Azed No 2205 Plain (7 Sep 2014)

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

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PART from fixing an apparent lapse in Azed’s recall of US sports teams at 21 down, solvers shouldn’t need to stray far from their Chambers to complete this puzzle. There’s some succinctly expessed wordplay amongst the clues that may be an inspiration to clue-writing competitors.

Notes to the clues:


1.       Establishing trade etc across ‘closed’ border? It took Pils abroad, maybe  OSTPOLITIK  (anag.)  The first part of the clue reads like wordplay, and the redundant ‘maybe’ at the end makes the second part read like a definition. But ‘abroad’ is the anagram indicator. It’s not clear if the practice of Ostpolitik really opened up the export market for the breweries of Plzen.

12.     Like sweet wine? I’ll open can  AMABILE (I in am able)  The punning opportunity of ‘can’ is readily grasped. 

14.     Refuse, old litter, card disposed of  BRAN (bran(card))  Solvers need to look one entry down from the solution in Chambers for an explanation. A brancard is a horse-drawn litter.

19.     Deserter, first quitting trench shelter for Belgium  BUG-OUT (B for d in dugout)  Azed gets the wordplay spot on to indicate the letter substitution.

25.     Debauchees finding love in Parisian streets  ROUÉS  (0 in rues)  You can bet this idea has been used a few times before, but it’s too convenient to pass up.

31.     Wherein you’d find Columbus giving cries of sorrow and joy?  OHIO  (oh! io!)  You either spot the state capital straight away or kick yourself after protracted head-scratching. Dr Watson is in the latter category.

32.     Without bandages i.e. yielding pus?  SANIES (i.e. in sans)  The omission of a comma before ‘i.e.’ is a subtle hint to the clever wordplay.

35.     ‘Man’s dirt’ is broadcast – by one such?  MISANDRIST (anag. & lit.)  A straight anag. & lit. is a rare find amongst the more common comp. anags., and worth celebrating.


1.       Red stone arid waste in southern States  SARDIUS (anag. in S US)  ‘Waste’ looks suspiciously like the nounal anagram indicator that Azed is normally averse to.

5.       They may result when a shot’s miscued  OATHS (anag. & lit.)  Slightly more straightforward to spot than 35 across’s anagram, but this calls for a double celebration!

18.     There’s money in skin lotion – it’s better for me the longer I live  TONTINER (tin in toner)  A tontine scheme rewards the last surviving member so disproportionately that it provides a strong incentive to ensure the other tontiners die first, and so makes a great plot device for a murder story.

21.     Basketball team on the up look for yet more  YANKEES (seek nay, all rev.)  Solvers scrabbling around the internet’s sports pages in search of a Yankees basketball team can probably reassure themselves that Azed has mixed up the Yankees with the Knicks and should have specified ‘baseball team’. Hopefully all we be explained in the next Slip.

29.     Concluding bits of airport trash you purchased – it’s often dull  THUD (last letters)  An inspired definition, that perhaps deserved a slightly more interesting phrase to provide the last letters.

30.     ‘Our gods wrong one’ – how Cicero finished speech?  DIXI (di X I) “I have spoken”. An appropriate solution to close the puzzle. ‘Di’ is the latin plural of ‘deus’ and this makes a welcome change from the usual setter’s choice of ‘girl’.


Other solutions:

Across:  11. VARA (vara(n));  13. CRYPTO (cry PTO);  15. HELMETED (mete in held);   16. MIMOSAE (I’m in mo + SAE);  17. ÉTAPE (hidden);  24. BENGAL (BEng al(l));  26. SISTINE (anag.);  28. STRAICHT (anag. in tarts, rev.);  33. MUSTELA (anag.);  34. EXEC (X in EEC).

Down:  3. TRYP (hidden);  4. PAPPOOSE (poos in pape(r));  6. IMPLEX (imp lex);  7. TAGMEME (tag me me);  8. KIRTAN (ta in kirn);  9. SLAE (s + anag.);  10. GENDERLESS (anag. less I));  13. CUMBERSOME;  20. UPSIDES (up side’s);  23. OSCULA (scul in o/a);  27. STAID (‘stayed’).


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