Ask most people what they most associate with Theresa May and strange things happening with letters and words, and they would most likely refer you to her infamous speech at the Conservative Party Conference in 2017. Hampered by a failing voice and a prankster handing her her P45, magnetic letters started dropping off the conference slogan on the wall behind her.
Solvers of the Telegraph Crossword will have different associations however, as for the last few years her name has been the go-to option for our compilers when coming up with clues for words that include the letters ‘May’. As one might expect, many of them have seemed pertinent to current affairs, in some cases pre-empting future events.
In February 2018, well before May was first seen making the first of several public auditions for a post-premiership appearance on Strictly Come Dancing, we had the following clue for Maypole:
PM in front of bar, focal point for dances (7)
Whether Mrs May’s much-publicised moves were inspired by this clue is unknown. A few months later, attempts to resolve the issue of the Irish backstop seemed to be on the minds of one of our compilers, in this clue for Mayo:
PM gets round part of Ireland (4)
Luckily our solvers found this more straightforward than trying to work out a way to avoid a post-Brexit Irish hard border.
At around the same time, one of our Saturday compilers gazed into their crystal ball and foresaw the events of early 2019 when there would be seemingly unending votes as Parliament attempted to find a way forward on Brexit:
Emergency call from PM before division in week (6)
One suspects that Mrs May made more than one Mayday call at around this time.
As if that wasn’t enough for somebody whose name is an anagram of TEARY SHAME, in July 2018, solvers were reminded of the man who has perhaps been more of a thorn in her side than any other in the last couple of years in this clue for Mayoral:
PM facing test in respect of Boris Johnson at one time (7)
But what of the future? With it looking a certainty that the aforementioned Mr Johnson will be in Downing Street later this week, it was predicted in this clue for Isobar from 2016 that all may not go well for Mrs May’s successor:
Boris, strangely, takes a pressured line (6)
We’ll give the final word, however, to the compiler who in December 2018 in a clue for Robes, predicted that, having fought for so long to become Prime Minister, the new leader may not find it entirely to his taste:
Taking leave in the end, Boris unexpectedly not one for trappings of office (5)
Whatever Boris’s legacy as Prime Minister, he is already assured of a memorable one in the hallowed annals of the Telegraph Crossword.
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