Azed No 2213 Plain (2 Nov 2014)

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

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ZED has set a fairly gentle challenge for solvers this month. Everything in the puzzle can be verified direct from Chambers, though some knowledge of Latin ‘masses’ will help at 19 ac. Taking note, perhaps, of the developing Ximenes internet archive, he revives a word at 1 ac that X set for his competition in 1953; but apparently taking less note of other new technology, he falls into an e-trap with 4 dn.

Notes to the clues:


1.             Denial of right to private ownership hampers site being developed  ASPHETERISM  (anag.)  Azed picks a straightforward anagram and definition for one of the lesser known names for this principle. Sixty-one years ago Ximenes’ competitors tackled the same word, and found it to be rich in anagram and & lit. potential. Jeremy Morse won with “In which State’s end is to reorganise all mastership around itself,” and R. R. Greenfield produced “This doctrine is one spelling the ruin of the miser.”

12.     One translation of ‘bear’ followed by another, contrarily  À REBOURS (anag. + ours (Fr.))  A lovely double-take on both ‘bear’ and ‘translation’. 

19.     Latin mass mostly followed by church, god demanding sacrifices  MOLECH (mole(s) + Ch)  The E in the grid is unchecked, and the primary spelling given in Chambers is MOLOCH, so Azed presents a tripping hazard here to solvers whose Latin is not fluent, and who might be more familiar with ‘missa’ than ‘moles’ as a translation of ‘mass’. For those with only Chambers to rely on, the Latin ‘moles’ can be found in the etymology of mole5.

25.     Bit of African money in leaving we exchanged  NGWEE (hidden)  This looks like it’s leading to an anagram with ‘exchanged’, and the hidden solution doesn’t leap out at you. The old Zambian kwacha was discontinued a couple of years ago at a rate of 10,000 to the £1, so it’s unlikely you’d have had much luck exchanging your ngwee.

34.     Tamper with honey, scattering bees, say  HYMENOPTERA (anag.)  The solver might spot an anagram to be decoded, but not be sure whether ‘tamper’ or ‘scattered’ is the indicator. In this instance the best option is to look for the 11 letters that could provide the material – assuming, that is, that ‘bees’ doesn’t denote ‘BB’ or similar.


4.       Something like a tablet honoured officer put up? Yes  E-BOOK (OBE, rev. + OK)  Dr Watson thinks Azed has misunderstood the e-terminology, although Chambers’ definition is fairly clear. Something like a tablet would be an e-reader, whereas an e-book is software.

7.       Warship in this is fine?  IRON-CLAD (i.e. fine = in in Fe)  A brilliant ‘reverse cryptic’ where the solution is treated as a cryptic indication. Watson can’t help feeling Azed is playing fast and loose with his own strictures on letter case here, though. The symbol for iron is never anything but Fe, so the clue should really say ‘Fine’.

8.       Cephalopod creating confusion where it lives  SEPIA (pi in sea)  The wordplay isn’t obvious, with ‘confusion’ hinting at an anagram rather than a 2-letter word. For those questioning the clue’s scientific accuracy, Chambers describes the Cephalopda as ‘exclusively marine’.

9.       Calcified seaweed in a recipe interspersed with honey  MAERL (a r distributed in mel)  Happily ‘mel’, unlike ‘moles’, is given as a headword in Chambers for non-Latinists. This must be one of very few Breton loan words in the dictionary.

23.     Italian cop, very good, NY force installed  SBIRRO (birr1 in so)  Having mixed up his New York Yankees and Knicks recently, Azed gets this Americanism right. Along with NGWEE, an unexpected spelling that may have taken solvers a while to track down.

27.     Tiresome curse for the Scots, suspicious about English  WEARY (E in wary, 2 defs.)  Azed throws in an extra definition to enhance the wordplay and unbalance the solver a little. Dr Watson wonders if Azed had the referendum and ensuing constitutional wrangle in mind?


Other solutions:

Across:  11. COHAB (oh in cab; Hackney carriage);  12. UNTREAD (t in unread);  13. HULLO (Hull + O);   14. GROPED (op for e in greed);  17. SCALE (C in sale);  18. SOMONI (M in soon I);  21. OPULUS (pulu in OS);  23. SPATHE (spa the);  29. BRINDLED (rind in bled);  30. TRAINS (2 mngs.);  31. TROPE ((d)eport, rev.);  32. TARSIER (anag.);  33. ACTED (t in aced).

Down:  2. SOURSOP (sours op.);  3. PHLEUM (comp. anag.; i.e. timothy grass);  5. TUMULI (’um in tuli(P));  6. ENGRAM (anag. + RAM, & lit.);  10. ADDLE-HEADED (le head in added);  11. CHANSONETTE (Ch. an so nett E);  16. SOLECISM;  20. CHEEPER (‘cheaper’);  22. SARSEN (RA in ness, all rev.);  24. TYLOTE (lot in tye1);  26. GERAH (g + hare, rev.);  28. ON TAP (Pat. No., rev.).


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