Azed No 2105 ‘Collisions’ (7 Oct 2012)

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

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ESPITE its title and highly entertaining theme, this puzzle is a reprise of the ‘overlaps’ special. There have been two previous competition puzzles, 1606 and 1654, employing this feature. In both puzzles a fixed central column contained the overlaps of every across light, four letters in 1606 and three in 1654. In a non-competition puzzle, 1834, Azed used a fixed central column of two letters. However, except for the proviso that either of the two words may be clued first, the manner of clueing these overlapping lights has evolved, beginning in 1606 with one whole word defined (either) and the other indicated. Both 1654 and 1834 had a normal cryptic clue for one word (either), and a clue for the other comprising a definition and an indication of its non-overlapping letters. In the present puzzle we have a satisfying medium of both words having clues containing a definition and an indication of the non-overlapping letters. Additionally, all twelve rows have one across light each, and the overlaps are not confined by column.

Much of the pleasure afforded in this puzzle lies in considering the across solutions as ‘collisions’, perhaps some more aptly so than others. Having solved NONG, IDEAL, and CORNET quickly, Dr Watson pencilled in the competition ‘collision’ before solving any of the across clues - before, indeed, persuading himself that the instructions implied overlapping entries in that fashion. That solution is, of course, a poignant paradigm case. Finding comparable explanations for the remainder is a matter of teasing the context out of clues and solutions. One, 18, represents not so much a collision as a contrary process whilst 27 and 28 involve references which may require expert clarification beyond the scope of this review.

In the formal explanations of each across clue below the indications are given in the order as clued. Mercifully, all across indications are uncomplicated and readily understood.

Notes to the clues:


11.     Have a snooze before love, lumpy cross love-making. NODO(SE)X (nod + 0; x)  What a swell party this is.

12.     Skill in turning shoe for athlete granted backing before second passivity. TRA(INER)TNESS (art (rev.); sent(rev.) + s)  The collision that occurs here in the clue seems to be between the boot and making sense of the rest. As for the solution, being bawled at by gym teachers will be familiar to all.

13.     Bit of US verse, troublesome thing greeting newspaper writing in the Far East. HIRAG(ANA)PEST (pest; hi + rag)  The US reference specifies the US spelling of ‘anapaest’, a foot of two short (or unstressed) syllables followed by a long (or stressed) syllable. Doubtless this is problematic for Japanese typographers to render in Hiragana. That’s just a guess.

14.     Champion goat, clever Alberta. AB(LE)CH (Ch; AB)  A collision between a goat’s horns and a lecher’s backside, presumably.

16.     Cured pork steamer maybe stirred etc right alongside viscous mixture - scale required. PANCET(TA)RTAR (pan + anag; r + tar)  One imagines Azed’s distaste at discovering his pancetta contaminated with tartare sauce.

18.     Some gourds or butternuts accumulate on the surface fruits that split open, a germ bursting with temperature. REGMAT(A)DSORB (hidden; anag. + t)  The process by which some fruits split into dehiscent parts does not seem to be directly contrary to adsorbtion, except by analogy.  

23.     Balletic leap, little breadth - Nureyev’s first extended upward. B(RISE)N (b; init.)  A reference to Rudolph Nureyev. A brisé involves a leap and striking the legs together in the process, hence our collision whilst risen. 

25.     Old khan with a summons to parley, soldiers backing it (a contradiction) CHAMA(DE)MENTI (cham1 + a; men + it(rev.))  Au contraire for a game of soldiers, perhaps?

27.     Crusader hero, captive of Sultan, causing state of readiness for e.g. war, later released. TANC(RED) ALERT (hidden; anag.)  The Tancred referred to here does not appear to be the great crusader of that name but to the hero of a novel by Disraeli. A warning: his captivity lasts for several chapters.

28.     King, lord in French southern town on the Somme. K(AMI)ENS (K; en + S)  Azed may have intended the context here to concern the Mise of Amiens (1264).

29.     Vagrant canary to withstand extremes of easterlies in Rhode Island. RESI(ST)ROLLER (ROLLER; e,s in RI)  Hoboes of one sort or another are frequent visitors to Azed’s puzzles, perhaps representing the antithesis of the great discipline of his art.


1.       More than one such old taxman could be terribly strict with the poor. TITHE-PROCTOR anag. less s)  This clue is notable for indicating the solution by referring to its plural in the definition part.

3.       Great group getting together in the afternoon? TEARING (i.e. ‘tea ring’)  The definition: ‘great’ takes a bit of spotting in this game of hide and seek.

7.       Defensive stakes a chap’s put up in Dee, possibly? ESTACADE (‘a cat’s’ (rev.) in anag. &lit.) ‘Defensive stakes’ could serve as a definition but lacks precision. The indicative remainder corrects that deficiency in this very fine ‘&lit.’ clue.

8.       Release for Macbeth? King without right ends in the ultimate opprobrium. EXEEM ((r)ex + inits.)  Those solvers confidently expecting a Shakespearean solution will have been put out, as was Watson, to find it marked as an obsolete Scottish word.

19.     Gas giving little energy (the brackets on no longer) ETHANE (e + an3 in the)  A witty clue evoking memories of shivering over a weak flame with apparatus in improvised mode..

20.     Little bird catching fish, to take advantage of ebb and flow. TIDE IT (ide in tit; s.v. id1)  This sweet clue reflects one of the many pleasures of sailing: watching birds as they exploit their ever-changing world . Our solution may be found at the entry for tide1 - ‘... vi ... to make one’s way ... (etc) ... (also vt with it)’

21.     Take pre-main course (not second) – not something you want in grand volume. RETREE (r + e(n)trée)  The definition of our solution, meaning slightly damaged paper, is disguised with aplomb in a clue about anxiety over one’s weight.

22.     Accommodation in Sing Sing was fetid, top to bottom. TANKS (‘stank’, first letter moved to end)  A reference to Sing Sing maximum security prison in New York State. ‘Tank’ is a US slang term for a prison cell.

24.     It’s observed by Jews taking up old tales. SEDER (redes (rev.) &lit.)  The feast of Passover Seder, one of various meanings of our solution, is one of a number of Jewish festivals in which the retelling of a significant historical event is a central feature.


Other solutions:

Across:  1. TITAN(IC)EBERG (The competition ‘collision’) 

Down:   2. INRIXA (INRI + x + a) 4. NONG (hidden (rev.)) 5. IDEAL (anag.) 6. CORNET (C + anag., s.v. cornet2) 9. RUSSIA (odd letters (s,i) in rusa1) 10. GASTARBEITER (‘a star’ in anag.) 15. BEAR ARMS (rar(e) in beams; s.v. bumpkin2) 17. TONNELL (tonne + ll) 26. MANO (initial letters).


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