Notes for Azed 2,544

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 2,544 Plain

Difficulty rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars (1.5 / 5)

Another in a long line of non-competition plain puzzles (could there be an Eightsome Reels due along soon, perhaps?), this one had several ‘easy starters’ and nothing too tricky. It didn’t seem to me to possess quite the élan of last week’s puzzle, and there were one or two clues that seemed as though they had been put together rather hastily and remained unpolished.

ScotsWatch: I don’t think that you could count the entry at 11a, which will not have troubled anyone who’s ever watched Taggart, so for a second week in succession it’s a big fat zero.

17a Alleys may be used for hiding (4)
It’s probably a sign that you’ve solved (or set) too many barred puzzles when this is your first one in. Memo to self: must get out more. A double definition, with the plural of an alternative word for a marble (‘Alleys’) and one of those slightly unlikely singulars ending in ‘s’ (‘tems’ is another that springs to mind), an ‘esp Scottish’ leather strap. Newcomers to Azed might be slightly surprised to find a noun being indicated by a verb phrase from which it is the absent subject (‘may be used for hiding [ie flogging]’), but as he notes in the slip for AZ354:

“I’ve said before that an adjective is an inaccurate (because unfairly misleading) way of indicating a noun (and vice versa of course). I do accept however that a verb (in the appropriate person) can indicate a noun. ‘Barks and is man’s best friend’ defines DOG far more clearly than, say, ‘Furry and domesticated’.”

24a Reddish lean when centre’s cut (4)
I tend to think of the five-letter word for ‘lean’ which has had its middle letter removed as meaning ‘tall and thin’ (with a hint of ungainliness thrown in) rather than just ‘thin’, but I’m not going to argue the point.

28a Tries on arrays of goods on display (7)
This is a strange one. The solution is not shown as two words, so it must be the adjective IN-STORE. This could certainly be defined by ‘of goods on display’ (‘Come and see our in-store selection’ /  ‘Come and see our selection of goods on display’), but that leaves us with ‘Tries on arrays’ as the wordplay. ‘Tries on’ has to be the anagram fodder, but the verb ‘array’ is transitive, so cannot be an anagram indicator. Suggestions on a postcard please…

33a Old pro almost constantly on line (5)
There are many antiquated terms for a ‘lady of the night’, the French loanwords being perhaps the most exotic-sounding (‘poule de luxe’, ‘fille de joie’). Here we have one of German parentage, produced by removing the last letter (‘almost’) from a word meaning ‘constantly’ (in the sense of ‘faithfully’) and adding the usual abbreviation for ‘line’.

34a Swarm hurtling out of rug (4)
The construction in the wordplay is one of those that doesn’t perhaps want to be too closely scrutinised: the letters RUG are to be removed from the outside of a seven-letter word meaning ‘hurtling’. But can ‘x out of y’ reasonably mean that x itself has undergone a physical change? I don’t think so – a sweet out of its wrapper is just the same sweet that it was when it had its wrapper on.

35a Join other members: when ordered eat OK with head to take dinner? (12, 2 words)
Far be it from me to say that a clue of Azed’s is no good; by his high standards, though, this really is a bit of a stinker. An anagram (‘when ordered’) of EAT OK, followed by a crossword staple for ‘head[land]’ and a three-letter word for ‘take dinner?’ is perfectly sound. But the first word of the solution is also the eleventh word of the clue, and that last element is itself the sixth word.

5d Shoe horse, eye rolling upwards (6)
One thing that setters quickly learn is that there are precious few synonyms for ‘eye’.  After ‘orb’ there are ‘lamp’, ‘optic’ and ‘peeper’, and that’s about it. The only one that’s much use in wordplays is the first-named, and here it is joined to the back of a three-letter horse and the whole lot reversed (‘rolling upwards’).

7d Enlist second horse, once galloping around (9)
I may previously have come across ‘crib’ as a a meaning of ‘horse’, but if I had I’d forgotten, though the definition and the rest of the wordplay (an anagram of ‘once’ around S plus the horse) left no doubt that it was the missing element. OED gives this sense of horse as “A translation or other illegitimate aid for students in preparing their work; a ‘crib’. U.S. ” but without further explanation or example.

8d Artist king afforded protection (4)
The artist here (provided by an abbreviation of ‘king’ plus a word for ‘shelter’) was born in Switzerland in 1879 but spent most of his working life in Germany. The son of a music teacher and a singer, he initially trained as a musician before deciding to commit himself to the visual arts (and engaging fully with the artistic lifestyle). He was strongly influenced by Van Gogh – ‘Permit me to be scared’, he remarked after seeing some of Van Gogh’s work in Paris. A founder member of both Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Riders) and Die Blaue Vier (the Blue Four), he developed an abstract style in which the coloured rectangle is the building block; his musical training comes through in many of his compositions, where the various shapes combine to produce a kind of harmony (so they say). 

18d Calculators? Filch one with children around (8)
The three-letter word for ‘Filch’ which is followed by A (‘one’) and contained by a word for ‘[male] children’ is the same one which answered to ‘pad once’ in 2d.

21d Something like pewter aunt got out with her Spanish equivalent coming round (7)
Azed used TIA (Spanish for ‘aunt’, as seen in Tia Maria) in a puzzle not too long ago, and here she is again, taking a grip on an anagram (‘got out’) of AUNT.

23d Film star, international, trapped in a fracas endlessly (6)
I (international) is ‘trapped’ in A plus a five-letter word for a fracas missing the last letter (‘endlessly’), producing the name of the eponymous heroine of the rather entertaining 2001 film starring Audrey Tautou and also known by the slightly less catchy title Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain.

29d Not a lot of money goes on a bit of kouskous in it? (4)
An &lit, if a rather low-end one, comprising a three-letter word for a tiny amount of money (and formerly a French five-centime piece)  followed by the first letter (‘a bit of’) ‘kouskous’, the whole being a word for a place where someone might lay out a small sum on a portion of a N African dish. Incidentally, I have myself used ‘a bit of’ to indicate the first letter of the following word, but I know that some editors are not keen on it, and I have been converted to their way of thinking – why should a ‘bit’ of something be the first bit, it could equally well be any of the letters in the word.

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3 Responses

  1. Cait says:

    Cheers. Originally got a letter wrong in 33a because I assumed another meaning for ‘constantly on line’ but it didn’t work with 29d. Thanks again for explanation of parsing.

    • Doctor Clue says:

      Ah yes, I see where you were coming from. ‘Sook’ would have fitted the definition at 29d as well, though not the wordplay.

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