Azed No 2065 Plain (1 Jan 2012)

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

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HIS was found to be a refreshing New Year treat with nothing terribly difficult. A return to a more balanced grid allowing a few longer words was most welcome. Some very fine clues, particularly those for CHIYOGAMI, ASEITY, PARAPODIA, INMATE and GRADINI gave great delight along with simpler ones such as SHALOT, PETERMAN and the wonderful HOLIST.

Notes to the clues:


4.       Type of self-discipline introduced by X, then me, in fine paper.  CHIYOGAMI (chi + yoga + mi (tonic sol-fa))  Azed kicks off a new season with a witty puff for the standards set by his predecessor, Ximenes, which he continues to maintain in these puzzles for The Observer newspaper. Dr Watson expects that all Azed’s loyal solvers will join him gladly in submitting once again to the rigours and pleasures of this and many other puzzles yet to come.

12.     Cheap liquor I concealed in roulade.  RUIN (I in run)  Perhaps Azed has relied on a default reading of ‘roulade’ in its culinary sense to disguise the indication in this simple clue. Some solvers are fonder of their ears than their palates, and may have thought of the musical sense first, perhaps of enjoying a song in good company whilst downing drink as cheaply as common decency will allow.

14.     Drunkard embracing prince (his?) in tear-jerker, possibly.  SHALOT (Hal in sot)  The inclusion of ‘(his?)’ in this clue, seemingly redundant, may be a reference to some specific exchange or (possibly tearful) reconciliation, amongst several between Falstaff and Prince Henry (his ‘Hal’, afterwards King Henry V) in Shakespeare’s two Henry IV plays.

19.     Energy very good – sound as a bell inside. STINGO (ting in so)  The indication of ‘ting’ by ‘sound as a bell’ is a most pleasing feature here.

31.     Niggardly Scots appearing as fool around Ireland.  NIRLIT (IRL in nit)  IRL is the International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for The Republic of Ireland.

32.     Being self-derived, is yet a hybrid.  ASEITY (anag.)  An intriguing clue in which the indicator of the anagram: ‘hybrid’ is disguised in the surface reading as a noun. One definition of ‘hybrid’ is given as ‘a word formed of elements from different languages’. The term ‘self-derived’ is formed from two words, the first Germanic, the second French in origin.

34.     King leaves showing off e.g. trumpeter.  SWAN (swan(king))  A simple clue leaving one wondering what the surface actually means, if anything. The definition alludes of course to the trumpeter swan.

35.     Writer penning half a cracker.  PETERMAN (term in pen; s.v. peter3)  Solvers had more than their money’s-worth in this clue with its witty parsing – ‘term in pen’ – i.e. a stretch in a penitentiary. A cracker and a half.


2.       I make short chunk of text up in Panama swimming aids.  PARAPODIA (i do para (all rev.) in PA)  The second clue in succession to feature ‘PA’ in its indication, this time being the IVR code for Panama. One imagines Azed knocking these puzzles out by the poolside with all its attendant distractions.  

5.       Left in lift, one must believe in complete systems.  HOLIST (l in hoist)  Watson’s favourite clue in this puzzle, simple but so true.

6.       One doing time, not available set apart inside?  INMATE (n & a, (from N/A) in anag. & lit.)  Dr Watson feels that the whole clue would read better as a definition if it had a comma after ‘available’. However, the need to preserve the sense of the subsidiary indication, especially the instruction to split the two letters of N/A, precludes it. In that context, the question mark becomes an important element in rounding off a very finely crafted clue.

8.       Altar decoration; density in deep dye Roman cardinal pursues.  GRADINI (d in grain1 + I)  Here Azed has used ‘Roman cardinal’ to indicate the Roman number one, and in so doing has transformed the surface mood to one of passionate acquisitiveness – no suggestion of avarice intended.

10.     Vortigern worried about money, becoming self-obsessed?  INTROVERTING (tin in anag.)  Vortigern’s fame rests mainly on his role in inviting the first Saxon settlers to Britain. If there is a connection between him and the surface meaning of the clue, Dr Watson has not found it.

15.     Scots promise, now forgotten, agitated English.  HETE (het2 + E)  Solvers needed to read the entry for ‘hight’ very carefully. Its many variants include HOTE (hot + E) which is listed as peculiar to Edmund Spenser and may have been the careless choice of a few competitors.

17.     Lizards a guide unusually spotted catching tropical bird  IGUANIDAE (ani in anag.)  A clue with an apt surface as the link for the anis shows. They are sometimes known to eat small lizards

27.     Old rumour not dismissed for sure.  NOYES ((no)yes or alternatively n.o. + yes)  In the first reading above the ‘not’ (‘no’) is removed from the solution to reveal a synonym of another part of the indication (‘sure’), and not the other way around as is normally the case. Dr Watson’s readiness to accept that explanation has blinded him, however, to a simpler reading involving ‘not out’ as in cricket scores and the expression ‘for sure’.

29.     Treble’s first line in Handel (a Miserere).  E-LA-MI (hidden)  ‘Treble’s first line’ refers not to an opening line of text or music, but to the line in a musical stave as explained in our solution’s entry in Chambers.

30.     The Adelphi? It held this Shakespearean company’s production.  HEAP (composite anagram)  The entry in Chambers for HEAP includes a Shakespearean definition meaning ‘a company’. The clue as a whole reads as an indication that ‘The Adelphi’ may be taken as an anagram of ‘It held’ + ‘heap’. Azed has often stated that each part of a composite anagram must be so indicated separately. Dr Watson therefore takes these to be the question mark, and ‘production’.

          Clues formed in this way always lead to the question whether the whole clue is intended to serve as a definition of the solution. Watson knows The Adelphi Theatre, but cannot vouch for a production company called Heap.

Other solutions:

Across:  11. SARCONET (anag.) 13. TROW (t(hat) + row) 16. RAZZIA (anag. in RA) 18. PERST (hidden, s.v. perse (Spenser)) 20. COMPTE RENDU (anag.) 22. DERMESTIDAE (The competition word) 26. MINOAN (mino + an) 28. EATEN (“Eton”) 33. WADI (wad2 + I) 36. SUPERSEDE (perse1 in anag.)  

Down:  1. ASTROCOMPASS (PA in anag.) 3. CROZE (“crows”) 7. YESES (anag. in y,s) 9. AULA (hidden (rev.)) 21. PROLINE (pro + line) 23. MATT (Matt. – abbr. Gospel of St. Matthew) 24. SENATE (e(ducatio)n in sate) 25. TAILED (Tai + led)

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