Notes for Azed 2,518

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 on any aspect of the puzzle, including clues not listed below.

Azed 2,518 Plain

Difficulty rating: 2 out of 10 stars (2 / 10)

I struggled to make this one last beyond my second slice of Toastie and marmalade, Just the one ‘hidden’, but four other clues where the solution was obtained by selecting letters straight from the clue.  Perhaps a  little of the joie de vivre of last week’s puzzle was lacking from this one, but it still contained some entertaining clues.

9a Mop I’m handing over to seaman in state of dizziness (4)
The state of dizziness is a  SWIM, with I’M ‘handing over to’ (being replaced by) AB (‘seaman’, of the able sort). Incidentally, the term ‘able-bodied seaman’ seems to be a modern back-formation from the abbreviation AB, which was used in registers to clearly distinguish Able Seamen from their less accomplished (and less generously remunerated) brethren, the Ordinary Seamen, who were designated as OS.

14a This hemlock derivative encompasses end for Socrates – as icon perished?(5)
A composite anagram, where the letters of AS ICON when rearranged (‘perished’) can produce the solution plus S (the ‘end for Socrates’).

16a There’s a lot of blood attached to mafia family in this Chicago racket (7)
This US spelling of a word meaning din (‘Chicago racket’) is produced by attaching GOR(e) (‘a lot of blood’) to the end of CLAN (‘mafia family’). Chambers gives ‘Mafia’ a capital letter, but the OED doesn’t.

30a Love-making cut at start after bug returns? Not what you want in bed! (5)
One of those clues where a nice idea has proved tricky to realize. The ‘love-making cut at start’ for SEX without the S is fine, but MIC (shortened form of microphone) for ‘bug’ is a bit of a stretch. Worse still, ‘after bug returns’ might seem fine at first glance to mean ‘placed after MIC reversed’, but it doesn’t – ‘after’ with the present indicative introduces a subordinate clause relating to a sequence in time (‘Liverpool win after defender blunders’); for the wordplay to work, this element would need to be ‘after returning bug’.

3d Very young hawk, unconstrained, tail up (4)
EASY (‘unconstrained’) with the last letter (‘tail’) moved up a couple of places.

7d Secret crime society? One might deduce its members are up this (4)
This is a neat clue, the members of such a society very likely to be up TO NG (abbreviation for ‘no good’).

8d Husky in frost at head of sledge being unloaded? (6)
This parses as HOAR (‘frost’) above (‘at head of’) the first and last letters of ‘sledge’ (‘unloaded’, ie emptied out).

15d Not fully empowered, pub struggles, accordingly limiting that red wine (9)
The wording here has been twisted about in order to make the wordplay syntactically accurate, with the anagram of PUB (‘pub struggles’) having SO (‘accordingly’) containing it (‘limiting that, ‘that’ being the struggling pub), with TENT (‘red wine’) bringing up the rear.

22d Divine symbol of maleness, glam by implication (6)
‘Glam’ is implied by L IN GAM.

The girls who frequent picture-palaces
Are wary of psychoanalysis
Indeed, they’re annoyed
By the great Dr. Freud
And cling to their long-standing fallacies

23d New trap given room by motorists – it’s a dreadful pain (6)
Can the AA ‘giving room’ to an anagram of TRAP (‘new trap’) indicate containment? Probably not, in truth, but we all know what he means.

28d Part of crust rolled up as wrap (4)
I’m very surprised to find Azed giving no indication that this alternative spelling of ‘amice’ belongs firmly to the sixteenth century and has not been shared with any subsequent eras.

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