Notes for Azed 2,549

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 2,549 Plain

Difficulty rating: 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

I didn’t find too much to detain me here, but on my way through I marked several clues as having tricks up their sleeves, so I suspect that it was a little harder than the two previous puzzles this month – I’d be interested to hear what other solvers think. There was plenty to enjoy in the puzzle, as well as a couple of dodgy definitions.

Setters’ Corner: This week I’m going to take a look at clue 30a, “Language generally, riddle involving legal rule” (5). The wordplay, TEMS (‘riddle’) containing (‘involving’) R (‘legal rule’), offers two items of interest. One is that although TEMS is shown by Chambers as ‘now dialect‘ Azed has chosen not to indicate this through a qualification such as ‘for some’ or ‘in places’; I don’t have a problem with this myself, although some editors will insist on dialectal words being flagged to the solver, and I’m not sure I would want to see, say, ‘him’ on its own being used for ‘un’. Regarding the R, Azed’s pendulum of explicitness has swung the other way: Chambers shows ‘r’ as an abbreviation for ‘rule (law)’ and Azed has gone the whole hog by including the context in which the abbreviation is used; I suspect that he has done this for the benefit of the surface reading rather than the solver.

7a Bar? Better rooms therein but lacking inside toilet (4)
The ‘better rooms’ which form the basis of the solution (‘therein’) are SALOONS, from which the ‘inside toilet’ must be removed.

10a Fore-runners of vertebrates possibly had me puzzled about colourless ooze? (10)
The ‘colourless ooze’ which is to be placed inside an anagram (‘puzzled’) of HAD ME is ICHOR, romantically the ethereal juice flowing through the veins of the Greek gods, and slightly more prosaically the colourless matter oozing from an ulcer or wound.

12a Fauns dancing all over the place (5)
The anagram of FAUNS resolves to a slang term from North America, although Azed chooses not to indicate its geographical distribution. I think it’s pretty well known this side of the pond, given that the British R&B band of that name were formed in 1973 (albeit they took it from a Captain Beefheart lyric); by the way, their track ‘Lock and Key’ features some cracking slide guitar from Micky Moody, one of Britain’s finest exponents of the art. Chambers Slang Dictionary tells us that s.n.a.f.u. is a WW2 expression that quickly entered mainstream slang and generated a number of variants, none of which has had the same impact (eg f.i.g.m.o., euphemistically ‘forget it, got my orders – I can see why that one didn’t catch on). The meaning is “a mistake, an error, a situation, often within an institution or organization, that has gone awry.”

15a Chaps in US intelligence organization turned washed-out at home (6)
A three-letter word for ‘chaps’ is put inside a three-letter acronym for a US intelligence organization and the whole lot reversed (‘turned’). The ‘at home’ here indicates that the spelling is specific to the US; whilst it may not be necessary to tell the solver that the solution to 12a is an Americanism, here it is essential as the word does not exist in British English.

19a Working micros, see? Place inside processes for them (12)
Here we have an anagram (‘Working’) of MICROS SEE with PUT (‘Place’) inside, but I’m not entirely happy with the definition. Chambers gives the solution as meaning ‘processes by computer’, so I would prefer the clue to have read ‘”…processes with [or ‘on’] them”.

20a The room’s excited with perm, large fluttery thing (12, 2 words)
Azed must have thought when writing the definition that he needed to define the singular form of the solution. It cannot be a misprint as the surface reading would make no sense if ‘thing’ were simply changed to ‘things’. I think we need to imagine that the clue is “The room is excited with perms, large fluttery things”.

24a Charles as king? For sure (3)
The ‘Charles’ here is the late, great Ray Charles Robinson, the musician who liked to be called ‘Brother Ray’.

31a Satire getting me briefly in a pickle? (10)
A very neat clue, with a two-letter abbreviation of the setter’s pseudonym (‘me briefly’) contained by an eight-letter word for “an alcoholic mixture or pickle in which fish, meat, etc is steeped before cooking, to improve the flavour or tenderize.”

32a Those above junior doctors requiring orderly system without company (4)
Here we have a six-letter word for the universe as an orderly whole, from which the letters CO must be removed (‘without company’) to produce the plural of an abbreviation relating to senior medical personnel.

3d Vassal e.g. the young lady’s sacked (5)
THE GIRL has ‘sacked’ (got rid of) the letters EG to produce the solution.

5d Richard Murphy (or so it’s said) replaced his president in senior post (12)
A playful clue involving a partial, non-word homophone (something that Azed seems to have become keen on recently) for ‘Dick Tater’ (‘Richard Murphy’), followed by an anagram (‘replaced’) of HIS plus the one-letter abbreviation for ‘president’.

16d Chaetopods identified with Neapolitan diet venue? (8, 2 words)
The Neapolitan here is a multicoloured frozen food and the ‘diet venue’ is the city in Germany which has hosted over a hundred German Imperial Diets, assemblies of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire, and which introduced the world to Liebfraumilch.

17d Woman scorned tail of tabby after mink? (4)
The reference is to these lines from The Mourning Bride (1697) by William Congreve:

Heav’n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn’d,
Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn’d.

18d Not a bit of beer fermenting for host (4)
A five-letter word for ‘fermenting’ from which the letter B has been removed (‘Not a bit of beer’).

21d At the moment when one enters anything but long shot (6, 2 words)
The wordplay here involves A (‘one’) entering¬† a plural noun which describes the odds of an event deemed to have a 50% probability of occurring. I don’t believe for a moment that this is accurately indicated by ‘anything but [a] long shot’, but I see where he’s coming from.

23d Rooty in partnership, cross after right hand is in contact with Ishant’s first (5)
A devil of a word (well, not actually a word, but a combining form, hence the ‘in partnership’) to clue, the rather tortuous wordplay has a two-letter word for a ‘cross’ (between the yak and the common cow) following (‘after’) a two-letter abbreviation for ‘right hand’ and the first letter of ‘Ishant’. The ECB website tells me that Joe Root’s nicknames are ‘Rooty’ (that’s about as imaginative as most nicknames get these days) and ‘Geoffrey’ (I’d keep that one quiet if I were him). Cricket has a disappointing track record when it comes to clever or imaginative nicknames; soccer has produced most of the best ones – I’m thinking here about notables such as Gilles de Bilde (‘Bob’), Neil Pointon (‘Dissa’), Imre Varadi (‘Ollie’), Kiki Musampa (‘Chris’, think about it) and, of course, Fitz Hall (‘Onesize’). One of my favourites, though, came from the world of tennis – three-time Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick was known as A-Rod, so it was natural that the rather less distinguished British player Alex Bogdanovic should receive the analogous nickname ‘A-Bog’.

25d Inferior veg recipe fed to cat (5)
‘Cat’, being used in the sense of ‘vomit’, has the standard abbreviation for recipe ‘fed to it’.

You may also like...