Azed No 2174 ‘Printer’s Devilry’ (2 Feb 2014)

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

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R WATSON has warmed to the ‘Printer’s Devilry’ clue format since he offered his review of the last puzzle, No 2040. Advice on the nature of these puzzles and on progressing with problem clues is found in preambles to earlier reviews, those for Azed 1888 and Azed 1619, and they are recommended for solvers new to the format.

Every clue is listed below, each with a forward slash to mark where the solution is to be inserted. That part of the undevilled version is shown in parentheses and extended in each case so far as to show any changes in punctuation, etc. Unchanged ends are indicated by dots.

Notes to the clues:


1.       Anyone who’s aw/aking too little of his life. ASTERISM (... a waster is making ...)  Watson’s thoughts on solving this clue turned to Aristotle and his most famous pupil who was a ‘waster’ on the grandest scale. Our solution refers to the appearance of stars in gemstones by reflected light. How very apt.

6.       Some early Huguenot insurgents were known as c/ards. AMIS (... Camisards)  The solution is listed as Edmund Spenser’s spelling of amice1 which may mean ‘a cloak or wrap’. Any connection with persecuted protestants in catholic France is not clear.

10.     In such, a new develop/ed building cannot be modified. MENTALIST (In such a new development a listed ...) Our solution refers to any philosophy of idealism, thus pointing towards the fixed view of how a building should be preserved in the ‘listed buildings’ regulations.

11.     Did guilt-ridden Paris cry, ‘Please forgive, he/reat’? LENIENT (... forgive Helen, I entreat’?)  For those who have a few hours to kill, The Trojan Wars.

13.     I always enjoy my m/ating heartily. EALE (... meal, eating ...)  Chambers lists our solution as one of many spurious words found in Shakespeare and supposed to mean ‘evil’. It is found in Hamlet’s speech in Act I, scene 4 immediately before the entry of the ghost of his father: ...

               So, oft it chances in particular men,
     That for some vicious mole of nature in them,
From that particular fault: the dram of eale
     Doth all the noble substance of a doubt
     To his own scandal.

          ... from the Globe Edition (1864). In modern editions it is usually rendered as ‘e’il’.

14.     CHARET (The Competition word, another from Spenser)

15.     As soon as the teacher’s go/on is finished. NETHELESS (... gone, the lesson ...)  That’s enough Edmund Spenser (Ed).

16.     Devoted to the cap he wears? His be/ll weathers. RETINA (... wears, his beret in all ...) Azed has managed to find an appropriate connection between clue and solution in a very high proportion of clues in this puzzle. The pleasing effect of that quality must always be regarded as a bonus, however, and when it is absent, one must grin and bear it.

18.     A well-known li/king? Few for a ride. ARISTA (... liar is taking few ...)  The second sentence was misprinted in Dr Watson’s copy - printer’s devilry, no doubt. Our solution is the Latin word for ‘awn’, an ear of barley.

20.     He likes to think he is a good saxophonist but he isn/’t. OBECHE (... he is no Bechet.)  The reference here is to Sidney Bechet.

22.     After a rough voyage there’s many a bo/nking in the quayside inn! SUNDRI (... bosun drinking ...)  Nice ‘n’ dry, then?

25.     There are many for who/le fireplace - really sets off a cosy room. MANEATING (... whom a neat ingle fireplace really ...) Goodness, is that the time?

28.     A skilful drover’s soon coaxed into r/ating flock. UNABLE (... run a bleating ...) US solvers will note the quaint Brit spelling of ‘skillful’ in what is one of the few unconvincing clues in this puzzle. Azed comes clean about it.

29.     Increased taxation, wa/iting for businesses eager to grow. SLIM (... taxation was limiting ...)  Anything on the News, dear?

30.     ‘I really fancy a soldier,’ she said, ‘It’s N/ed!’ OTARINE (... , ‘It’s no tar I need!’)  Any of the long-eared seals may be assumed to prefer eating a ‘red or armoured fish’ (soldier) to any tar.

31.     A Tri/este don? His ability to survive alone in the jungle! BALLADIST (A tribal lad is tested on his ability to survive alone in the jungle.) The context of this clue may be known to those closer to Azed than is the average solver.

32.     Single scroungers are perhaps forced to b/one. EGAL (... beg alone.)  Another Shakespearian word, listed in Chambers as meaning ‘equal’ It survives in some modern editions in Titus Andronicus, Act IV, Scene 4, in the opening speech of Saturninus.

33.     Venues like this? P/op shows for months on end. LACERANT (... this place ran top ...) A rending of one’s eardrums, perhaps.


1.       The new mini model is too small to give my lanky P/om. ALLEGRO (... lanky pal leg-room.) Those were the days - proper cars made in Blighty.

2.       We should make lots in ren/ting our second property. TONLET (... rent on letting ...) In the explanation we have a witty play on words, related to strips of amour let into a protective skirt.

3.       Bare hillsides are not t/ough to prevent soil erosion. REEDEN (... not treed enough ...) Another topical clue, the subject having been aired in connection with the rapid run-off of rain water from higher ground into the flooded plain.

4.       Mums will take drastic action if their kids ga/s at school. INNIT (... gain nits ...) It’s all a lot of words, Miss, innit?

5.       The main character in the fil/e portrayed differs a lot from the book. MASHER (... film, as here portrayed, ... )  A flashy, showy sort.

6.       Cruise passengers often like tow/er’s decks. ALKALIN (... to walk a liner’s ...)  Azed’s note that ‘Every answer is in The Chambers Dictionary (2011)’ appears not to apply in this case. At least, there is no mention of it at the entry for ‘alkali’. Their on-line search engine has it as a valid Scrabble word (US), but Webster’s Dictionary does not list it. It is listed in the (full) Oxford English Dictionary as a variant of ‘alkaline’, but that word’s entry in the (2-volume) Shorter Oxford English Dictionary does not mention it.

7.       Was your entry per/ceived in time to ensure access. MITRE (... permit received ...) Azed ex cathedra, perhaps.

8.       Not many points were scored - ju/ry unconverted. STAT (... just a try ...)  Seemingly, Azed has correctly anticipated a current news story here, that of a high-profile failed prosecution. However, the same might have been said of a failed defence.

9.       Police announcing new anti-crime drive - won’t p/its? LEASE-BAND (... drive won’t please bandits.)  Our solution relates to weaving, ref. lease3.

12.     In the fo/re, espied wagtails (rarely spotted). RESTRAINT (... forest rain trees, pied ...) Watson reserves comment on the retention of the parentheses in the undevilled version.

17.     Pearl fishers may be fine for some but I prefer a n/et. ICEBALL (Pearl Fishers may be fine for some but I prefer a nice ballet.)  Our solution is netball played on ice which must be quite a caper. The reference is to Bizet’s opera: The Pearl Fishers.

19.     Will the efforts of ACAS prevent the r/aking action? AILMENT (... railmen taking ...) Yet another highly topical news story.

21.     He’s the man, she swears - she s/ways love. HALLAL (... man she swears she shall always ...) Note the italics.

23.     Over Ad/a, Holly grows wild. UNEASE (... a dune a sea holly ...)

24.     Despite commendation for my race performance, it wasn’t ame/nded. DALILA (... a medal I landed!)  Our solution is listed as an alternative spelling of ‘Delilah’, but is shown to have a bizarre connection with something called F1 in this variety of tomato.  Perhaps Azed’s entry in the flower show was overlooked by the judges.

26.     Noble bearing ensures Ama/zon. NABLA (... a man a blazon.) Our solution is another name for ‘del’, the inverted ‘delta’ symbol used in maths.

27.     Bas/ket prices won’t get you into the deluxe areas. ICTIC (Basic ticket ...) Not in Sochi, certainly. ‘Not so cheap?’ - i.e. with the stress on the second syllable, as opposed to ‘Sochi’, ref. ‘ictus’.

28.     Park rangers tagging wildlife only aim to st/ars. UNBE (... stun bears.) A suitable way for Azed to switch off ‘P.D. mode’ for a while. It was great fun while it lasted.


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