HE FIRST Azed Misprints competition since 2009, and only the third since 2000, is certainly a turn-up. Long-serving competitors will remember them as a more frequent feature of Azed (and of Ximenes for those who go back that far), usually in a non-thematic puzzle where half the solutions have misprinted clues and the other half misprinted grid entries. The three competitions of this century have been different, with all clues containing a misprint and the correct letters forming a message.
The last two, 1779 and 1953, have required competitors to write a clue to replace a definition, and so required a specific letter in the message to be misprinted. This time Azed gives free rein, as a word from a quotation is to be clued. In no 1779, as in this puzzle, the misprint must occur in the definition. In no 1953 the misprint could fall anywhere in the clue, but with the stipulation that ‘the misprinted and corrected versions [should] make some sense’. Interestingly Azed retains that stipulation this time, even though the misprints are restricted to the definition.
This places a constraint on the clues that can be seen in the setter’s own work. Most of the Azed’s own definitions are phrases, and many are separated by punctuation from the wordplay. In some cases the misprinted version makes a little less sense than the correct one. Dr Watson must admit to preferring the old-fashioned misprint clue, where the penny-drop is derived from the difference in meaning, and often part of speech, of the two versions of the definition, and where the clue-writer has more scope for deviousness. Once the solver has mentally separated out the definition and wordplay parts to find the misprint, they surely don’t put much effort into joining them back up to admire the sense of the corrected surface. There’s also the question of how much sense ‘some sense’ is; it’s perhaps best to judge that from the clues below.
Solving all the misprints reveals the message “… the whole set! a character dead at every word” from Sheridan’s The School for Scandal, which alludes to Pope’s observation “at every word a reputation dies”, but also describes the puzzle’s misprints. Solvers must provide a misprinted clue, in the style of Azed’s in the puzzle, to CHARACTER.
In the notes below, the corrected word from the definition in each clue is given before the explanation of wordplay.
1. One regularly making latkes saving bit of stuff in palm BARISTA (lattes; bar + s in ita) Not too hard to guess where the misprint might be, but ‘bar’ for ‘saving’ is harder to spot.
6. Mill facing upstream, second with cant? STOSS (hill; s + toss; cant2) Dr Watson thought ‘toss’ was being used in the sense of ‘You’re talking a load of…’, but it also means to tilt.
10. Equivalent of dung in US river? First being removed disguises giggle OVERSLAUGH (dune; (c)overs laugh) One US meaning of overslaugh is a river sandbank.
11. Make net chart for traveller, mum included REMAP (new; ma in rep).
12. Strong draught? Jumper required PORTER (humper; 2 mngs.) A neat double def., and one of very few clues to contain a superfluous linking word, ‘required’.
14. Once treated with gold will jar having shilling thrown in GRASTE (good; s in grate) The change of sense brought about by the misprint provides a good penny-drop.
16. Such as crutches contributing to leg gymnastics EGGY (clutches; hidden).
17. Arrant knight, young man in grip of anguish PALADIN (errant; a lad in pain).
19. Render less peptic Isère silt after treatment STERILISE (septic; anag.) The alternative anagram LISTERISE is probably closer in meaning to the true definition than the actual solution.
21. It’s comb to pass untidy nipper mostly, note, in care of old woman HAPPENING (come; anag. less r + n, all in hag) An example of how to change the part of speech between the two versions, while maintaining a reasonable amount of sense.
24. What’s in superior plantation, we hear? It’s used for shopping sensation EUCAINE (stopping; i.e. ‘U cane’).
26. Chump turned over part of boot just behind the bow LOOF (boat; fool, rev.).
29. Contents of meal booked executive committee got in ready RECIPE (cooked; EC in ripe).
30. Parliamentarian in the East sorted out what makes some Japanese nosy TEMPEH (nosh; MP in anag. incl. E) It took Dr Watson a while to realise that the correction wasn’t ‘cosy’, pointing to some sort of garment.
31. Cell to appear? It’s closed by state briefly CITAL (call; it in Cal.).
32. Rattling sabre, alert, one filed bolts ARBALESTER (fired; anag.) Distracted by the ‘one’, Dr Watson entered the alternative spelling ARBALISTER, but fortunately re-checked the grid before posting.
33. Sanctimonious about love, Jock’s taking cure HOOLY (care; 0 in holy).
34. Regular feature of rooks, origin being about a loch SEAWEED (rocks; Awe in seed) A reference to Loch Awe, a location familiar to those who’ve taken the West Highland Line to Fort William.
1. Frow, German, coming in stripped BARGE (trow3; G in bare) Dr Watson tried to find a corrected definition that would satisfy NUDGE until some checked letters appeared.
2. To exist within what could be arguable, cried with no rational basis ABERGLAUBE (creed; be in anag.) The German word for superstition (though less negative in its connotations), apparently introduced to English by Matthew Arnold in a commentary on Goethe.
3. Will’s delay – it involves silver in capital ROMAGE (deray; Ag in Rome) One of the harder corrections to spot.
4. Nation guards record divined by partitions SEPTATE (divided; EP in state).
5. Neuter pony roughly, without love? One remaining foal, as before TRUEPENNY (feal; anag. less 0) A nicely connected def. and wordplay even if the surface is a bit harsh, and ‘feal’ not at all obvious.
6. To work herd, last of timber must be out on top SLOG (hard; s to start in logs) The wordplay here needs extra thought from the solver.
7. Two salts describing part of penal structure TARSAL (pedal; i.e. tar and sal).
8. Durban fellow, dandyish youth with secrets revelled OUTED (revealed; ou2 Ted).
9. Mouse fed with bit of ricotta, one making one’s mark in carinas? SHRINER (caritas; r in shiner) A couple of twists here. A mouse is a black eye or shiner. The Shriners, formerly the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, is a US branch of the Freemasons engaged in charitable works.
13. Set device for projecting images, including appropriate technology EPISCOPATE (see2; AT in episcope) Azed makes use of one of the setters’ favourite double meanings.
15. It may enhance dish of elders I love, caught in sea abroad MARIE ROSE (elvers; I Eros in mare) Azed’s looking stretched to find a suitable misprint of V, but may have come up with a new dish idea for Rick Stein.
18. Blast covering the ground fast, the ache getting worse CHEETAH (beast; anag.).
20. Rock antics, energy-filled? Coaches are included in them INSECTA (roaches; E in anag.).
22. Mate repeatedly feeling like flu? PALPAL (fly; i.e. pal pal).
23. Gland’s smelling – it’s coated in blood GOITRE (swelling; it in gore).
25. Mob dancing in company stumping performers COMBO (stomping; anag. in Co.) ‘Stamping’ and ‘stomping’ are probably both valid corrections, but the latter is required for the quotation.
27. Sex? It’s messing about in field FELID (Rex; anag.) An opportunity for a cheeky misprint eagerly grasped. Rex is a breed of domestic cat.
28. English cathedral city attractive to those keen on ribbing? EELY (dibbing; E Ely) Eels to the rescue again. It came as a revelation to Dr Watson that some anglers do catch them with a hook and line rather than a trap.