Azed No 2218 Plain (7 Dec 2014)

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

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OLVERS will find few or no traps in the clues this month. Azed’s wordplay is at its misleading and entertaining best throughout the puzzle. A generous sprinkling of ‘hidden’ clues provides a secure start, but several of the rest require special attention if they’re to be fully and satisfactorily solved. Azed departs a few times from the literal definitions of Chambers.

Notes to the clues:



12.     Petitioned for termination of crocodile leather  SUEDE (sued + e)  Dr Watson couldn’t quite reconcile ‘for’ with the what’s needed here, which is something meaning ‘followed by’. Perhaps it works at a stretch in the sense of ‘intended for’.

13.     Barking shins, dad restrained language  SPANISH (pa in anag.)  Everything is cunningly disguised in both wordplay and definition, with a lovely misleading surface. Not especially difficult once you spot the anagram indicator ‘barking’, but still a pleasure to solve.

21.     Borrower, person alternating with ale drunk  LOANEE (one, alternating with anag.)  Not many letters, but quite tricky to decipher visually.

25.     Dido, see, on a pyre lit with toyboy finally leaving? CAPER (c + anag. less y)  Taking his cue from another meaning of ‘dido’, Azed presents a good précis of the section of the Aeneid where the hero abandons the queen of Carthage en route to Troy, letting her become, rather too literally, an old flame.

27.     Reverse of old-fashioned on holding one crucifer  ERYSIMUM (I in mumsy re, rev.)  You’ll need to dig about a bit in Chambers to link ‘crucifer’ in its non-ecclesiastical sense to the solution. It’s explained more fully here.

30.     Hide that’s dropped in for clutch stabilizers?  SKEGGS (sk(in) + eggs)  Another example of a very misleading surface, and a solution that’s only obvious in retrospect.

32.     Westward travellers in Italy for putti  AMORINI (Roma, rev. + in I)  ‘Westward’ as a reversal indicator across is well-established. It took Dr Watson a while to realise that ‘Roma’ meant ‘travellers’ and not a destination in Italy.

34.     P. Cézanne’s friend follows rules in postponed case  REMANET (r + E. Manet)  Chambers supports ‘r’ as an abbreviaton for ‘rule’ in the legal sense, but Dr Watson can find no evidence for the plural. The links between Cézanne and Manet are better documented.



2.       One left phone off before service – it produces high blasts  ALPENHORN (a + l + anag. + RN)  A fine succession of puns..

4.       Endlessly soft around evening, like river in idyllic setting  PENEIAN (ene in pian(o))  Dr Watson, admittedly after a very short search, couldn’t find any special literary references to the Greek river Peneios that would justify its inclusion in Chambers, though its setting may well be idyllic.

6.       Some chap’s stentorian, attention-seeking utterance  PSST (hidden)  A vowelless word is the best bet for hiding in plain sight.

8.       Oldie’s stiff collar and jaunty boater  REBATO (anag.)  After last month’s ASPHETERISM, another solution recalling Ximenes. The P.D. competition for REBATO was the last one judged by X before his death in 1971. D. H. Tompsett won with “The Lord had a tho/ught: Ask for Moses” (ref. Horeb in Deuteronomy).

23.     Boarding conceals king once shut in  EMBAR (embar(king))  Dr Watson initially parsed this as embar(K), but there is no noun sense of the word in Chambers.

26.     Guest paying to imbibe a strong drink, gauging extent?  PAGING (a gin in PG)  The question mark after the definition perhaps means that ‘paging’, i.e. organising into pages, is an example of gauging the extent (of the text, etc.).


Other solutions:

Across:  1. SPACEPORT (pace in sport);  10. BLUECAP (anag. in bp);  14. SEBUM (eb(b) in sum);   15. TEBETH (hidden; i.e. part of December);  17. BACKSTOP (backs top);  18. CHEAT (C heat);  19. ANCORA (hidden);  31. AFARA (a Fara(day));  33. CORAL (c + oral);  35. BATTENING (anag.).

Down:  2. OBSTACLE RACE (0 + anag. in brace);  3. SUABLE (U in sable);  5. CASHAW (as in chaw);  7. OUENS ((R)ouen + S);  9. SEMIPARASITE (anag.);  11. PHOCA (hoc (L.) in pa);  16. FOREIGNER;  20. CATERAN (hidden);  22. AYMARA (ay mara);  24. BUSMEN (anag. less r);  28. SURAT (a2 in anag.);  29. SALT (salt(ire)).


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