OLVERS wanting to build up their experience of ‘advanced’ barred cryptics without too many frustrations could do worse than to give this puzzle a go. It’s mostly straightforwardly clued, with five straight anagrams, several container-and-contents clues, and just a few examples of the more taxing types of wordplay that this type of crossword specialises in. Moreover, everything that’s needed can be found in Chambers dictionary or the app without a wider search. In fact, with reference to 34 across, you could say that this is one for the n00bs.
15. Dismay shown by the old man turning on mate APPAL (pa, rev. + pal). Not a difficult clue, but the surface and wordplay both work beautifully. A classic Azed. ‘A on B’ more conventionally means ‘A follows B’ in an across clue, but something can be attached on either end of something else; …
16. Woman mostly in a bad way comes to us for charitable relief AWMOUS (anag. less n + us) … however, the implication of ‘A comes to B’ is that B starts where A ends.
32. Ritual sword play to culminate in final strike KENDO (end in KO). Again Azed finds the right subsidiary parts to construct a convincing surface and impeccable wordplay.
27. A large bird I see nesting – successful result of this? AVICULTURE (I c in a vulture, & lit.). One of two & lit. clues in the puzzle, this makes the most of the bird that figures large in the solution, and uses ‘nesting’ to complement the surface sense.
34. Language of the Net, fast if not fine LEET ((f)leet). n00bs who don’t think Azed knows his lulz can consider themselves properly pwnd. 0MFG. A definition by example would have been fun. Dr Watson resisted the temptation to enter L33T.
3. Outcry in the US, Democrats all upset – slated with this? CLAMOR (comp. anag.). A clue for the US mid-term elections? The indications of the comp. anag. wordplay are quite well disguised.
9. In the manner of noodles, soft, wrapped in paper napkin DOPILY (p in doily). The punning definition delivers a satisfying penny-drop in an attractive clue.
12. Intermittent SPASMODICAL. Long adjectives and adverbs are some competitors’ bęte noire to clue, partly because Azed is punctilious about the need to match the part of speech in the definition. It’s only two moths since UBIQUARIAN, with CACOGASTRIC and VENTRICOSE not that far behind.
20. Horlicks (more than one) – or Bells? CLANGERS (2 mngs.). Dr Watson would make this choice very quickly. What is the plural of Horlicks, though?
25. Dog or kitten mostly excluded round small cooking area CHENET ((kit)chenet(te)(n)). It takes a special kind of cruciverbal mind to spot an opportunity like this with its two-stage subtraction and misleading definition. Dog and chenet are alternative names for an andiron.
30. Chopper making my heart shift? ADZE (ze moved in Azed). As you can imagine, Azed has pulled off this clue, or something very like it, several times over the years, but it’s none the worse for wear.
Across: 1. UPCHEARD (anag. + e in hard); 8. EDDA (hidden); 13. LANGUE D’OIL (n in anag.; Romance language); 14. PEAVY (VA in yep, all rev.); 17. BLAISE (la in bise); 18. SNO-CAT (con4, rev., in sat.); 21. KITE-FLYER (anag.); 23. OSMETERIA (OS meter + A1, rev.); 27. SUNHAT (anag. & lit.); 28. IDOLUM (anag.); 29. ORGEAT (or2 g eat); 31. CINCT (C-in-C + t); 33. SEAMSTER (anag.).
Down: 2. PHEW (h in pew); 4. HAVOCKED (AV in hocked); 5. AGAST (gas in at); 6. RUMBLER (MB in ruler); 7. DEALT (anag. with l for r); 10. DIASTEMA (anag.); 11. ALLEGRETTOS (L egret in altos); 19. NOSEDIVE (no sed(at)ive); 22. TEN-MILE (anag. in tile); 24. MOONIE (‘moony’); 26. TUTUS (utu in St, rev.); 27. SOFTA (t(wo) in sofa.