Azed No 2456 ‘Collisions’ (7 Jul 2019)

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

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HIS is Azed’s second ‘Collisions’ puzzle, the previous one being no 2105 in 2012. There have been other ‘overlaps’ puzzles in various forms, but ‘Collisions’, in Dr Watson’s view, is the one that works best. Each across solution contains two words that overlap by one or more letters (in this puzzle the overlaps are all 2 to 5 letters). Each across clue is a double clue in ‘Right and Left’ style, with a definition of each word, but wordplay that covers only the non-overlapping part of each word. So the solver must use the definitions and incomplete wordplay in conjunction with the knowledge that the unindicated letters are the same in both words, to find the solution, creating an entertaining and satisfying challenge.

The lengths of the component words and of the overlaps vary (in this puzzle none of the solutions contains two words of the same length, so the overlaps never fall in the middle), and in some cases the wordplay indicates only one or two letters of a solution, giving solvers plenty to think about. Azed is careful to make sure none of the across clues is very difficult in its own right, and the normally clued downs provide enough help to make headway.

In the across clue notes below, explanations are given in the order they appear in the clue, which may differ from the order of the words in the solution.

Notes to the clues:


1.       Wrecked car straddling one dog – inside left area of small bones ACR(OSS)ICULAR (anag.; l a in I cur)  Dr Watson wonders if Azed originally intended to make this solution thematic, with ACROSS overlapping a word starting with CROSS.

10.     Middle East: sudden flare-up reduced British standard money B(ANCO)ME (ME; B)  Here almost all of both solutions is overlap, leaving Azed needing just a couple of abbreviations for the wordplay.

12.     Relating to stomach pains; a motorized plough TRAC(TOR)MINAL  The competition pair.

13.     Cable to stop short: ‘Henry, I ...’ and Eliza’s disturbed issue in bits HAL(SER)IALIZE (Hal; anag.)  This looks to have been the most difficult pair to clue fluently, though Azed still manages two misleading definitions and a plausible couple of characters (from the song ‘There’s a hole in my bucket’?). ‘Halser’ is an alternative spelling of ‘hawser’.

14.     Tons to savour, herald’s dropped on lack of central column T(ASTE)LY (t; Ly(on))  Another minimal pair of indications. Lord Lyon King of Arms, despite the grand title, is a junior Officer of State in Scotland, a herald in the sense of one making judgments in matters of heraldry. The surface might have been better using ‘Herald’ to allude to a newspaper title.

17.     Portion of ale? One beast letting off blasted ‘Noggin not good!’ LEO(PARD)ONING (hidden; anag. less g)  Dr Watson’s first across solution, helped by some easy wordplay and familiar words.

19.     Caught in shade, moved chickpea from the back borders  MARG(INS)TINCT (c in tint; gram, rev.)  The most coherent of the acrosses and the least obvious meeting point between the clues. ‘Instinct’ is defined in its adjectival sense of incited or animated.

24.     I see elegant bronze ring, ring round the moon, luminous  BRO(CH)IC (I C; br O)  The long second definition makes the parsing of this double clue more difficult.

26.     Sailor’s bar, standard oxygen in a beer, fizzy? I’ll need no oxygen NORM(AN)AEROBE (norm; O in anag.)  A norman is a bit of nautical equipment that Dr Watson won’t attempt to explain.

29.     Liner, maybe? Thousand on one swan, belly fed with recipe TRUM(PETER)-MAN (M + an; r in tum)  The longest of the overlaps. A liner is a line fisherman, and a peter-man is a fisherman, after the apostle.

30.     Not here, sing away, thrush – it’s eastern season  MIS(SEL)E (mis(sing); E)  Sele’ is a dialect word for season in the sense of time of year.

31.     Rearing up, returning diploma, confirmed ‘USA crawling with Reds  CAB(RE)ASSURED  (Bac., rev.; anag.)  Cabré’ is a heraldic term for ‘rearing up’, rather like the Lyon of Scotland.


6.       Leafy crown? You might have found e.g. this simply given out in Olympic games  COMA (comp. anag.)  The anagram material is ‘Olympic games’ which mixes the letters of ‘e.g. coma simply’, coma2 being a crown of a tree. Dr Watson, unaware of this meaning of coma, confidently entered CAMO, assuming a leafy crown could be a form of camouflage.

8.       Formidable woman, cross when grabbed by a fellow  AMAZON (zo in a man)  Women still tend to be given submissive roles in crossword clues, so it’s good to see Azed bucking the norm here. The setters’ favourite hybrid also makes an appearance.

11.     What’s king in throw of dice called?  CRIED (R in anag.)  A brilliant deflection from the definition.

16.     Fate when freed from enveloping company, once hateful  LOTH ((C)loth(o))  Clotho and her sisters were the Fates who spun out the thread of life in Greek myth.

18.     New arrival from Germany I’ll depart wealthy, after profit  INCOMER (income + r(Ich))  ‘From Germany I’ for Ich is a far from obvious piece of wordplay, further obscured by the following ‘ll’, and by its non-appearance in the solution.

21.     Day in Rome, not at all special  NONES (none s)  A neat little clue with an attractive surface.

25.     Dropping by, one known for his intriguing canapés once?  CATES (Cates(by))  An intriguing clue leading unexpectedly to the Gunpowder Plotter Robert Catesby.


Other solutions:

Down: 1. ANTHELMINTIC (helm + anag., all in antic);  2. CARAFE (a r in café, & lit.);  3. REALTOR (anag. in rear);  4. SATE (hidden rev.; see satay) 5. SNORT (n in sort);  7. LENIS (I in (contact) lens);  9. RELENGTHENED (l Eng. then in reed);  15. SAIR (S(cotch) + air);  20. APORIA (po in aria);  22. CUBAGE (bag in cue);  23. CRUMB (c rumb(o));  27. APSE (anag. of spa(c)e);  28. EELS (slee, rev.).


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