Azed No 2469 ‘Spoonerisms’ (6 Oct 2019)

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

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NLY fifteen months since SWALE, and solvers have another Spoonerisms puzzle to enjoy. Azed is clearly comfortable producing these, and adept at the grid building and clue-writing. Solvers who enter the competition will appreciate the amount of work and inspiration that goes into finding all the required homophones, and admire the way that Azed finds words like aver2, with its specific pronunciation, to match the wordplay in 12 across.

Here’s the regular guidance for this type of puzzle. There are two types of clues, here labelled A and B. In type A clues the definition leads to a Spoonerism of the solution that appears in the grid, and in type B, the definition in the clue is a Spoonerism of the actual definition. Dr Watson’s usual is advice to start on the shortest solutions, as these are most likely to be type B clues leading to single-syllable words, and indeed the last seven down clues (including the comp word) are all type B. This particular puzzle contains a lot of Scottish words in the clues and solutions, which seems to have helped with some of the trickier phonetic requirements, such as LEISTER at 32 across. The best guide for pronunciation, though is a combination of English Received Pronunciation and Chambers’s own phonetic entries.

Notes to the clues:



1.      Lake with sails initially hoisted in part? Argument risk past  PLOUGHWRIGHT (A; row plight; lough w rig h, all in pt.)  A complicated wordplay with a four-part charade in a container and an unfamiliar meaning of ‘plight’ made this clue especially difficult, only solved with most of the letters in place.

9.      Dormer filling half of roof, note, nothing less  RONTE (B; former dilling; ro(of) + n(o)te)  The hint of a Spoonerism involving ‘former’ was enough to take Dr Watson straight to Chambers to look up ‘dilling’, an old word for a runt, as is the solution.

11.    Urial he butchered, indulgence as of old in these parts  HAULIER (A; law here; anag.)  Happily the anagram was well signposted, as the definition feels strained phonetically.

12.    Old cows moo? Jocks casual about one  OVERLAY (A; aver low; a in overly)  This is aver2, pronounced as in ‘favour’, meaning cattle. ‘Overly’ in a Scottish sense is an adjective meaning casual.

14.    Fellow, strange, crazy, on being interned  MONAD (A; man odd; on in mad)  Chambers supports the pronunciation ‘mon-ad’ rather than ‘moan-ad’.

15.    Hoof-beat encircles brass among steers  CLIP-ONS (A; clop ins; lip in cons)  One of those clues that it’s easy to get mixed up in, especially with ‘encircles’ looking like part of the wordplay. ‘Ins’ is indicated as a verb.

17.    Keats after swarmer? Bee is seen beside John’s first beer  JALEBIS (B; sweets after korma; J + ale + B is)  Not too hard to see where this is going, but without knowing ‘jalebi’ it takes some putting together.

18.    Positive stern on board pows eight  SPENDS (B; pays out; P end in SS)  Dr Watson can’t remember Azed bringing out the steamship for quite a while.

20.    Lad signs on in English yeomanry (either end)  ELEGY (B; sad lines; leg in E, y)  Always look out for the cricketing ‘on’.

21.    Wretched energy, part of yogism often  GISMO (A; miz go; hidden)  ‘Gismo’ was a P.D. competition word many years ago. Nice to see it in a different clue type.

23.    River dropped, part of parchedness in Asian capital  DELPHI (A; Dee fell; p in Delhi)  Azed uses the favourite wordplay for this solution, which relies on the solver knowing the Greek ‘del-fee’ as well as the English ‘del-fie’.

26.    One such maybe slacks late, up to time of education  UNTILED (B; lacks slate; until ed.)  ‘One such’ here pointing to the adjective solution.

28.    Man, say, with backward son going round places in Hampshire and Kent  DISLEAL (A; Liss, Deal; Isle in lad, rev.)  Three placenames in the British Isles in one clue, the least well-known of which is probably Liss, a village encountered by, amongst others, London-bound motorists avoiding the M3.

30.    Leaders of army corps in north Italy boot Fritz  ACINI (B; fruit bits; a c i’ N I)  It’s not clear why Azed chose to shorten ‘in’ and then return the N as ‘north’, except perhaps for geographical accuracy, or the wordplay was intended as straight ‘initial letters’.

31.    Earl set on the wrong track takes a male  RELATES (B; makes a tale; anag.).

32.    One lifting plough round shire’s rear  LEISTER (A; stealer; e in lister)  A rare single-word Spoonerism, relying in the Scottish pronunciation ‘lee-ster’.

33.    Rue dole of each cent, number limited  ENACT (B; do role; n in ea. ct.).

34.    Very fast running master (not amateur) – such may get a lead in Greece  EXPRESS TERMS (B; agreed in lease; express + anag. less A)  A well-spotted Spoonerism opportunity. Could ‘a lead in Grease’ have been worked in somehow?





1.      Cut dull stuff gypsy planted in pots  PROMOS (A; mow prose; Rom in pos)  ‘Po1’ and ‘pos’ are favourite wordplay elements for Azed and his competitors.

2.      Awfully done in? Not I – with go naps intermittently  ON END (B; no gaps; anag. less I)  Dr Watson initially wondered if this would be ‘on end’ or ‘end on’.

3.      Some faded legends turning up, breather finished  GELDED (A; gill dead; hidden rev.)  Dr Watson would probably say ‘gel-dead’ rather than ‘gel-did’, but it’s a fine distinction.

4.      Face deviation when climbing? Bet considered carefully  WAYLAID (A; lay weighed; dial yaw, rev.).

5.      It’s put up, breaking regulation, excessively to irritate  RUTILE (A; too rile; it, rev., in rule)  The ‘to’ before ‘irritate’ is a minor cause of confusion.

6.      Mocking ordinary fellow right inside creek  GIRO (A; wry Joe; r in gio).

7.      Acute difficulty nearly within grasp, as before  HEN NIGHT (A; high net; nigh in hent)  Dr Watson would argue that the two N’s in the solution don’t elide into one in normal speech.

8.      Tyre’s damaged around start of service, showing bumbling trades  TRESSY (B; tumbling braids; s in anag.)  About the most pleasing of the type B Spoonerisms.

10.    Principal test the French applied to cocktail of martini  TRAIN MILE (A; main trial; anag. + le).

13.    Driller’s pipe? Pair is briefly left inside alembic  SPELLICAN (A; kelly’s Pan; ’s + l in pelican)  This looked like it would be a type B (piper’s drill?) right up to the last minute. A kelly is something technical in drilling in the engineering sense; alembic and pelican are types of still. ‘Pipe pair’ is presumably intended to sound like ‘piper’, but this seems like an extra level of abstraction for a type A. (Postscript: Thanks to bridgesong at fifteensquared for pointing out the definition is ‘kelly span’, a span being a pair of horses.)

16.    Glasses with e.g. stabilizers to hold down if amid love-making  SPINIFEX (A; finny specs; pin if in sex)  Everything about this clue, surface, wordplay and the Spoonerism is a delight. Dr Watson’s stand-out favourite of the puzzle.

19.    Knowing, greets as of old fixed looks loaded with ecstasy  STEARES (B; growing neats; E in stares)  More old cattle to contend with.

21.    A mess  GUDDLE (B)  Solvers will need to make their own Spoonerism of a definition of ‘guddle’, a rare Scottish competition word.

22.    Miller’s trench, in Old English – it’s sound among faults  OLEATE (B; found … salts; leat in OE).

24.    Tome for nerks? It reveals mythical beast in Egypt  EYALET (B; nome for Turks; yale in ET)  ‘Eyalet’ and ‘nome’ are old provinces of Turkey and Greece respectively.

25.    What seaway few understand? It’s circling the underworld  IDISTS (B; we say; Dis in it’s)  It took Dr Watson an age (it felt like) to spot the Spoonerism here. Idists speak, or spoke, the invented language of Ido.

27.    Take a seat, Arabian, whereupon you’ll witness rum sagas  SITAR (B; some ragas; sit Ar).

29.    A bit of height lopping among damask I prune  SKIP (B; light hopping; hidden)  A bit of light solving to finish what’s been a challenging puzzle.


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