Azed No 1953 ‘Misprints’ (1 Nov 2009)

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

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T’S good to see that Azed is still trying out new clue types, 37 years into the series. All previous Azed misprints puzzles have restricted the misprint to the definition part of the clue, or to the grid entry, following Ximenes’s practice. Here Azed gives himself some more leeway, and solvers an extra challenge, by allowing the misprint to appear anywhere in the clue. Some of the best clues in the puzzle are ones in which the setter misprints an instruction in the subsidiary part, e.g. by substituting ‘raisins’ for the reversal indicator ‘raising’ in 5 down. In several clues anagram material is misprinted, but Azed is careful to ensure that the corrected anagram material is a real word.

The corrected misprints lead to the quotation ‘Sighs are the natural language of the heart’, which in Thomas Shadwell’s Psyche follows the crossworder’s caveat ‘Words may be false and full of art’.

Clue-writing competitors will have to take a view on what Azed means by the note that ‘preference will be given to clues in which both the misprinted and the correct versions make some sense’. Clearly there’s a requirement for corrected clues to consist of real words. So a clue for TRAUMA such as ‘Wound short samurai in struggle (anag. of tamura(i))’ won’t do because ‘tamurai’ isn’t a real word. But it’s less clear whether the clue needs to be grammatically sound. 7 down, for example, is grammatically dubious in its corrected version. Would a clue such as ‘Initially she is ahead of Maura, writhing in agony (t(he) + anag.)’ pass the sense test? Perhaps the Slip will say more on this matter.

In the notes below the corrected misprint is shown at the start of the explanation.

Notes to the clues:


12.     Long tripping fairy daughter I’ll give aromatically pungent product.  PIPERIDINE (gripping; peri D in pine).  If the misprint is going to be put in the subsidiary indication, then misprinting an instruction, as Azed does here, rather than a component of the solution is a very effective way of misleading the solver.

13.     Contralto sings noisily what’s sung over maiden’s grave.  CRANTS (hung; C rants).  The best of the misprinted definitions, in Dr Watson’s view. ‘Crants’ (a garland for a dead maiden) is an interesting enough word in its own right.

14.     Exceptionally large Aussie in middle of hole – damn glued!  OLDMAN (slued; (h)ol(e) + anag.).  One of the trickiest clues. Another misprinted instruction, this time leading to a variant spelling of ‘slewed’ that is the anagram indicator. The wording of the clue allows several possible cryptic devices (OS in something, damn = D, etc.) before the misprint is solved, and the solution is quite difficult to find, even after you’ve guessed it starts with OLD. The adjective ‘oldman’ is derived from the slang term for a large kangaroo.

18.     Vale tots I love.  ADDIO (tote; add I 0).  ‘Vale’ and ‘addio’ mean farewell. The clue is admirably concise, but stretches the requirement to make some sort of sense in the corrected version. Does ‘Vale tote I love’ mean anything? Possibly, if a tote is a bag.


5.       Soak back runs with sort of porridge that needs raisins.  RESORB (raising; r + borse, rev.).  About the cleverest of the misprinted indicators.

6.       What gardeners use that’s allowed pet up round turnips in plot?  TROWEL (let; row in let, rev.).  The definition of ‘row’ seems a little vague, though that may be something to do with Dr Watson’s gardening skills.

7.       Pastry I put in to levitate, it being removed.  FILO (at; I in flo(at)).  Another clue whose sense in the corrected version is questionable (‘Pastry put in to levitate at being removed’), Dr Watson thinks.

10.     Dane with dexterity, but below senior tennis champ unconsciously.  SENSELESSLY (done; Sen. Seles sly ).  A clue that, perhaps appropriately, has little surface sense either misprinted or corrected, but the reference to Monica Seles makes the solving quite satisfying.

16.     Hebridean island row for listener? This allows sighs for one viewer.  EYELETEER (sight; ‘Islay tier’).  A difficult homophone for anyone unfamiliar with their Scottish islands. Islay (southernmost of the Hebrides and home to some famous malt whiskies) is  pronounced as in ‘I’ll, uh, do it tomorrow’. The definition of ‘eyeleteer’ in Chambers makes it clear that it’s a device for making eyelet holes (peep-holes) rather than eyelets (lace-holes).

Other solutions:

Across: 1. BISTORT (bits; anag. + ort);  7. FAGUS (silver; Ag in fus(s));  15. AIRFLOW (draught; hidden);  17. GREENEYE (rather; reen in gey + e);  19. ARTEL (later; anag.);  21. LOWLY (short; l + owly);  25. CAPLE (led; cap le(d));  27. ELATERIN (in; elater in);  30. OECISTS (backing; CE, rev., in anag.);  31. TRAUMA;  32. RUSSEL (rugger; RU + less, rev.);  33. INGRATIATE (cur; rat I in anag.);  34. CUISH (last; I in cush(y));  35. HAWSERS (lines; anag.).  Down: 2. IPRINDOLE (pole; I + rind in pole);  3. SPARID (sea; spa rid);  4. TINFOIL (ninny; nit, rev. + anag.);  8. ADD-ON (gangster; ad Don);  9. GIMLET (lime; M in gilet);  11. ACATALEPTIC (fiction; tale in anag.);  20. RAPISTS (shilling; anag. + s);  22. WARAGI (person; a rag n WI);  23. WROATH (ruth; w(rite)r + oath);  24. PIERIA (state; pie + air, rev.);  26. PASSÉE (seat; pas see);  28. TOURS (rounds; 2 meanings);  29. AMAH (wet; AMA + H).

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