Azed No 2325 Plain (1 Jan 2017)

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

Reviews index  |  & lit. homepage  |  Try the puzzle


 HIS puzzle didn’t seem too taxing while Dr Watson was solving it. Azed’s January competition puzzle is usually on the easy side to make up for the rigours of December. But on review there appeared quite a few traps and ambiguities. Several clues call for external references; 16 across appears to have a valid alternative solution to the wordplay; and 33 across is a specially tricky example of a ‘reverse cryptic’.

Notes to the clues:


2.       See cub maul ram dreadfully – a bit of an urchin  AMBULACRUM (anag.)  The wordplay isn’t too difficult to work out, but the definition is terrific. The ambulacrum is part of a sea-urchin’s feet.

3.       They settle disputes when accepting cases  ACAS (ca. in as)  The  Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service is better known by its initials than its full name.

13.     Anglican community in fling – it’s associated with  St Anthony  T-CROSS (CR in toss)  The T-cross or tau cross is one of the symbols of St Anthony the Great of Egypt. CR denotes the Anglican Community of the Resurrection, founded in the 19th century.

14.     Active teen exercised on one  ETNEAN (anag. + an)  Active’ seemed a little loose as a synonym for the solution, which refers to any attribute of Mt Etna, but it is probably the most important one from a practical point of view, and it builds the clue’s surface nicely.

16.     Child I kept in to learn  GEIT (I in get)  The solution is found under ‘get’ in Chambers as a Scots variant of ‘git’, specifically as a derogatory reference to a child. Dr Watson initially entered CION, a variant of ‘scion’ that also fits the wordplay (I in con), but the checking letters quickly ruled it out.

22.     Going back, Descartes inspires reverence – I’m impatient for last chapter  END-READER (dread in René, rev.)  One of those things you maybe never knew there was a word for, a reader who sneaks a peek at the ending of a book. Readers picking up the works of René Descartes might well be tempted to skip the middle bits.

30.     Second string (from below) in settlement pharaoh left unfinished PARAMESE (pa Ramese(s))  Several definitions may need explanation here. The settlement is pa2 in Chambers, a Maori word. One of the many Rameses of ancient Egypt provides the rest of the charade. Chambers indicates that a paramese is the string in a lyre above the middle one rather than the bottom.

33.     Menial Japanese displays this skin disease?  TINEA (i.e. eta2 = T in EA)  Solvers could be excused for failing to completely explain the clue, which is ‘reverse cryptic’, the solution being interpreted as wordplay. An eta is a Japanese of the lowest social rank.



3.       Err with maid getting knocked up? Did the honest thing maybe  MARRIED (anag.)  An amusing surface, though perhaps belonging to earlier era.

7.       Taxis for lawyers excessive  RANK (2 mngs.)  ‘Rank’ is a legal term meaning excessive as an amount of money. In relation to fees, though, the equivalent term is probably ‘the going rate’.

8.       Outdated matrices you’ll find computer is holding  UTERI (hidden)  Regular solvers of this sort of cryptic will possibly have come across ‘matrix’ before as an obsolete name for the uterus.

18.     Subject taking walk round eastern North America  AMENABLE (E NA in amble)  Liable or subject to is a less familiar meaning of the solution.

21.     Mice run all over the place just the same as before  NUMERIC (anag.)  ‘Identical’ is given as an old meaning under ‘numeric’ in Chambers, though Dr Watson suspects it would only apply to ‘numerical’, which shares the same headword.

26.     Scotch to impress? Father maybe refusing a second  PRENT (p(a)rent)  Impress here is used in the sense of print.

29.     Showjumping obstacle? One in the ring maybe missing first  OXER ((b)oxer)  The last word ironically went missing in the online version of the puzzle, but it shouldn’t have caused too much difficulty.


Other solutions:

Across:  11. KATTI (TT in kai; see catty);  15. IRRITANT (I + rit in rant);  17. TAJINE (anag.);  19. ORNAMENTS (men in anag.);  25. PAPISM (PA + is in PM);  28. AMAH (ma in a, h);  31. RHEXIS (hex in sir, rev.);  32. IBERIS (Iberi(an)s);  34. HILI ((Prince) (P)hili(p));  35. STRINGENCY (anag. less e).

Down:  1. FATIGUE PARTY (fatigue + party);  2. ACCREW (cr. in ace w);  4. UPSTARES (up + E in stars);  5. LASAGNA (sag2 in lana);  6. ANENT (hidden);  9. KINAESTHESIS (anag.);  12. TAUNT (n in taut);  20. ADORING (ado + ring);  23. NASHI (ash in NI);  24. EASILY (anag. in (th)ey);  27. MASON.


Reviews index  |  & lit. homepage  |  Try the puzzle