Harpic? I’m a mixture you’ll need (ale x + anag., & lit.; brand of bleach).

M. J. Balfour: Such trivets did rightly make placid Mithridates VI, Rex (comp. anag. & lit.; ref. King M. of Pontus, father d. by poisoning).

M. J. Ball: There’s mischief in a law I choose incompletely preventing poisoning (harm in a lex I pic(k)).

Mrs F. Blanchard: Elixir a champ needed when nobbled (anag.).

Miss N. M. Brown: Rash pa, I exclaim frantically, not arsenic! Counteract its effects with this (anag. less As.).

E. J. Burge: The unknown quantity in devious crime – a phial. Poison container? (x in anag.).

Mrs M. P. Craine: Chemist’s answer to drug problem? ‘Funnily enough, I mix chap ale with a dash of rum’ (anag. incl. r).

N. C. Dexter: Elixir a chap needed when mad enough to hold mamba’s head (anag. incl. m).

R. A. England: Bitter kernel of toxin I mostly remove without damage (ale x + harm in I pic(k)).

A. L. Freeman: Sandy has one arm restricted by a jagged chip – needing a jag of this? (Alex(ander) I + arm in anag.).

J. P. H. Hirst: One’s after the answer to something with power to injure one, in Guinness perhaps (x + I + P harm I, all in Alec, & lit.; ref. actor).

G. Johnstone: Beverage to cap Harpic mix drunk? (ale + anag., & lit.; brand of bleach).

F. P. N. Lake: India pale, perhaps, at first – then team cheer up in after-lunch period, getting 99 against venomous attack (ale XI + rah (rev.) in p.m. + IC).

A. D. Legge: Brew Eleven and Harp drunk, then half a Mickey – antidote needed (ale XI + anag. + Mic(key); beer brands).

C. Loving: Murder a la Crippen? Mix he kept away from jug! (anag. less pen, & lit.).

D. F. Manley: What’s your poison? I’m anti that ‘unreal’ Harp! I exclaim (anag.; beer brand).

J. D. Moore: With this, a brew of ilex has little power to hurt one, see (a + anag. + P harm I c).

C. J. Morse: Sandy hair flying conceals P.M. in charge of counter-measures against snakes (Alex + anag. incl. P + M i/c).

M. Postlethwaite: Mithridatic mixer a caliph concocted (anag.; ref. King M. V of Pontus d. by poisoning).

D. R. Robinson: It reaches those parts that need reviving. ‘Harp!’ I exclaim, wrongly (anag.; ref. beer brand and Heineken ads).

B. F. Russell: Baffling poison: broken phial complicates crime with ax (anag.).

P. J. Woods: For a toxic arm I help – turn to me (comp. anag. & lit.).

Dr E. Young: Poisoning cure – to mix a phial get this out (comp. anag. & lit.).

HC

R. H. Adey, E. Akenhead, F. D. H. Atkinson, Miss G. Barker, G. T. Berryman, A. J. Blackhurst, A. G. Bogie, Mrs A. R. Bradford, J. M. Brown, R. S. Caffyn, W. P. Cass, H. Clark, C. A. Clarke, Mrs J. M. Critchley, A. L. Dennis, J. H. Dingwall, P. Drummond, Dr I. S. Fletcher, B. Franco, E. A. Free, Dr R. E. Gillson, I. Gilmore, D. A. Ginger, S. Goldie, O. Greenwood, Dr J. F. Grimshaw, R. S. Haddock, I. F. Haines, D. V. Harry, J. Henderson, P. F. Henderson, V. G. Henderson, A. Hodgson, E. M. Holroyd, E. Hubble, C. H. Hudson, J. G. Hull, R. H. F. Isham, A. H. Jones, C. L. Jones, R. Jones, N. Kemmer, A. Lawrie, M. D. Laws, J. D. Lockett, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, Rev W. P. Manahan, C. G. Millin, T. J. Moorey, N. C. Morion, H. B. Morton, R. A. Mostyn, D. S. Nagle, J. P. O’Neill, M. L. Perkins, H. Rainger, C. P. Rea, N. Roles, L. G. D. Sanders, T. E. Sanders, A. F. Simmerson, W. K. M. Slimmings, F. B. Stubbs, J. G. Stubbs, Miss E. S. Taylor, P. C. Thornton, E. Tingle, W. E. White, J. P. A. Wildey, M. G. Wilson, E. G. Wren, Dr R. L. Wynne.
 

COMMENTS
420 entries, with no discernible mistakes, except, that is, for my own idiotic blunder in the anagram to POSTNATI and the wrong numbering of the clue to DEMESNES. I apologise humbly for both of these, especially the former, in particular to those whose trust in my infallibility refused to be shaken and who therefore couldn’t make out how the clue worked. As usual on such (mercifully infrequent) occasions, a number of you fell moved to lyricize upon my foibles. Here are a couple of the better offerings:

    • It appears that Azed should be rapped
    • For a clue just a trifle inapt.
    • I am sure he cannot
    • Have a son who’s a sot,
    • But how else can his error adapt?
    • Anag solver, at a loss
    • Sadly points at 4 Across.
    • ‘Son inapt’ alas inept –
    • Homer nodded, AZED slept.
    • (An anag for POST-NATI, love?
    • Kindly scan line 2 above.)
Kindest comment of all: ‘I don’t think the faulty anagram at 4 Across will worry anybody but yourself.’ I wish I could be so sure!
 
That apart, it seems to have been an enjoyable competition. There were unintentional red herrings at GADI (‘It contributes to giving king a dignity) where ROBE seemed possible, though I doubt whether I’d refer to the O.B.E. as a ‘dignity’, and at FUSSBALL, where PUFFBALL really was a valid alternative. To anyone still puzzled I’d offer dust = dust-up = commotion = fuss as my chain of reasoning. Hollow though it may sound to keep protesting so, I don’t plan these little blind alleys deliberately (unless there’s a particular occasion to justify such roguery, when I usually offer veiled hints at what I’m up to). It is a probably inevitable feature of crosswords generally, relying so heavily as they do on ambiguity and innuendo, that extra and unforeseen ambiguities will creep in from time to time. Lots of nice ideas for ALEXIPHARMIC despite the few who complained, as happens every single month, that it was the most difficult word to clue I’ve yet given you. Anagrams predominated, as one might expect with a long word, and of these the commonest by far involved the use of ‘mix’ ‘phial’ and ‘care’ in any number of combinations. Most were perfectly sound (except those that used ‘mix’ both as part of the anagram and as an anagram indicator) and exploited an obviously attractive idea; none however, stood out from the crowd far enough for high honour. Many mixed ale with Harpic, a curious cocktail if deliberately concocted (though wasn’t it Jimmy Edwards in one of the timeless Take It From Here programmes years ago who recommended gin and Harpic as the best drink to send you round the bend?), but I suppose there’s no accounting for taste. I have no evidence that Harpic is actually poisonous, or ilex for that matter (vide Mr. Moore’s otherwise neat clue), but I am fairly confident that after a drink of either the system would need (sorry!) flushing out.
 
All but a tiny handful of late orders for Azed ties have now been filled. Total sales to date exceed 700, a phenomenal number considering that the ladies have not been catered for at all. Very few people have said whether they like the design. I hope this doesn’t imply quiet disappointment.
 
Finally, since it’s a question I’m often asked, I think the average entry for non-competition prize puzzles is roughly the same as for the competitions, and that can be anything between about 100 and about 800, most commonly in the 400-500 range.
 

 

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