Firstly a big thank you to Big Dave for allowing me to publish the COW analysis on his site. I had big problems trying to post this directly, and calculate that I would have had to break it down to about 40-50 separate posts.
Thanks to all those who entered clues. There have been some very good entries and I’ve had a tough time selecting the best.
I’ve split the judging into three stages. To get through to stage two, clues have to demonstrate:
a) a proper definition,
b) accurate wordplay,
d) a surface that makes some sort of sense, without excessive padding.
At stage two I select a shortlist based on:
b) smoothness of surface,
Finally, from the shortlist the medallists are chosen (this is of course even more subjective than the first two stages!).
Illusion created by mischievous fellow on seniors dissipated (10)
I think that this one falls down on the surface reading – it doesn’t really make much sense.
Dent in disposition of primness carried about maiden (10)
I’m not sure that the step from maiden to Io is very fair, and once again the surface reading doesn’t quite do it for me.
Fancy, semi porn is in order!
This makes it through to the second round. I presume that “semi porn” is not exactly top-shelf, but the next shelf down!
Broken promises in print (10)
Good clue, simple and elegant. Through to the second round.
Broadcast permission to take off (10)
No problems here. Through to the next round.
Fancy a politician with a dress! Not the first one – there’s no going back! (10)
Mister Sting managed to produce three good clues within 2 hours of the competition opening. I like this one – it definitely goes through.
Artist not first to paint a sunrise, perhaps (10)
This one uses the same idea and pretty much the same wordplay as Boxwood’s clue. Because this one came later, I’ve taken Boxwood’s clue through to stage two, and this one falls by the wayside.
Fossil found from ripe moss in state of metamorphosis (10)
Sarah thought that this might be a bit dodgy, but I think it’s ok. Through to the second round.
Press interest surrounds the joining of Military Police, Royal Engineers and SS with returning Naval Officer . (10)
Now this one is seriously dodgy. Leaving aside the unlikelihood of the SS joining the Royal Engineers, I can’t find any reference to I standing for Interest. Even if it did I don’t think that you can have “interest surrounds” meaning put an I at each end of something. Also, as far as I know, NO doesn’t stand for naval officer.
Earliest Infant and Mary embrace on icon but no Catholic gives an opinion (10)
I could go along (just about) with earliest infant meaning the first letter of infant, but there’s no indication in the clue that earliest is also meant to apply to Mary, so I’m afraid that this one doesn’t survive to the next round.
I am heartless, put upon and one by one endlessly leaving a feeling of suspicion (10)
The wordplay is fine (I was initially a bit suspicious of “put upon” = press, but press can mean oppress so that’s ok). The reason that this one doesn’t go through is that the surface reading doesn’t really mean anything.
Imitation suggested by intimation? (10)
I think that you can claim this as a double definition, with one definition being “imitation suggested”, so it gets through to stage two.
Outline planning permission (10)
Nicely simple. Through to round two.
Feeling depressed? (10)
I’m not sure about depressed as a meaning of impression; I think that depressed could match impressed but not impression. So, sorry, it doesn’t go through.
Cast iron promises broken or not honoured (10)
I was initially a bit dubious about “cast” as a definition, but it’s in Bradford’s so this one would have gone through, but it’s eclipsed by Cutlp’s next clue which has a similar construction but better surface reading.
Cast iron promises broken – Tory centre not involved (10)
This is the one that goes through. Good topical political comment!
I get no one’s sperm mixed up in conception! (10)
Cutlp hopes that this apparent statement from an employee at an IVF clinic is not too risqué. No, it’s not too risqué and it goes through.
Marking with careful adjustment yields umpire’s final score (10)
I have to take issue with the definition here. An impression can be a mark, but marking would be impressing rather than impression, so I’m afraid that this one doesn’t make it through.
Rogue civil engineer escapes downturn effect
Yes, good and nicely misleading, since rogue looks like an anagram indicator. Through to stage two.
President in pointless mission, spoiled image
I can’t see how pointless mission can be MIS(s)ION. If it’s pointless, i.e. without points, then it would be MI(ss)IO(n). So this one doesn’t go through.
“I’m Iron Man” – unfinished new concept
I’m afraid that I’m not convinced. Getting from man to IOM is just about ok, but I don’t think that you can then abbreviate an abbreviation.
Assessment of Israel’s leading politician about ship : A heartless operation (10)
Very topical and well worked out – definitely goes through.
Nice beer after Mass, and one before’s an idea (10)
Pretty clever, but is it fair? Une pression is a draught beer in France, but is it a word that the man on the Clapham omnibus might be expected to know? I don’t think so.
Texting newspaper boss by return for opinion (10)
I don’t think you can say that newspaper equates to press. The press stands for newspapers and periodicals collectively. So this one doesn’t go through.
Rambling missioner interrupted by Penny and Mark
Good one – goes through.
I’m taking the place of some French in blues parody (10)
Definitely goes through to stage two.
Length / mass describes force X power (10)
Clever wordplay but the surface reading doesn’t make any sense (to me anyway – sorry if it’s a well-known scientific formula!)
View expressed by leading Indian politician about the point made by one in the midst of an issue (10)
The clue is a bit lengthy and it contains several bits of padding, so it doesn’t make it through.
Perhaps improvises a new one, with no view (10)
The wordplay is ok, but I can’t see how this works as an &lit. If it’s an &lit then the whole of the clue forms the definition, and I can’t see how this works at all.
Opinion I had of Marie Antoinette, for example, who had her head cut off, had no one coming back (10)
The surface reading goes off track at the end, so it doesn’t make it, I’m afraid.
Elegant Miss Peron absorbs interest when making an appearance (10)
This clue reads well, but there are two reasons why it doesn’t make it through. Firstly I don’t like elegant as an anagram indicator, and I still can’t find any reference to I standing for Interest.
Move one on hunch (10)
Yes, this works. Goes through.
Monet, perhaps, first to leave mark (10)
Nice one – definitely goes through.
Politician in crisis – one bogus claim initially being redacted, creating suspicion (10)
MP in CRISISONE*, deleting C. Definition is suspicion.
This is a smoothly worded and very topical clue, but I was initially concerned about redacted being used to mean deleted, since all the dictionaries I consulted have it just meaning “edited for publication”. However, I think that this is an example of language evolving, since from the Hutton enquiry onwards redacted has definitely been used to mean “drew a line through” or “censored”. So, it goes through to stage 2.
Sensation from drugs taken in jail is reversed (10)
The wordplay is very clever and this one goes through.
Send down, taking south westerly once and taking east southerly openings. A send-up? (10)
Even cleverer wordplay, but I haven’t a clue what the surface reading is all about, so this one doesn’t make it.
Effect of slowdown – revolutionary editor dismissed for one month (10)
Maddy was concerned that this was similar to a Prolixic clue. The technique is the same but the wording is sufficiently different for it to go through.
Prime models run away from audition for wrinkle cream-puff act (10)
I’m afraid that this one doesn’t do it for me. I’m not keen on homophones that lead to collections of letters which aren’t real words, and I’ve no idea what a wrinkle cream-puff act is (and I’m not sure that I want to know!).
Exhibitioner commonly mispelled artist sent back out with new print (10)
Well it’s very clever, but I really don’t think it’s fair to rely on the solver knowing a mis-spelling.
Inspire Mossad order eliminating upset Sith Monkey leaders holding a view. (10)
I’m sorry, I just can’t see how the solver can be expected to know how to get the SAD letters to remove from the fodder. Also the surface reading doesn’t really mean anything.
I succeeded in raising thrumming engine’s speed for take-off (10)
Yes, that works fine as a down clue, with a nice surface reading. Definitely goes through.
Imitation devil beats up seniors (10)
Imitation -> def.
devil -> IMP
beats up -> anagrind
seniors -> fodder
The wordplay is fine, but this one falls down on the surface reading. What is an imitation devil?
The gnome has come up with four anagrams with varying quality of surface readings. The one that makes it through is the “Norm’s pie” one, because it made me laugh and it’s the one with the best surface. I wish I had his ability to remember Private Eye clues. I’ve done probably every one of their crosswords since Cyclops started compiling them, laughed fit to bust at some of his clues but forgotten them by the following week.
I spin mores to create profound effect (10)
Norm’s pie is off, producing feeling in gut (10)
Prone, I miss dodgy Burlesque (10)
Illusion spun in Sir’s poem (10)
(Welcome back from holiday, Pepsib)
Press on, I’m first one, third from last – get the idea?(10)
I don’t really like the use of “third from last” in this way (third from laSt to mean the letter S would be fine). Also, the surface reading is not great, so, sorry, this one doesn’t get through.
Funny feeling permission negotiable (10)
This is better. Even though two previous clues have used “permission” as the anagram fodder, I’m allowing this one through to stage two.
Gut feeling, Mark?(10)
I don’t think that the surface is really good enough to take this one through.
Imitation stamp (10)
Simple and effective. Goes through.
So the clues which made it to stage two are:
|Rishi||Fancy, semi porn is in order!|
|Mister Sting (1)||Broken promises in print (10)|
|Mister Sting (2)||Broadcast permission to take off (10)|
|Mister Sting (3)||Fancy a politician with a dress! Not the first one – there’s no going back! (10)|
|Sarah (1)||Fossil found from ripe moss in state of metamorphosis (10)|
|Sarah (2)||Imitation suggested by intimation? (10)|
|Cutlp (1)||Outline planning permission (10)|
|Cutlp (2)||Cast iron promises broken – Tory centre not involved (10)|
|Cutlp (3)||I get no one’s sperm mixed up in conception! (10)|
|DarthSimian (1)||Rogue civil engineer escapes downturn effect|
|DarthSimian (2)||Assessment of Israel’s leading politician about ship : A heartless operation (10)|
|Prolixic (1)||Rambling missioner interrupted by Penny and Mark|
|Prolixic (2)||I’m taking the place of some French in blues parody (10)|
|Mattparry7||Move one on hunch (10)|
|Boxwood||Monet, perhaps, first to leave mark (10)|
|Dram (1)||Politician in crisis – one bogus claim initially being redacted, creating suspicion (10)|
|Dram (2)||Sensation from drugs taken in jail is reversed (10)|
|Maddy||Effect of slowdown – revolutionary editor dismissed for one month (10)|
|Kororareka||I succeeded in raising thrumming engine’s speed for take-off (10)|
|Thewizenedgnome||Norm’s pie is off, producing feeling in gut (10)|
|Pepsib||Funny feeling permission negotiable (10)|
|Old Scroat||Imitation stamp (10)|
At this stage I’m choosing a shortlist largely based on the smoothness, humour or topicality of the surface reading. The ones chosen are:
|Mister Sting (1)||Succinct and very smooth.|
|Mister Sting (3)||Made me laugh.|
|Cutlp (1)||Not a syllable wasted|
|Cutlp (2)||Witty and topical political comment.|
|DarthSimian (2)||Very topical.|
|Boxwood||I really like this one.|
|Dram (1)||A good topical clue.|
|Maddy||It was a close run thing between this one and the similar Prolixic (2). In the end Maddy’s slightly smoother surface reading prevailed.|
|Thewizenedgnome||A good laugh.|
|Old Scroat||Very simple and effective.|
I’d be very happy with any of these, but I have to choose a winner, so after consulting the chicken entrails, here are the 1-2-3.
In third place is Dram with Politician in crisis – one bogus claim initially being redacted, creating suspicion (10). This is a nice topical clue with a good surface reading.
In second place is Boxwood with Monet, perhaps, first to leave mark (10). Very inventive with a smooth srface reading.
This week’s winner is Mister Sting with Broken promises in print (10). Very simple and effective.
Congratulations To Mister Sting and over to you for next week (and the best of luck!).