Azed No 2351 Plain (2 Jul 2017)

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

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OT much to hold up solvers in this month’s competition puzzle, but a grid that should fall steadily and gratifyingly into place. There are a couple of examples of round-about wordplay: ‘king sheathed, not required’ for K in ‘spare’ at 11 across, and the rather strained ‘ultimately jockey often restrained frisky greys’ for y, n in anag. at 23 across. Dr Watson looked longingly at BUTTERFINGERS and ANGLO-AMERICAN as alternative choices to RHAGADES for the competition word, but the latter proved in the end to be a satisfying challenge.

Notes to the clues:


1.       Get ready for a boiled egg? One spills a lot  BUTTERFINGERS (i.e. butter fingers)  An entertaining and quite old-fashioned type of clue, with the solution treated as a single phrase in the wordplay. Not everyone dips buttered bread fingers (soldiers) in their boiled egg, but everyone should be familiar with the practice.

12.     Chill in Scots moor I experienced lacking plenty of clothing  OORIE  (hidden)  Azed has no end of original indicators for a hidden solution.

20.     Struggling along a marine has rounded cape, in mid-Atlantic?  ANGLO-AMERICAN (C in anag.)  A reference to the ‘mid-Atlantic’ accent adopted by celebrities and others seeking acceptance on both sides of the pond.

31.     Heads for Lord’s as many dedicated amateur players train here  LAMDA (initial letters)  This acronym (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts) has its own entry in Chambers.

32.     Chap going round clubs for a dark spot (little luminance in club)  MACLE (C in male, L in mace)  Azed spots two treatments that give semantically very similar results, and treats solvers to double wordplay with the definition in between.


7.       Early version of the Good Book buried in capital archives  ITALA  (hidden)  The solution is found in Chambers under ‘Itala version’ in the entry for ‘Italian’. It’s an early Bible also known as the Vetus Latina.

11.     Weed, a grass that’s unusual in height  SARGASSUM (anag. in sum)  A less common sense of sum, meaning ‘height, culmination, completion’. Sargassum is the genus of seaweed found in the Sargasso Sea.

13.     Goblin on earth amid trees changing places among immortals  ETERNISES (nis2 E in anag.)  Nis is a ‘friendly goblin’ of Scandinavian folklore. The definition ‘places among immortals’ is cleverly hidden.

18.     Legendary traitor, dead, bloodied, beneath layer of humus  MORDRED (mor1 + d + red)  Mordred is the chief villain of the Arthurian legends and Arthur’s nemesis as the latter attempts to reclaim his usurped throne.

25.     Pump supplying measure of liquid about right  GRILL (r in gill2)  An excellent misleading definition, in the sense of ‘interrogate’, to complement the surface of the wordplay.

29.     Rag offering dances for audience?  HAZE (‘heys’; haze2, hey2)  Azed seems to think that the pronunciations of ‘haze’ and ‘heys’ are sufficiently variable to justify adding a question-mark to the homophone. ‘Haze’ and ‘rag’ are used in the sense of ‘vex’.


Other solutions:

Across:  11. SPARKE (K in spare);  14. BLISS ((Cha)blis + S);  15. RACKETT (racket + (I)t);  16. ROWNDELL (anag. + ll.);  19. GAULTER (Gaul + ter(re));  23. SYNERGY (y, n in anag.);  28. RHAGADES;  30. ULNARIA (L in anag. + A);  33. THEIRS (t + heirs);  34. DREADLESSNESS (anag. in dress).

Down:  2. UPBOW (anag. + ow!);  3. TALWEG (anag. of WG late);  4. TRINGLES ((s)tringles(s));  5. RESEDA (anag. + a);  6. FURL (furl(ough));  8. NOCTURN (con, rev. + turn);  9. ERECT (ere c(antonmen)t);  10. RITE (‘right’);  17. CLINAMEN (CL I name + n);  21. EXALTS (lax, rev., in anag.);  22. CUDDIE (cud die);  24. NONCE (i.e. non-CE);  26. GEARS (anag. less t, t);  27. ALAR (a lar(K)).


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