Notes for Azed 2,525
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) either by using the comment form at the bottom of the page or, if would prefer that your question/comment is not publicly visible , by email.
Azed 2,525 Plain
Difficulty rating: (2.5 / 10)
This is Azed’s ‘Zager and Evans’ moment (probably only those of a certain age will understand that), and to celebrate he has come up with a plain that seemed to sit right in the middle of the difficulty spectrum – the letters to be shuffled in a couple of the anagrams were clear enough, but the required arrangements less so. My ‘clue of the week’ is 13d.
14a Citizen of sultanate returning very soon? (5)
He or she will be coming back IN A MO.
20a English engraved in tablet for Irish-born writer (6)
No, not Tommy but Richard STEELE (E in STELE). Often considered one of the most important figures in the genesis of modern journalism, the Dublin-born Steele attended Charterhouse (where he first met Richard Addison), and Merton College, Oxford. He founded and wrote most of the content for The Tatler, published in London three times a week between 1709 and 1711, and then in 1711 with Addison launched the highly influential Spectator, which daily entertained thousands of Londoners in the capital’s coffee houses. It ran for 555 editions (each of around 2,500 words) with Addison providing the erudition and Steele the journalistic verve. He had something of a love-hate relationship with London, once describing it as a place where “Gamesters, Banterers, Biters, Swearers, and Twenty new-born Insects more, are, in their several Species, the modern Men of Wit”. He entered parliament in 1713 but was swiftly expelled for supporting the Hanoverian cause; on the succession of George I he was made supervisor of Drury Lane Theatre, and subsequently knighted. In 1722, financial problems forced him to retire to Wales, where he died in 1729. When the floor of St Peter’s Church, Carmarthen, was being levelled in 2000, Steele’s skull was found in a Victorian lead casket inscribed with his name. It had first been uncovered during excavations in the 1870s, and after it was reburied in the crypt no record of the site was kept. As John Mullan wrote at the time, “Its rediscovery tells us not so much of the indignity of being disinterred, as of having been forgotten in the first place.”
21a See this satellite go adrift round edge of space in cosmogeny (6)
Not exactly a composite anagram, but a very similar construction: the letters of the solution (‘this satellite’) plus GO when rearranged (‘adrift’) around E (‘edge of space’) can form COSMOGENY.
31a Song name: ‘Born when it’s springtime in Britain’ (5)
A four-letter word for a song and a one-letter abbreviation for name combine to produce a description for someone (like myself and both of my parents) born between 21 March and 20 April.
4d Bird arranged twig to tidy up nesting (6)
A nice ‘tight’ clue, where an anagram (‘arranged’) of TWIG has a two-letter word meaning ‘to tidy’ reversed (‘up’) inside (‘nesting’). I’m not sure whether ‘nesting’ can strictly speaking be ‘tidied up’, but I don’t think we need dwell on the matter.
8d Glen, David or Jonathan dropping by? (6)
Or Josceline, or Richard, who gave his name to the series of annual television lectures which started in 1972 with Lord Annan posing the question ‘What are Universities for, Anyway?’ Their shared surname is losing the letters ‘by’ at the end (‘dropping by’) to produce a dialectal word for a dell or a dingle.
10d Smash witnessed – hassle separating parts (10)
A four-letter word for ‘witnessed’, the parts of which (specifically the first letter and the last three letters) are being ‘separated’ by a six-letter word meaning ‘hassle’ or ‘confuse’.
13d Newspapers on ER getting out of herself, uplifted to meet the people (10, two words)
A nice clue, with the PRESS followed by (‘on’) HERSELF without the ER (‘ER getting out’) reversed (‘uplifted’).
19d I’m served in the manner of the bargeman’s wife, mustily dressed (7)
A simple anagram of MUSTILY, but a definition that shouts (or would, if it had the gift of vocalization) ‘Azed’: the term à la marinière can be loosely translated into English as “in the manner of the bargeman’s wife”.
23d Keep quiet about debt settlement in historical bailment (6)
To avoid a dictionary scan one needs to know that UTU is a Maori word for ‘recompense’. Surrounding it is the interjection MUM, ‘Keep quiet[!]’.
24d Ride bicycle when damaged: dicey and thus punctured (6)
A composite anagram where the letters of RIDE BICYCLE when rearranged (‘damaged’) can produce DICEY plus the solution (‘thus punctured’).