Azed No 2244 Plain (7 Jun 2015)

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

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OMPETITORS in this year’s clue-writing competitions have tackled a series of long words in the ‘normal’ clue months, from OBJECT LESSON in January through DOUBLE-PARKING, GATES OF DEATH and CHOCK-A-BLOCK. After a break for ERADIATE in last month’s Spoonerisms, Azed has set the 13-letter AVANT-GARDISTE in the latest comp. While all these words offer distinct approaches to wordplay and definition, it’s inevitable that anagrams have been very prevalent in published clues this year, and that seems set to continue.

The puzzle itself offers some clever clue surfaces designed to put solvers off the scent, with several examples of definitions disguised as wordplay. Azed makes a couple of excursions outside Chambers in the direction of 20c. poets and a 19c. opera with an 11c. hero.

Notes to the clues:


12.     No. 1 in charts available for sale, including new number  COUNT (c + n in out)  A surface reading designed to distract the solver from the definition, ‘number’, which looks like it’s asking for an abbreviation.

13.     Channel for ground grain, distance about 80 yards (or more)  MILL-EYE (ley1 in mile; see lea2)  A short paperchase through Chambers leads to the required lea2, a flexible measure of 80 yds. worsted to (or perhaps bested by) 300 linen.

18.     Opening sought by marketing men, kind that’s hard getting in  NICHE (h in nice)  A great container and contents opportunity that Dr Watson hasn’t seen used before.

22.     Asteroid string by the sound of it  CERES (‘series’)  Wikipedia notes that Ceres, the largest object in the Asteroid Belt, is now also designated as a minor or dwarf planet.

28.     Alluvial deposits from lake filled round fringes  DELTAS (L in sated, rev.)  Some neat wordplay here, with ‘filled’ as the synonym, ‘round’ indicating the reversal and ‘fringes’ as a verb indicating the containment.

32.     One among contemporaries of Auden, W. H? They’re exhausting SPENDERS (Spender, S.)  There’s no A or I to insert. Stephen Spender was one of the ‘Auden Group’ of 20c. poets, including the perhaps better-remembered Cecil Day-Lewis and Louis MacNiece.



2.       Road hazard mostly Scots endure after work’s reversed  POTHOLE (op., rev. + thole2)  ‘Mostly’ is not an instruction to shorten something. Azed is merely being true to Chambers’ designation of thole2 as ‘(chiefly Scots)’, while no doubt enjoying the consequent misdirection.

6.       It’s posted by admirer, youngster that’s burning inside?  PIN-UP (in in pup)  Azed picks an appropriate but little-known sense of ‘in’ as an adverb meaning ‘alight’, usually in reference to a hearth fire.

9.       Inspiration for heroic opera record turning up – does it culminate in bloomer?  PEDICLE (El Cid EP, rev.)  Another precise definition that should pass pub-quiz scrutiny. ‘El Cid’ was the Moorish appellation of the real-life Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar of Castile, the subject of Massenet’s almost-forgotten 1885 opera Le Cid.

19.     Cocotte? This woman’s filled with wild lust  HUSTLER (anag. in her)  A nice contrast between the sentiments – or perhaps the objects of the lust – in the surface reading and the solution.

27.     Example of the blues is devastating to the ears  SAXE (‘sacks’)  A very good homophone that eschews the temptation of the more obvious ‘sax’.


Other solutions:

Across:  1. SPLIT CAP (split + cap);  7. APPEL (PE in anag.);  14. AMENTA (hidden);  15. THAUMATURGIST (Au in anag.);  16. COBIA (C + obia);  20. RESIDUA (r + anag. + a);  24. FRESH (serf, rev. + H);  25. AVANT-GARDISTE;  29. TROOLIE (anag. + lie);  30. VEXED (V + exed(RA));  31. SENSE (N in sese; see sessa).

Down:  1. SCOTCH CARTS (scotch2 + T in cars);  3. LUMA (initial letters, & lit.);  4. INQUIRENDOS (n Qu in anag.);  5. CAMASS (C + amass);  8. PLAGIARISED (lag I arise in pd.);  10. EYAS (ay, rev., in (n)es(t));  11. LETTERHEADS (letter + anag.);  13. METRICATE (m + anag.);  17. BORAZON (razo(r) in bon(bon));  21. DERATE (hidden);  23. UGLIS (gli(b) in US);  26. VARE (anag. less l).


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