Azed No 1936 Plain (5 Jul 2009)

reviewed by Dr Watson for & lit. – The Azed Slip Archive

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OUR reviewer rather rushed this puzzle and the clue-writing competition, but found plenty of depth to it on writing the review. Slightly easier than last month’s, and error-free all but for an apostrophe.

Notes to the clues:


1.       O, angler’s lure traps his catch, without getting close.  OFFISHLY (O + fish in fly).  Apart from the initial O, the clue’s theme is nicely maintained.

7.       Novelist making friends on the rive gauche?  AMIS (2 meanings).  ‘Amis’ is French for ‘friends’. Amis could be Kingsley or Martin, père ou fils, chacun à son goût.

12.     Essential element of supranationalism made rapid progress aloft.  UPRAN (hidden).  Dr Watson has a vision of Azed musing “It must be hidden in something… oh, of course, ‘supranationalism’!”. There doesn’t seem to be much thematic connection between definition and subsidiary indication.

14.     Ill, panted endlessly, painful inside – showing signs of it?  TACHYPNEA (achy in anag. of pante(d)).  A well-realised, classic semi-& lit. clue for a condition of rapid breathing.

17.     Gapes as before in excited anticipation, surrounding waters disappearing.  GERNES ((ea)gernes(s)).  ‘Ea’ for ‘water’, ‘ditch’, etc. is a standard of advanced cryptics, but as it doesn’t appear in the solution, the clue could have left newer solvers nonplussed.

18.     Dressage manoeuvre deplorable, landing in water.  PESADE (sad in pee).  Urinary references seem to be turning up regularly in the competition puzzles at the moment. See also 13 down. Of course a dressage manoeuvre that took competitors anywhere near the water would be pretty deplorable.

25.     Turning left, goes into car drivers – its deadly.  ATROPA (port, rev., in AA).  The deadly nightshade genus. In Dr Watson’s experience, AA personnel tend to be van drivers (yes, the motorcycles have gone and they don’t salute any more either), though the Association itself is for motorists. The omission of the apostrophe is probably just a typo.

29.     … when they’re evicted from family dwellings one’s maintained.  TENET (tene(men)t).  ‘Men’ is taken from the previous linked clue. A tenet is something you hold to or maintain.

32.     Selection of children’s art gaining CSE in earlier times.  ENSA (hidden).  CSE was previously an abbreviation for a Services entertainment organisation and a secondary school exam, as the various Chambers entries explain.


2.       What’s damaged leaf on root veg, only half left?  FLEA-BEETLE (anag. + beet le(ft) & lit.).  A fine & lit., possibly inspired by the many such clues to TURNIP-FLEA in competition no 670.

5.       Leaves, as it were, stuffed in animal refuge – device to stop grazers escaping.  HOPPLE (pp in hole).  ‘Leaves’ as in pages. Strictly speaking a leaf is two pages, hence ‘as it were’.

6.       By way of opening slug drunk, lowers Scotch!  LUINGS (in in anag.).  Dr Watson’s favourite of the puzzle. ‘Opening’ for an insertion is precise if not obvious. The ‘lowers’ pun is an amusing touch. Chambers has Luing cattle as an entry, as the footnote indicates.

22.     Local deity giving lift to silver-clad Indian army?  GANESA (sena in Ag, all rev.).  Ganesa would be a local deity for Indians.

23.     Toss-up rigged for Jets (sulky expression among fringes of Sharks).  SPOUTS (anag. and pout in S(hark)s).  Azed envelops the definition ‘jets’ in enough extra material to create a fully-formed reference to West Side Story, the musical composed by Listener crossword enthusiasts Sondheim and Bernstein.

24.     Actor with little talent to capture the Bard’s product?  HAMNET (ham net).  Solvers who wonder why the solution isn’t ‘Hamlet’ should check Shakespeare’s biography. Hamnet was the product of his loins rather than his imagination.

28.     Reaping period? There’ll be real guilt if ragi time’s ignored.  ELUL (real guilt less ragi t).  The definition is explained in the etymology note at elul. Dr Watson wonders if Azed originally planned an alternate letters clue before spotting ‘ragi’ (millet) in the discarded letters.

Other solutions:

Across: 10. REPOUSSAGE (anag.);  11. SEA CAP (a in paces, rev.);  19. SATANS (sat + initial letters);  20. REDLEG (gelder, rev.);  23. SHAKTI (t in anag.);  27. NANOMETRE (anag.);  30. UNNAIL (anag. + ail (noun));  31. LITMUS TEST;  33. PASTE-EEL (pa + e in steel).  Down: 1. OUST (hidden);  3. FRACT (r in fact);  4. SPAYAD (pay in sad);  7. ASPARTAME (as2 par tame);  8. MARINA (anag.);   9. SENUSSIS (Sen. + anag.);  13. AVENTURINE (a vent urine);  13. HYALONEMA (e in anag.);  16. SPRATTLE (s + prattle);  21. DRANTS (st(a)n(d)ard, rev.);  26. STATE (tats, rev. + E).

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