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George vs the Azed Clueing Competition – a two parter, BENNET and RECOLLET

An occasional (yet perversely popular) series about entering clueing competitions.  There were two very strange Azed competition puzzles in a row, the one themed around “Forty Years On”, and the April Fool’s Day puzzles with the clashing letters (I put in APRIL FOOL – I have no problem with being one).

Azed mentioned in the slip that BENNET was “not the most exciting word to clue”. In my note to Azed I echoed that – “A dry grass stalk?  There’s not much promising there”.  Most of the clues that made their way into the slip used literary references that didn’t come to be at all, so I went with the dry grass stalk…

Knight bit into twisted dry grass stalk (6)

Wordplay:  N(knight), E(bit) in BENT(twisted)

I didn’t think it was all that bad, but probably not the most inspiring clue in the world.

I seem to do best in Azed clueing competitions when I have no idea about the word beforehand.  I wouldn’t know what a RECOLLET was if he waved tracts at me telling me to detach from creatures and recollect in God.  So a complete blank slate.  TELLER reversed sounded like a good start, since it could be tied in to the definition.  Have to get a C and an O in there.  C can be Catholic which keeps with the definition and lots of things can be O – so here’s a HC-worthy clue

Narrator of catholic inside, in retrospect he aims for detachment (8)

Wordplay:  O(of), C(catholic) in TELLER(narrator) all reversed

Finally back in the world of HCs!  Woohoo – and in grand company with the Youngs, a Morse and four other USA based people.  USA! USA! USA!

Feel free to share other failed or unfailed clues, and remember next week should be the new competition puzzle!

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.

George vs the Azed Clueing Competition: EASTER (Printer’s Devilry)

Well, well, well – before last week I had only ever solved one Printer’s Devilry puzzle (a Listener from last year by Pointer).  Even though I solved it, that one took me over two weeks to work out and now I was faced with a real beast of a task – solve one in two days and then write my own PD clue!  I’d never even thought about how to get through one.

I kept sneaking looks at the crossword after a mind-numing five hour first session got me less than half the grid.  But I did manage a complete grid (I think on Tuesday night) and thus only had a few hours to work on a clue.

How did everyone else go about it?  I split up the word and started thinking of links… E AS TER… EAST ER… EAS TER… I notice that I wasn’t alone in thinking of brEAST ER… as the splitting point, and then the second word hit me like a ton of bricks.  I actually giggled out loud at my own clue.

Failed plastic surgery ends in abruption (6)

And unbedeviled…

Failed plastic surgery ends in a breast eruption

Azed saw fit to include it on the HC, so that’s two in a row to make the honor board!  A special tip of the hat to Peter Biddecombe, who collects his third VHC, all of them for PD clues!

For reference – I entered 10 of the Azed competitions over this “season”, and collected one VHC and one HC.  Feeling pretty good about that, even though it only puts me in a tie for 66th.  Roll on next season!

George vs the Azed Clueing Competition – AL CONTO

Well, I woke up this morning to two congratulatory emails!  After several attempts, I not only cracked the list, I made it up into the echelon of VHC-ness!  Maybe it was Azed’s illness addling his brain (hope you are feeling better, Azed!), but the following clue was seen fit to be Azed Slipped for posterity.

Drinks, discounted nearly 50%, strangely not charged per item. (two words)

I don’t think I’d ever seen al conto, but the possibility of alco(hol) as the first part of the clue jumped out at me straight away.  The only thing better would be cheap alcohol, so my nearly 50% discounted drinks just leaves me NTO, and we have a chance to put the anagrindicator in the middle of the wordplay and a surface that is remarkably intact.

Wow!  This means that I am now in equal 61st place on the 2011 Honours list, tied with luminaries such as T.M. Crowther, M. Goodliffe and P. McKenna.  It also means I get my very own page on the &lit archives!  I am far more excited about this than I should be.

Big big thanks to Paul McKenna for comments and criticisms on some of my previous attempts at the Azed slip.  Roll on July!