Azed No 2270 Plain (6 Dec 2015)

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

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VERY quick solve this month for a competition puzzle, with plenty of anagrams, and three notable women hidden amongst the clues’ references. But it left Dr Watson, and no doubt other solvers who’ve been solving since 2003, with a difficult choice. FENESTRA previously appeared as the competition word in puzzle no 1602, so many of the best options for clueing it are already taken and documented on the & lit. site. Whether one should try and repeat one’s successful idea, or borrow someone else’s, or risk something new, is one question that most regular competitors would prefer not to have to solve.

Notes to the clues:


10.     Yellow flowers in a festoon from behind window  ORIEL (or + lei, rev.)  The clue is quite difficult to parse, due to the uneven lengths of the indications of ‘or’ and ‘iel’. Not the last window in the puzzle…

14.     Nightingale that sang in a tree  LIND (2 mngs.)  A nicely worded definition pair referring to a another name of the linden or lime tree, and to Jenny Lind, the 19c soprano known as the ‘Swedish nightingale’.

16.     One famously luckless where it’s easy to get lost in rolling hills  SHLIMAZEL (maze in anag.)  The solution is a Yiddish word that seems to have no ready equivalent in English, maybe because the British response to chronic bad luck would be “mustn’t grumble”.

29.     Sea dog, possibly, endlessly roguish  ARC (arc(h))  Another clever combination. It’s easy to assume that ARC must be an abbreviation for some sort of mariner and then suffer the frustration of not being able to trace it. Better to check the alternative meanings of ‘sea dog’, as one is an arc of light on a foggy horizon, also called a ‘fog-dog’.

34.     Merman e.g., tail to the fore, in river of legend  LETHE (E to end in Ethel)  Another nautical theme and another reference to a leading lady of yore, this time Ethel Merman, star of many 1930s Hollywood musical comedies. The river Lethe in Classical myth ran through Hades, and drinking from it induced forgetfulness.

35.     It’s not far to home with Shakespeare’s Kate around?  STONE’S-THROW (to nest in shrow)  Find the definition ‘It’s not far’ and the rest falls into place. ‘Shakespeare’s Kate’ is a slightly indirect way of indicating the Bard’s alternative spelling of ‘shrew’, the one he didn’t use in the play’s title.


8.       Male on bender (no women), not old? Fatal weakness includes one!  HEEL-BONE  (he elbo(w) ne)  A rather ungainly surface to combine all the components of the charade. Beware, as ever, ‘ne’ indicated by ‘not old’. The definition refers, of course, to Achilles’s heel.

9.       One coming out laces new dress tight – it produces slow motion  ENDLESS SCREW (anag. less a)  A few possibilities need to be checked (‘ace’ for ‘one’, ‘n’ for ‘new’) before the anagram material is verified.

25.     Fell over? There’s a how-d’ye-do  HILLO (hill o)  A great choice  of words embellishes the surface of a straightforward charade.

30.     She paints numbers etc on cars  REGO (2 mngs.)  The third notable woman in this month’s puzzle is Paula Rego, the Portuguese artist who celebrated her 80th birthday this year. ‘Rego’, pronounced somewhat like Reggio, is also Aussie slang for a registration number.


Other solutions:

Across:  1. SPLASHPROOF (anag.);  12. OLDEN (hidden rev.);  13. BROIDER (I’d in anag. + R);   15. CAP (2 mngs.);  20. MOIMBO (anag.);  22. REVETS (v in steer, rev.);  23. MALKIN (mal kin);  24. ORMERS (RM in anag.);  28. TRAIL-BIKE (anag.);  31. TOLL (2 mngs.);   32. BLASTER (anag.);  33. EMULE (e + mule).

Down:  1. SUBCOMMITTEE (anag.);  2. PARÀ (2 mngs.);  3. LOOPHOLE (loo + H in pole);  4. SIDHA (anag.);  6. ROOMIER (Moor, rev. + anag.);  8. FENESTRA;  11. RISP (s in rip);  17. DIADROMS (anag. in dims);  18. PROFILES (pr. + anag.);  19. BEE-EATER (bee(f)eater);  21. BILLMEN (anag. in ben3);  26. SKATT (hidden);  27. NESH (s in hen, rev.).


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