The Cup Comes Home

During the month of August, CH teacher, Mr O’Boyle, was the proud holder of a small trophy – the ‘Azed Instant Victor Verborum Cup’.

The ‘Azed Cup’ was awarded to Mr O’Boyle who won first prize for his clue, published for the Azed crossword, in the Sunday Observer. The cup travels up and down the country (the word ‘instant’ relates to the current month) and it is awarded to the person whose clue is chosen.

The competition has an historic link to CH – a teacher was its originator. The cup was known as the ‘Ximm’s No. 1 Cup’ – a very famous series of crosswords for the Observer newspaper were compiled by Derrick Somerset MacNutt under pseudonym of ‘Ximenes’ ran from 1945-1971. MacNutt, who was head of classics at CH for many years and also a Housemaster, instituted a monthly clue-composing competition whereby one word would be left as a bald definition and solvers were asked to supply a cryptic clue for it. The most elegant, original and witty clue, in Ximenes’ opinion, would be declared the winner. This clue would be published in the Observer, along with the name and address of the successful solver. After Ximenes’ death, he was succeeded in the Observer by Jonathan Crowther, who has continued all elements of the tradition since 1972, working under the name ‘Azed’.

Altogether there have now been 1042 clue-composing competitions. Such luminaries as Sir Jeremy Morse and Colin Dexter have won many times.

Mr O’Boyle said: “Having first competed (on and off) since 1978, I was fortunate enough to win the cup for the first time in the August 2017 competition – a reward perhaps for perseverance! The item to be clued was “Public Servant” and here is my winning clue: Speculate about liberal Sir V. Cable becoming PM, possibly.

“It is quite possible that this is the first time that the cup has returned to CH since its inception in 1945.”

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