Azed No 2139 Plain (2 Jun 2013)

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

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R WATSON made quick progress in finding the solutions of this puzzle; progress in understanding the subsidiary indications of a number of clues was slower. He is hopeful that his efforts to comprehend them fully will be of relief to other solvers who may have entered the competition similarly unsure.

Notes to the clues:


1.       Rough old beer with infusion of creeper is so brewed - it’s fatal to birds. ASPERGILLOSIS (asper2, gill4, anag.)  Experienced solvers will have noticed the indication to ‘..osis’ immediately, but making up the rest may have been as tricky as Dr Watson found it to be. The phrase: ‘with infusion of’ suggests a possible inclusion of one word in another, but it proved eventually to be part of the listed definition of gill ale.

14.     Become passé, died alone, areas of activity halved. OBSOLESCE (ob., sole, sce(nes))  In the surface, the phrase defining our solution: ‘become passé’ must be understood as ‘having become passé’.

16.     Where some worship and live, death’s confounded. BETHESDA (be, anag.)  The original reference is to the Pool of Bethesda, mentioned in St John’s Gospel, but the name is also adopted by many towns and churches, too numerous to mention. Immediately solved.

18.     Islamic princes: is it them cine-clip’s shown jerkily? AMIRS (comp. anag.)  Amirs, cine-clip’s’ is found to be an anagram of ‘Islamic princes’. Is it another Azed compound anagram displaying an ambiguous indication of the separate anagrams?

20.     Australians’ luggage sent back, causing ill-temper. STROP (ports (rev.); s.v. port8)  With The Ashes test series imminent, Dr Watson’s thoughts turned on reading this clue to the importation of favourite cricket bats. One famously made of aluminium may have occurred to a few others.

24.     What you’d find in conquest Romans displayed? ESTRO (hidden &lit)  Azed has devised his clue to stand as a definition by example, suggested by the question-mark. The surface may be understood as a reference to the popular culture of lavish spectacles of peoples, animals and plunder at the Colosseum and elsewhere: Panem et circenses.

25.     Rear stabilizer? Make adjustment to it final. TAIL FIN (anag.)  Azed has noted the absence of a definition of our solution in Chambers and referred to the entry in the New Oxford Dictionary. This is also listed in the Oxford Concise, and the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. The second of the three meanings given is the one indicated here, although the Concise omits the reference to stability. See the link to ‘airplain vertical tail’ here.

27.     Once beginning, elder alongside king is one making appointments. ORDAINER (ord, aîné, R)  A brilliantly apt surface is achieved here suggestive of one with his feet well under the table.

32.     Fish by stern of bawley, the Saucy Sue? HUSSY (huss, y)  Watson wonders quite how many solvers did not need to check the meaning of ‘bawley’. A good many may still be ignorant; after all, a ‘y’ at the stern of one word is as good as any other. Bear away!

33.     Is shortened amateurish Shakespearian tragedy including the window cleaner? SHAMMY LEATHER (’s, hammy, the in Lear)  Azed signs off with a witty allusion to The most Lamentable Comedy and most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisby performed by Bottom and his ‘mechanical’ pals in A Midsummer-Night’s Dream.


2.       Mounting hitches involving outside broadcast once provided. SOBEIT (OB in ties (rev.))  This puzzle was published on the day that BBC Parliament screened its re-mastered films of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on June 2nd, 1953. Old boys in ties (retrospective), indeed.

5.       Diver consumed by self-loathing re belly-flops. GREBE (hidden) Cleverly disguised as an inclusion, this clue was, for Watson, the hardest of the four hidden words in this puzzle to spot, despite his knowing the solution.

6.       Subsequently confined, palsied (not dead, poorly) on the same side. IPSELATERAL (later in anag., less d; s.v. ipsilateral) Azed has provided a suitably medical surface for our solution which is used to refer to anything on the same side of the body as something given, some other condition, etc.

8.       Red colouring is still taken up in heraldic border. ORSEILLE (lies (rev.) in orle; s.v. lie2)  ‘To be still’ is listed amongst several meanings of ‘lie’. ‘Orseille’ is one of several names for dyes obtained from lichens known as orchella weeds.

9.       Pander leaving smack on Jenny’s cheek? SASS (s(mack), ass; s.v. mack2)  Watson was engaged for some time here, looking for a possible indication that the obvious solution happens to be listed as a North American word. The possessive indicator, included only for the sake of the surface reading, was a further irritant.

10.     Two boxes to fill in on form? Not one concerning period in later life. SEXAGENARY (sex, age, nary)  What a charade! Very much like form-filling. For harassed sexagenarians, ‘nary’ might be an apt answer for both boxes.

13.     What’ll cause Jock’s mulligrubs? Qualified dentist, ordinary filling. DODS (o in DDS; s.v. dod2)  Bods or mods? Dr Watson wriggled in the chair over these. Neither seemed to fit Jock’s mulligrubs, and well-deserved torment followed. Relief came from a higher ‘grade’ - see 12 Across.

19.     Have a drink? Minion will fill what we call the vessel up! REFRESH (serf in ‘her’ (all rev.))  As in ‘fill her up!’

21.     Portrait painter admits getting drunk, wanting company. LONELY (on in Lely)  Another visit from our favourite portraitist, Sir Peter Lely.  He was very popular with the ladies, and rarely wanted for their attentions.

24.     Work unfinished, hence terror mounts? ERGO (two indications: ergo(n) & ogre(rev.))  Two indications in a rare configuration, with the definition between them, but in view of the inferential function of our solution, highly apt. A gem.

Other solutions:

Across:  11. VOULU (U in volu(me)) 12. GRADE (i.e. “greyed”) 17. TIERCEL (hidden) 22. GLEDE (d in glee1) 30. DE RIGUEUR (The competition word) 31. TOP-UP (op in tup)    

Down:  3. PUSHERS (‘her!’ in puss2) 4. RULY ((t)ruly) 7. LACTAM (act in mal (rev.)) 11. VOETSTOOTS (anag, toots) 15. CROTALUM (rotal in cum1; s.v. rota) 23. DISUSE (S, US, all in die1) 26. ARISE (hidden) 28. DOPA (do, pa) 29. AGHA (agha(st))

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