Notes for Azed 2,517

There are usually one or two points of interest in an Azed puzzle, and here we pick them out for comment. Please feel free to add your own questions or observations.

Azed 2,517 Plain

Difficulty rating: 3 out of 10 stars (3 / 10)

Nothing too challenging in this puzzle, but at the same time not a single ‘hidden’, so overall I’d place this pretty much in the middle of the difficulty spectrum for plain Azed puzzles (if you were wondering, I would give a really tough ‘plain’ a difficulty rating of 5; higher ratings are reserved for the harder specials). I thought this puzzle showed Azed on fine form, with a good variety of clue types and plenty of playfulness.

12a Measures, once artist has knocked back his last two (6)
The definition here is ‘Measures, once’, and the wordplay involves a CUBIST (‘artist’) getting the closing pair of letters reversed (‘has knocked back his last two’). I’m not sure that the syntax of the wordplay stands up to close scrutiny, so I’m going to look away now.

13a Officer briefly interrupting enemy wave as of old (5)
I was surprised that Azed gave no indication that the letters LT (‘Officer briefly’, ie lieutenant) were to be separated prior to insertion into (‘interrupting’) FOE (‘enemy’). I would have expected something more along the lines of ‘In short, officer regularly interrupting…’

16a Bring round cages i.e. in Germany for kestrel (9)
The abbreviation DH (das heisst, ‘i.e. in Germany’) sometimes comes in handy for setters, as here where it is ‘caged’ by WIN OVER in a neat clue for the name of a bird that, in the words of Gerald Manley Hopkins, ‘rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing’.

20a Sauce coming in a river? The opposite – single lump perhaps (4)
Rather than HP (‘sauce’) coming in EA (‘a river’), the latter is contained by the former.

29a Who’s ticked off about a bit of lying? (5)
A nice, if unspectacular, &lit. The candidate for castigation is formed by placing CHID (‘ticked off’) around (‘about’) L (‘a bit of lying’).

33a Prospect for Scots assured – English missed out twice (4)
SECURE (‘assured’) with both Es removed (‘English missed out twice’),the whole being a Scottish verb meaning to scour or search.

7d Deerhound? Not crazy about matted fur, unkempt (6)
The wordplay here indicates an anagram (‘unkempt’) of MATTED, without the outer letters MA…D (‘not crazy about’), together with FUR.

8d Lowly freeman, boss of company hands? (5)
The ‘boss of company’ is the Chief Executive Officer, and the ‘hands’ are R and L (right and left).

17a Tabby cat, legs going in rear mostly (8)
PINS (‘legs’) in STER(n) (‘rear mostly’), but the interest for me here was the definition – I can’t remember ever seeing ‘tabby cat’ used to describe an old maid, although since it’s the sort of term that would appeal to Azed I wouldn’t be surprised to find that it had appeared before.

24a Bully for you, making tons of gold!(6)
A fanciful definition here, ‘Bully’ being used to suggest ‘like a bull’. The only indication of whimsy is the exclamation mark, although that is as far distant from the definition as it could be without placing it after the enumeration.

25a Weight reduced, one is going in here? (5)
Another &lit, A IS (‘one is’) going in WT (‘Weight reduced’, ie an abbreviation of weight) to identify an area where one who’s weight has reduced might now be ‘going in’ (rather than out!)

28a Il Trovatore, to whit singular opera (4)
A crisp little clue to end with, SC (scilicet, ‘to whit’)  plus OP (opus, the singular of opera), the whole being an Anglo-Saxon troubadour.


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