◀  No. 40123 Dec 1979 Clue list No. 406  ▶


CANDLE-HOLDER (Spoonerisms)

1.  J. P. H. Hirst: To aim inside head of club and look sideways might help us sink our putts (in power cuts; hold in c and leer).

2.  F. P. N. Lake: Elland Rd. echo surges – Leeds fight to a man – so does this supporter! (feeds light; anag.; so = thus).

3.  C. J. & R. S. Morse: Light verser bound over for naughty Noel card’s contents (server; held (rev.) in anag.).

VHC (extra prizes)

R. Brain: Test bowler (West Indian) by artificial light – a bonce scarer (sconce-bearer; candle + Holder; ref. Vanburn H.).

M. Coates: ‘Bear wax up’ appears. My function might be described (where ‘backs up’; double mng.).

A. J. Crow: Tin, old, held out, with hesitation – bummer’s ploy? (plumber’s boy; can + anag. + er).

D. M. Devine: He incites brawl: aching head’ll drone terribly after onset of concussion (law-breaking; c + anag.).

N. C. Dexter: Lord C. healed struggle with Nkomo’s front: his work brings pax to the war (wax to the paw; anag. incl. N; ref. L. Carrington, Rhodesia talks).

D. M. Duckworth: One who would burn lined tie each end. Droll? Extraordinary! (turn blind eye; anag.).

S. P. Flitton: He carries fluttering game hen, corded, all agitated (guttering flame; anag.).

E. A. Free: When abutting olden arch led to cave in (one abetting; anag.).

R. J. Green: Who may burn a lined tie with firework in his hand? (turn a blind eye; 2 mngs.; i.e. Roman candle).

S. Holgate: Test eggs on West Indian paceman who’s lacking bite (backing light; candle + Holder; ref. Vanburn H.; ’s = has).

R. J. Hooper: Keeper can lead astray forward without a back swearing job is his (wax-bearing; can + anag. less a + holder).

L. W. Jenkinson: Dip pen for a letter with bite (abettor with light; candle holder).

J. R. H. Jones: Mummer’s plate, for instance, held back in discordant end carol (plumber’s mate; held (rev.) in anag.).

Mrs M. Kissen: Produces hand-rolled cigarette – no filling – bally packer! (pally backer; anag. incl. c, e).

M. D. Laws: One with wit lacks a bit of creativity – he’s brought back in quirk of droll dean (lit wax; c + he (rev.) in anag.; ref AZ’s re-use of old themes).

L. E. Lodge: A tight lender, not so keen about one caught in arrears (light-tender; an + held (rev.) in colder).

D. F. Manley: Born into rough old cradle, He? I’d have been brought by sight to knee (night to see; n. in anag.).

H. W. Massingham: He gave Leeds men bite, making Elland Rd. echo (bedesmen light; anag.).

C. G. Millin: A mummers’ plate, perhaps, recalling former times – a tin receptacle passed round (plumber’s mate; eld (rev.) in can holder).

F. R. Palmer: One to think with left? He’ll be cooler, with greater age, about revolutionary thought (link with theft; held (rev.) in can older).

Miss I. M. Raab: Melon’s fate – tinned, we hear, by the French farmer (felon’s mate; ‘canned’ + le + holder).

D. R. Robinson: Melon’s fate – any left unfinished gets kept around in chiller (felon’s mate; an(y) + held (rev.) in colder).

M. C. Souster: I’m reckoned to sing lieder. I’m less enthusiastic about arrangements of Handel (second to ringleader; anag. in colder).

P. H. Taylor: Claim farrier might make and cheer old sorrel’s end (flame-carrier; anag. incl. l).

G. R. Webb: Store held back by senior assistant – clearly not one to show a mass gain (gas main; can + held (rev.) + older).

G. H. Willett: A kiss plumb on the mug is the reverse of restrained – more familiar (accomplice; can + held (rev.) + older).


R. B. Adcock, R. H. Adey, Mrs A. R. Bradford, Dr M. H. Bride, J. M. Brown, C. I. Bullock, R. S. Caffyn, G. H. Clarke, J. H. Cleary, R. Dean, Dr I. S. Fletcher, J. D. Foster, B. Franco, O. H. Frazer, A. B. Gardner, D. Giles, I. Gilmore, G. S. Halse, B. Hancock, D. V. Harry, B. Harvey, D. J. Hennings, J. Heslop, Dr I. G. Higginbotham, E. M. Holroyd, R. H. F. Isham, P. J. Izod, Mrs N. Jarman, Mrs D. B. Jenkinson, G. Johnstone, N. Kemmer, N. Kessel, R. E. Kimmons, J. H. C. Leach, P. W. W. Leach, A. D. Legge, J. C. Leyland, T. A. Martin, D. P. M. Michael, I. D. Moore, A. C. Morrison, R. A. Mostyn, D. S. Nagle, K. Nisbet, R. F. Pardoe, W. H. Pegram, Mrs A. Price, E. W. Richart, Rear Adm W. T. C. Ridley, T. E. Sanders, W. J. M. Scotland, W. K. M. Slimmings, T. A. J. Spencer, F. B. Stubbs, I. Torbe, J. Treleaven, Miss V. Webb, J. F. N. Wedge, Rev C. D. Westbrook, Sir David Willcocks, D. O. Williams, P. Williams, D. C. Williamson, M. G. Wilson.

One of the biggest and most enthusiastic entries ever, 770 in all and hardly an error to be seen. I ought to have noticed that Chambers does give JAIME if only in italics under JAMES in the list of names (and therefore perhaps not a true entry – I’d have mentioned this fact if I had seen it); similarly those who queried ORACY had only to look under ORAL to find it.
Clearly then a welcome return for the good doctor as one of the ingredients in the pot-pourri. (‘Why no Printer’s Devilry?’ complained one solver. Really, there’s no satisfying some people!) In the time available I tried hard to find a more Christmassy word for you to clue which would ‘Spoonerize’ nicely, but settled on CANDLE-HOLDER with thoughts of Christmas cakes and Christmas trees. However, as many of you will have found, there is no lexicographical evidence (which usually means reputable evidence in print) for the word’s ever having been used for an object that holds candles. This caught a lot of you out and given the massive entry I had to be strict, though my first inclination was to say, ‘Bother the dictionary – we all know what we mean when we talk of a candle-holder on a cake or a tree or a piano even.’ I hope those who were discriminated against in this way will understand my predicament and accept my judgement. There were, as there usually are, ways of getting round the problem, such as by using a definition that could apply equally to inanimate and animate holders. Quite a number of competitors misread the instructions and offered clues of the other type (my 3a), that is to say with their definition parts leading to HANDLE COLDER and their subsidiary indications to CANDLE-HOLDER. The preamble is a bit tortuous, I admit, but it took a lot of arriving at and if taken in tandem with the correctly solved puzzle should make clear which type is which. The one major flaw in clues of this type is that in neither variant of it does a true definition of the answer appear. Purists may grumble at this and this one certainly has twinges of dissatisfaction with it, but I do believe Spoonerisms offer solvers a fair and amusing puzzle as an occasional departure from more traditional ‘specials’. One other approach to cluing which I didn’t care for was to give a spoonerized definition and a straight definition (to the other meaning of the word) side by side. This I found dull and uninspired, and not in keeping with the aim of the competition. I know a ‘2 meanings’ clue is quite acceptable in a normal puzzle. Given the special nature of this one, however, I regard it as a bit of a cop-out (and also incidentally much more difficult for the solver).
The main aims in composing an effective clue of this type, it seems to me, should be to disguise the Spoonerism as much as possible (which means contriving a phrase that reads equally well in both forms), and to ensure that the two parts of the clue complement each other satisfactorily, thus concealing the ‘join’. Most of the quoted clues above succeed in both of these aims – the top three being especially successful in my view. One final point: I had to disqualify inexact Spoonerisms, the commonest of which was ‘He fears blame’ for ‘He bears flame’. The essence of Dr. Spooner’s curious quirk was that, intentionally or otherwise, it always manifested itself in speech, not in writing.
Thank you all for your complimentary remarks about the puzzle and your good wishes for the new decade. I hope we shall all see it out together.


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