Notes for Azed 2,617
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 2,617 ‘Jigsaw’
Difficulty rating: (5.5 / 10)
Note that the enumeration for 2 is incorrect – it should be (9)
The Jigsaw makes its fifteenth appearance overall and its sixth as a competition puzzle. Azed has generously given us the word lengths this time, albeit with one error. In the absence of relevant superpowers, quite a bit of blind solving is required before anything can be entered in the grid. Ideally here one would solve three of the four clues with nine-letter solutions, which would enable the grid-fill to begin. Sadly I didn’t have these, so I had to settle for all eight six-letter solutions and a couple of the ten-letter ones, which allowed me to make five entries with complete certainty. From there, progress became pretty straightforward. I’ll be interested to hear how other solvers rated the difficulty of this one taken as a whole.
Comments on selected clues are followed by the layout of the puzzle row by row and column by column for anyone who needs some extra help (or confirmation that they are on the right lines).
Setters’ Corner: For those who haven’t attempted to set a particular type of puzzle, it isn’t always obvious how hard (or otherwise) such a puzzle is to construct. With some varieties, such as Printer’s Devilry, the increased difficulty of solving is matched (or indeed exceeded) by increased difficulty of setting. The Jigsaw, however, requires minimal extra effort. You take a filled grid with a good mix of answer lengths, remove the numbers, and arrange the clues in alphabetical order of solution. You do need to check that there are no ambiguities (unlikely to occur with anything except four-letter words which differ by only one letter), and when writing the clues you should take into account the amount of blind solving which will be required – this is particularly relevant to the longer answers, several of which will be required in order to unlock the puzzle. Omitting the enumerations (answer lengths) is an option which will probably take the puzzle beyond the scope of some solvers but will please those that like something positively chewy to deal with. The considerations when setting a Carte Blanche are very similar.
1 Being directly juxtaposed, fixed A1 lino, trim within (10)
An anagram (‘fixed’) of AI LINO contains a word meaning ‘trim’ (in the ‘tidy’ sense).
4 Crone, sickly, given lead by bishop as guru (7)
The abbreviation for ‘bishop’ familiar to chess players ‘gives a lead to’ a three-letter word for a crone and and a three-letter word for sickly[-looking].
7 Extreme poverty making one submit to tonsure, one assumes? (8)
The subsidiary indication here involves a whimsical interpretation of the solution as a word meaning ‘to submit [someone] to tonsure’, which might similarly be imagined as ‘unlock’. Just to be clear, ‘making one’ is the link from the dictionary definition to the ‘alt definition’ (‘one’ being the solver), and ‘to submit’ is being used in the sense of ‘to subject’.
9 Cheer about what occurs regularly in amour contest (9)
A seven-letter word for ‘cheer’ is put outside (‘about’) a couple of letters ‘regularly’ selected from the word ‘amour’.
11 Tears strip off coxes going wrong way holding speed round island (10)
The word ‘way’ in this clue is superfluous, and a little confusing. An anagram (‘going wrong’) of COXES is containing (‘holding’) a synonym for ‘speed’ which itself contains the usual single-letter abbreviation for ‘island’.
13 Intentionally disregarding small fish (4)
This is a craftily disguised double-definition clue, the first definition leading to a (2-2) solution.
15 King following dance, not active, a cumbersome fellow (4)
The king is the sort that might be associating with the bishop at 4, and he follows a four-letter dance more familiar in its 4-4 (if not 4/4) form, from which the usual abbreviation for ‘active’ has been removed.
18 Falconer’s charge, first in annual programme released (6)
A seven-letter word for a calendar which shows the whole year at a glance for scheduling purposes is deprived of its initial letter (‘first of…released’).
19 Feverfew we put in collected blossom (7)
The letters WE (from the clue) are put inside the five-letter past tense of a verb meaning ‘to collect blossom’ which rather than a ‘use by’ date has a ‘use only on’ date.
20 Cages for hawks or gulls (4)
Two relatively obscure definitions, but the second one happens to be the same as the noises typically associated with the birds in question.
21 Shopkeeper went bust, awful snag with end of trade admitted (9)
Slightly tricky to parse, the wordplay has an anagram (‘awful’) of the last letter (‘end’) of ‘trade’ plus SNAG admitted into an anagram (‘bust’) of WENT.
22 Once in the country, evidence of mirth is restricted in storm (9)
A four-letter dialect form of ‘once’ has something that is clear evidence of mirth ‘restricted’ within it. The wordplay would work better for me if either the comma or the word ‘is’ were omitted.
25 Scottish husky? It follows needs around (6)
The letters IT (from the clue) follow a reversal (‘around’) of a word meaning ‘needy’; the answer being a Scots word.
26 Rake’s unshod relaxing inside cabin (10)
A neat clue has an anagram (‘relaxing’) of UNSHOD inside a four-letter term for a rakehell.
27 Rock showing two features of golf course? (8)
The first feature would be found in a bunker (no, not another rake) and the second on the green.
28 Sea fish dries out, hurried inside (8)
An anagram (‘out’) of DRIES has a three-letter word meaning ‘hurried’ inside.
29 It indicates tatties below mash, awfu lacking in crust (4)
A wordplay which is more straightforward than it looks, a bit of ‘crust removal’ from the words separated by a comma being all that is required.
(definitions are underlined)
Click on a row/column to reveal the clues which relate to its entries.
Row 1 (8,4)Clues 14 and 24
Row 2 (10)Clue 26
Row 3 (6,6)Clues 32 and 12
Row 4 (4)Clue 29
Row 5 (7,5)Clues 33 and 36
Row 6 (9)Clue 9
Row 7 (9)Clue 21
Row 8 (5,7)Clues 8 and 17
Row 9 (4)Clue 35
Row 10 (6,6)Clues 18 and 3
Row 11 (10)Clue 1
Row 12 (4,8)Clues 13 and 7
Column 1 (4,8)Clues 16 and 27
Column 2 (10)Clue 10
Column 3 (6,4)Clues 6 and 30
Column 4 (6)Clue 31
Column 5 (5,7)Clues 34 and 19
Column 6 (9)Clue 22
Column 7 (9)Clue 2
Column 8 (7,5)Clues 4 and 23
Column 9 (6)Clue 25
Column 10 (4,6)Clues 15 and 5
Column 11 (10)Clue 11
Column 12 (8,4)Clues 28 and 20