Azed No 2031 Plain (1 May 2011)

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

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ROGRESS in solving this puzzle flows readily from a number of quite transparent down clues throughout the north-east half of the grid, but becomes trickier in the south-west. However, application brings reward, and besides that gained in working in greater detail on those clues selected below, mention should be made of the delight afforded by some of the remainder, particularly those for TABI, MOONY and ATTORNEYISM..

Notes to the clues:


1.       Set foot in a palace, right? Wrong - this was the unexpected follow-up.  AFTERCLAP  (ft in a + anag. (of ‘place’), inc. r)  This clue may be an error on Azed’s part in view of the fact that three a’s cannot be squeezed into the solution with the preferable and more acceptable parsing: ‘ft in anag. inc. r’. As it stands, with the parsing tentatively suggested above, the solver must first find a synonym (actually, instance) of ‘palace’ before applying the anagram. Azed has often stated that such a device is unfair. In a certain sense, the clue, both in its surface and in its uncertain cryptic reading, is most deliciously apposite to the meaning of the solution. One awaits the afterclap.

8.       Wee shed removed, in ruins.  SMA  (sma(shed))  A very rare clue in that no indication of the Scottish origin of the solution is needed. Both definition and solution are Scots words meaning ‘small’.

11.     Left-wing terrorists break down, admitting crime.  GRAPO  (rap1 in go)  Break down’ is among the many listed definitions of ‘go’. The solution stands for Grupos de Resistencia Antifascista Primero de Octubre (q.v.).

16.     Dressing-gown? You can include me, wearing a stunner.  KIMONO  (I’m on in k.o.)  This clue, or one very like it, featured in an Azed a few years ago. Witty, and a delight.

19.     This rig may be apparent in an iron reign.  NERONIAN  (comp. anag. & lit.)  The solution is indicated by the emphasised ‘this’ and is presumed to be an adjective qualifying ‘rig’. The solution, when added to ‘rig’, is found to be an anagram of ‘an iron reign,’ but many solvers may have wondered quite how ‘may be apparent in’ can be held to indicate this. Of the many listed meanings of ‘rig’, rig1, as meaning ‘general appearance’, is taken to be the most fitting, and renders the whole surface capable of being read as a literal definition.

21.     Navy yielding to e.g. Napoleon in Spanish Town, not a real port.  GEROPIGA  (pig for N in Gerona)  Gerona is certainly not a port, being well inland of the Mediterranean coast. The Navy’s undoing here is at the hands, not of Bonaparte, but of the pig in Animal Farm by George Orwell. The solution is a blend of brandy and grape juice said to resemble port and used as a cheap substitute. Doctor Watson notes that Azed has chosen to use a clue featuring substitution. 

29.     The old complain, over the hill, about 80 (very old)  GRONE  (R in gone)  Doctor Watson attempted something similar a few years ago, with the intention of disguising a reference to an obsolete verb, as here, by use of ‘the old’ as meaning ‘elderly people in general’. Despite its familiarity, he could not find any explicit authority for this use in the more august dictionaries, but did find a reference in Longmans Dictionary of Contemporary English, 1978 ed. The S.O.E.D. has an entry under ‘the’ for an obsolete usage with an adjective to indicate all things capable of being described by it, but Chambers confines its entry to nouns only.

30.     With which authors conclude volume? Put in yes/no as appropriate.  ENVOYS  (v in anag; envoy2 (q.v.))  There could not be a more appropriate way of indicating an anagram of ‘yes/no’ than ‘as appropriate.’ Brilliant.

31.     Ovine strays, of no use? Deadly sinful!  ENVIOUS  (anag. + u/s)  Black sheep are brought to mind on reading this witty clue. Although the solution is only one of seven possible instances, it is, perhaps, the most appropriate. The entry for ovine is at oviform1.

33.     What Piaf never felt for Parisian location?  RUE  (2 meanings)  A reference to Édith Piaf and her famous song Non, je ne regrette rien (q.v.).

34.     Inhabitants of Spain as was, flower of Rome kept in semi-chastity?  CELTIBERI  (Tiber in celi(bacy))  The solution is the term used by the Roman administration of the Iberian peninsula for its Celtic peoples.


2.       Bean , mostly cooked in a way that keeps SA party inside.  FRIJOLE  (jol in frie(d))  Of note here is the precision of the cryptic part, particularly ‘cooked in a way’ to indicate ‘fried’.

4.       Beak forgoing rum for traditional Sunday meal?  ROST  (rost(rum))  A fine surface beautifully disguising the indicator (‘traditional’) for an old spelling of ‘roast’. ‘Rostrum’ is an anatomical term in English for beak.

7.       Chaps on area inside roped off for college dance. PROMENADE  ( men + A in anag.)  An amusing clue, but one which may divide British and American solvers in their response. Websters describes ‘chaps’ (meaning ‘men’) as ‘chiefly British’.

8.       Wealthy philanthropist lives for women’s club in the US.  SOROSIS  (Soros +is; s.v. sororal)  A reference to George Soros, the investor most famous in the UK for the killing he made on ‘Black Wednesday’.

11.     US husbandman admits e.g. going round Wellington’s place - did he cross the wall?  GRENZGÄNGER  ([NZ in e.g.] in granger; s.v grange)  The cryptic definition in this clue is, of course, a reference to The Berlin Wall.

15.     Unaccompanied harmonica’s part showing fine judgement?  SOLOMONIC  (solo + (har)monic(a))  A reference to the Judgment of Solomon in The First Book of Kings, Chapter 3, (q.v.).

20.     One imposing order and a bishop dominates philosopher.  ARRAYER  (a + RR over Ayer)  Dr Watson found the surface of this clue, particularly the first phrase and its relationship with the concluding clause, more elusive than its disguised definition. ‘One imposing order’ is to be understood as an order (command) in the surface, and as an array maker in the definition. Sir Alfred (A. J.) Ayer (q.v.) obliges as our philosopher, though one who was certainly no pushover in an argument.

23.     Absorbed by gambling, owe stacks, getting snuff out?  GO WEST  (hidden)  Doctor Watson suspected from intersecting letters that ‘go west’ might be the solution at an early stage, but did not notice the hidden indication until much later, finding the surface reading a little too close to home. ‘Snuff out’ is understood in its intransitive sense as the definition.

24.     Old hat covering up (only half) part of butter?  CORNU  (corn1 + u(p))  Here, ‘old hat’ does not refer to some type or abbreviation of tricorn, but, as the SOED, sixth edition, puts it:- ‘7 Something corny (CORNY adjective1 5), esp. old-fashioned or sentimental music. colloq. M20’. The OED 2nd Edition, 1989 also defines it by reference to ‘corny’, adding ‘(orig. US)’. By contrast, Chambers defines it (s.v. corn1) without reference to ‘corny’ as ‘something old-fashioned or hackneyed’, hence Azed’s note.

          The solution (s.v. corn2) is an anatomical term meaning ‘horn’, etc., hence our definition: ‘part of butter?’

28.     In hearing possibly tender legal compensation.  BOTE  (‘boat’; s.v. tend1)  This clue turns on the meaning of ‘tender’, given in Chambers as ‘a small craft that attends a larger’, perhaps the solver’s and the reviewer’s place in Azed’s grand scheme of things. Long may it continue.

Other solutions:

Across: 12. REDROOT (anag. in rot) 13. RIBOSE (Ibos in r,e) 14. COROT (r in coot) 17. NOMOTHETES (mothe(r)2 in notes) 25. EMBROIDERY (The competition word) 26. NO MORE (rom. in eon (all rev.)) 32. TOTEM (to (= beside) + tem(plate)).  Down:  3. TABI (anag.) 5. CRÈCHE (rec in Che (Guevara))  6. LEAKER (anag. + r)  9. MOONY (moo + NY; s.v. moon) 10. ATTORNEYISM (anag.) 18. PREMOVE (p(age) + remove) 22. IREFUL (anag. (less s) + (morta)l) 27. ANTI (anti(c)).


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