Notes for Azed 2,641

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 2,641 Plain

Difficulty rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

An entertaining puzzle that I felt was just a scintilla above average difficulty, with the parsing of several clues requiring a bit of thought.

Setters’ Corner: This week I’m going to look at clues 24a, “Parisian I love, or having left untrustworthy woman (4)”, and 33a, “Part of pre-history, not the first by-name (4)”. Both these clues involve subtractions, of OR from the ‘Parisian I love’ and of the first letter from the ‘by-name’, but it’s worth looking at the way in which the deletions are indicated. In the first instance, the comma gives us an expression of the form ‘X, Y removed’ – the intention here is clear, and solvers can be expected to infer the word ‘with’ following the comma. In the second instance, though, the equivalent expression is ‘not Y X’. This surely does not tell the solver to remove Y from X; a comma is needed after Y, whereupon ‘not [having] Y, X’ can justifiably be inferred. This second clue as written clearly instructs us to remove the first letter from the ‘Part of pre-history’, which makes it (mildly) unfair. When writing clues, one should try to ensure that the solver can reasonably be expected to interpret the wordplay in the intended way.


11a Care for old poet creating effect for listeners (4)
The ‘effect’ for which a homophone is required is a verb meaning ‘to bring about or cause (harm, havoc, damage, etc)’, and the old poet is Mr Edmund Spenser, affectionately known to many setters, if not to his chums, as ‘Ed’.

13a Nut shell? Get nasty pain cutting coarser part (8)
An anagram (‘nasty’) of PAIN is contained by a word for the coarser part or refuse of anything, most commonly applied to the husks of grain removed from the flour, and the definition is slightly whimsical (hence the question mark).

15a Minimal boundary marker one removed (6)
One of those clues that is likely to involve the identification of the cart that is the definition before the wordplay horse. A nine-letter dialect word for a lump of rock marking a boundary has the consecutive letters ONE omitted (‘one removed’) in order to produce a much more familiar (to me, anyway) word meaning ‘minimal’.

21a Bat is on 50 when trapped by spin going back (7)
The usual abbreviation for ’50’ and the letters IS (from the clue) are contained (‘trapped’) by a word meaning ‘[to] spin’ which has been reversed (‘going back’). You can see how competition entrants tackled this word back in 2003.

23a Sword causing any wound with a touch piercing (7)
An anagram (‘wound’, as in ‘twisted’) of ANY has the letter A (from the clue) and a three-letter word meaning ‘[to] touch’, which evokes a simple children’s game, inserted (‘piercing’).

24a Parisian I love, or having left untrustworthy woman (4)
A French expression meaning ‘I love’ has the consecutive letters OR omitted (‘or having left’).

30a What may be applied to point that is insignificant in law? (5)
What Azed is telling us here is that placing the solution in front of (‘applied to’) the word POINT produces a term which will be familiar to seamsters, being ‘tapestry work using small stitches diagonal to the canvas threads.’

34a Stern of frigate below the water-line, one assumes – if it is (5)
The last letter (‘stern’) of ‘frigate’ is put inside the part of a ship used for cargo (so if it’s in there we can assume that it is below the water-line). I would have preferred ‘if it’s this’ as the definition, rather than ‘this’ being implied.


3d Trinity to arrange university in term’s odd characters going up (8)
A four-letter word meaning ‘to arrange’ or ‘to dress’ is followed the usual single-letter abbreviation for ‘university’ and a reversal (‘going up’) of the odd characters from IN TERM.

5d Wine offered in popular bar before expansion (7)
The ‘popular bar’ first saw the light of day in 1932 in Slough (I am tempted to add ‘of all places’, but a nagging concern that some readers of this blog may live in, or have  a particular affection for, the town militates against so doing), while the ‘expansion’ is a botanical term for a leafy expansion running down a stem. The bar took its name from its inventor, who was also responsible in whole or part for Snickers, Milky Way, Maltesers and M&M’s, not to mention Uncle Ben’s Rice and Pedigree Petfoods. In an act of pure altruism, he introduced Peanut M&M’s in 1954, despite suffering from a lifelong allergy to peanuts.

6d Collection of 20 characters master is dominated by since turning up (4)
The standard single-letter abbreviation for ‘master’ and a word meaning ‘since’ (as in expressions like ‘he long since gave up smoking’) are reversed (‘turning up’), the result being an ancient alphabet of 20 characters, from ailm (A) to straif (Z), along with five supplementaries.

8d SI unit? Those lacking faith have no initial ardour for this (5)
A nine-letter collective term for people who have no religion has a word meaning ‘ardour’ removed from the start (‘no initial ardour’) to produce the SI unit of inductance named after the American physicist who discovered the phenomenon of self-inductance (which, despite rumours to the contrary, cannot damage your eyesight).

9d The lady’s restricted by precedence – I’ll be bound (7)
A three-letter pronoun for ‘that lady’ is contained (‘restricted’) by a four-letter word for ‘precedence’, such as an athlete might take in a race. The ‘I’ in “I’ll be” refers to the solution, but I don’t think it would go down well with most crossword editors.

17d Microphone (old) to stop function in fleapit (8)
A word that I don’t remember coming across before, constructed from a three-letter word for a (concealed) microphone, an obsolete (hence the ‘old’) word meaning ‘to stop’, and a three-letter word for ‘function’.

27d Driver taking look round zone (5)
A four-letter word for a ‘look’ or ‘air’ is put round the usual one-letter abbreviation for ‘zone’, while the driver will not be found in a car or a golf bag, being originally “a large sail formerly used at the aftermost part of a ship in fair weather, set ‘square’ (i.e. transverse to the ship’s length) on a yard at the end of the spanker-boom” and  now ‘applied to the spanker, a fore-and-aft sail at the same part of the ship; sometimes distinguished as a sail smaller than the spanker, but set on the same boom and gaff.’ So there.

29d Lizard we lost in searches (4)
The letters WE are lost from a six-letter word for ‘searches’ ( as in ‘their radar searches a wide area’).

31d Inch maybe was trifling largely, viewed from below (4)
A five-letter word meaning ‘was trifling’ or ‘trifled’ has its last letter removed (‘largely’) before being reversed ( ‘from below’) to give a word which probably covers a slightly narrower range than ‘inch’, hence the qualifying ‘maybe’ as it could thus be seen as a form of definition by example.

(definitions are underlined)

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2 Responses

  1. Daron says:

    11 stumped me

    • Doctor Clue says:

      I needed the checkers – although the first definition of the ‘sounds like’ word in Chambers does include ‘effect’, without the ‘(harm, havoc, damage, etc)’ it’s a very long way from obvious.