Notes for Azed 2,630
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 2,630 ‘Playfair’
Difficulty rating: (5 / 10)
I know that some people really enjoy Playfair puzzles, but they leave me cold, so when no clues are provided to the code word I have no qualms about using a code cracker such as Quinapalus to identify it. I found it hard to assign a difficulty rating to this puzzle – the clues were generally pretty straightforward, but the Playfair element adds a complexity which is likely to divide the opinions of solvers. For those who feel inclined to try cracking the code, I will repeat below some general hints that I have provided in the past, and underneath the notes on the clues I have included a further hint specific to this puzzle. Incidentally, the code word is usually also the word to be clued for the competition – when you find today’s word you will understand why Azed decided to select a different word for the comp!
The only real option with a Playfair puzzle is to solve the non-Playfair clues to get all of the checked letters in the Playfair solutions (or at the very least the pairs of letters which are both checked in the grid, but don’t forget that you can draw conclusions even from an incomplete quartet), work out the non-encoded answers to the Playfair clues, and then create quartets by relating the checked letter pairs from the encoded answers to the corresponding pairs in the non-coded solutions (eg solution = SOLVED, part completed light in grid = J?TPAG, LV encodes to TP and ED encodes to AG, while SO encodes to J?).
There are probably lots of ways to move forward from there, but I tend to look at the pairs of letters that (assuming the quartet represents a rectangle) are going to be in the same row (in my example L and T, V and P, E and A, D and G, S and J) and those that will be in the same column (in my example, L and P, V and T, E and G, D and A, O and J) and then link with other pairs (so if I find that L and P are in the same column and P and S are in the same column, I know that L, P and S are all in one column). And if I find that a group of letters (L, P and S, say) appear to be in both the same row and the same column? Then we are looking at a line and not a rectangle, so wherever any two of those letters appear as a pair on either side of an encoding, all four letters in that encoding are in the same row or column – so if L, P and S appear to be in the same row and the same column, and LP->IK, then L, P, I, K and S are all in the same row/column and I is (cyclically) to the right of or below L, K to the right of or below P. Oh yes, and Z is probably in the bottom right hand corner!
To which I will add a couple of points:
1. If a letter appears on both sides of an encoding, ie DR encodes to RI, that means that the letters (here D, R and I) appear consecutively in a specific sequence (cyclically) in the same line (could be either a row or a column) – for AB->BC the sequence is ABC (so in the example, DRI), for AB->CA the sequence is BAC.
2. If you can find all the letters in cyclic sequence within a column, eg SBLYU, remember that the letters which don’t appear in the code word are listed alphabetically at the end of the square, so it is likely that at least two, and potentially three, of the letters in the column will be part of this ‘remainder’; therefore they will occur in alphabetical sequence at the end of the column. And not only is Z likely to be in the bottom right-hand corner, but some of its near neighbours at the end of the alphabet will also be on the bottom row.
1a Explosive artillery holds in reversing rupture (6)
A two-letter abbreviation for a powerful kind of explosive is followed by the usual two-letter representation of ‘artillery’ which contains a reversal of IN (‘holds in reversing’).
11a Bit of timber in dry measure thereof (5)
The first letter (‘bit of’) ‘timber’ is inserted into a poetic word meaning ‘dry’ to produce a measure of timber (ie ‘measure thereof’).
19a Primitive creatures? See one twinkling on a bee flying (7)
A single-letter word for ‘one’ and a two-letter word for [a] twinkling are followed by an anagram (‘flying’) of A BEE.
20a Lost lingo included in central tenet of Confucianism (5)
A two-letter word meaning ‘included’ is to be placed inside the term describing the way to be followed in Confucianism , certain principles of which are considered by some (in particular Benjamin Hoff in his 1982 book) to be personified by Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends.
23a Take heed about prime element of baby’s rearing (5)
A four-letter word meaning ‘take heed’ or ‘be concerned’ is set about the first letter (‘prime element’) of ‘baby’, the result being a heraldic term.
27a Dad worked with regular features of comical mental state (8)
A three-part charade comprising elements of 2, 3 and 3 letters respectively.
30a Chap leading a lesson about one type of rock deformation (10)
A three-letter word for the sort of chap who might be cool is followed by A (from the clue) and a word for a lesson containing (‘about’) the Roman numeral for ‘one’.
32a Church in scattered arrangement (6)
A two-letter abbreviation for ‘church’ (of unspecified denomination) is put inside a heraldic term (like 23a taken directly from the French language) meaning ‘strewn or scattered over with small bearings,’
1d Wee fish that is tailing pike, see (6)
The usual two-letter abbreviation for ‘that is’ follows a three-letter word for the bony pike or sea-pike (a shortened form of a seven-letter word wish -fish on the end) and the single-letter abbreviation used in texts for ‘see’.
2d Tumours mum’s taken in to treat misshapen one (10)
A two-letter word for ‘mum’ in the parent sense is ‘taken in[to]’ an anagram (‘misshapen’) of TO TREAT, the whole lot being followed by a single-letter word for ‘one’.
4d Monster that’s tucked into Asiatic bird, a kind of poultry (7)
The monster here is a three-letter sea-monster, and it’s ‘tucked into’ a bird which is renowned for its ability to imitate human speech (the spelling with an ‘i’ rather than a ‘y’).
7d Rib involved outlay for Adam, without restraint (5)
A four-letter word for ‘outlay’ is followed by ADAM from which a word meaning ‘restraint’ has been removed.
18d Second hearing to do with network surrounding queen (7)
A six-letter word meaning ‘relating to a network’ (in an anatomical sense) contains a single-letter abbreviation for ‘queen’.
19d Rules for jousting, boring, Earl penned with love (6)
A four-letter word for ‘boring’ has the standard abbreviation for ‘Earl’ inserted, this combination being followed by the usual single-character representation of ‘love’.
26d Composer cutting last slow movement (5)
My knowledge of classical music is, well, patchy, and I wasn’t familiar with Orlande de ******, apparently “a composer of the late Renaissance, and the chief representative of the mature polyphonic style in the Franco-Flemish school.” His last name has its final letter removed.
(definitions are underlined)