Notes for Azed 2,607
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 2,607 Plain
Difficulty rating: (2.5 / 5)
I felt that this puzzle nudged the needle on the difficulty meter up to the halfway mark, helped by the four long entries around the perimeter. The clues struck me as being generally very good, and I thought the puzzle presented a reasonably stiff but perfectly fair challenge.
Setters’ Corner: This week I’m going to take a look at clue 21d, “Historical race held in the past renewed (6)”. Nothing too difficult about the wordplay here, the solution being concealed inside ‘past renewed’ – incidentally, I’m all in favour of a ‘hidden’ or two within this sort of puzzle because they provide a way for the solver to get a toehold, often the trickiest part of the solving process. ‘Anyway’, I hear you are asking, ‘why has he picked out this clue for comment?’ The answer is the little word ‘the’ in the clue. Since it follows ‘held in’ it must be part of the hiding place, but no part of ‘the’ features in the solution, and there is a rule that the hidey-hole in a ‘hidden’ must not contain any words that don’t contribute to the answer. Well, there is, but it is widely accepted that the definite and indefinite articles are excluded from this stricture (as long, of course, as they don’t interfere with the required sequence of letters in the clue). Is there any justification for this exemption? Not to my mind, but that’s the way it is.
1a Being financially extended limits ‘born rolling’ in building method (13)
A nine-letter word meaning ‘financially extended’ (the ‘being’ is de trop) contains (‘limits’) an anagram (‘rolling’) of BORN, producing a (9-4) hyphenated solution.
11a Stop works, finishing early? One rolls out barrels (6)
A two-letter interjection meaning ‘stop!’ (or one third of Santa’s favourite phrase) is followed by a five-letter plural of the Latin word for a work (ie ‘works’), from which the last letter has been omitted (‘finishing early’).
12a Judge dismissed jury after absorbing day with points (4)
The old ‘missing comma’ surfaces here [if it’s missing, how can it surface? – Ed], its absence being felt between ‘dismissed’ and ‘jury’. The usual single-letter abbreviation for ‘judge’ is ‘dismissed’ (‘discarded’) by the word JURY that has taken in (‘after absorbing’) the standard abbreviation for ‘day’.
17a Gently, maybe, part of basic education is fed to backward child (4)
Basic education is constituted by the “three R’s”, and one of those R’s is contained by (‘fed to’) a reversal (‘backward’) of a three-letter word for a child. The definition by example will have been latched onto quickly by fans of the late, great Douglas Adams, but may have proved a little trickier for those who think Ford Prefect is a type of car and the Norwegian coastline came about by accident. In the words of the holistic detective himself:
Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.
22a Going round the bend, granny has little time for dad’s old sister (5)
Containing (‘going round’) the letter representing a type of bend familiar to plumbers is a three-letter word for ‘granny’, following which we have the usual abbreviation (‘little’) for ‘time’. I suspect Azed may have toyed with ‘older’ rather than ‘old’ to indicate that the solution is given by Chambers as ‘archaic’, which would make for a more satisfying surface reading but really doesn’t work as a qualifier for the definition.
25a Until no longer in use, indefinite number stored, running out (4)
One of the weakest clues in this puzzle, the single-character used to represent an indefinite number is contained (‘stored’) inside an anagram (‘running’) of OUT.
27a Keyhole maker in short is taking on a matter of chance with no opening for Yale (7)
Another comma goes AWOL, here between ‘short’ and ‘is’. A shortened form of ‘is’ is followed by (‘taking on’ used to indicate juxtaposition) a seven-letter word for a matter of chance from which the first letter of (‘opening for’) ‘Yale’ has been removed.
31a What is possibly extracted from pine trees? This is (7)
A nice composite anagram &lit, where the letters of PINE TREES can be rearranged (‘possibly’) to form the solution (‘This’) plus IS. For an &lit, the definition (ie the whole of the clue) here is unusually precise.
32a X act, rather improper within – soft-core, might one assume? (13)
The number represented by the Roman numeral ‘X’ and a four-letter word for an act (or a legal document, usual involving the transfer of property) has an anagram (‘improper’) of RATHER inside (‘within’), the solution being hyphenated (6-7).
2d Second college crew beside river get soaked, upended (6)
A two-letter word meaning (inter alia) ‘beside’ is followed by the usual abbreviation for ‘river’ and a reversal (‘upended’) of a word meaning ‘to get [something] soaked [by immersion]’. While I was familiar with the solution in its plural form as the name given to inter-college rowing races at Oxford during Hilary term (Chambers says ‘Lent term’, but we didn’t have such a thing), I don’t remember coming across the meaning seen here. As far as I recall, the leading boat was simply the ‘1st VIII’, the next was the ‘2nd VIII’ and so on, until you got down to the ones crewed by those with rather different ambitions, known by names such as the ‘Inebri VIII’ and the ‘Four Nick VIII’.
3d Scots show falseness of revolutionary dispute (8)
A simple charade of a three-letter term for ‘revolutionary’ (or a revolutionary) and a five-letter word meaning ‘to dispute’. The ‘of’ is part of the definition, ensuring that a transitive verb is indicated by a transitive phrase, but I’m slightly surprised that Azed has used the second wordplay element, given that it forms the root of the solution.
4d Paltry nip mixed in another one? (6)
Another neat clue, here we have anagram (‘mixed’) of NIP inside another (three-letter) term for a ‘nip’. I’ve never been convinced about ‘mixed’ as an anagram indicator when applied to a single word or group of words; I prefer to see ‘x mixed up’ in this situation. Where there are two separate word groups involved, ‘x mixed with y’ is fine.
6d Harsh sound I’d released turning up rackets (5)
A seven-letter word for a harsh sound (the eight-letter adjective ending -ent is probably more often seen) loses the letters ID (“I’d released”) and is reversed (‘turning up’).
7d Marble vessel to deliver (4)
Three definitions for the price of one, the first being the least familiar and the last being a cricketing term.
16d Falcon allowed round queen by king? (8)
Here we have a three-letter word meaning ‘allowed’ containing (‘going round’) the name of an English queen (who most people are aware is no longer with us) and the usual monarchic abbreviation for ‘king’.
23d Bird’s prey rook initially dropped (5)
A six-letter word meaning ‘[to] prey’ (itself an alternative spelling of a word which is also the name of a large black bird) has the usual abbreviation for ‘rook’ removed from the start (‘initially dropped’) to form an adjective applied to something belonging or relating to a bird or birds, ie “Bird’s”.
24d Student producing piece of work financially rewarded on early English (5)
Not hard to work out the answer from the definition and the two-letter abbreviation for ‘early English’ that rounds off the solution, but the ‘piece of work financially rewarded’ is pretty obscure. According to the OED, “Originally in the Cornish tin-mines, now also in Derbyshire lead-mining: in the phrase upon ??? (also by the ???), and attrib. as ???-bargain, ???-man, ???-work (also as vb.), ???-worker, ???-working, ???-workman: denoting a system of payment by measurement or by the piece, adopted in paying for work which brings no immediate returns, as distinct from tribute; hence, work of this character; dead-work.” ‘Tribute’, by the way, is the proportion of the value of the ore raised which is paid to the miners.
(definitions are underlined)