FTER the Special competition last month to mark Azed’s special anniversary, we’re back to Plain fare and a puzzle that shouldn’t have caused too many difficulties for solvers who know Azed’s style. The clues are on the easy side, with a good proportion of anagrams and even two giveaway hiddens. One clue requires some outside knowledge of a recently deceased comic, familiar to solvers in the UK and anyone who listens to BBC radio around the world.
3. Quickly insert something to repair tap after start of seepage SPATCHCOCK (s + patch + cock)
10. Constitution of EU modified with inclusion of short rule FUERO (r in anag.) Fuero is a legal constitution in Basque regions.
11. My child, a girl (not Di) coming after a boy ALANNAH (Alan + (Di)nah) The solution is an Irish exclamation.
12. Ref punished Italian, a warning, ye ken FREIT (anag. + It) The last two words of the clue announce the Scottish origin of ‘freit’.
13. Source of rennet, contents of level ladle VELL (hidden) Another cow’s stomach to go with bible, read, etc.
15. Evil, devious foreigner mostly getting to conceal shameful deeds LIVE A LIE (anag. + alie(n))
16. Sink? It’s often by the fire SCUTTLE (2 mngs.)
18. Bother keeps besetting head HARASS (ras in has)
20. Hold back old cur let out RELUCT (anag.)
22. Quickie during lunch break? Not a soul having run! NOONER (no one + r) Dr Watson, whose lunchtimes are generally dedicated to lunch, hadn’t come across this term for a midday liaison before.
24. First sign of cockroaches – I yelp frenziedly, insect protectors needed CLYPEI (c + anag.) A clypeus is part of a carapace, protection for rather than from insects.
27. Argumentative type is tense when restricted by fine ERISTIC (is t in eric) Like cows’ stomachs, there are plenty of short words for old fines to choose from.
28. One answer to air pollution making mark, involving collaborative group? STEAM CAR (team in scar) Azed’s definition is a bit wide of the mark. The steam may not pollute, but the solid fuel boiler that produces it certainly does.
30. Flock of ducks, mute? Not one duck SORD (sord(0)) The explanation may be hard to see at first. A sord is a flock of ducks, while sordo is a musical term for ‘muted’ that gives up one of its O’s (ducks).
31. Counter for game? Learner must join club MERIL (meri + L) A meril is a piece in a Nine Man’s Morris game, and was the competition word in Azed’s very first Spoonerisms competition, no 314. For the Maori meri, see mere3.
32. Law kept in line? It’s not rigid across the water FLEXILE (lex in file) ‘Across the water’ being in the US.
33. Fox found in Zambia, form of red one ZERDA (Z + anag. + a)
34. Requirements DESIDERATA Azed continues his recent predilection for setting Latin terms, often plurals, for the competition. This one follows VARIORUM, PLACITUM, LITERATIM, VOX POP, FACETIAE and VIDENDA from the last fifty or so comps.
1. Aged catch, with head displaying aloof manner OFFISHNESS (of fish ness) ‘Of’ in the sense of ‘a person of fifty years’.
2. By the sound of it, make bacon from a pig in liqueur CURAÇAO (‘cure a sow’) Azed takes advantage of the Portuguese spelling to create an unexpected homophone.
3. Resort to spot on end of peak SEEK (see + k) A simple wordplay with a definition that exploits a less common sense of ‘seek’.
4. Fish oil painter’s used liberally PRISTANE (anag.) One of half a dozen one-word anagrams of ‘painters’..
5. S. Indians in formal garb around start of mela TAMILS (m in tails)
6. Nashgab, smart, one supplanting English CLAVER (clever with a for E) Solution and definition are both Scottish words for a chatterbox.
7. Suffer with relative whom locals regard as a fool HAVEREL (have rel.)
8. Poet’s just close to cathedral city ONELY (on Ely) There’s only ever one cathedral city in cryptic wordplay.
9. 50% of state leaving for spiritual leader CALIF (Calif(ornia))
14. What can make line curl at being twisted in double-convex LENTICULAR (anag.)
17. He’s among group having to hurry over leaflet FLYSHEET (fly + he in set)
19. Grease applied to help old siren? SEAMAID (seam3 + aid) Two nicely misleading definitions, including a Shakespearean word for grease or lard, and two types of siren.
21. Evening of music etc from Spain I cover in church CEILIDH (E I lid in Ch)
23. Former kick, if delivered by Old Nick coming up on one’s rear end RECULE (Luc(if)er, rev. + e) An old spelling of ‘recoil’ in an amusing package and well-spotted wordplay.
24. Trader, one invited in by late-lamented funny man? CRAYER (a in Cryer) Azed must have reacted quickly to the news of Barry Cryer’s death in January to produce this clue in time for publication. Many crossword fans will have enjoyed his appearances on I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue and other shows for decades. A crayer is a trading ship.
25. Ecclesiastic gown moved gradually and rustled STOLE (3 mngs.) A triple definition clue can sometimes look a bit forced or clunky, but Azed strings three quite distinct meanings together in a smooth and convincing sentence.
26. Dry up after ten? Try a sherry XERES (X + sere, rev.) One of several spellings of Jerez and the wine that it produces.
29. Scottish supernumerary from among junior ranks ORRA (hidden) A Scottish word for odd or superfluous that’s helped many a setter with their gridfill and wordplay over the years.