Azed No 2152 Plain (1 Sep 2013)

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

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OT for the first time, Dr Watson has experienced a change of view of an Azed puzzle by working on a review of it. Despite taking longer than usual to solve it he felt somewhat underwhelmed initially. An extra pair of longer lights in the grid might have lifted his mood. For consolation he was able to muse on a life in red, all back to front, and other delightful nonsense.

Notes to the clues:


9.       It included tachisme a long time back, about shipshape, right? ART AUTRE (taut, r, all in era (rev.))  This witty opener gives a rough whole-clue summation (the allusion to ship shapes very amusing) of an eclectic mix of artistic styles suggested as a school by Michel Tapié. The cryptic indication, however, does not include the phrase: ‘It included tachisme’, which must be regarded as the definition. Watson has noticed that the portrait by Toulouse-Lautrec at the link above cannot be of the same Michel Tapié. It is actually of Dr Gabriel Tapié.

14.     Fluctuate irregularly in grotesque gyrations. SQUEG (hidden)  The first of three clues with hidden indications, remarkable for its apt surface reading and the fact that the solution is derived by back-formation from ‘squegging’ (q.v.).

19.     Dry-eyed aristo given run-around by tragic heroine. TEARLESS (earl in Tess)  The reference here is to the heroine of Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.

26.     Slight strain shown by porcelain getting ’eated inside. ARIETTA (’et in Arita)  The two-word definition: ‘Slight strain’ is delightfully and doubly misleading in the ‘antiques’ context of the surface. The Japanese town of Arita lends its name to its locally produced porcelain.

29.     Instruction activating others buried in conundrum (a crossword?) MACRO (hidden)  Another gem, being both a clue to ‘a clue’, ‘others’ being solvers, but being ‘other instructions’ for the purpose of defining our solution. Many solvers will have used macros, most typically in word-processing to avoid repetitious typing of addresses and the like.

31.     Aussie cowboys using nets with 1,000 head of cattle, OK? Not OK. STOCKMEN (anag. inc. M, c(attle), OK)  ‘Not OK’ indicates the anagram whereas ‘using’ is just a link-word.

33.     Old age indicating an end of hygiene? HORE (i.e. ‘h’ or ‘e’)  Another of those clues where the explanation is found by scanning the solution, rather than the clue.

34.     Alternative to bridge shows signs of wear – more than one period of origin. VINTAGES (vint1, ages)  Mug up on vint with a drink.

35.     Emirates unusually caught by rigged vote – it errs on the high side. OVERESTIMATE (anag. in anag.)  The only long light clued cryptically in this puzzle is easily solved by reducing the two nested anagrams into one. It might have been much trickier to solve if one or other part had been indicated by a synonym.


2.       Early artistic ornament from Turkey quite bamboozled artist. TRIQUETRA (TR, anag, RA)  Azed has achieved an apt surface by linking Turkey, where one might expect not to find such a runic symbol, with our artist being puzzled about it. In the cryptic indication it’s ‘quite’ that’s being bamboozled.

6.       ‘Crazy’ path through what fixes cloche’s position? HATPIN (anag, in)  ‘Through’ is found among the many listed definitions of ‘in’.

7.       Reclaim difficult child gaining in years. IMPOLDER (imp, older)  Our solution means to reclaim land from the sea by building dykes around it and pumping the water out.

10.     Indiaman summoning up colourful pictures? TRADER (red, art (all rev.))  Sadly, few of the Indiamen listed here summon up colourful pictures of them.

17.     Siren, one in devious chorale. HALICORE (i in anag.)  Our solution is another name for the dugong, supposed to be the ‘original of the mermaid’ as Chambers’ entry has it.

21.     Jock’s disfigured his slates covering house. CAMSHO (cams, ho; s.v. cam3)  Azed has achieved an economy of Jocks here, indicating both the Scots solution and ‘cams’ in the cryptic part.

22.     Ten of a kind taking part in summer ceremony. MERCER (hidden)  Making ‘Ten of a kind’ fit the only possible solution here is troublesome until one notices, or has it pointed out, that 10 (Down) is TRADER.

25.     Does it give one temperature, with dissipated zest and energy? TZETSE (t, anag, E &lit)  Without a distinct definition, this clue must define the tzetse fly by reference to the symptoms of Sleeping Sickness. Solvers may judge whether Azed has accurately summarised its symptoms here.


Other solutions:

Across:  1. STUFFED SHIRT (The Competition Word) 11. AMLA (alma1 (rev.)) 12. WILD (l in wid(e)) 13. DRIFTPIN (rift, P, all in din) 15. SPORT (s, port) 18. DEFILER (life in red (all rev.)) 23. PROSPECT (anag, (bea)t) 30. ALURE (i.e ‘a lure’) 32. HIPT (p in hit; s.v. hip1)

Down:  1. SAW-SET (anag.) 3. FADEUR (fad, Eur) 4. FUDGE (anag. in FE) 5. DRICE (D, rice2) 8. TANTRA (hidden) 16. RED CARPET (Redcar, pet) 20. SOAKEN (s, oaken) 24. PELHAM (PE, L, ham) 27. TAMIS (i in tams) 28. FANTI (F, anti)


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