Notes for Azed 2,624
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 2,624 ‘Right and Left’
Difficulty rating: (4 / 10)
The ‘Right and Left’ specials are clearly among Azed’s favourites – he has set 21 for competitions and a good many more as non-comp puzzles, the most recent being in June last year. I enjoy both writing and solving double clues, the art of producing which is in running the two halves together such that, rather like Ernie Wise’s putative hairpiece, you can’t see the join. There’s nothing too difficult about this puzzle, the clues being (with very few exceptions) generous, but it’s well worth spending time at the outset to work out the entry across the top as it is the only thing that determines where everything else goes. There are a couple of potential traps to avoid – the second half of the clue at 15a is ambiguous, so make sure you’ve got a couple of checkers before entering it; and the only unique connection between the top and bottom halves is the intersection of 2d and 11a – if you start filling in the bottom half of the puzzle without having entered one of the 2d/11a pairs, be prepared to swap the two halves over in order to fit the answers to 11a in!
Note that the enumeration for 4d should be (5,5).
I have provided some notes on selected clues below, followed by a checklist of the break points in each clue and the half of the puzzle to which each answer relates for those who want to check their understanding of a particular clue or to get a little extra help.
Setters’ Corner: There is nothing particularly difficult about writing ‘double’ clues of the sort in this puzzle. the only essentials being that there is no overlap between the two individual clues (ie no words are being used by both clues) and that there is no padding between them (ie no superfluous words that belong to neither clue). The skill, however, is in writing a clue that appears to be a single piece of prose and wherein the cesura between the two halves is craftily concealed. A double clue consisting of two unrelated sentences, each leading to one answer, would be sound but extremely weak. Tom Borland’s winning entry for UPREAR/GOUTTE (AZ comp 1875) is an excellent example of a good double clue, the apparent golfing context running right through and the break coming between ‘lift’ and ‘out’, two words which on the face of it are bound together:
Knowing rules about drainage channel, lift out and get free drop (6,6) [UP + (RR around EA), (OUT + GET)*]
1a Each of the following clues, maybe, a cheat (12)
Azed normally provides an entry for the top of a ‘Right and Left’ puzzle which consists of two parts divided 6+6 , may well be hyphenated, and has a connection (often in the first half) to the concept of duality. If you bear this in mind, getting the answer here shouldn’t give you too much trouble and is a huge help when it comes to the rest of the solve.
10a Low-grade paper on old actor: ‘Needs to be lambasted after line filmed for the silver screen‘ (6,6)
The first part here is a charade of that familiar piece of commercial jargon meaning ‘on’ or ‘concerning’ and the surname taken by the actor and theatre manager Herbert Beerbohm; his half-brother Max Beerbohm is said to have jokingly claimed that Herbert added the ???? to his name because it was easier for audiences than shouting “Beerbohm! Beerbohm!” at curtain calls. He fathered a number of illegitimate children, including the film director Carol Reed and Peter Reed, himself the father of actor Oliver Reed.
11a Tot, rather dull, rather substandard male taken in by first promise, formerly (6,6)
This pair is key to working out which bit goes where in the bottom half of the puzzle. The first part is a charade of a three-letter word meaning ‘[to] tot’ and another three-letter word for ‘rather dull’, the result being a dialect form (‘substandard’) of a word meaning ‘rather’. Incidentally, I initially thought that the solution was going to be NUMBER, perfectly well defined by both ‘Tot’ and ‘rather dull’.
15a Old crone in gathering for Indian curry dish may go crazy about recipe for fish (6,6)
A familiar three-letter word for a crone is contained by a gathering, perhaps for the purposes of sewing or spelling.
An anagram (‘crazy’) of MAY GO contains the usual abbreviation for ‘recipe’ – but be careful, there are two equally good answers, so don’t enter this one until you’ve got one of the first five letters (the last is shared by both candidates).
18a When circumambulating lake princes played lyre after it recalled whence shingles originate? (6,6)
A two-letter word for ‘when’ containing (‘circumambulating’) an obsolete spelling of a common word for a lake (particularly in place names) provides the first answer.
For the second, an anagram (‘played’) of LYRE follows a reversal of the word IT (‘after it recalled’), while the definition is mildly cryptic.
2d Wire cutter user manipulated with care applied to restricting new loose rock visible to viewers (8,8)
The first answer comes from an anagram (‘manipulated’) of USER and CARE.
The second requires a short word meaning (among other things) ‘applied to’ being put around (‘restricting’) the usual abbreviation for ‘new’ plus a term for loose rock.
9d Sir Henry (no gent) suddenly appearing after queen, awe and tears being poured out in oceans (8,8)
The first part here has a word meaning ‘suddenly appearing’ from which the letters GENT have been removed (‘no gent’) being put after the name of a Good Queen. ‘Sir Henry’ is a prolific 19th century inventor, best known for his converter.
11d Lynx from Canadian province served in ship special stuffed in Pacific state savoury, spicy (6,6)
The two-letter abbreviation for the name of a particular Canadian province is contained by (‘served in’) a word for a ship.
For part two, the usual abbreviation for ‘special’ is put inside the name of a Pacific state.
12d What I’m served in pub maybe contains grand spider – slip off, begone! (6,6)
A two-word expression that Azed might use to describe his pint of beer (“What I’m served in pub maybe”) contains the usual abbreviation for ‘grand’.
14d Musical delivery man, picker of winners to sing part of barcarole (5,5)
The first part here will make sense to those Premium Bond holders who remember The Fastest Milkman in the West (“‘cos pasteurised is best”).
(definitions are underlined)
In 6, the break occurs at a/medicine, and the answers are entered Right then Left; 7: original/deed, R+L; 8: temple/layout, R+L; 10: actor/Needs, R+L; 11; substandard/male, R+L; 15: dish/may, L+R; 16: new/Oscar, R+L; 17: pleased/to, R+L; 18: princes/played, R+L
In 1, the break occurs at churchman/suffers, and the answers are entered Right then Left; 2: care/applied, R+L; 3: inventory/one, L+R; 4: generated/disappointing, L+R, 5: wife/tell, L+R; 9: queen/awe, L+R; 11: ship/special, L+R; 12: spider/slip, R+L; 13: spouts/extract, R+L; 14: winners/to, R+L