Notes for Azed 2,560

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 2,560 Plain

Difficulty rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

A 1970s ad for Crawfords Cheddars maintained that “If you like cheese, you’ll love these”, and similarly if you like a ‘hidden’ you’ll have loved this ‘un. Five of the little fellows, and not even a reversal among them! But there were enough tricky clues to go with them, particularly in the NW corner (where there were no ‘gimmes’),  that I have placed the puzzle right in the middle of the difficulty spectrum. 

Setters’ Corner: This week I’m going to take a look at clue 11a, “Large fish I netted – it involves vigorous hand movements” (5, 1 or 2 words). Nothing too interesting about the wordplay, although we have to infer the word ‘with’ between ‘fish’ and ‘I’ in order to work out that ‘I’ has been ‘netted’ by the TUNA to produce TUI NA. The problem, though, which has confronted the setter here, regarding the enumeration is one that I have never come across before. Where a clue leads to two separate ‘answers’ with different punctuation, eg ‘Endure stupid person’ for GO ON/GOON, conventionally the ‘simpler’ one is chosen as the solution, so in this example GO ON would be treated as the wordplay, GOON as the solution, and the clue would be shown as ‘Endure stupid person (4)’. Here, however, we have just a single answer, but while Chambers gives TUI NA as the principal form it inconveniently adds ‘also TUINA’. I don’t think it would be wrong to go with ‘(5)’ or (5, 2 words), but Azed has covered both bases with a highly unusual choice of enumeration – I do wonder if it is more confusing than helpful.

1a Sage I’d omitted separately from formal food item, stuffing weighed (6)
The letters I and D must be omitted separately from VIAND (Chambers: “(formal) an article of food”), which is then put inside (‘stuffing’) a word meaning ‘weighed’ (as well as ‘settled’). The comma, required by the surface reading, adversely affects the grammar of the wordplay – as the clue stands, it is the ID which ought to be doing the ‘stuffing’.

13a It helps in fighting the flab – enrol in varying rota (8)
The word for ‘enrol’ which must be inserted into an anagram (‘varying’) of ROTA is more familiar in this sense when similarly prefixed with ‘en’.

14a Measure ring behind second of stirrups (9)
A neatly constructed clue disguising the definition of the sort of adjective which can be very tricky to clue. A four-letter word for [a] measure plus a four-letter word meaning [to] ring are placed behind the usual abbreviation for ‘second’.

15a E.g. dal creating trouble for Indian village (4)
This clue uses three of the four entries for the solution in Chambers (in the same order in which they are listed there, which may not be coincidence), but omits the first and most familiar, a unit of weight. I don’t much like multiple definition clues where there are superfluous words between the individual definitions – particularly, as here, where the clue suggests that one produces another (‘creating’, ‘for’). I’ve no problem with a wordplay producing a solution, but here the answers are the same, so any linking words must surely indicate equivalence rather than constitution (so ‘E.g. dal is trouble’ would be acceptable). I once produced a clue for the Sunday Times clue writing contest consisting of just five definitions (with no linking words), but frankly that’s all it was memorable for.

29a Tiny piece of cell, piece cut by a slop untidily (8)
A three-letter word for a piece containing (‘cut by’) an anagram (‘untidily’) of A SLOP.

1d Tenor interrupting part of his programme once annoyed (5)
The standard abbreviation for ‘tenor’ is put inside (‘interrupting’) a four-letter word for something that would be one of many in his (ie a tenor’s) repertoire.

2d Some change in Iceland, air beginning to resonate (5)
A four-letter word for ‘air’ or ‘distinctive character’ is followed by the first letter of (‘beginning to’) resonate, producing the plural form of a small Icelandic currency unit.

3d Cowardly fellow of yore opposed to Trojan, old (7)
A charade clue made up of a one-letter abbreviation for ‘opposed to’, a five-letter word for ‘Trojan’, and the usual abbreviation for ‘old’.

6d He deserves death penalty, to wit something that facilitates hanging permits (12)
The wordplay here involves a two-letter abbreviation of a Latin word for ‘to wit’ or ‘specifically’, a (1,3) description of something that facilitates hanging (of eg a coat), and a six-letter word meaning ‘permits’. 

8d It helps to stimulate growth that all can view when fed to cuttin’ (5)
The old designation for a film ‘that all can view’ is placed inside a five-letter word for ‘cutting’ (of train services, say) which has been contracted in the same way as “cuttin'”.

19d Sunken passage round US building, 100 sq m off (7)
A three-letter metric land measure (100 sq m) is here followed by a four-letter word meaning ‘off’.

20d Tailed car I abandoned nabbed by a tec in disguise (7)
The ‘car’ is the name of a German car manufacturer; its closing ‘I’ is abandoned and it is contained (‘nabbed’) by an anagram (‘in disguise’) of A TEC.

23d Line given to one ‘of infinite jest’ not OK in song (5)
The standard one-letter abbreviation for ‘line’ is followed by the name of a ‘fellow of infinite jest’, from which the letters O and K have been separately removed (‘not OK’). This puts me in mind of one of the great TV adverts, the Carling Black Label ‘Hamlet’ one (to paraphrase a comment on youtube, ‘Great ad, rubbish beer’). Definitely in my top ten, though not quite as good as the wonderful Dulux plasticine men or Specsavers vet. But that’s just my opinion.

(definitions are underlined)

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