Azed No 2322 Plain (4 Dec 2016)

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

Reviews index  |  & lit. homepage  |  Try the puzzle


MUCH easier prospect this month than November’s name substitutions, though the setter may just be softening up his solvers for the Christmas challenge to come in a couple of weeks. The anagram-friendly competition word should also generate a fine set of clues. Quite a few references need to be found outside Chambers in the worlds of literature, tennis, science and politics. But solvers who assume their knowledge of Celtic FC’s kit has set them in good stead for 28 down are likely to be reaching for the Tippex.

Notes to the clues:


7.       Bother includes this for new parent – it’s bottomless  ABYSM ((b)aby’s m(other))  The oblique definition in the wordplay makes for an entertaining clue.

12.     Paddy’s receiving benefit, splashing out beer (not English)? Oh no!  ON THE BUROO  (anag. less E)  The anagram material is easy to miss, particularly ‘out’. ‘Not English’ is a very nice touch for a Scots/Irish idiom.

18.     Like a damp squib? Hate it going off cold after 6th of November  BATHETIC (b + anag. + c)  This might bring back memories of last month’s tough competition puzzle with its Guy Fawkes theme. Hopefully solvers have parsed the clue carefully and not entered a P in the unchecked first cell.

20.     Fine US novelist in a lather  FROTH (f + Roth)  Philip Roth is a pretty reliable bet for a short ‘US novelist’. Vidal and Updike have fewer crossword applications.

21.     Server making erstwhile tennis star tense  ASHET (Ashe + t)  A reference to the late Arthur Ashe, who reached World No. 1 in the 1960s. Dr Watson, whose tennis knowledge starts a little later, spent a while trying to make ‘graft’ fit the definition.

32.     Name of distinguished scientists I introduced to their priest?  CURIE (I in cure)  Easy enough to identify the very distinguished Curie family, though the plural in the definition is cleverly misleading.


9.       Some Peruvian money restricting source of action, a sweetener  SORBITOL  (orbit in sol)  Crossword solvers of a certain vintage will instinctively think of ‘inti’ when faced with Peruvian currency, but they need to come up to date. Dr Watson was puzzled by ‘source of action’ for ‘orbit’; ‘course of action’ seems the more likely intent.

16.     Drunk? Drunk having imbibed barrel – not good, right?  STONKERED (ke(g) r in stoned)  Rather involved wordplay featuring a subtraction, two abbreviations and an insertion.

22.     Worker losing openings for work after that political scandal  ERGATE (Watergate less initial letters)  Full marks to Azed for finding a way to connect the ant and the political machinations of Richard Nixon.

23.     Worsted ribbon, most ungentlemanly?  CADDIS (caddis(h))  ‘Worsted’ is surely a deliberate choice here to set the solver on the false trail of an anagram.

24.     Vacate clubhouse couch  QUITCH (quit CH)  The definition is couch2, the invasive grass that is the bane of gardeners and growers everywhere it appears.

26.     Tax, common custom added at foot of bill  ACCUSE (a/c C use)  Dr Watson has found no evidence for C as an abbreviation of ‘common’ alone, though it is musical notation for ‘common time’.

28.     Celtic strip, exciting for the fans without ambient chant?  TIRR (stirring less sing)  Solvers who know something of Scottish football and who stumbled on ‘girr’ (a Scots word meaning ‘hoop’) while searching for this solution might have been misled, as Celtic FC’s green and white striped kit gives them the nickname The Hoops.


Other solutions:

Across:  1. ABSINTH (anag. in a B H);  13. UHLAN (anag. less gig);  14. ALDERS (anag. + ers);  15. BOONIES (nie in boos);  19. TACAN (hidden);  25. CANOE (0 in cane);  27. NEAR-GAUN (anag. in nun);  29. DISCERP (r in disc EP);  31. INLAID (A in in lid);  33. VENTRICOSE;  34. ESKER (hidden);  35. SHREDDY (redd1 in shy).

Down:  2. BOHO (halves swapped in hobo);  3. SOLONCHAK (anag.);  4. INANGA (I + g in nana);  5. THREAP (th(e) reap);  6. HEASTE (e in haste);  7. ABLY (l in aby);  8. BUDGER (anag.);  10. MOSS-CHEEPER (anag. + per);  11. SUBSTANTIVE (subs + tantiv(y) + e);  17. CASERNES (ca. + RN in sees);  30. RIND (n in rid).


Reviews index  |  & lit. homepage  |  Try the puzzle