Notes for Azed 2,565
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 2,565 Plain
Difficulty rating: (4 / 5)
A plain puzzle with a generous dollop of tricky wordplays and a couple of solutions that I don’t recall encountering previously. I think that a newcomer to Azed would have found this a tough introduction.
Setters’ Corner: This week I’m going to take a look at clue 8d, “One’s anti being badly treated in centrepiece of will being restricted to some heirs only” (6, 2 words). A particularly nasty phrase to define, but the point of interest here is in the wordplay, where an anagram (‘being badly treated’) of ANTI is contained by the letters in the middle (‘centrepiece’) of ‘will’. But what, you might ask, is the “One’s” at the start of the clue doing? In terms of the wordplay, the answer is nothing; although it is superfluous (the clue works perfectly well without it) Azed has included it in order to improve the surface reading. It is deceptive, too, in that the surface reading suggests that it should be interpreted as ‘One is’, but the cryptic reading requires it to be read as ‘One has’, ie ‘One [the solver] has ANTI* in (w)IL(l)’. This is dangerously close to the type of verbiage prohibited by Ximenean principles, and I know at least one editor who would remove the first word in this clue as soon as look at it.
1a Sailing by most direct route, I’d moor with short cable (not like a seaman!) roughly (12)
To get things going, an anagram (‘roughly’) of I’D MOOR and SHORT CABLE without ABLE (‘not like a seaman!’).
13a Large mouldings on front of Ichikawa temple gateway (5)
The first letter (‘front’) of Ichikawa follows a four-letter plural of a five-letter word for a large moulding, but unless you know that word you may be reliant on crossing letters to reach the solution; it is perhaps more familiar as the shape associated with doughnuts (the sort beloved of Homer Simpson, not the kind memorably described in song by Bob Marley as “Wi’ jam in”).
15a Alternative to test, no good – excessive snorting! (5)
An Azed favourite for the first part of the wordplay, ‘Alternative to test’ being used in a cricketing context to indicate a one-day international, specifically the usual three-letter abbreviation thereof. I felt that the definition required a question mark rather than an exclamation mark in order to indicate that excessive snorting was an example of the solution.
17a A wee dram? Likely to refuse one whenever received (4)
Chambers offers two words for ‘dram’ which fit with the checked letters. Azed has given an indication of which should be selected by his addition of ‘wee’, suggesting the Scottish variant. And the wordplay confirms this, a two-letter word meaning ‘whenever’ being received by a two-letter abbreviation meaning ‘abstaining totally from alcoholic drink’ (‘Likely to refuse one’, ie likely to refuse a wee dram).
18a Moony by nature, embracing skittish Elaine (8)
The skittish Elaine is embraced by a two-letter abbreviation for secundam naturam (‘by nature’), which by ornithological analogy might be termed a rare migrant – one reason for this being that when Seneca wrote Idem est beate vivere et secundum naturam, he surely meant something along the lines of ‘It is the same to live happily and in conformity with nature’; it seems quite a stretch to interpret the phrase – ‘according to nature’ according to Chambers – as ‘by nature’.
27a Diver heading off to sniff behind shipload? (8)
The first letter must be removed from (‘heading off’) a four-letter word meaning ‘to sniff’ (or the thing you do the sniffing with) that follows a five-letter word for a ship’s load.
29a Wild Asian ox? Could be 6 such (4)
A composite anagram &lit, where the letters of ASIAN OX can be rearranged to form (‘could be’) SIX (‘6’) plus the solution. I think that most crossword editors would insist that the ‘6’ in the clue should be written as ‘six’ on the basis that all the elements of an anagram should be visible to the solver.
34a Contents of jazz mag, piano number about squaddies (5)
‘Jazz mag’ as a slang term for a pornographic magazine appears only in recent editions of Chambers; Wiktionary suggests that it is specifically Northumbrian slang (!). The wordplay involves three abbreviations – a two-letter one for non-commissioned soldiers (‘squaddies’) inside shorthand forms of ‘piano’ and ‘number’.
2d It adorns garden? Right, what Horace urged us to pluck (6)
Had Horace wanted us to ‘seize the day’, he would surely have written ‘cape diem’, ‘carpe diem’ means ‘pluck the day’, presumably because it is ripe. Which comes to pretty much the same thing as ‘seize the day’, but Azed, with his lexicographer’s regard for detail, has opted for the more precise translation of Horace’s words. The R for ‘Right’ is therefore followed by the Latin word for ‘today’.
4d Measure? Opener missing, preserve Scotch (4)
A five-letter measure of distance, equating to the length of a cricket pitch, has its first letter removed (‘opener missing’) to produce a Scots word which means ‘to preserve’ or ‘to spare’.
7d A lost Mennonite book of scripture (short) – it’s observed by rabbis? (7)
Azed is inclined on occasion to miss out punctuation where I feel the wordplay demands it. Here the solver must infer a comma between ‘lost’ and ‘Mennonite’, because a five-letter adjective relating to a strict US Mennonite sect must have its A removed (from the start); the three-letter abbreviation for [the book of] Nahum follows.
9d See Times holding a payment up for purveyor of old news? (6)
The letter of the alphabet represented by ‘See’ and the single letter used as the symbol of multiplication (‘Times’) are the bookends for (‘holding’) a reversal (‘up’) of A plus a three-letter word for ‘payment’. The old news purveyor is no more, but indelibly etched on my brain are the page numbers 301 (sport headlines), 302 (football) and 340 (cricket).
12d Pheasant and so on we butchered? Could be this, what? (10, 2 words)
Another composite anagram &lit, here a rearrangement (‘butchered’) of PHEASANT and SO ON WE could produce the solution (‘this’) plus WHAT. The whole clue provides a rather satisfactory definition of the solution.
21d Like forks, defective, wife left out in hamper (7)
A five-letter word for ‘defective’ with the usual single-letter abbreviation for ‘wife’ removed (‘wife left out’) is contained by a three-letter word for a hamper, rarely observed in the wild but often to be seen within the captivity of a 12×12 grid.
25d Is it in part dealt with (bit of pile going) before end of day? (6)
An &lit, albeit not of class 1 quality. The wordplay is a charade of IN, an anagram (‘dealt with’) of PART without the P (‘bit of pile going’), and the last letter of ‘day’ (‘end of day’). The solution is hyphenated, (2-4); the fact that the IN taken directly from the clue forms the first part of the compound is a long way from ideal.
26d Number without verve I’ve abandoned to do with agent? (6)
The same abbreviation for ‘number’ that appeared in 34a is followed by a seven-letter word for ‘without verve’ from which the letters IVE have been removed (“I’ve abandoned”). The question mark is necessary because the definition is by example.
(definitions are underlined)