Chambers Book of Azed Crosswords

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Chambers Book of Azed Crosswords

Chambers Book of Azed Crosswords

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At approximately six-weekly intervals, the crossword is a "special". In these there are special rules for solving the clues or entering the answers into the diagram. Many are composed to mark particular events and often use devices from other standard specials. According to John Finnemore, the comedian and crossword compiler (he sets the Times Listener crossword under the pseudonym “Emu”), Crowther has been the crowning glory of a 96-year triumvirate of Observer crossword setters. Don Manley (2006) Chambers Crossword Manual (4th Ed) p. 208-216, "Azed's Clue-writing School", Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, ISBN 978-0-550-10220-1, ISBN 0-550-10220-5

Despite such lifestyle diversity, the large majority of serious crossword competitors are male and most are never going to see 50 again. Wheen described a character named Richard Heald, who has won the annual clue-writing competition eight times, as “the voice of youth”. It might be thought that crossword compiling is an obscure line of work. But the extraordinary recent success of Wordle shows that there is a widespread appetite for word puzzles. If that online test is at the easy end of the spectrum, at the other end is the mysterious and rather daunting world of cryptic crosswords. Even the names of the setters are intimidating. Wheen has been a guest speaker at one of the celebratory lunches that are held, usually at an Oxford college, every 250 puzzles, and which draw about 150 people. To prepare, he met up with a hardcore group of Azed-solvers, called the Groundlings, who meet regularly to discuss the crossword. These are the kinds of people who not only complete the formidable puzzles, but also enter Crowther’s clue-writing competitions. Some of them are themselves setters of other newspaper’s crosswords.The 2000th Azed puzzle was published on 26 September 2010. The 500th competition puzzle was published on 1 August 2010. When Ximenes died,” recalls Crowther, “I sent in an ‘in memoriam’ puzzle in the shape of a large ‘X’. The crossword editor said, ‘We’d like to print your puzzle and, by the way, would you like to take on the job?” I was absolutely astonished and so flattered that I said ‘yes’ straight away without thinking about it.” There is an anxious and ongoing debate in crossword circles about how to attract women and younger people, although it does not as yet appear to have resulted in any great uptake from those constituencies. You don’t want to be satisfied with a second-rate clue,” says Crowther. “If it doesn’t please me, I’ll scrap it.” Azed is a crossword which appears every Sunday in The Observer newspaper. Since it first appeared in March 1972, every puzzle has been composed by Jonathan Crowther who also judges the monthly clue-writing competition. [1] The pseudonym Azed is a reversal of (Fray Diego de) Deza, a Spanish inquisitor general. This combines the inquisitorial tradition of Torquemada and Ximenes (the two previous composers of the "advanced" Observer crossword) with the wordplay element of a British cryptic crossword.

The Azed Slip presents all the VHC clues in full and adds the names of about fifty "Highly Commended" solvers whose clues did not quite make it to the VHCs. [1]. After the lists come Azed's comments, in which he may respond to reader comments, or reveal the problems that month's competitors experienced, often using anonymous unsound submissions to illustrate his points. [8] He also gives news of forthcoming cruciverbal events or publications, and deaths of long-standing competitors. Described in Chambers Crossword Manual as "Azed's Clue-writing School ", the slip has had a great influence on standards of cluemanship. [9] Annual champions [ edit ] a b c D S MacNutt with A Robins (1966). Ximenes on the art of the crossword p. 136, p. 107, p. 131, p. 136, Methuen & Co Ltd, London; reissued 2001 by Swallowtail Books On non-competition weeks, book tokens are awarded to three solvers selected at random from the submitted grids. The late Colin Dexter, author of the Morse books, was another keen, and rather successful, crossword-solver, winning a number of competitions. He also became a good friend of Crowther’s. The journalist and writer Francis Wheen is yet another devotee. He says he came relatively late to the party, towards the end of the last century. Up until that point, he’d done the normal cryptic crosswords, but had thought of Azed as looking “a bit weird for the likes of me”. Macnutt’s own death – only mortality appears to stop crossword compilers – created another vacancy.The competition results are announced three weeks later. There are three prizes, each of a book token and an Azed bookplate, and the names of the prizewinners are published together with their clues. A further twenty or so names appear below – these solvers' clues have been "Very Highly Commended" (VHC). The First Prize winner is also sent the Azed Instant Victor Verborum Cup to hold for a month before passing it on to the next winner. [7] ("Instant" here means "of this month", as in "the 3rd instant".) For the Christmas Competition, the VHCs also receive prizes.

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