HIS puzzle was quickly solved, but the process of coming to a better understanding of each clue, essential to writing a review, was a slow burner, to say the least. This was not helped by the emergence of the phrase: ‘Desperate Dan, adieu!’ in the first three lights. It may mean something to some, and next to nothing to others. One who knows has advised that despite the closure of the comic itself, the comic strip hero may still be found on the Internet. For his part, Dr Watson was more exercised by the necessity of determining for several clues whether any could be deemed a true ‘&lit’. As that possibility receded he experienced increasing pleasure in revisiting many clues, notably those for PINOLE, HORSERADISH and INTEGER.
7. Buoy for tub and at sea reducing risk by half. DAN (2 subsidiary indications: anag. & dan(ger), s.v. dan2) Solvers may have noticed the entry for dan3 defined as ‘a box for carrying coal; a tub’ and wondered whether Azed has intended that this clue should carry two definitions as well as the two subsidiaries, an extremely rare occurrence if true. The clue’s surface suggests not, however, and our solution is held to be the type of dan carried on boats (i.e. ‘buoy for tub’) to be used whenever it becomes necessary to mark a particular area of water, most often for safety reasons. Details of the many types of buoy also known as dans may be found here.
13. In Senegal, a mahwa butter place. GALAM (hidden) Both the Shea tree, Vitellaria paradoxa, and the mahwa or mahua tree, Madhuca longifolia, are trees of the Sapotaceae family, both having butter-yielding fruits. Our solution, Galam, is the district in Senegal which lends its name to the local Shea tree butter. It therefore seems not to be a mahwa butter as the clue’s surface would suggest if it were an ‘&lit’. The definition is just ‘butter place’.
15. Explain art reproduced round Spain in style of classical sculptor. PRAXITELEAN (E in anag,) The reference is to the Athenian sculptor Praxiteles.
19. Ground meal eaten with milk in a bowl, say – or olpe? PINOLE (i.e. ‘p’ in olé) Another of those perplexing clues in which solvers must scan the solution for its explanation. Here, if ‘p’ is placed within ‘olé’ one might (note Azed’s question mark) obtain ‘olpe’. Not a bad way to get a Greek jug, or ‘’ople(ss)’ more likely.
23. Out of time with food to be eaten: condiment required. HORSERADISH (hors, era, dish) Not, as many may have thought at first, the inclusion of a word meaning ‘food’ within another meaning ‘out of time’, but a very fine charade, difficult to spot even when the solution is known. The thought that Azed must surely know how to spell ‘thyme’ is a bonus tease.
26. Severe action ruined one. CATONIAN (anag., an) Our solution refers to Cato the Elder, whose name has become a byword for severity.
29. Two or three maybe get bowled over in limitless finery. INTEGER (get(rev.) in (f)iner(y)) Cardinals and England cricketers, seemingly, though considerably more of the latter on the first day of the Dunedin Test Match. Plus ça change!
30. Musical bar, home territory for Dame Kiri in the main. SENZA (NZ in sea) A witty clue with the definition disguised in a phrase that seems to suggest either a bar-line or a nitery with live music, both being ‘excepted’ by our solution, the Italian word used in scores to indicate ‘without’ – (say) oboes, repeats, or the like. The reference is, of course, to Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, the New Zealand soprano.
31. E.g. sirloin certainly needs turning. SEY (yes (rev.)) Azed departs from his usual practice here by not hinting at the Scottish origin of our solution.
32. She’ll hear car lock. AUDITRESS (Audi, tress) A simple, concise charade-type clue.
1. Cow died with very old woman in attendance. DAUNT (d, aunt) Another charade, but more elaborately indicated, ‘in attendance’ dangling the possibility of a homophone.
2. Description of mountain group encapsulated in ‘easier range’. SIERRAN (hidden) The surface meaning of this clue may be true for many Sierras, but the defining characteristic appears to be the Spanish naming of them.
3. Author Sean maybe entrancing mum. PENMAN (ma in Penn) A reference to the American actor and director Sean Penn.
6. Make possible collar with jellied eel around? ENABLE (nab1 in anag.) The listed definition for ‘collar’: ‘a piece of meat rolled up and tied’ is surely the one to consider for the true meaning of this rather bizarre clue.
8. Maid has to accept angry tirade – it goes on forever. AMARANTH (rant in amah) Azed’s definition is not just a gardener’s complaint. As Chambers puts it: ‘a fabled never-ending flower, emblem of immortality.’
11. Excited about farm coming up, given similar openings? ALLITERATED (till3 (rev.) in aerated) Long forgotten dreams of taking a farm may have been evoked for a few by this clue’s surface, Watson’s favourite in this puzzle.
15. North Pole ice is melting – what’s prehistoric in part is revealed. PLIOCENE (anag. inc. N) Solvers may read here about the Pliocene period when, it is believed, the Arctic Sea was unfrozen.
20. Ohio trail mostly does for natives? OSTREA (O, strea(m) s.v native) Our solution is the name of the genus of edible oysters which includes the species Ostrea edulis. The definition given here is listed in Chambers under ‘native’ as ‘a native oyster’ and, amongst the adjectival definitions, thus: ‘(of an oyster) raised in a (British) artificial bed’.
22. Whale, increasingly sensitive about end of harpoon. FINNER (n in finer) Chambers gives ‘finner’ and ‘finback’ as alternative names for the fin whale. It is grouped with the rorquals as the common rorqual.
Across: 1. DESPERATE (The Competition word) 10. ADIEU (I in ‘à deu(x)’) 11. ADENOMA (0 in anag.) 12. URENT (‘u’, rent) 14. NORMALLY (o’, r, mall, all in NY) 17. EYEING (ye, I, all in Eng) 27. SERRY (s(h)erry; s.v. serried) 28. INGAN (hidden)
Down: 4. EUTAXY (i.e. “you taxi”) 5. ADULTERATOR (adult, anag.) 7. DOLT (do, l(is)t) 9. NAMINGS (man(rev.),in,G,S) 16. APHESIS (I in anag.) 18. INSIGNE (I, anag. less E; s.v. insignia) 21. IDOIST (‘do’, is, all in it) 24. ANNAS (anag., s.v. pie5) 25. ARTY ((he)arty)