Azed No 2313 Plain (2 Oct 2016)

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

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ERHAPS a little on the hard side (with Azed it’s always relative, of course), this month’s competition puzzle includes a couple of unusual wordplay devices, and one difficult choice between BRIO and TRIO, that might have been familiar to the musician referenced at 28 down. There appears to be a missing word, or some other error, in 6 down in the online version of the puzzle.

Notes to the clues:


6.       Mosque: its leader is a DJ alternatively  MASJID (m + anag.)  Here the definition ‘mosque’ contributes its first letter to the wordplay, but the clue isn’t in any sense ‘& lit.’, as the definition is specific and the rest of the wordplay doesn’t add to it.

12.     Antelope that we have just swallowed back?  SUNI  (in us, rev.)  The wordplay requires some extra thought, but the surface is rather bizarre. Did the Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly fit in an extra course?

16.     Artist secure about fast time and likewise reverse – in these?  RALLENTANDOS (RA + Lent in land + so, rev., & lit.)  Quite a few components to fit together in this & lit. clue. A rallentando movement in music moves from faster to slower time, and the use of ‘fast time’ for ‘Lent’ is especially neat. It took Dr Watson a while to work out that the ‘and’ in the clue doesn’t correspond to the ‘and’ in the solution.

30.     Where one feels specially at home? Therein I go  BRIO (I in bro2)  Probably the trickiest clue in the puzzle with the first letter unchecked. It looks like it might be an & lit., or the first sentence could be the definition. But it’s the innocuous ‘go’ that holds the key. ‘Bro’ is a Welsh word meaning a place one’s especially attached to.

32.     Wordless sounds, backing music-making time (heartless)  NOISES (ses(s)ion, rev.)  Neither of the two definitions, for the solution and ‘session’, is all that obvious.


1.       Polo-style lozenge, sort of red? Mostly that  RUSTRE  (rust + re(d))  ‘That’ refers back to ‘red’ in the first part of the clue. A rustre may be Polo-style in the sense of having a hole in it, but it’s a heraldic device and certainly not for consumption.

6.       May, in the past hot, in gym it boiled – very!  MIGHTY (h in anag., 2 defs.?)  The surface reading all sounds rather flustered, as Azed tacks a definition on to the end, but it’s the first four words that lead Dr Watson to suspect a transcription error. ‘May, in the past’ leads through may1 to ‘might’ but not ‘mighty’. It’s possible Azed intended something like ‘May, in the last year’ to provide might + y as the first of two wordplays.

9.       Loads cars or carts  JAGS (3 mngs.)  Jags as cars may be familiar, but jag2 also contains the meanings ‘load’ as a noun and ‘cart’ as a verb.

11.     Wobbly steed round midpoint of Aintree can’t stand  DETEST (t in anag.)  A lovely misleading context for the definition ‘can’t stand’, which has to be understood in the first or second person, or third person plural.

20.     Book of old jokes to beguile when in hospital  SCOGAN (cog2 in san1)  The solution is the name of a book of jokes attributed to John Scogan, supposedly the jester to King Edward IV.

23.     Showy bird in garland interwoven with seaweed  LOERIE (alternating letters of lei1 and ore2)  A rarely used device in which the letters of two different words are alternated.

28.     Soon cut short? Wild perhaps  EARL (earl(y))  The definition refers to the US classical and jazz pianist Earl Wild.


Other solutions:

Across:  1. REPAST (P in reast; see reest2);  11. STAIRCASE (a in stir3 + case2);  13. GORGET (g + or2 + get);  14. TRIARCH (t, r, I arch2);  17. ETYMON (my in note, all rev.);  19. TINT (2 mngs.; see tine2);  20. SIKA (hidden rev.);  22. CHYLDE (anag. less a in che(at));  25. CONCHIFEROUS (I in anag. less E);  27. PERFECT;  29. GUACOS (anag. less Sue);  31. ALLOMORPH (promo, rev., in anag.);  32 LYCÉES (L + CE in yes).

Down:  2. EPURATION (anag.);  3. PUNILY (nil in puy; zip2);  4. STEREOCHROME (anag. incl. r(oo)m);  5. TALC (hidden);  7. AROMATHERAPY (ma + anag., all in a ropy);  8. SCRUNTY (c. run in sty);  15. CONDUCIVE (duc in anag.);  18. MACACOS (anag. in MS);  21. DIPSOS (dip SOS);  24. ESTOPS (anag.);  26. WALI (law, rev., + I).


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