Clue Writing Competition

Clue Writing Competition

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Just before Christmas Tilsit offered a small prize for the best clue for THE CRAB.  Twelve entries were received, and these were judged by all the contributors to the blog.  The top five (of which there are six) are as follows:

Position Name Clue
1 Alan Sign of man getting credit within bill
2 Paul Howarth Holy bed in which I became a sign
3 Bill Tossing th’ caber makes one miserable
4 Prolixic This creature was created from earth before Christ
5 Chris22125 Shuffle batch about for summer sign
5 Franny This creature could be a sign of disease.

Congratulations to Alan – Tilsit will be in touch soon.



  1. Tilly
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Well done, Alan!

  2. Lea
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Well done everyone but in particular Alan – very nice clues.

  3. Peter Biddlecombe
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    I wonder whether entrants would be interested in more than just the results. The full set of 12 seemed a rather mixed bag, and although the judges didn’t entirely agree, five of the twelve got no votes at all (7 judges each picked their favourite three, in order). I wonder whether those five would like to know why? When judging clues I’m always looking for a combination of a good definition, fair wordplay, and a convincing surface meaning. For me, the def. had to use the star sign, as other meanings had no reason to be THE CRAB rather than just CRAB.

    • Libellule
      Posted January 4, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      All I can say to your comment is ditto.

  4. Posted January 4, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I would point out that Alan was the first choice of 4 out of 7 of us.

  5. Posted January 4, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Permalink


    Thanks for the vote of confidence, but you will be reassured to know that I aren’t planning on giving up my day job!!!

    Writing that one clue made me appreciate just how difficult it is.


  6. phisheep
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Bother, I must have missed this in the pre-Christmas rush. Congrats to all, and just for fun here’s one from me:

    Sign of new child’s first breath (3,4)

    The nice seasonal reading came out accidentally after I spent way too long fiddling with readings based on card games since Cancer comes in between Gemini and Leo (a pair and a king)!

    • Posted January 5, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      That would have been the winner for me.

      • Libellule
        Posted January 5, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        I have only just noticed this via Anax’s comment. Can only agree with his comment. An excellent clue.

        • gazza
          Posted January 5, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

          I have to agree – very good clue!

      • phisheep
        Posted January 5, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

        Wow. Thanks for the kind comments, guys.

        It was quite a curious experience working a clue out – like writing a very very tiny poem, only more so. Fascinating.