HE ‘RIGHT & LEFT’ puzzle, like many of Azed’s specials, originated with Ximenes, and made its first known appearance in 1948, though concatenated clues in general have a longer history. Ximenes introduced one variation involving rhymed couplets and word pairs of different lengths in 1962, but apart than that the only other treatment has been Azed’s ‘Up and Down’, where the solution pairs appear in diagonally opposite positions in a vertically split grid. This month’s puzzle follows the standard style, with a grid only subtly different from its two predecessors, or indeed from Ximenes’s originals.
In previous puzzles Azed has often made the solver’s task harder by featuring similar words in the solution pairs, such as OURARI / OUREBI in no 2330. This time he avoids such tricks, and even makes 1 across, which spans the full grid, reasonably easy to solve.
Regular competitors may be surprised to see PROPOSAL as one of the pair to be clued. It was set as the comp word only nine months ago, and prior to that by Ximenes in 1959, making it the only word to have been set three times. Hopefully Azed will reveal in the Slip whether it was a deliberate choice. Its reappearance after so short a time should give solvers who keep their clue-writing notes a head start.
Solutions in the notes below are in the order in which they are clued, and the join is marked in the clue.
1. Greetings to those who are excited about how remaining clue answers are distributed? HITHER AND YON (hi the randy on) For once Dr Watson solved the joining light early on and was saved the trouble of relocating all the pencilled-in solutions to the other side of the grid. Finding INYALA at 2 down and guessing the solution started with ‘hi’ were the steps to solving it.
7. Clumsy lassie, cross with pastry, / is going wild with racy language TAUPIE / SYRIAC (tau pie; anag.) A good example of combining two surfaces into a single, plausible story, though the two parts of the clue are fairly distinct, and in this case the meeting point is punctuated.
8. Like a pigeon that is dead, not twitching inside / mat – cheers me INTOED / TATAMI (anag. in i.e. d; ta-ta mi) And an example of how difficult it can be to write a double clue with unobliging words. The different lengths of the component clues make the join harder to find. ‘Pigeon toed’ is a description of inward pointing feet. ‘Me’ is me2, an alternative spelling of the musical note.
16. One fish tolerates another / being immature, number wrapped in furled genoa HASSAR / NONAGE (has sar; n in anag.) Another unlikely-sounding surface. Chambers gives ‘to suffer, endure, tolerate’ as one of 31 senses of ‘have’; it’s also used in 1 dn.
17. Tay auk flexing light coat / gobbled maigre – one records pictures YUKATA / IMAGER (anag.; anag.) Dr Watson has retained one piece of fishy knowledge as a result of failing to solve a particularly fiendish Theme and Variations puzzle in 2002, namely that a maigre and a bar are the same fish. However, a determined effort to fit ‘bar’ into the second solution proved fruitless.
3. Choice groove in broken sherd penned / by martial poet, start of epode a tyrant ordered DRUTHERS / TYRTAEAN (rut in anag.; anag. inc. e) Azed makes the best of a very unpromising pair. ‘Druthers’ is US slang for a preference (shortening of ‘I’d rather’). The Greek poet Tyrtaeus gives his name to a style of poetic military elegy. The join is nicely hidden.
4. One ’awking footwear, sallow / chap, eastern, turning up, I treated as a friend OSIER / EN AMI ((h)osier; man E, rev. + I) The key to the first clue is sallow2, another name for the willow tree.
12. Kick boxing set crazily imbibing narcotic stuff / ergo dizzy with close to round delivering massive belt? SAVATE / OROGEN (ava in anag.; anag. in on) The puns on ‘round’ and ‘belt’ provide a clever thematic link between the two clues. ‘With close to round’ has several possible cryptic interpretations, but here it indicates ‘on’ as a container. Ava is another name for Polynesian intoxicant kava. The French martial art of savate is documented, as ever, in Wikipedia.
13. Offensive term for foreigner upsetting a Turk / (‘smutty’) that surprises me twice over KRAUT / COOMY (anag.; coo! my!) The first solution doesn’t feel quite as offensive as some names that have slipped into previous Azed clues and solutions (albeit very rarely), and to be fair it’s well flagged and consistent with the overall surface reading.
Across: 6. ANYONE / CERISE (ny(l)on in ae; is in cere; who / is); 10. SCERNE / PAELLA (anag; E in palla; boiling / seafood); 11. T-CROSS / AMATOL (RC, rev., in to SS; OT in lama, all rev.; crucifix / explosive); 15. SORROW / CROOVE (RR o in sow; or, rev., in cove; distress / or); 18. PYRENE / STYLES (Ne in pyre; l in styes; extract / fashions).
Down: 1. HASTY / ACTIN (has + t, y; actin(g); rash / takin’); 2. NEANIC / INYALA (anag; hidden; savaged / antelope); 8. RECITAL / NEEDLES (cit in real; needles(s); townie / is); 9. ALTARAGE / PROPOSAL; 10. PARSNIP / STACHYS (par2 snip; anag. in SS; veg / labiate); 14. ’TWERE / TERAS (hidden, conditional form of ’twas; t + eras; reckoned / a).