EGULAR solvers who rely on the Guardian site to deliver their weekly or monthly Azed fix will have been miffed that this puzzle didn’t appear until mid-morning on Monday, despite some chasing by & lit.. It was worth the wait (as every Azed is of course) but when you have a clue to write, a delay can be more than frustrating. The puzzle isn’t difficult by Azed’s standards, with only three necessary excursions outside Chambers’s ambit. The competition word SPRAT-WEATHER is a tough challenge given its specific definition.
14. Man e.g. given time inside showing fibre ISTLE (t in Isle) The captialised Man is nicely hidden at the start of the clue.
16. In a corner round piece of Hepplewhite is giving impression of depth THREE-D (H in treed) ‘Treed’ can mean forced into a tree, as prey, or more generally, cornered. George Hepplewhite was a renowned 18c. cabinetmaker.
19. Mosquito maybe making one swerve a little way WARPLANE (warp lane) A great charade with an unexpected definition, again taking advantage the initial capitalisation. The best-known of several Mosquito aircraft is the De Havilland fighter-bomber of World War 2.
22. One landing fish on port wandering round Exeter once PISCATOR (Isca in anag.) The Roman name for what is now Exeter may need an internet search.
25. Like a yoked pair formerly attached to cart ATWAIN (at wain) Dr Watson thinks the Chambers definition of ‘atwain’ points to a meaning of ‘split in two’ rather than ‘joined as a pair’.
31. Desirable companion to have in bed, in more ways than one! HOTTY (double meaning) A rare double entendre from Azed, who’s never averse to this kind of risqué surface.
9. E.g. title page in rewrite of Elstree Spiderman STEEL ERECTOR (recto in anag.) Marvel fans will know the distinction between a spiderman, whose job is putting up skyscrapers, and the Spider-Man, whose job is mainly jumping off them.
18. Like Adam after Eve’s arrival, in green mode of existence ECOSTATE (eco state) The solution surely means ribless rather than short of one rib, as Adam was after God’s intervention
20. Use another rose on art? We’re going crazy REWATER (anag.) The definition ‘use another rose on’ is both well-hidden and misleading. A good penny-drop when it’s seen.
21. Early colonist in place before Roman river PLANTER (pl ante R) The wordplay is obvious once solved, but Dr Watson missed it twice, once when solving and again when reviewing, both times searching fruitlessly for a River Anter.
27. J. Laurie’s ardent one giving him orders at Walmington? ALOWE (i.e. A. Lowe) Happily Dad’s Army has enough repeats on telly that solvers born since the 1970s are likely to be familiar with John Laurie and Arthur Lowe playing Pte Fraser and Capt Mainwaring, and ‘Walmington[-on-Sea]’ is a generous giveaway.
30. Guy maybe – atop fire’s a fit one lit ROPE (comp. anag.) Azed tosses in a cunningly misleading surface for the final clue.
Across: 1. SCUPPERS (C in suppers); 11. POLEY (E in poly); 12. SEROXAT (anag.); 13. RUCKS (hidden rev.); 18. MAUVAISE (a is in mauve); 26. PRAISE (comp. anag.); 29. TRANSFIX (tra(I)ns + X if, rev.); 32. DONAT (hidden); 33. ÉPÉEIST (pee (P) in anag.); 34. AWETO (a wet O); 35. PESTERER (stere in per.).
Down: 1. SPRAT-WEATHER; 2. COUCHANT (c/o + anag.); 3. ULCER (hidden); 4. PEKOE (0 in Peke); 5. ESPADA (E + pad in SA); 6. REPUGN (rep + anag.); 7. HOSANNA (san in anag.); 8. EXTINCT (X tin in anag.); 9. PALS (pals(y)); 23. INFUSE (f in in use); 24. SPIRTS (trip, rev., in SS); 28. INNER ((d)inner).