Notes for Azed 2,613
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 2,613 Plain
Difficulty rating: (3 / 5)
Once again, I though this puzzle was marginally above the average difficulty level that has been established during the last year or so. Solving it over breakfast without a dictionary, there were several entries that I had to make in light pencil because I wasn’t familiar with the answers, though the accuracy of Azed’s wordplays meant that they all proved to be correct. And thankfully the marmalade splodge seems to have confined itself to the solution for 2,610.
Setters’ Corner: This week I’m going to take a look at clue 33a, “Royal from the orient, welcomed by America (5)”. Here the letter E is ‘welcomed’ by an abbreviation for ‘America’, producing a title given to certain Afghan rulers. However, this clue contains one of my bugbears (‘Just the one?’ I hear you say), the indication of an abbreviation (here E) by something other than the word or phrase to be abbreviated (here ‘from the orient’), such that we have to first translate ‘from the orient’ into ‘eastern’ and then we have to abbreviate it. I believe that abbreviations fall into two distinct categories – those which can stand alone in a sentence and those which can’t. Would I accept ‘record’ for LP? “He’s got a large LP collection” – yes, that’s fine. ‘New driver’ for L? “I braked and an L ran into the back of me” – no. “The promise offered by this Turkish delight is E” – not for me, thank you.
12a A youngster bags score, batting – too late (9, 2 words)
A (from the clue) plus a three-letter word for a young animal of certain types contains (‘bags’) an anagram (‘batting’) of SCORE, the solution being French and divided (5,4).
15a A party includes culmination that’s softer and slower (8)
I was going to say that the party here isn’t the sort that Boris used to be in charge of, but that might not have made things any clearer. A three-letter word meaning ‘for each’ (ie ‘a’) and a two-letter word for a bash are set around (‘includes’) a three-letter ‘culmination’.
21a Whale, male, caught within water surface’s fluctuation (6)
The combination of a three-letter word for a sort of rorqual (‘Whale’) and a two-letter word for a male has the usual abbreviation for ‘caught’ inserted (‘within’) to produce a word that I’d like to say that I’ve never come across before, but given its instant forgettability I quite likely have!
25a Key opening expensive car displaying heraldic decorations (8)
This is a charade of a three-letter key on a computer keyboard and a five-letter informal term for a car offering the Spirit of Ecstasy, but I don’t see how ‘opening’ can belong to either element and I’m not happy with it as a juxtaposition indicator. It looks like my old f(r)iend the ‘missing comma’, which if placed between ‘opening’ and ‘expensive’ would just about make things right.
30a Antimalarial pill swallowed in stormy rain (7)
Chambers gives ‘antimalarial’ only as an adjective, but I think that its use to describe an antimalarial drug is well established. The wordplay has a three-letter ‘pill’ being swallowed by an anagram (‘stormy’) of RAIN.
31a What’s troublesome in a toe when it’s not over? (5)
A nice &lit which has taken some careful crafting to ensure grammatical soundness – it’s an anagram (‘troublesome’) of IN A TOE when it ‘has not’ (ie is missing) the cricketing abbreviation for ‘over’.
1d Native American? I’ll be among one of seven (5)
At first I was thinking that the ‘one of seven’ was going to be a ‘sage’ or a ‘star’, but the reference is to another solution within the puzzle itself.
2d To sum up roughly Carmen, say, divides RC rite (12, 2 words)
An anagram (‘roughly’) of TO SUM UP has the type of entertainment exemplified by Carmen inside (‘divides’), producing a (4,8) rite.
4d ‘Footy’, might one suppose? It’s exercise time (6)
A whimsical definition, and a wordplay which combines a two-letter abbreviation representing ‘exercise’ (one of the acceptable sort – see Setters’ Corner above) and a four-letter word which slightly counterintuitively can mean ‘time’ (often the two are complementary rather than synonymous).
8d Each one includes prepared pastry crust (6)
A three-letter word often indicated in crosswords by ‘one’ contains (‘includes’)…well, something that might involve a prepared pastry crust, but I’d think that austerity had gone way too far if I ordered a beef an ale one and was presented with just a pastry crust.
9d Getting in again, try missing gully (4)
A seven-letter (hyphenated) word for ‘getting in again’ has the consecutive letters TRY missing, the result being a variant spelling of a term used in SW England for a ditch.
11d Wound stank, once spoken about (7)
If this was your first one in, kudos! Checking stank2 in Chambers will help with the first bit of the wordplay, the resulting four letters then being put inside a Miltonian spelling of ‘said’ (‘once spoken about’).
19d Old tiles? A vehicle like this hoisted tons loaded (7)
A (from the clue), a three-letter vehicle, and a two-letter word meaning ‘like this’ are all reversed (‘hoisted’) and the usual abbreviation for ‘tons’ is put inside (‘loaded’).
22d A BBC broadcast, that is one occupying Noddy? (6)
An anagram (‘broadcast’) of A BBC is followed by the two-letter abbreviation meaning ‘that is’, but I do feel Azed may have missed a trick here, given that Noddy (with the capital) is himself a taxi-driver. As it is, ‘Noddy’ has been deceptively capitalized (not something generally viewed as desirable), the surface reading is less than pleasing, and it’s a little questionable whether the person here would occupy a noddy.
24d Civil enforcers needing time to replace canine (6)
The enforcers of law and order have the oft-seen abbreviation for ‘time’ replacing the less-oft-seen abbreviation for ‘canine’, as used in dental formulae. Why Chambers gives this latter abbreviation but not m for ‘molar’ or i for ‘incisor’ I have no idea (OED gives all three).
28d Old-fashioned girls, by the sound of it, are bewildering (4)
A homophone (‘by the sound of it’) for the plural of an ‘archaic’ and ‘poetic’ term for a maiden – Theresa and Imelda, perhaps? Note that this clue is ambiguous, as the ‘by the sound of it’ could potentially apply to either the two words that precede it or the two that follow; It seemed more likely that Azed was asking us to find a homophone for the ‘Old-fashioned girls’, and so it proved. Had the homophone been for ‘are bewildering’, he could have avoided any doubt by changing the word order, ie ‘Old-fashioned girls are bewildering, by the sound of it’, With the homophone being for the ‘old-fashioned girls’ there isn’t quite such a simple way to remove the ambiguity., but something like ‘Heard old-fashioned girls are bewildering’ would do the trick.
(definitions are underlined)