Azed No 2408 Plain (5 Aug 2018)

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

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ZED is more than usually playful in his clue-writing for this competition puzzle, with a number of devices used that require extra thought from the solver, and a pair of conjoint twins at 15, 17 across that might leave some bemused for a while before one of the pennies drops.

Notes to the clues:


15.     Young man forming link between Joseph and Ebenezer, ... EPHEBE (hidden in Joseph Ebenezer).  Despite the intruding ‘and’, this is an easy enough hidden, but …

17.     … Who are and will be such, it’s said?  BOYS (2 mngs.)  what are we to make of this? Well, one definition (by example), ‘Joseph and Ebenezer’ is carried across the ellipses from 15, and the other is a reference to the saying ‘boys will be boys’. Altogether something of a departure from Azed’s familiar rigorous clueing style.

19.     Public reader: initials for one accompanying imperial archbishop?  PRELECTOR (p r + elector).  A second clue that borrows some of its wordplay, this time from the definition. Azed seems to have been in mischievous mood.

28.     Jar, not new – what you’re aiming to fill  GRID (gri(n)d).  ‘You’ in this case is solvers themselves. A lovely wording and a suitable penny drop.

30.     What landlords do during beer shortage as a basic principle?  RATIONALE (i.e. ration ale).  Amusing wordplay that requires the solver to think laterally.

32.     I may work on horse heading for stable, terribly weary  SAWYER (s + anag.).  The horse here is a sawhorse, a frame that supports the wood being sawn.


1.       One exercising complete control, universal, in spanners?  ARCHEUS (U in arches).  Chambers’ definition of a controlling animus that resides principally in the stomach, according to Paracelsus, is different from the more ethereal description in Wikipedia.

2.       Distorted sound from bass, Hank (or Terry)  BLOOP (b loop).  Dr Watson wasn’t sure which musical Hank or Terry Azed had in mind, but a hank or a terry can be a loop of marterial.

10.     Ancient letters pronounced as execration in Scotland  WYNNS (‘winze’).  Both the runes and their homophonic counterpart, a Scottish curse, take a bit of finding in Chambers.

18.     Basic Box ‘Browny’? SPARTAN (spar tan). A reference to the old box ‘Brownie’ camera that helped make Kodak’s fortune in the days before digital.

20.     One often seen in park, beginning to roam? Tut! Tut! (sounds like it)  ROE DEER (r + ‘oh dear!’).  It depends what sort of park you’re in as to whether roe deer will be seen often. The part-homophone is another unusual device for Azed.

23.     Team struts, and tastes being promoted round middle of April  SPURS (r in sups, rev., 2 defs.).  Hopefully no more than a few solvers outside the UK will need to know that Spurs are Tottenham Hotspur FC.

27.     Cathouse key  CRIB (2 mngs.).  The two meanings referenced in the final clue are a slang term for a brothel and a study aid.


Other solutions:

Across: 1. ABLUSH (AB lush);  6. BASHAW (bash + a + w);  11. SCOUTHERY (anag.);  12. CONTORNO (con torn O);  13. HOCK (3 mngs.);  14. TURION (o I, rev., in turn);  21. SPORIDESM (d in anag.);  23. SANS (sandwiches less anag.);   24. PINENE (comp. anag.);  26. PRE-CUT (rec. in put);  29. CUPULATE (anag. in cute);  31. SNEBBE (bb in snee). 

Down: 3. LUNCHEONETTE;  4. SCOMBRID (s. comb rid);  5. HORME (r in home);  6. BUNTAL (bunt + (p)al(m));  7. SHIR (shir(king));  8. HELIOTHERAPY (anag.);  9. ARROYOS (0 in anag.);  16. VESICULA (sic U in vela);  22. DETUNE (tun in Dee);  24. PUPAS (pup as); 25. NITRE (hidden).


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