Notes for Azed 2,635
My thanks to Tim H for providing the scan of the puzzle which enabled me to produce these notes. The puzzle is now available on the Guardian web site so I have removed the link to the scan.
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 2,635 Plain
Difficulty rating: (2 / 5)
My enjoyment of the puzzle was not helped by its delayed appearance on the Guardian web site which denied me the pleasure of tackling it over breakfast – I held off until 10am, at which point the lure of the Toastie proved too great to resist. I’m jolly glad I didn’t wait, or I would have missed lunch and tea as well. My sincere thanks to the correspondent who sent me a scanned copy of the puzzle, which struck me as being a little below average difficulty, with plenty of misdirection but nothing too tricky.
1a Builds on mouthful, formerly crumbled crust (12)
A three-part wordplay consisting of a three-letter word meaning ‘a mouthful’ (or ‘to drink’), a four-letter word for ‘formerly’, and an anagram (‘crumbled’) of crust, this last part being perhaps the starting point from which one will work backwards.
12a Source of fashion, No. 1 in spectacular bust (8)
The name of the place that precedes ‘fashion’ in a nautical expression which often also includes the word ‘shipshape’ is followed by the first letter (‘No. 1’) in ‘spectacular’, producing a mildly naughty(cal) bit of rhyming slang.
14a Dull old copper coin, penny (4)
A three-letter word for an obsolete Indian copper coin and the current abbreviation for a penny combine to produce a word that might be applied to a squib (or indeed a squid, if it had recently left the ocean), although here it is actually a verb.
22a It enables instant replay as opposed to a long time (4)
The wordplay involves the usual single-letter abbreviation representing ‘opposed to’ being followed by a word meaning ‘a long time’, but in truth ‘enabled’ might have been more appropriate than ‘enables’ as the only incarnation of the solution likely to be found in a modern TV studio is Brenda Blethyn.
25a German-English senior teacher, lacking of muscle (9)
The intention here is that two single-letter elements are followed by a nine-letter word for a senior teacher from which the letters OF have been removed (‘lacking of’), but D is the IVR code for Germany rather than being an abbreviation for German.
29a Bard’s energy misplaced in prod formerly (4)
A word which describes a bard, any bard, has the usual abbreviation for energy relocated within it to produce a word meaning ‘to thrust, especially with the foot’.
30a Rank and file’s heart going in complete reverse (4)
The middle letters of the word ‘file’ (“file’s heart”) are put inside a verb meaning ‘to complete’ and the whole lot is reversed. I’m not comfortable with ‘reverse’ here, as I think that for the wordplay to be grammatically sound it needs to be ‘reverses’.
33a Fashionistas creating eruptions, in tears? The opposite (12)
‘The opposite’ here means that rather than a word for ‘eruptions’ being placed inside a word for ‘tears’, it is the tears (in the ‘rips’ sense, a familiar five-letter word) which are contained by the eruptions (in the pustular sense, a word that I don’t remember coming across before).
1d We had vehicle lifting old cow (6)
A contracted form of ‘we had’ and the word for a type of public service vehicle are reversed (‘lifting’), the result being an obsolete variant of a word meaning ‘to cow’.
4d Theologian’s disciple having bothy during stay in Scotland (4)
The bothy is a three-letter word archaic or poetic word for a small dwelling , while the ‘stay’ is a Scottish legal term. Azed treads on one of my cruciverbal corns here by using ‘during’ as a containment indicator – I don’t think that the Chambers definition ‘in the course of’ is sufficient, as it is used exclusively in a temporal sense, but since even the Listener editors accept it I may be in a minority of one.
6d Ten trees, on this, having to blend in, rising (12)
This is the sort of clue you’ll probably only see in an Azed puzzle (or perhaps an Azed competition clue) these days. The solution comes from a reversal (‘rising’) of a word meaning ‘to blend’ being put inside an anagram of TEN TREES, with the anagram indicator being…’on’ plus the solution itself. I seem to recall that when the competition clue word was OUT OF ORDER there were some clues which were constructed on similar lines (possibly including my own)
7d Abnormal droop? Beginning thereof observed in foot (7)
The first letter of ‘droop’ (ie ‘beginning thereof’) is contained by a word for a foot of two syllables (aka a trochee), and I have to say that Azed has been quite restrained in his definition of the answer.
18d Confusion involving drizzle for member of colony (7)
A three-letter word for confusion that is popular with setters (and with me, but only if it has pastry on top) contains a Scots term for fine misty rain, producing a dialect word for a specimen that is pretty certain to be part of a colony.
20d This pulse, i.e. as irregular…is a bother perhaps (5)
A composite anagram, where the letters of the solution (‘this pulse’) plus IE AS can be rearranged (‘irregular…perhaps’) to form IS A BOTHER.
21d What’s healthy, interrupting work, not OK? It’s after school (6)
A four-letter word meaning ‘healthy’ inside (‘interrupting’) the word ‘work’ from which the letters OK have been omitted (‘not OK’), and a nice cryptic definition.
28d Baudelaire’s heading for section of his work? (4)
I can’t recall seeing a French double definition clue in an English crossword before, but that is effectively what this is. The second definition (the sort of thing that Baudelaire wrote) is in Chambers, while the first is the word that Baudelaire would presumably have used to mean ‘heading for’ or ‘towards’.
(definitions are underlined)