Azed No 2239 ‘Spoonerisms’ (3 May 2015)

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

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HE FIFTEENTH of Azed’s ‘Spoonerisms’ puzzles is delightful to solve, with many penny-drops as the phonetic muddles resolve themselves. Azed finds several opportunities to create a phrase from a Spoonerised solution that can be clued as a whole, providing the solver with some tricky moments. Some clues won’t work phonically for all accents, and a couple require a bit of a slur to be convincing. As ever there are two types of clues, here labelled A and B. In type A clues the definition leads to a Spoonerism of the solution that appears in the grid, and in type B, the definition in the clue is a Spoonerism of the actual definition. A good way to get started is to concentrate on the shortest solutions, as these are most likely to be type B clues leading to single-syllable words.

Notes to the clues:


1.       Confines leather strap to haul back fight in front of HM  GUT-SCRAPER (A; gates crupper; tug, rev. + scap + ER)  Many of the type A solutions are portmanteau words. Solvers need to look, or listen, out for Spoonerisms that are more than just the same two words with vowels or consonants swapped. Here the S of ‘scraper’ is moved phonically to the end of ‘gut’ as well.

11.     What bucks, after sighting, will be bagged by rifle aimed? FLEA (B; sucks … biting; hidden)  One of the more easily spotted and solved of the type B clues that will likely have got many solvers off the blocks.

12.     Later course in long meal, sea food dip perhaps?  FISH-DIVE (A; dish five; fish dive)  Along with 22ac, the best of the type A’s to be clued as a single phrase.

13.     Pack fizz – not a word! – in upper deck  POST-OP (A; stow pop; st! in poop).

14.     Where sea wind first died, even on the fringes  EDEN (B; we sinned; d in e’en)  A delightfully Spoonerised definition.

16.     Without Latin one must stay outside area of ecumenical council  SINAEAN (A; Nicaean; a in sine (L.) an)  Spoonerisms that convert the solution to another single word are always harder to spot. The definition is a reference to the first Council of Nicaea in AD 325 that produced the Nicene creed.

17.     Clan chief writing if hand etc guided  THIN-FACED (A; thane fist; anag.).

19.     Tree sap to soften by boiling, then left  CREEL (B; sea trap; cree + l).

20.     Feature of bill as pace modified cost, reverse of ideal  SCOTIA (B; pillar’s base; anag. + A1, rev.)  You need to speak the clue fairly rapidly, and not roll your R’s, to generate a satisfactory Spoonerism.

22.     Part of Tommy’s kit bashed? Number cheers having it for protection  HINT AT (A; tin hat; n ta in hit)  Another single phrase opportunity eagerly grasped by Azed.

25.     Alto, soft, cut short as one bawls keys  APIAN (B; calls bees; a + pian(o)).

26.     Mount showy performance: switch round work  STILL-HUNT (A; hill stunt; till in shunt).

28.     Cheerful Cockney, slack, e.g. I brought in to sing last in programme  CARIOLE (A; ’Arry coal; I in carol + e)  The cheery and vulgar ’Arry used to drop his aitches all over crossword clues once, but isn’t seen or heard so much these days. It’s fitting to include him in a puzzle that relies on pronunciation.

31.     Ma left off preparing cart cord  KING (B; court card; (ma)king).

32.     Down tame summons involving minimum of sin  CITESS (B; town dame; s in cites).

33.     Shoot out like light  ERADIATE  The competition word, requiring a type B clue.

34.     Bit of cold ash mate’s left by close friend  INTI (B; old cash; inti(mate)).

35.     Polish patsy warmed vandal  SANDSUCKER (A; sunned sacker; sand sucker)  Dr Watson found the last few letters early on, and then spent too much thought on trying to Spoonerise ‘wrecker’.



2.       Some wee seeds: wife has potted large number, even ones for Charlie  ULOTHRIX (B; seaweeds; lot + alt. letters, all in ux)  Azed makes the most of an unpromising word.

3.       See me catch half of team, the other half being stumped  TEST (B; key match; te(am) + st.).

4.       Dapper coterie, a point accepted by street  SATINET (A; natty set; a tine in St)  A Spoonerism that may not suit everyone’s choice of pronunciation.

5.       Inferior horse cut to taste uncooked  RIP-SAW (A; sip raw; rip3 saw)  Azed does very little, well, nothing in fact, to disguise the meaning of ‘saw’ in the charade.

6.       Like informal photo, say, it may be sold for mammon  ASPIC (B; mould for salmon; as pic).

7.       Pub once shattered the whole solid sink  PHONE CALL (A; cone fall; PH + anag. + all)  As the notes after the clues indicate, PH, that most welcome of the Ordnance Survey’s abbreviations, doesn’t appear in modern editions of Chambers.

8.       Long to let out private room? Scratch around  RIDENT (A; die rent; den in rit).

9.       Centre of round, mostly meat, pie’s art  UVEA (B; eye’s part; (ro)u(nd) + vea(l)).

10.     See nanny steep muddied girl’s underwear, no matter which  PENNY ANTES (A; any panties; anag.)  In defining the Spoonerism as a phrase Azed cheekily swaps round the indications of the component words.

13.     As pet poorly, log in songbird disease (the pip)  PATCHOCKES (A; chat pox; chock in anag.)  Here Dr Watson was misled by the listing of  patchocke’ as a variant of ‘patchcocke’ into looking for a Spoonerism of ‘patch’ and ‘ox’, i.e. ‘atch pox’. It took several days and some help to see that ‘pat’ and ‘chocks’ are Spooner’s intended victims. It’s uncertain whether Spenser’s contemporaries would have sounded the final E or not, especially in the plural form, but we must assume a modern reading.

15.     Been in some mate’s ace apartment, neat, trendy  AFLATOXIN (B; bane … meats; A flat ox in)  The best hidden of the type B’s. Many solvers will doubtless have given some thought to ‘seen in bum …’.

18.     Close to ski run, it’s alpine, wild but short of length  PIANISTE (A; near piste; anag. less l)  Another one that benefits from less than perfect enunciation.

21.     Dodgy sound from ticker? Operation a big success, I see  OPHITIC (A; iffy tock; op hit I C).

23.     Leo determining Trots, disheartened Russian when following drama  NORNAS (B; trio … lots; no4 R(ussia)n as)  A lovely penny-drop, more likely to occur after the solution is deduced.

24.     Six for Pete maybe, hoisting handle, century bagged  ELECTS (B; picks for seat; C in stele, rev.)  The clue is especially apposite with a UK General Election coming in the week between the puzzle and this review.

27.     Large marble fish, wide bones, little depth  ILIAD (A; ally2 id; ilia + d).

29.     Whacking late enchantress needing no introduction  AIRY (B; lacking weight; (f)airy).

30.     Piny tar, this serves as lining for open keel  PENK (B; tiny parr; hidden)  Scanning through all the clues at the start will get you this quick hit.


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