Notes for Azed 2,569
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 2,569 Plain
Difficulty rating: (3.5 / 5)
A bit of a mixture – some straightforward anagrams and three hiddens, offset by some tricky wordplays and twelve entries with unchecked first letters. Overall I thought the difficulty was above average. As I solve a puzzle I mark the clues that I think worthy of comment; when I came to put the marked clues into the template for these notes I found that they exactly filled the available slots – I usually have three or four slots unused when the puzzle is of average difficulty or below, hence the relatively high rating.
Setters’ Corner: This week I’m going to take a look at clue 6d, “Bully waste, light brown at the edges” (7). The wordplay involves UREA (‘waste’) having TAN (‘light brown’) put around it (‘at the edges’), but the element of interest is the definition, ‘Bully’. TAUREAN means ‘of or relating to a bull’, but there is no entry in Chambers for ‘bully’ under the headword ‘bull’ (in the bovine sense). The definition is what I usually term ‘fanciful’, and relies on the solver understanding what the word would mean if it did exist. The rather overused ‘flower’ to indicate a river falls into the same category. Strictly speaking, all clues that rely on these ‘made up’ words are unsound, but they add a bit of variety and fun to puzzles and I enjoy coming across them from time to time. There is, of course, a risk that the idea can be taken too far – ‘detailed’ indicating the removal of the last letter of a word strikes me as borderline, and the use, say, of ‘ingest’ to indicate containment in DEED strikes me as something that has no place outside, perhaps, The Guardian.
10a Publish a prince penning chapter all about sanctuaries (8)
A three-letter word for ‘publish’ (or ‘broadcast’) plus A (from the clue) and a three-letter crossword staple for ‘prince’ containing (‘penning’) the usual single-letter abbreviation for chapter, the whole lot being reversed (‘all about’).
13a Knight formally clad? Something in wool (5)
The single-letter abbreviation for ‘knight’ used by chess players is placed inside a four-letter word for a piece of formal attire (‘formally clad?’); when you read the Chambers entry for the solution you can understand Azed’s choice of definition!
14a ‘Would-be literary so-so’? Oscar’s chum stuck with that (7)
The nickname given to Lord Alfred Douglas (“Oscar’s chum”) by his mother is transfixed by (‘stuck with’) a two-letter informal term meaning ‘so-so’.
15a Aristophanes? Poet’s played about with his Frogs like these (4)
A composite anagram, where the word ARISTOPHANES can be formed from a rearrangement (‘played about’) of POET’S, HIS and the solution (‘Frogs like these’). Note that here the words ‘like these’ are necessary; without them there would be no valid definition as ‘Frogs’ is required as part of the wordplay. I can expand on this point if required.
22a Old reptile, all but calamitous when held back in Alabama (8)
A word meaning ‘calamitous’ missing its last letter (‘all but’) is reversed (‘held back’) inside the three-letter abbreviation for ‘Alabama’.
24a Ball not quite hitting target? End almost cut off, willingly (6, 2 words)
This one seems very tortuous. The word BALL (‘from the clue’) has a three-letter word for ‘quite’ removed from it (leaving just a single letter), then a two-word phrase (2,5) meaning ‘hitting [the] target’ in a golfing context has most of the word END (‘end almost’) removed (‘cut off’) in order to produce a (3,3) French expression. Incroyable!
25a Like some Chinese art, has been put up back to front (5)
Here a word meaning ‘has been put up’ (in the sense, say, of a picture in a gallery) has its last letter moved to the start (‘back to front’).
33a Be active on globe with backing guitar (5)
A two-letter word meaning ‘be active’ (a definition given by Chambers) is followed by a three-letter word for ‘globe’ which has been reversed (‘with backing’). The solution is the name of a resonator guitar manufacturer which, Hoover-like, has become a generic term for a wood-bodied single-cone resonator guitar (thanks, Wikipedia).
3d Uncertain weather? Something for the head mostly packed (5)
A three-letter word for the weather (or where it comes from) has a three-letter word for ‘something for the head’ without its last letter (‘mostly’) inside (‘packed’).
7d Permit’s required to catch local birds (7)
I find that crossword editors these days aren’t too keen on clues like this – it reads well, but the word ‘required’ is de trop; ‘Permits to catch local birds’ would be preferred. Anyway, the birds appear when a four-letter representation of “permit’s” ‘catches’ a three-letter word for [a] local.
8d Regional Spanish clubs superior to Italian one? No thanks (7)
Azed shows a previously-unsuspected knowledge of footy. The usual abbreviation for ‘clubs’ is followed by the eight-letter name of a Serie A club (‘Italian one”, ie Italian club) from which the letters TA have been removed (‘No thanks).
20d Like Hooray Henry’s girl, certainly uppish, pocketing debt (7)
A three-letter interjection meaning ‘certainly’ is reversed (‘uppish’) around (‘pocketing’) a word for ‘debt’. Well, I don’t really think it is a word for debt – ‘advance’ would be nearer the mark.
21d Sugar-making refuse such as is dumped in endless heaps (7)
A two-letter abbreviation meaning ‘such as’ is contained by (‘dumped in’) a six-letter word for ‘heaps’ (as in ‘lots and lots’) from which (something of a repeating theme in this puzzle) the last letter has been removed (‘endless’).
26d Ritual drink: state portions to be exchanged (5)
The name of a city in Nebraska (which was also the codename of a Normandy beach, but is not – as Davey points out below – a state) is divided into two portions, of three and two letters respectively, and the parts are swapped over (‘exchanged’).
28d Tickle? One doing this will get fish (5)
I really don’t think this word means ‘tickle’, and neither does Chambers – ‘fondle’ would be ok (although of course the clue would then only make sense to Troy McClure fans). Whatever, its related agent noun (ie someone who does the tickling/fondling) is also the name of a fish.
30d Logician finding link in even numbers (or consecutive odd ones?) (4)
Two wordplays, the first a simple hidden and the second also a hidden but in a pair of words which are suggested rather than being given in the clue.
(definitions are underlined)