Notes for Azed 2,558
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 2,558 ‘Right and Left’
Difficulty rating: (4.5 / 10)
I thought that we were due a non-competition ‘special’, and was half-expecting an ‘Eightsome Reels’, but instead we have a ‘Right and Left’. An entertaining variation, where the best place to start is the entry across the top; if you can get that and then move on to the first five down clues, then you can really get a foothold into the puzzle. There were several easy clues (or half-clues), but a few others that would have proved quite tricky even in a plain puzzle. The somewhat ungrammatical note telling solvers that the Chambers Dictionary ‘does not give proper name’ should read ‘It does not give one proper name’ (this absentee is to be found at 14dL).
Setters’ Corner: Writing ‘double’ clues takes a bit of getting used to. The fundamental rules are that the two individual clues must not overlap, and there should be no redundant words between them. Azed pushes the limits of the latter rule in a couple of clues – in 15a the words ‘in it’ are superfluous, and have to be read as meaning that the solution is ‘in’ the wordplay, and in 14d similarly the solution is ‘displaying’ the result of the wordplay. The first key attribute of a good double clue is that the break should be well-disguised, not appearing at a natural break in the surface reading; 7a and 8a are good examples of this. The other thing is that the whole clue should read well as a single entity, which ideally means having a single theme – this can be very hard to achieve when (say) the solutions are two unrelated nouns such as those in 6a, and sometimes the setter just needs to do the best they can. Note that there is no requirement for the separated clues to make any sense when read individually, and any attempt to make them do so is likely to weaken the overall clue.
After the notes on some of the clues (in some instances only one part) I have included a checklist showing where the break occurs in each clue and whether the solution to the first half of the clue belongs in the left or right of the grid. Since no-one commented last week to the effect that they didn’t like me underlining the definitions I will keep on doing it until I’m asked to stop!
1a Limbs flailing about right and left, i.e. at a modified feature of this puzzle? (12)
Here we have an anagram (‘flailing’) of LIMBS containing (‘about’) an anagram of R, L, IE AT A; the result is a feature of this particular puzzle.
7a Middy too far into side channel /
to disturb fens steered with it (6,6)
‘Middy’ is an informal term for a midshipman, and the solution is perhaps a slightly less respectful name for one. The wordplay involves a three-letter abbreviation of a term meaning ‘too far’ (although in the abbreviated form, ‘going too far’ might be preferable) being contained by a three-letter Canadian word for a side channel (which can also be spelt with an ‘e’ on the end) that immediately makes me think of the Beatles song I Am The Walrus, but that will only make sense to you if you know the (somewhat arcane, it must be said) lyrics.
8a Bulging trunk mostly containing what’s central for your /
use, lot untidily loose (6,6)
A five-letter word for a trunk (in the human body sense) with its last letter removed (‘mostly’) is ‘containing’ the middle letters of the word ‘your’ (“what’s central for your”)..
10a Buccaneer from rear artist included / to expose in bed, showing him a debauchee (6,6)
Here we start with a word for a buccaneer coming ‘from’ a four-letter word for ‘[a] rear’, in which the usual two-letter representation of ‘artist’ is included. Then we have a two-letter dialectal form of ‘him’ (or ‘one’), followed by a four-letter debauchee; the bed is the sort that might be occupied by flowers, fruit or vegetables.
15a Account, one to draw on, returning currency unit in it / universal in palaver with a revenue subdivision (6,6)
The first wordplay involves a reversal (‘returning’) of the usual two-letter abbreviation for ‘account’, A (‘one’) and a three-letter word meaning ‘to draw on’; as mentioned above, the ‘in it’ is somewhat de trop. The second wordplay has an abbreviation of ‘universal’ inside a synonym for palaver in the sense of a discussion.
17a Egoist flourishing weedy regalia / turning brown in senescence as related (6,6)
The wordplay in part one is straightforward (an anagram of EGOIST), but the ‘regalia’ (as confirmed by the use of ‘weedy’) relates to regalia2 in Chambers, not a word I knew. Part two has a three-letter word for ‘brown’ reversing (‘turning’) inside a three-letter word which on a good day might just about mean ‘senescence’ (although more accurately it’s the result of senescence).
1d Not quite front-rankers waved for old poet /
renewing art as of religious movement (5,5)
The first of the two definitions (this one leading to a hyphenated solution) refers to that group of celebrities who are well known but have not achieved the absolute pinnacle of fame.
Plant extract, not one consumed by two units, / number besieged in a fortified mound – it plays abnormal role among parts of speech (6,6)
If you didn’t know that the fortified mound which has a two-letter abbreviation for ‘number’ contained within is A DUN then you’ll probably have needed a few checkers to get this one.
3d Copy super daubed almost Monet-style /
top coat applied in swirling action (8,8)
The solution here consists of three words (including a couple of accents), and the ‘Monet-style’ is there to indicate its Frenchness.
5d Spenser’s teacher, one cloaked in endless enigma, / understanding little new, infatuated about it (7,7)
The ‘endless enigma’ could refer to a work by Salvador Dali, or one by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, but it doesn’t. It’s a seven-letter word for an enigma missing the last letter (‘endless’) wherein A (‘one’) is contained (‘cloaked’). ‘Infatuated’ translates to a six-letter French loanword into which the usual abbreviation for ‘new’ (‘little new’) is inserted to produce another word donated by the French.
9d South African shipping company? Head may be wrapped up in this / triangular structure redesigned for twelve housing first of them (8,8)
To start with we have two four-letter words which when put together might describe a South African shipping company; the second wordplay involves an anagram of FOR (‘redesigned for’) followed by a four-letter word for ‘twelve’ in a temporal sense containing (‘housing’) the first letter of ‘them’.
12d Light bathrobe that looks disgusting on a fatty’s middle before a /
rare reception in woven calico (6,6)
A three-letter interjection meaning ‘That looks disgusting!’ is followed by (‘on’) A and the central letter of ‘fatty’ (“fatty’s middle”) before another A.
Start of indulgence after period denying it – numbering days / get plastered as fair amount of fine grappa’s upended (5,5)
This is a ‘reverse hidden’, but the interest is in the definition – in order to make the surface reading work, Azed uses ‘get plastered’ instead of ‘plaster’. I wouldn’t like to see this sort of thing too often, but ‘I want to plaster that wall’ and ‘I want to get that wall plastered’ can mean pretty much the same thing.
14d High achiever on board, we hear, regularly / displaying energy opening cask, porter serving Scotch of old (5,5)
The first part of the clue leads to the one ‘non-Chambers’ proper name in the puzzle, a homophone for a word meaning ‘regularly’. The second part has the usual abbreviation for ‘energy’ being inserted into (‘opening’) a four-letter word for a barrel or cask, producing one spelling of a word for an ’18th century messenger or errand porter in some large Scottish towns’; an alternative spelling is more familiar to golfers.
Division of Clues
In 6a the division is between ‘entered’ and ‘in’, and the first half of clue relates to an entry in the left hand side of the grid; 7a: channel/to, R; 8a: your/use, R; 10a: included/to, L; 11a: leader/changing, L; 15a: it/universal, R; 16a: sight/is, L; 17a: regalia/turning, R; 18a: fear/frisson, L; 1d: poet/renewing, L; 2d: units/number, L; 3d: Monet-style/top, L; 4d: below/cross, R; 5d: enigma/understanding, R; 9d: this/triangular, L; 10d: isles/hitting, R; 12d: a/rare, L; 13d: days/get, R; 14d: regularly/displaying, L.