Azed No 1971 Plain (7 Mar 2010)

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

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ZED has worked a good variety of references into this month’s competition puzzle, both as definitions requiring general knowledge (or Google) to solve them, and as part of the wordplay. There’s everything from art (Rousseau’s erstwhile occupation) to literature (Adrian Mole’s creator) to gastronomy and sport. It’s all great entertainment, with none of the trials and traps of last month’s Playfair.

Notes to the clues:


1.       Jack follows Jack in old-fashioned (traditional?) music.  JASS (J + ass).  A jack can be a jackass as well as many other things (Dr Watson recalls ‘jack’ once being in the Guinness Book of Records as the word with the most different meanings). The solution is an old word for (possibly trad) jazz.

12.     Wherein one may find Usain Bolt after a dash?  ABLUTIONS (anag. & lit.).  There are of course other places the sprinter might be (and does he even break a sweat?), but anagram is irresistible, and Azed has worked it into a concise & lit. clue.

16.     You’ll see us in whites tailored like this.  THUSWISE (us in anag.).  The definition ‘like this’ is hard to spot, and allows just about any preceding wordplay to make sense.

19.     Getting squiffy in guessing game, ruler following crazy fancies.  MOONRAKING (on in mora + king).  Two nicely misleading elements here: the first two words define ‘on’ but look like an anagram indicator, and the last three appear to indicate a charade but define the solution.

21.     This flower disguised server at e.g. Wheeler’s?  FISH-TROWEL (anag.).  Dr Watson wasn’t familiar with Wheeler’s of St James’s in London, apparently the world’s oldest fish restaurant. The original closed down some time ago, but it was recently resurrected in name by Marco Pierre White.

26.     Rousseau’s work-place, whence French an’ little English emerges.  DOUANE (d’oů an’ E).  The painter Henri Rousseau was known as Le Douanier (the customs-man) after his original line of work. ‘D’oů’ translates as ‘from where’ or ‘whence’.

32.     Being in a heap that’s suspended.  PENSILE (ens in pile).  There’s a helpful collection of philosophical words for ‘being’ (‘ens’ and ‘esse’ are two) that crossword setters can take advantage of.

33.     Lower house constantly falling short.  DÁIL (dail(y)).  The Dáil is the Irish Republic’s lower house of parliament.


4.       Something in the pudding supplied by creator of Adrian M.  SUET (Sue T).  Sue Townsend is the author of the Secret Diary of Adrian Mole series.

6.       The old sounded dejected a great deal.  SIGHT (2 meanings).  The solution is an old form of ‘sighed’ and a great deal as in ‘a sight bigger’.

15.     Double lavatory shag-pile carpet kept half cut.  LOOKALIKE (loo kali ke(pt)).  There’s a lovely staccato rhythm to the clue as well as a very well-realised charade, even if the surface is a bit improbable.

20.     Ceramic pigment touching in Rodin’s creation.  IRON-RED (re in anag.).  Having polished off Rousseau, you’re just getting ready to show off your knowledge of Rodin’s oeuvre, and it turns out to be an anagram that’s needed.

25.     English within solidi half erased? We may refer to footnotes.  OBELI (E in obli(ques)).  A solidus is a slash/stroke/oblique, and an obelus is one of those † things that we had to make do with before hyperlinks.

26.     Department of hydromechanics in RAF base?  DROME (hidden).  Azed seems to have an infinite store of different hidden word indicators. It took Dr Watson an age to work this clue out even after seeing the solution.

Other solutions:

Across: 6. SMASHER (S masher);  13. TUNE ((for)tune);  14. FLAM (2 meanings);  17. ROCHET (Ch in anag.);  18. CERNED (hidden rev.);  24. NARDOO (ran, rev. + do 0);  27. SLOWBURN (anag. + urn);  29. HIRE (‘higher’);  30. LIDS (first letters);  31. ELEMENTAL (leme in anag. + N).  Down: 1. WATERMANSHIP;  3. ALNICO (a L + anag.);  5. STATERS (state Rs);  7. MOCUCK (Cu in mock);  8. ANISE (anag.);  9. HOLING (hidden, ref. golf);  10. ERASEMENT (semen in tare, rev.);  11. REMEDILESSLY (anag.);  21. FROREN (ro-r(o) in fen);  22. HOUSEL (use in hol(y));  23. WAPITI (a pit in WI);  29. ULNA (alternate letters).

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