XIMENES CROSSWORD No. 289
1. B. J. McCann (Manchester): We can get a good many inches of rain here. Over a hundred before August! (CI + stern).
2. C. Koop (Ferring): My room admits so much wet—it’s nicer shuffling about the street! (St in anag.).
3. J. S. Young (Beckenham): It’s somewhere between Wells and Bath (cryptic def.).
C. Allen Baker (Milnathort): A hole in one? It just won’t hold water—you take about ten, sir, in the rough! (c. + anag.).
C. O. Butcher (Enfield): In the Civil Service one is not enough—a triplicate form is required. It must be properly filled up to be of use (I in CS + tern2).
W. J. Duffin (Hull): I gurgle when flushed with success, but I’m grim after the slightest bit of a trouncing ((troun)ci(ng) + stern).
L. E. Eyres (York): This ought to hold water: if A = 1, B = 2, etc., presumably ——! (i.e. C is tern2).
E. Gomersall (Fulford): 101, and hard as nails, in spite of being a constant pipe-filler (CI stern).
D. A. Nicholls (Chester): My dribbling finishes with proper ball control, my tap supplies Dixie—so back gets the bird! (sic (rev.) + tern; ball-valve; D. Dean, footballer).
E. R. Prentice (Clifton): A Yank always makes me flush! (cryptic def.).
J. S. Pyett (N22): So backward with the beastly rent it’s holding up the water supply! (sic (rev.) + anag.).
R. Settle (Liverpool): Sounds as if ’e’s next for the bath! (‘’s ’is turn’).
W. K. M. Slimmings (New Malden): I may go bump in the night, causing disturbed rest, and panic if Father’s away (anag. incl. (Pa)nic).
Miss D. W. Taylor (New Malden): One of the things that go bump in the night, disturbing a restin’ chap. (anag. incl c. (= chap., chapter)).
Lt A. S. Birt, R. S. Caffyn, A. N. Clark, G. N. Coulter, D. M. Devine, J. A. Flood, A. L. Freeman, C. E. Gates, C. P. Grant, S. B. Green, C. R. Haigh, L. Johnson, R. Malcolm, D. P. M. Michael, W. L. Miron, J. J. Moore, C. J. Morse, D. Murray, K. Perry, R. Postill, M. G. Powell-Davies, E. J. Rackham, Capt W. H. W. Ridley, A. Robins, D. T. Rowland, T. E. Sanders, Mrs E. M. Simmonds, J. F. Smith, Miss R. E. Speight, W. Sutton, H. G. Tattersall, Mrs J. E. Townsend, J. Vallely, H. Walsham, R. A. Wells.
COMMENTS—201 entries, 147 correct. I had no idea beforehand that it was such a difficult puzzle, but difficult it evidently was, or was it the disgraceful misprint, caused by my careless slip on the final proof, that caused the trouble: only one solver said he had trouble there—he also gave an absolutely correct emendation, putting in the omitted word “forwards”—a fine piece of textual criticism. I do think there ought to have been more complaints! The lack of them makes me think that many solvers, when they see a probable answer, don’t bother whether the whole clue fits or not: and this is a frequent cause of errors in solving, though it fortunately wasn’t here. The word which caused most trouble was LIRKED: R. = Queen in LIKED = popular, plus definition—not, I should have thought, very obscure. E.R. + KILT does make “LIRKET.” But is there such a word? I feel doubtful whether all its senders lack a Chambers: to send it with LIRK in Chambers to guide the solver seems to show strange judgement. And why “ESLOYNE,” which doesn’t fit any definition in the clue, when ESSOYNE does, and SOY = sauce, and “LOY” isn’t in C.? The general difficulty must have clouded people’s minds; but one solver, to whom congratulations, solved it all correctly without any dictionary.
There were not quite so many H.C.s as usual, but there was a high proportion of R.U.s. I have been asked to criticise R.U.s, and this seems a good moment. Most of them, of course, are sound clues which just don’t quite make the grade, but I will choose one or two which missed an H.C. for other reasons. “Backing such numerical combination of three draws wins: a watertight device for fools!” The makings of a very good one, but I can’t quite make the wording work. Is “draws wins” a compound noun = “prizes for drawing correctly”? But “tern” is singular. Is “draws” a verb? I can’t work that either. I hope I’m not being too dense to see a sound interpretation. I would suggest “Back such a combination of three: that means a prize—a watertight, etc.”—“Cretins make it hard for anyone but Jack Frost to get at.” (anag. & lit.). The plain definition sense is excellent, but the anag. reading only makes sense to me if “hard for anyone, etc.” can define a cistern without the suggestion of stupid placing, or if J. F. is particularly good at anagrams! I wish I could make this work, for the idea appeals to me. I can think of no improved version at the moment.—“Is it in the top of the ceiling? Then the water service can be laid on.” (c-is’t-e-R.N., & lit.). This time the direct version is excellent, but in the definition sense I can’t swallow “in the top of the ceiling”: it seems hardly a possible description of a cistern’s position. Perhaps “Is it in the hands of a Civil Engineer?” might do.—“This pool has been rigged, so return the prize for the three winning numbers.” Here the trouble is grammatical: I don’t think “so return” can mean “sic reversed.” It would be to be a very unnatural case of object before verb. “… so returns, etc.” doesn’t read quite as naturally the original, but it would be sound.