Notes for Azed 2,645
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 2,645 Plain
Difficulty rating: (2.5 / 5)
An entertaining puzzle, with some neat clues. I would have placed it slightly below the middle of the difficulty spectrum, but the SE corner just nudged the level up a tad.
Setters’ Corner: This week I’m going to look at clue 27a, “I’m bowed, in rags, hobbling around Australia (7)”. When writing a clue for a word like this, one might look it up in Chambers and decide that the definition is going to be ‘instrument’ (or even ‘musical instrument’). This is fine, but it leaves very little scope for misdirection. The addition of ‘played like a fiddle’ in the dictionary entry should start you thinking, though. What about “One’s bowed” or “I’m bowed”? In the surface reading you can then get right away from the musical context, such that the definition appears to suggest someone who is bent forward with age. Azed has done this very nicely here, but it’s not that difficult if you know what you are trying to achieve – starting with a definition that allows you to lead solvers gently up the garden path is the key.
1a Money going into drink, leading to depression (4)
There are a lot of three-letter words for ‘drink’ into which the usual single-letter abbreviation for ‘Money’ could be inserted, including names of specific beverages (eg RUM), nouns meaning ‘a drink’ (eg TOT), and verbs meaning ‘to drink’ (eg LAP); it is one of the last type which is required here.
4a Negotiate screed, penning answer (8)
The wordplay has a five-letter word for a screed or long written passage (as well as a region or area) containing (‘penning’) a three-letter abbreviation for ‘answer’.
10a Gouty old French leader admits grip failing finally (9)
The leader in question was President of France between 1995 and 2007; having previously described the economic policies of Margaret Thatcher and John Major as ‘Anglo-Saxon ultraliberalism’, his own Gallic liberality clearly got the better of him, and in 2011 he was found guilty of diverting public funds and abusing public confidence. His surname contains (‘admits’) the word GRIP from which the last letter has been removed (‘failing finally’). My Ancient Greek O Level suggested to me that the resulting word had something to do with hands, and so it (a little surprisingly, since I had previously imagined that gout was specifically a ‘foot thing’) proved.
25a An old-fashioned carriage, line scrapped for bishop? (4)
The indefinite article is followed by a seven-letter alternative spelling of the name for ‘an old four-wheeled covered carriage, with a seat at the rear covered with a hood’ which must have the consecutive letters LINE removed (‘line scrapped’). The solution is what you would expect to see at the bottom of a letter from a particular Scottish bishop, not that I have ever received one myself.
30a Reel sailor’s to tighten with rope (5)
A tricky double definition clue, with neither of the meanings being familiar, I suspect, to your average land-lubber. ‘Fleet’ would have been another possibility, but not in a nautical sense.
32a Rats etc? See one of them I dealt with round old lair (8)
An ever-so-slightly indirect anagram, where the the letters RAT (‘one of them’) and I must be rearranged (‘dealt with’) around the usual abbreviation for ‘old’ and the sort of lair frequently encountered by crossword solvers.
33a Joe maybe disheartened as Mac’s well off (4)
I must confess that Joe’s surname didn’t immediately spring to mind. It forms something of a counterpoint to the protagonist in 19d, and once it has been deprived of its central letter (‘disheartened’) if yields a Scots word for ‘well off’.
1d Stupid one left with bungled prep right away after school (7)
The usual abbreviation for ‘left’ plus an anagram (‘bungled’) of PREP missing the single-letter abbreviation for ‘right’ follow the standard abbreviation for ‘school’.
3d Murphy that is discounted for seat (4)
An Anglo-Irish term for solanum tuberosum (‘Murphy’) has the usual abbreviation for ‘that is’ omitted (‘discounted’) to produce the solution. According to a 1972 edition of The Islander from Victoria, BC,
We call them ‘spuds’. The Irish affectionately call them ‘??????s’ and they sometimes call mashed potatoes ‘poundies’.
4d Floor covering I’m lifting after so long (6)
A reversal (‘lifting’) of I’M follows an interjection meaning ‘goodbye’ (‘so long’) which originated in the nursery but passed into widespread (informal) use. It is also the name applied to Sir Richard Paget’s theory that language originated in an attempt to imitate the body’s gestures with the vocal organs. According to Wikipedia, Paget had a reputation as an ‘eccentric amateur’ scientist:
Sir Richard’s daughter, Pamela Paget (later Lady Glenconner), was often a subject of his experiments. Pamela’s nephew and Sir Richard’s grandson, Alexander Chancellor, wrote in his “Long Life” column in The Spectator that Pamela had broken her arm when Sir Richard encouraged her to throw herself backwards from the open platform of a London bus on Park Lane to demonstrate his theory that, due to air currents, one could fall horizontally from a bus travelling at a certain speed and land safely on the road. According to Lady Glenconner’s obituary in The Telegraph, Sir Richard had also filled his daughters’ ears with treacle (to simulate deafness) while testing his sign language system.
6d Drink, what teetotaller takes, giving up half? It may be painful for jogger (6)
As in 1a, we are looking for a three-letter ‘drink’, but here it is one of those tot-like nouns which must be followed by the six-letter word for a written promise to abstain from intoxicating liquor which has lost its second half (‘giving up half’).
7d Charm e’er denied a driver of pack animals (6)
The letter A (from the clue) and an eight-letter term for a driver of pack animals has the consecutive letters EER removed (“e’er denied”) in order to produce the solution.
8d Artist captivated by a Pacific climbing plant with bright blooms (9)
A very neat clue, where the usual two-letter abbreviation indicated by ‘artist’ is contained (‘captivated’) by a reversal (‘coming up’) of A (from the clue) and a six-letter word meaning ‘pacific’; the deceptive capitalization of a word, such as ‘pacific’ here, is generally considered acceptable, although setters try to avoid it where possible.
19d Trump (crucial) showing desire to catch up (7, 2 words)
The word ‘showing’ here simply links the definition to the wordplay, which comprises a four-letter word meaning ‘[to] desire’ (in an intransitive sense) and a reversal (‘up’) of a three-letter word meaning ‘[to] catch’. Azed clearly felt that ‘Trump’ alone was a little vague as the definition, given that we are looking for a specific trump which is a crucial element of the game in which it features.
22d State founder adorning flag (6)
The family name of the ‘state founder’ provided the first four letters of the name of one of the British North American colonies which he founded and which became one of the original thirteen states.
28d Wipe foredeck up (4)
The Chambers definition of foredeck, ‘the forepart of a deck or ship‘ (my italics), should help guide you to the plural noun which must be reversed (‘up’) to form the answer.
(definitions are underlined)