Azed No 2083 Plain (6 May 2012)

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

Reviews index  |  & lit. homepage  |  Try the puzzle


R WATSON found this to be a richly engaging and intriguing puzzle, though one not seriously difficult to solve. As a puzzle to be reviewed it offers much to mention, particularly in the context of assisting new solvers. The topicality of clues for TALAQS, GART and ASCESIS will have amused a few, and sailors amongst us had three to enjoy: those for HOUSE-LINE, SEA LEGS, and SAVAGE. This was Azed at his teasing and bewitching best.

Notes to the clues:


10.     Apache possibly? He’s mostly confused with Satan!  ATHAPASCAN (anag. of Apach(e) + Satan; s.v. Athabascan)  Azed may have had in mind Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Western: Apache Devil as the surface connection between ‘Apache’ and ‘Satan’. Our solution refers to the group of languages which includes that of the Apache tribes.

12.     Old poem by unknown oddball.  DITZ (dit1 + z)  On finding ‘z’ to be our ‘unknown’, and not the commonplace ‘x’ or ‘y’, many solvers may have joined Watson in wondering once again whether any letter might be so indicated.

13.     Whiteness originally noticeable among rural Bedouin. ALBEDO (hidden)  This clue is notable for including the solution to 1 Down, albeit in the more common variant form. Its mere presence here, however, remains appropriately bewitching until that clue is properly solved.  

14.     Tapir is heading for rain but not in mountain pipes.  ANTARA (anta2 + ra(in))  Azed’s use of ‘is heading for’ to indicate ‘precedes’ is a delightful feature of this clue. Solvers who may have wondered why our tapir would not venture near ‘mountain pipes’ would have found the definition: ‘a pipe-like volcanic vent’ at the entry for pipe1.

16.     Antique market I’ll be after – boon unusually includes that one-time fee?  OBVENTION (vent3 + I in anag.)  Watson had quite a traipse here amongst the stalls before he found just the right reading of this tricky clue.

19.     Cathodes may be seen in shed converted with this Sky unit?  OCTA (comp. anag.)  It is rare for Azed to begin a definition with an unnecessary capital letter, forced here by the topical reference to Sky Television as needed for the surface reading. The composite anagram is formed by our solution: OCTA and ‘shed’, which may be transformed into ‘cathodes’. New entrants to the competition should note that Azed insists that both parts of a composite anagram must be indicated separately. Here, he has obliged with ‘converted’ and the additional hint of a question mark. The latter serves also to allay concerns about the capital ‘S’.

25.     Part of school fashion? It may be seen in navy cords.  HOUSE-LINE (house + line)  Dr Watson regards the surface of this clue as tellingly apt since sailors are notoriously fashion-conscious in every aspect of managing their boats, and will defend their own methods against those of others. Our solution is the name of a style of cord used in seizings and other rope work. 

31.     The governor takes place in group from which jury was picked.  PAIS (pa + is; s.v. be)  The old man is on the panel. ‘To take place’ may be found among the definitions at the substantive entry for the verb: to be.  

34.     Resistance to mal de mer, as seen in marine creatures.  SEA LEGS (e.g. in seals)  The surface achieved here is highly appropriate in the context of the readiness of marine creatures to dispose of our bodily waste, including vomit, as any sailor will attest. Seals are a bit more choosy.


1.       Tent-dweller, one secure under mattress.  BEDAWIN (bed + a + win; c.f. 13 Across)  Regular solvers will remember a recent puzzle, No 2076, which featured a pair of clues, each including the solution of the other. Not this time, however. Such a tease!

3.       Flexible rod, dry, connecting parts of horizontal timber.  WATTLE (TT connecting parts of wale1; s.v. wattle1)  This is an intriguing clue as a careful reading of Chambers’ entry for wattle1 should reveal. The clue’s substantive definition is ‘flexible rod’, one of the dialect meanings, but the remainder may be understood in the collective sense as material laid out to be used as the horizontal weft of hurdles.

4.       Ben? Ben mostly put in crazy request recalling W. Mitty.  THURBERESQUE ((Ben) Hur + Be(n), all in anag.)  Solvers will no doubt expect to find appropriate links for Ben Hur, James Thurber, and his famous story: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty at this entry.

5.       Desert travellers take narcotic drink, tinned?  CARAVAN (i.e. r + ava2, all in can; s.v. kava)  A fourth reference to desert dwellers in this puzzle, this clue is notable for its indication of ‘in can’ by the use of ‘tinned?’ Lower case ‘r’ is an abbreviation for ‘take’.

7.       A boy gets punished? Gyte with this maybe.  ASBO (comp. anag.)  In this clue, the second to feature a composite anagram, ‘a boy gets’ is found to be an anagram of our solution: ASBO and ‘gyte’. The anagram of the first phrase is indicated in normal fashion, the latter rather as an instance of the possible combinations in response to the question posed. Regarding the surface reading, it is interesting that both of the Scots words: gyte make perfect sense, at least in modern senses of gyte1. The first means crazy or mad; the second a child or brat .

11.     Cobble this up before oration? One’s drying  PAVE (evap(oration) (rev.))  What might need drying before an oration, having been cobbled up? Clearly it is ink on a page, or so one might guess if one could not understand the clue. With its third letter unchecked in the grid, this could be held to be a classic of its type, the ‘unchecked’ trap or ‘unch’ as it is informally known.

20.     Strict self-discipline one’s involved in like tax of old.  ASCESIS (I in as + cess)  In this clue’s surface, Azed has delivered a brilliant swipe at our posh-boy guardians of fiscal discipline, and their now infamous freezing of the age-related tax allowance.

22.     Chap admitting explosive lit must be this?  GUILTY (anag. in guy)  Regular solvers may have remembered the clue for LITHE in the February competition puzzle at 17, and, if so, made light work of this.

27.     Sandy’s awl: changing this will make him a club for ball game.  STOB (i.e. ‘s’ to ‘b’ in Sandy gives ‘bandy’; s.v. bandy3)  There have been quite a few clues of this type recently, and so new solvers may be getting used to scanning the solutions rather than the clues for an understanding of how they work. In this one, in addition to his duties as material for the transformation, Sandy also serves to hint at the Scots solution.

Other solutions:

Across:  1. BEWITCH (The competition word) 7. ASTI (asti(r)) 17. ICE TEA (I + cete + A) 21. NIGH (nigh(t-ape)) 23. REISTS (I in anag.; s.v. reast1) 29. OEUVRE (EU in anag.) 30. TALAQS (Q in anag.) 32. OUTRUSHING (anag.) 33. BAYT (bay7 + t; (Spenser)) 

Down:  2. EPINICION (‘in’ in epic + I + on; s.v. epinikion & on (adj.)) 6. PALINGENESIA (paling + anag. s.v. palingenesis) 8. SCENIC (anag. less e) 9. IN ON (on! (rev.) in in2) 15. POTTERING (t in anag.) 18. BRIOCHE (r,i in Boche) 24. SAVAGE (vas (rev.) + age) 26. LESS (hidden) 28. GART (anag. less E; s.v. gar2)


Reviews index  |  & lit. homepage  |  Try the puzzle