Derek Harrison's Crossword Message Board

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Re(4): Competition clues

Coming to this discussion a bit late, so a lot has been said already, but I will throw in my 2p worth anyway.

I don't think competition clues are really intended for solving in the usual way, as everyone knows the answer in advance. Rather I think what is advantageous is having some unusual slant to help make the clue stand out, so ease of solving is not necessarily a key feature of a good clue.

As for my own clue last month (not close to being in the same league as MORRIS-DANCE or ROUGH-AND-READY), a composite anagram was the natural choice for obvious reasons. One thing that the comp. anag. has in its favour, I think, is it gives a lower risk of using a similar treatment to someone else, and therefore a higher chance of standing out from the crowd. Often there are only so many ways of making a charade-style clue, and the attractive ways may well be spotted by others, leading to the dilemma to which David Harry refers.

Finally, as far as the Azed competition goes, there does seem to be a group of competitors out there with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Azed's likes and dislikes (or maybe they spend all of their waking hours on the & lit site!), and tales of several hours being devoted each time to refinement of their clues are not unknown. It's not really surprising therefore that those competitors have a level of consistency that I and others aspire to.


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