George vs the Azed Clueing Competition – a three-pack!

Even though I haven’t been updating this section regularly, rest assured that I am still submitting clues of varying levels of competence to clue-writing competitions.

However I was ticked to see that I’d cracked it for another HC!  Mind you, it sounds like there were a pretty limited number of correct submissions, so that always ups the chance of winning.

October:  PERISHER with a definition for ESTIMATE

What a strange request – I had no idea what perisher meant, so I looked it up (sounds like I should have googled it).  I don’t understand the near-identical clues that won – is there a character called Perisher in Rogue Herries?  After peeking at the definition I racked my brain to figure out how to write a clue that got the definition word in.  I settled on a hidden word clue, since I could use the R at the end of PERISHER to work in RECKONING for ESTIMATE.  Here’s my clue

In diaper is he reckoning a pain in the butt? (8)

With a nice little American surface.  Azed judged it HC-worthy!  Woohoo!  I noticed a few familiar names surrounding me in HC-land; J. Biggin (if it is the J. Biggin I’m thinking of, didn’t realize you submitted!), P.F. Henderson (making a neat international contingent in the middle of the HCs).

September:  PARTY-POOPER

Many wordplay opportunities presented themselves, but my real challenge with this one was to come up with a definition that made sense with a surface.  I struggled with this one, and came up with…

Average sort almost on frayed rope, killer of joy (11)

Wordplay is PAR(average), TYP(TYPE shortened), O(on), OPER(anagram of ROPE)

No love from Azed in September.


I’ll give a hat tip to Tim Moorey – we were discussing what a tricky word to clue CATENATE was, and I had to rush to get a clue in before I left the UK.  He gave me an idea that I should think about a letter-replacement clue – I’ve not written many of those, so I went with a kind of a creepy surface for this one…

Chained priest, despite a perfect body for his old city (8)

Definition: Chained (as adjctive).  Wordplay is CURATE (priest) with A,TEN(perfect body) replacing UR.

No love here either, though I see Tim Moorey managed a HC, so lunch with me probably dragged his clue down as well.

Promise not to let this section go too long, as it’s been a popular addition – feel free to share your own clues, or criticism of mine.


5 Responses

  1. My clues for CATENATE and PERISHER/ESTIMATE weren’t that great, but I think you’ll agree that for PARTY-POOPER I solved the match-the-definition-with-wordplay problem with aplomb:

    Mistake in standard work by Queen: “If you wan’t to have a good time, *don’t* give me a call”
    (TYPO in PAR,OP + ER, obviously with italics rather than asterisks in the actual submission)

    Sadly this nineteen-word Behemoth Of Clueing was only judged fit for HC.

  2. That’s pretty good – I don’t know if Azed takes clue lengths into consideration, but that is a behemoth. I don’t know if I’d think about incorporating a definition that long (13 word def for 6 word wordplay, that’s gutsy).

    Looks like you were on the HC list this time around too, more great company in that list!

  3. In John Tozer’s ‘&lit’ Azed slip archive, average clue lengths are shown for entrants whose names are marked by a ‘W’ icon (wordstats). The average length of all clues in the slips is 45 letters, 9.6 words.

    Many years ago Ximenes remarked (I can’t rmember where – maybe in one of his slips) that when he started with the Observer, space was at such a premium that he dare not let more than one or two clues run to more than a single line (a total of 49 letters, gaps and punctuation spaces), and I’ve tried where possible to stick to that with my clues. I see that my ‘W’ average is 35 letters, 8.5 words. Add spaces between words and the odd punctuation mark to the 35 letters, and that would seem to just about fit his old rule of thumb. Whether or not that is a helpful tip I haven’t the slightest idea!

    Well done with your recent successes!

    Eddie Young

  4. Thanks for checking in, Eddie! (by the way, I peeked at the page where you get your wordstats, and I loved your 10-letter clue for GINGER.

    Maybe by the next Slip, all of the HC winners for PERISHER will have commented in here…

  5. Thanks George, and welcome to a club which I’m sure you will do proud. I think the shortest prize-winning clue was Harvey Freeman’s four-letter clue to CROW (comp 788). You can access it via BROWSE ARCHIVE by name, clue-word or comp number, and if you click on ‘Azed slip’ at the top you can get the full story.

    Ten years ago we couldn’t do this sort of thing, but John Tozer’s masterly site has dragged the series into the twenty-first century. I note that your three quoted HC clues yielded a wordstat average of 36.3 letters and 9.6 words, compared with an average of 45 / 9.6, so you seem to have unconsciously picked up Azed’s pace immediately – indeed, you’re more concise than most.

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