Azed No 2378 Plain (7 Jan 2018)

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

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OLVERS and competitors may be looking forward to a new year of puzzles, and the January comp historically has pulled in the highest entry of any month, except for the Christmas puzzle. Azed keeps it fairly gentle this time, and the competition word is friendlier than the Latin plurals and non-word of recent months. The main sticking point for Dr Watson was the congregation of three proper noun references in acrosses in the SE quadrant, only one of which was verifiable in Chambers.

Notes to the clues:


6.       Censure what should go clockwise going the wrong way?  STROP (ports, rev.)  What should go round clockwise are the port bottles at dinner tables, according to custom. STROP was a ‘Spoonerisms’ competition word in Azed No 1528.

12.     Clock, in case, went in  SPEEDO (peed in so)  Some lovely tricky wordplay here, and nothing to do with budgie smuggling. Speedo and clock are slang terms for a speedometer; ‘so’ and ‘in case’ both mean ‘in the event that’; and finally, if you had to go, you went and peed.

21.     Tea for one, all but the last muffin?  CHAPERON (cha per on(e))  A muffin, gooseberry, sheepdog, trout, spare wheel, etc., are all terms for an unwanted third party at a date, several of which turned up in the competition clues for Azed No 1216.

22.     Savage (female?) may be addressed thus rudely, or in unctuous fashion  OILILY (oi Lily)  It’s a while since Paul O’Grady’s alter ego Lily Savage ruled the BBC schedules with shows like Blankety Blank, but she’s likely more Azed’s era than Lily Allen or current fave Lily James.

27.     Source of famous stone placed in course  ROSETTA (set in rota)  Dr Watson spent too long trying to work Scone into the solution, forgetting about the British Museum’s prize exhibit, the Rosetta Stone.

30.     Eddy up north, one recalling Simone?  WEIL (2 mngs.)  Another reference that should have been closer to the front of Dr Watson’s mind than it was, but ‘recalling’ does rather make it look like a reversal. Simone Weil was a French philosopher associated with left wing activism and later mystic writing before her early death in 1943.

33.     Girl involved certainly recalled significant engagement  PLASSEY (lass in yep, rev.)  A beautiful decoy of a surface, banishing all thoughts of military conflict. The Battle of Plassey, fought in eastern Bengal in 1757, was a decisive victory in the East India Company’s campaign in the days before the Empire.


4.       Energy I put into place that feels special  BRIO (l in bro2)  It’s not so long since Azed used the more difficult “Where one feels specially at home? Therein I go” for the same solution, so Dr Watson was wise to the ruse, which involves the Welsh term for a place one’s attached to.

6.       Like those old snaps, a jumble in the main  SEPIA (pi in sea)  One that’s obvious in hindsight, but it had Dr Watson searching for a truncated word that could provide the solution.

16.     Quarter of Kiev: pay is OK roughly thereabouts – in these? KOPIYKAS (K + anag., & lit.)  The preferred spelling ‘Kyiv’ might have given Azed an even better & lit. opportunity. The question mark is well merited, since kopiykas, at 100 to the hryvna, itself worth about 4p today, wouldn’t be all that OK in a pay packet.

17.     An offer  PROPOSAL  Azed, and almost everyone else, could be forgiven for forgetting that PROPOSAL was set by Ximenes as a competition word in 1959. Many of the clues from that time are concerned the desirability of marriage to women and its cost to men.

23.     The old lose thread? Quite a lot by the sound of it  LEESE (‘leas’)  Dr Watson assumed initially the thread’s length is measured in that favourite cruciverbal unit of distance, the Chinese li, but it’s far more likely that the homophone is lea3, a yarn measure of between 80 and 300 yards.

21.     What Scots masochist enjoys, mistress holding end of  flail?  LALDY (l in lady)  Fifty Shades of Muriel Gray, perhaps? A laldy is some sort of thrashing meted out as punishment.


Other solutions:

Across:  1. PATIBLE (bit, rev., in pale);  10. ACROTERIAL (anag. inc. l);  11. TONK (knot, rev.);  14. CHIBOUK (BO U in anag.);  15. HAWKIT (hawk it);  17. PAPIST (p I in past);  19. PORTANCE (anag.);  24. PASTEL (a in anag.);  29. STOKED (OK in sted);  31. EMBASSADOR (anag.);  32. ROOSE (0 in rose).

Down:  1. POTCH (hidden);  2. ALOHA SHIRT (lo hash in airt);  3. TANIWHA (ani in anag.);  5. LOCUTORY (o cut in lory);  7. TRESPASS (sap, rev., in tress);  8. RIEM (hidden);  9. PLOUTER (anag.);  13. DISCRETIVE (disc + vite, rev., in re2);  18. SCORSER (corse in s r);  20. NUTTERS (2 mngs.);  26. GOBO (B in goo);  28. SODA (do, rev., in SA).


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