Competitions 25A and 25B: the results

The first new judge (apart from the anonymous crossword editor), either already, or about to be Assistant Editor of the WR, has set this one. He’s E.M. – ‘Max’ – Nicholson, already a leading ornithologist and destined to be a key environmentalist. He has asked for a hundred words of tact that unconsciously and incidentally crushes the person addressed. This first shot at a competition ends in disaster since he claims that only one person understood it (Lester Ralph) and that only three others came close (including T.E. Casson, for whom I am now beginning to feel quite sorry), and regretfully not only has to give an example of what he meant, but is unable to award anyone a prize, and suggests the prize money be put aside to purchase punkahs for fanning ‘deserving competitors the next time they are invited to rack their brains in a heatwave’ (August 1930 was a very hot month, with headlines in the paper pointing out that there were days when the British weather was hotter than that of India).

The second competition was little more successful. He asked for an epigram written by an un-English businessman whose workers had been distracted by the Ashes tour, which had ended in victory by Australia. Once again, Nicholson blamed the heat. There is a small stream of hapless far-misses (yes, including Casson) and two victories, both of which are handed down with a bad grace to Pibwob (‘too literary’) and C.D.B.E. whose ‘savagery might have found more scope closer to home’.

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You can watch a casual interview with Bradman during his visit to England in 1930 here.

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