Azed No 2283 Plain (6 Mar 2016)

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

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ZED spices up a fairly straightforward puzzle with some misleading definitions of fauna. Solvers need to watch out for a stallion, cat and duck that are not at all what they seem.

Notes to the clues:


12.     Island record producers hope to achieve this with backing  IONA (a no. I, rev.)  A reference perhaps to the legendary Island Records label. The clue is no worse for the slightly indirect indication of the reversed letters – in fact it creates a nice penny-drop. The logic is the same as that by which MI = M1 = motorway has been used in clues pretty much ever since the road opened.

16.     Stallion, as once, learning to take exercise initially  LORETTE (lore + t, t, e)  The definition makes use of the much more interesting stallion2, meaning a courtesan, and derived from stale3, a decoy, possibly in the form of a prostitute used as a honey-trap. The temptation for the solver is to look for something to add an E to – a  deliberate red herring from the look of it.

18.     Solicitor making millions, gripped by disgust  PIMP (m in pip)  A suitable companion clue to 16 across, and also perhaps to competition clues seeking to exploit the Bar + gain charade.

20.     Woggle, might one suppose? It’s creating a row  TIERING (i.e. tie ring)  Dr Watson would argue, for all the neatness of the clue, that Scouts’ woggles hold neckerchiefs in place and not ties.

22.     Unable to play in key series , i.e. put out breaking record  CUP-TIED (anag. in CD)  The addition of ‘key’ to the definition cleverly creates the misleading context.

27.     Crown jewel maybe consisting of less than half a precious stone  INDIA (in dia(mond))  A reference of course to the former ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of the British Empire.

28.     Money on eBay squandered, perhaps  MAYBE (M + anag.)  The opportunity to hide a definition in plain sight is not squandered.


2.       Foreign duck, name applied to foreign goose leaving California   NADA  ((Ca)nada)  A duck only in the sense of nothing.

4.       Like clean sheets, classically, as penned by artist, English  RASAE (as in RA E)  The solution (a Latin adjective) can be found in Chambers under tabula, where ‘tablulae rasae’ is the plural of ‘tabula rasa’.

7.       Element lacking any surrounding for misanthrope  TIMON ((an)timon(y))  It’s unusual for Azed to use ‘element’ as a definition, since it leaves the solver over a hundred to choose from. In this case the rest of the clue leads readily to the solution, referring to Shakespeare’s eponymous character, who takes a journey that is the reverse of Scrooge’s.

9.       It has no place in adulthood, changing since one ages  CAENOGENESIS (anag.)  Azed finds the perfect anagram for the rather specialised definition.

25.     Cat, black, on top of tree  BOAK (B oak)  Regular solvers will be well aware of the favourite alternative meaning of ‘cat, viz. ‘to vomit’.

29.     Club ungraciously accepts such a tip  BUNG (hidden)  There’s surely an & lit. opportunity here with ‘ungloriously’ or similar?


Other solutions:

Across:  1. ANDROCENTRIC (anag.);  10. PARADOS (do in Paras);  13. SCARMOGE (c arm in anag.);  14. PAPAW (pa in paw);  15. CODON (co(r)don);  23. NONG (hidden);  25. BARGAIN;  30. CONTRAIR (art, rev., in anag. + R);  31. ASTI (comp. anag. & lit.);  32. KARENNI (are n. in ink, rev.);  33. LEADS AND LAGS (anag.).

Down:  1. APOPLECTICAL (pop in ale + anag.);  3. DROP-RIPE (Dr + anag. inc. O);  5. COCOTTE (cot in cote);  6. NARCEEN (C in nare + en);  8. INGOING (O in ing, ing; reveal2);  11. SANE (san + E);   17. HINAYANA (I nay in Han a);  18. PUG NOSE (E song up, rev.);  19. PITARAS (pita ras);  21. IDALIAN (Ida + lian(a));  24. NITID (nit + ID);  26. GAVEL (gave L).


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