R WATSON gave a short account of the origins of the Right & Left puzzle, and notes on how to approach solving it, in the the review of Azed No 2257. This is Azed’s 20th such Special, following on from Ximenes’s 13. There is a limited number of possible grid layouts for R&L; this is the same one that was used for No 2257, and doubtless others before that. It contains good selection of solutions, most notably a plethora of words ending in Y, including LINGY, PORTY, REASTY and GLAURY.
The double clues can be tough to compose. Azed strives to create a flow across the join between the clues, and manages to do this without punctuation in all but one of them. It’s achieved in places at some cost to the surface reading, with a few being difficult to make much sense of. The challenge for the competitor is to match the best of Azed’s efforts.
It’s unfortunate that the puzzle in the paper, and the original online PDF copy, were published with mis-numbered lights – presumably a result of using automated grid construction software at the Observer. The correct version that was later placed online is linked in this review.
Solutions in the notes below are in the order in which they are clued, and the join is marked in the clue.
1. I’ll have a large one, with a dash of Dubonnet, like the rest here DOUBLE-FORMED (i.e. double for me + D) A wordplay opportunity well grasped, and one that made the linking word a relatively easy solve. We may wonder what led Azed to choose Dubonnet above the other D’s of the drinks world as his preferred mixer.
8. Wine festival coming round mum’s holding / poster – very little attention about that for a month MALAGA / VEADAR (gala, rev., in ma; v + ad in ear) The second clue in this pair is a little convoluted because of the necessity of getting ‘poster’ at the start to create the flow between the clues. The solution is one of the intercalary months of the Jewish year.
11. Objects of lust for satyr, say (extra-large round stomach), / going off satyr that’s dissolute but filled with energy OREADS / REASTY (read2 in OS; E in anag.) A significant pause here between the two clues, but it allows Azed to create one of the most cogent surfaces of the puzzle. Oreads (mountain nymphs) and lustful (‘ithyphallic’ as Wikipedia puts it) satyrs are a staple of the saucier Greek myths. ‘Read’ in the wordplay is one of the many ruminants’ stomachs whose abbatoir names crossworders are obliged to memorise.
16. Some tough footwear, black, variation from type / I noted in a clique making short outdoor excursion BROGUE / AIRING (B rogue; I in a ring) Another clue pair than maintains its sense nicely across the join, thanks in part to a helpful synonym of ‘rogue’.
2. Monsieur’s OK after swallowing most of unusual poisonous plant / charm, accepting old-style practice for buck? OURARI / OUREBI (rar(e) in oui; ure in obi) Using two words that differ by only one checked letter is a good ploy to create a dilemma for the solver, though they can at least enter most of the letters of the solutions confidently on either side of the grid. ‘Monsieur’s OK’ is a misdirection that looks like it’s asking for something starting with M.
3. Quality of some beers? Stupid after switching a couple / Mad Jake opens excellent Scotch? Hard to say MILDNESS / BREAK-JAW (n, l swapped in mindless; anag. in braw) The first clue of the pair offers some original wordplay; the second can’t quite keep up. It’s usually a sign of trouble when the setter introduces an arbitrary character like Mad Jake, but this a particularly difficult pairing to clue.
4. Ace in twiddling computer / applied to moor sailing yacht – it’s berthed there ENIAC / LINGY (anag.; hidden) This is very much two distinct clues butted together. Both, and especially the second, with its hard-to-spot hidden indicator, are quite decent standalone clues.
13. Love before lesson coming up in college maybe / fortified (like drink) piano tyro, unsteady ORIEL / PORTY (0 + leir, rev.; p + anag.) The first clue refers to Oriel College in Oxford.
Across: 6. RUBRIC / LUPINE (rub ric(h); up in line; flourish / flower); 7. ARALIA / ARPENT (a l in aria; pen in art; line / writer); 10. PINEAL / GIDJEE (anag.; gid jee; alpine / acacia); 15. BRAZEN / MOPISH; 17. ATTEST / NECTAR ((f)attest; ct. in near; Manifest / approach); 18. GLAURY / HYADES (‘glory’; Y in Hades; yucky / hell).
Down: 1. FLAVA / DRAMA (f lav a; dram + A; style / play); 5. ECTASES / DEARNLY (anag.; d. + n in early; abnormally / died); 9. ANASARCA / ADESPOTA (an + arc for I in Asia; anag.; dropsy / spreading); 10. PROBANG / GOOMBAH (pr.+ obang; anag. in hag, rev.; coin / close); 12. THENAR / DISUSE (hen in tar; is US in DE; palm / is); 14. WHETS / ANGRY (w het s; gr. in any.; special / grain).