Azed No 1949 Plain (4 Oct 2009)

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

Reviews index  |  & lit. homepage  |  Try the puzzle


OUBLE wordplay is something you don’t come across often in cryptic clues, but Azed provides two examples in this puzzle, at 23 across and 28 down. Two sets of subsidiary indicators are included (such as an anagram and a hidden word) that both lead to the full solution, along with the definition. This gives the solver an extra route to the solution, but it’s rarely an advantage, because the solver must solve both sets of indicators in order to work out what the setter intends. Usually the technique is employed to enhance the surface reading of the clue, but it can in some cases look like unnecessary embellishment. 23 across’s sawn-off shed is in the first category, in Dr Watson’s view, and 28 down perhaps more in the latter.

Notes to the clues:


1.       Barometer’s main location, where pilot views computerized data.  GLASS COCKPIT (glass cockpit).  Azed doesn’t usually clue a two-word expression by simply redefining the two words, so this one probably resisted other approaches. The key to the solution is ‘main’ – not the rolling main, although a ship’s cockpit could be located there, but main3 in Chambers, meaning a cockfight. A barometer is also called a (weather) glass.

11.     Something seen in Peru, an accessory… for gauchos?  RUANA (hidden).  A semi-& lit. clue, where the ellipsis indicates that what follows augments a partial definition provided by the wordplay.

13.     Bud Flanagan initially touring Spain with his partner – what’s happened?  BEFALLEN (E in B F + Allen).  Flanagan and Allen were a comedy singing duo who found fame in the 1930s and 40s with songs like ‘Underneath the Arches’. Bud Flanagan’s last recording was the Dad’s Army theme tune.

16.     Spectators may be seen showing pert ——s off here?  ASCOT (comp. anag. & lit.).  An Ascot is a type of tie named after Ascot, where it may be seen being worn by spectators at the races.

20.     Scottish grease to soften belt up.  CREESH (cree sh!).  A lovely pun on ‘belt up’. ‘Cree’ means soften, applied to cereal grain.

23.     Lop ends off part of garden shed that’s wrong way round.  SNED (anag. and hidden rev.).  The double wordplay makes an entertaining surface reading, though ‘lop ends off’ might easily be read as the definition.

27.     Minor e.g. frequently holding voice back.  FRIAR (air, rev. in fr.).  A Minor (the capital M requires it to go at the start of the clue) is another name for a Minorite, a monk of a Franciscan order.

29.     Base for Olympic Airlines flight (as earlier).  GREECE (2 meanings).  ‘Greece’ is one of a vast number of alternative spellings of ‘grece’ – under gree2 in Chambers – meaning a flight of stairs.

31.     It’s protein and extracted from liver (say) I eat, secreting one.  GLIADINE (a in gl(and) I dine).  Tricky wordplay with the easily overlooked ‘and’, as well as the double meaning of ‘secreting’.

34.     Unruly heir’s in ski resort before start of season, being flashy?  TIGERISHNESS (anag. in Tignes + s).  Not a reference to the Windsors, surely? Tignes is close to Val d’Isère in the French Alps.


4.       Up, not down with old cloth shoe!  SABATON (not à bas, all rev.).  The concise wordplay is difficult to parse, though the lack of a comma after ‘down’ is a starting point. ‘Not’ and ‘à bas’ (French for ‘down with…!’) are to be written upwards.

5.       Supposed energy in credo of eccentric?  OD-FORCE (anag.).  Solvers of advanced cryptics are certain eventually to come across ‘od’, the mystical force posited by Carl von Reichenbach to emanate from living things (not to be confused with orgone, a similar idea advanced by Wilhelm Reich). Nicely clued here, even if von Reichenbach wasn’t particularly eccentric by the standards of his time.

9.       Copshop equivalent for half a dozen coppahs once?  TANNAH (cf. tanner).  If half a dozen coppers make a tanner (that’s 6d in old money), then the same number of ‘coppahs’ make a ‘tannah’, otherwise an Indian police station.

26.     Duck eggs (German) with beginning of ducks inside.  EIDER (d in Eier).  Azed solvers need to be sufficiently polyglot for the setter’s occasional forays beyond the foreign words found in Chambers, in this case knowing the German plural of ‘Ei’.

28.     Brave following one, brave’s traditional enemy – not half!  FACE (f + ace and (pale)face).  Another double wordplay. Dr Watson guesses Azed was undecided between the two subsidiary indications and decided to put both in. In the definition ‘brave’ and ‘face’ are both verbs.

30.     Outside stone shed, sitting in perfect place.  EDEN ((s)eden(t)).  Some cleverly exploited double meanings create a very satisfying final clue. The outside ‘st.’ is shed from ‘sedent’.

Other solutions:

Across: 10. HAYWARD (anag. in hard);  14. ZANTAC (cat + a in NZ, all rev.);  17. ARGYRIA (anag. + air, rev.);  18. LEHR ((lunc)h in (coo)ler);  22. TRAYNE (a in anag.);  25. WANDERS (N in waders);  32. HANCE (h + ance);  33. NOSE-LED (sele in nod).  Down: 1. GHAZAL (H in Gaza + l);  2. LAMASERAI (RA in anag.);  3. SWAT (taws, rev.);  6. CRAIG (alternate letters);  7. KULA (kula(k));  8. PALFRENIER;  12. UNCHANGING (unc(I) + hanging);  15. WISEACRES (anag. in W,E,S);  19. TERMINI (anag. in I net, rev.);  21. REFRESH (serf in her, all rev.);  22. TWIGHT (w in tight);  24. DREADS (anag.).

Reviews index  |  & lit. homepage  |  Try the puzzle