Azed No 2040 ‘Printer’s Devilry’ (3 Jul 2011)

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

Reviews index  |  & lit. homepage  |  Try the puzzle


HIS is the 24th Printer’s Devilry (PD) Azed competition puzzle and the first since RASTER (Azed 1888) in August 2008. Dr Watson’s preamble for that puzzle gives an excellent brief introduction for solvers new to PDs, and the second paragraph of that for GISMO (Azed 1619) contains useful tips on how to progress with problem clues.

For his comments below Dr Watson has confined himself for the most part to light-heartedly drawing out some connection between the word clued and the clue itself, which, in PD clues, are not generally supposed to exist, or at least to matter. He would not normally bother to solve a PD puzzle where he suspected or quickly found that no attempt had been made to contrive this. He has never found this to be the case with Azed’s puzzles, and he hopes that readers who have solved this puzzle may find some entertainment and the spur to reacquaint themselves with solution meanings. Three problem clues have been treated in a different and more extensive manner.

Each clue is listed with a forward slash to mark where the solution is to be inserted. That part of the undevilled version is shown in parentheses extended in each case so far as to show any changes in punctuation, etc. Unchanged ends are indicated by dots.

Notes to the clues:


1.       On my pl/ough, cut chunks of bread and cheese.  ATELIER  (... plate lie rough-cut ...)
An allusion to a still-life session, or is it just lunch-time?

7.       It’s important to ga/me that we quicken the pace. INTI  (It’s important, to gain time, ...)

10.     Can you afford to r/esand a second car?  UNAMERCED (... run a Mercedes and ...)
One is hit in the pocket.

11.     Using old methods a doctor studies specimens - his l/uck’s out.  EECHS (... specimens his leech sucks out)
The surface of this clue is tellingly prescient. This ‘doctor’, and possibly one or two others amongst Azed’s loyal followers, has indeed used old methods and some new ones to check the formation of this word (EECH, s.v ECHE) with an ‘s’, but without result. On Chambers’ limited entry, one is led to take the word as used rarely in Shakespeare’s plays, for example, Henry V, Act III, Prologue, line 35 - generally given as ‘eke’ in modern editions, but as ‘eech’ in the First Folio. Chambers gives its pronunciation as ‘ēch’ as in ‘each’ or ‘teach’ (surely an error), hence the apparent problem over the formation of this word as a verb in the third person, singular, - if ‘teaches’, why not ‘eeches’? Azed is no stranger to The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) which has four primary entries for ‘eche’, the last of which covers the variant form and its usage under consideration here. Dr Watson suspects that he has referred to this entry for authority on the word’s pronunciation or for quotations including ‘eechs’. If so, his luck was out on both counts.

12.     Is our local, Pa/t, to close with dwindling support for hops?  LAISSÉ  (... local palais set to ...)
‘P’ marks the wrong turning, to the pub, not the palais. The two meanings of ‘hops’ compound the misdirection.

14.     I haven’t seen the whole group but there was O/K show last night.  NEONATAL  (... one on a talk ...)
Yes, one really does feel young again on reading this very funny clue.

15.     It’s most important which ba/ck to play with.  TIPI  (... bat I pick ...)
It never made much difference for the doctor. Get back in that tent.

17.     Memories of earlier mistakes return to give the rep/ast sense of shame.  ENTERAL  (... repenter a last ...)
Some involuntary incident at the table wittily hinted at here.

18.     I often read through the sport’s pa/st performance.  PERSONATE  (... sports papers on a test ...)
Quite possibly, this clue was intended as being for PERFORATE (... sports paper for a test ...). Either seems plausible although Dr. Watson has a distinct preference for the former. He has in mind a situation where the reader has watched a great innings, say, and is then keen to read what the best judges have made of it, rather than one where he is curious to find if any performances have been reported. However, either solution must surely be regarded as technically correct.

21.     Ale/s getting drunk after exams but school turns a blind eye.  AVERROIST  (A leaver roists, getting drunk ...)

23.     Does the pithiest poet make the most of the fe/es?  WESTLIN  (... fewest lines?)
One may read about Sir Walter Scott and his poetry, if any, here.

25.     As mystics go I’d place him well up in the swa/nking! MIRA  (... swami ranking!)

27.     A bil/ly found in Dutch waters.  ANDERSON  (A bilander’s only ...)
The solution refers to the Anderson shelter used during the Second World War. Azed may have the American country singer Bill Anderson in mind.

29.     Katharina is that feisty, la/med by Petruchio.  ASSENT  (... feisty lass entamed ...)
Presumably the lady assented to her taming at some point.

30.     Striving for an audience, an orator in the middle of the fo/wls.  RUMBA  (... forum bawls.)

31.     The angry captain cautioned his first ma/n dressing down.  TEA TASTER  (... mate at a stern ...)
Care for a cuppa, No. 1?

32.     His voice may be heard in English hom/ily.  ESDA  (... homes daily)
ESDA is the acronym mentioned in Azed’s instructions. It means ‘electrostatic document analysis’.

33.     The last in the series fil/tered group of academics at work.  MEDALET  (... filmed a lettered ...)



1.       Unmoved by al/ms, Tony faced withholding charity.  AMENTIA  (... a lament, I am stony-faced, ...)
Sadly, those who are afflicted by amentia often have no animation in their faces whatever.

2.       Could others make a better fist of things than the se/lected?  TWEE  (... set we elected?)
An interesting and arguable alternative solution is TREE (... set re-elected?), but THEE (... set he elected?) is much less plausible, implying, as it does, an electorate of one. The same word construed as (... these, the elected?) avoids that objection, but falls foul of the requirement that the solution should not begin at the beginning (or end at the end) of a word in the undevilled version. Luckily for everyone, TYEE (... set ye elected?), yet another eminently workable alternative, is listed in SOED, but not in Chambers (yet), as required. TWEE is our favoured solution, but advocates of TREE may have to wait on Azed’s generosity. Dr Watson notes that the surface of this clue is brilliantly apposite to the stern test it poses.

3.       In face of angry mobs I’ve never se/t urge to wield a baton.  ENCOPRESIS  (... seen cop resist ...)
Angry mobs and baton-wielding cops? One anticipates the reaction.

4.       Trivial malfunctioning in a computer pa/d, maybe.  INSANER (...pains a nerd, maybe)

5.       EASTER, the competition word.
It might have been better had it been NOR’WESTER, given our travails in that quarter with TWEE and EECHS!

6.       Why is the Bri/e ring her ensemble for the ceremony?  DEALT (... bride altering ...)
Better not to ask.

7.       I love knitting, especially gloves - this pa/id for my wife’s birthday.  IRID  (... pair I did ...)

8.       Earlier elections gave us Labour MPs but after the la/yman prevailed.  TESTATORY  (... latest, a Tory man ...)

9.       A poor recent record has meant my supporting the s/ot less.  IDEAL  (... side a lot less)

13.     In India after the be/t is in plentiful supply.  STRABISMAL  (... best rabis malt  ...)
The Doctor is in better supply today. He has a new word to describe the condition, the opposite of ‘abysmal’. Thanks, Azed.

16.     ‘In’ lat/ex was clearly a subject far from taboo in Rome.  INVERSES  (In Latin verse, sex ...)

19.     Might Oscar ever have preferred his image of b/rawn?  OSIERED  (... Bosie redrawn.)
Were they really basket-cases?

20.     For an obl/iquity may reveal his title’s origins.  EMANANT  (For a nobleman, antiquity ...)
One gets the gentleman’s drift.

22.     You have a dog, do you? M/ating whatever it fancies?  INDITE  (You have a dog - do you mind it eating ...?)
If not, a firmer inditement is suggested.

23.     You’ll find many lionized in life no/d lower.  WRATE  (... now rated ...)
No fear of a writ, then.

24.     It can be unbearably painful to pul/l out.  LANAI  (... pull a nail ...)

26.     Before a banquet host’s li/sting wines to be served.  KETA  (... hosts like tasting ...)

28.     If it’s there on offer, you’ll always see a h/at free of charge.  OBOE  (... hobo eat ...)


Reviews index  |  & lit. homepage  |  Try the puzzle