Notes for Azed 2,632
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 2,632 Plain
Difficulty rating: (3 / 5)
A 13×11 grid, and a puzzle that I thought was quite tricky in places, with very few ‘gimmes’.
Setters’ Corner: This week I’m going to take a look at clue 3d, “French maybe having to accept rule, gutted? (5)”. “French maybe” leads us to the first name of a well-known comedienne; this is a device not infrequently used in puzzles, and one that I am fond of myself. However, there are a few points to be made. Firstly, if the puzzle is likely to be tackled by solvers around the globe, the person should be known outside the UK, so “Trump maybe” for JUDD would be questionable. Secondly, there should always be an indication that the definition is by example, since not all Dawns are French – “French” alone would be inadequate, although “French?” at the end of the clue would be fine. Finally, the name provided must be capitalized in the clue – with ‘French’ this is not a problem, but if one were using, say, “Musk maybe” to indicate ELON then “Male musk perhaps in fruit” for MELON would be unsound (the capital letter at the start of ‘Musk’ cannot arbitrarily be discarded). ‘Musk’ must come at the start of a sentence, eg ‘Musk, perhaps, accompanying male fruit”.
1a Being worse off, I’d returned wretched vehicle, cross, old (13)
A five element wordplay, with a 2-3-3-1-4 composition.
11a Father leading service with unction, by which one may be guided from aloft (8)
A charade of a two-letter familiar word for ‘father’, the abbreviated name of one of the three UK military services, and a common word for ‘unction’.
15a Local barge clad in tin dispersed roughly (6)
A trap for the unwary here – there are three possible answers which fit with the definition and the checked letters, but only one of them has a dialect word for ‘any of various small boats or barges, usually flat-bottomed’ sandwiched inside the ‘tin’, so it is an O which must go in the unchecked cell.
16a Eleven characters in a row? That’s quite a stinker! (4)
The eleven characters start at the beginning of the alphabet, while the ‘stinker’ is a skunk which regularly appears in barred puzzles but hasn’t been seen (or scented) in an Azed for a while.
18a One called backward, with minimum marks? (6)
An &lit, where the Roman numeral for ‘one’ is followed by a four-letter word meaning ‘called’ which has been reversed (‘backwards’) and the character representing the lowest number of marks that one could receive in an examination or contest.
25a Type of cement wears out, high explosive shifted (5)
The usual abbreviation for ‘high explosive’ must be removed (‘shifted’) from a word with the sense of ‘wears out’ (or ‘harasses’), more familiar as its homograph meaning ‘criticizes as worthless’ or ‘vandalizes’.
30a Showy plant from Italy king avoided put in danger (4)
The IVR code for ‘Italy’ is followed by a verb meaning ‘[to] put in danger’ from which the chess abbreviation for ‘king’ has been removed (‘king avoided’). There should really be a comma between ‘avoided’ and ‘put’.
36a Awkward places he has to negotiate round? (13)
Another &lit, and quite a neat one. An anagram (‘awkward’) of PLACES HE has a word meaning ‘to negotiate’ put outside (‘around’).
1d Terms for heavy conditions at Murrayfield? (4)
A double-definition clue which, like me, you will probably get from the first definition (the present indicative of a verb). The solution is also a Scots word for mud.
4d What dalit’s denied, as opposed to water buffalo! (5)
The usual abbreviation for ‘opposed to’ or ‘versus’ is followed by the term for an Indian water buffalo, and the result describes the social classes from which a dalit (or untouchable) would be excluded.
6d In practice I scored run (6)
Not a difficult clue, but the presence of ‘scored’ qualifying the definition (see Chambers) makes it a little trickier; the wordplay simply has I (from the clue) being put inside a five-letter word for ‘[a] practice’ or an occupation.
7d Drop of medicine, thick milky stuff (5)
Another double definition, with the entrée this time likely to be the second part, which will probably be more familiar when suffixed by ‘-percha’.
8d With little energy, one woozy drunk, here, registering copper’s time? (10)
The usual abbreviation for ‘energy’ is followed by an anagram (‘woozy’) of ONE, a three-letter adjective meaning ‘drunk’, and a three-letter Latin word meaning ‘here’, usually seen as the first word of a phrase. The “copper’s time” refers to a period when, according to Chambers’ ‘copper was already in use’.
10d A little child swallowing most of what’s mistaken for xerophyte (10)
The wordplay here has three-letter words for ‘a little’ and ‘child’ containing (‘swallowing’) a five-letter word for a mistake from which the last letter has been removed (“most of what’s mistaken”).
22d Chum holding girl up, not authentic (6)
A word for a chum containing (‘holding’) a reversal (‘up’) of a dialect form of ‘girl’; the definition will be clear to those using Chambers, possibly less so to others.
24d Follows on, as in courts (4)
A two-letter abbreviation equating to ‘as’ is contained by a word nowadays used to mean ‘prosecutes’ but which has an archaic sense of ‘courts’.
26d Little Alice? I am still after answer (5)
The wordplay here, a (1,3) phrase meaning ‘I am still’ following the usual one-letter abbreviation for ‘answer’, should get you to the solution easily enough, although a visit to the ‘Some first names’ section of Chambers may be needed to confirm that it is indeed an anglicized form of the Gaelic diminutive of ‘Alice’.
(definitions are underlined)