Notes for Azed 2,651
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 2,651 Plain
Difficulty rating: (3.5 / 5)
I thought this was pretty tricky in places, with some well-constructed clues showing plenty of esprit. Note that the vertical bar preceding ‘android’ in the clue for 26a should be ignored, and that the correct enumeration for 22a is ‘(4)’. May I take this opportunity to wish all readers a very happy Easter – I trust that the bountiful bunny brought you all the goodies that you could wish for.
Setters’ Corner: This week I’m going to look at clue 10d, “No gentleman on board fishes a lot (5)”. A term for someone who is clearly ‘no gentleman’ is bordered by the letters SS, producing a word which satisfies the two definitions, ‘fishes’ and ‘a lot’. The questions is, can ‘on board’ legitimately indicate ‘contained by SS’? We have to interpret it as shorthand for ‘on board ship’ – I think this is a bit of a stretch, but we know what Azed means, we’ve seen it before (at least in his puzzles!), and I’d be hard pressed to describe it as unfair (except, perhaps, for a computer trying to solve the puzzle, which makes me like it all the more). I think that similar considerations apply to something like ‘having retired’ meaning’ contained by the letters BED’. All very much in the cryptic spirit, I would suggest, although some crossword editors might see it differently.
1a German company trades in name of electric firm, leading handle (12)
A five-letter verb meaning ‘trades’ is contained by the three-letter abbreviation for the name of the British electronics, communications and engineering company, founded in 1886, which at one time during the 1980s was Britain’s largest private employer. A four-letter word for a handle brings up the rear.
11a Betty’s identified as this Henry, perhaps (5)
You could argue that this is a double definition, the first element relating to the tool used by burglars which was originally known as a ‘Betty’, then a ‘Jenny’, which became a ‘Jemmy’ and (on occasion, following gender reassignment) a ‘Jimmy’; the second definition relates to the famous novelist.
14a Stubble after end of March? Crazy then! (6)
The last letter (‘end’) of ‘March’ is followed by a dialect word for a stubble field, the result being a term which might suggest craziness specifically at this time of the year.
15a Dancing around is … Dippy possibly (8)
Dippy has something of a split personality; discovered in Wyoming in 1898, he now has residences (as many of the rich and famous do) in England and the US, but Dippy manages to be in both at the same time. He lives in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, but when not on tour around the UK he also calls the Natural History Museum in London home.
18a Plant, short, one of many that’s died out in railway centre (5)
The wordplay here indicates that the solution (‘that’) has [one instance of] the usual abbreviation for ‘died’ being taken out of the name of an Oxfordshire town known for its railway heritage and its power stations (one demolished, one going strong).
20a Greek lecture place: converting this turns venue into nearby temple’s dedicatee (4)
Converting this (ie the solution, read as 1,2,1) in the name of the city where the Pœcile is to be found will produce the name of the goddess to whom the nearby Parthenon is dedicated.
25a Pilot, ambitious one, hit going off course (5)
A triple definition clue, with the first one almost certainly being the easiest.
31a Time differences with one biblical book following another briefly? (6)
A four-letter shortened form of the name of one book of the New Testament follows an abbreviation, not for a specific book, rather for a type of book which represents 21 of the 27 that make up that volume.
32a Love getting stuck into a Pimm’s, stirred, having no head for Buck’s fizz (6)
The idea here is that the usual single-letter representation of ‘love’ is put inside (‘stuck into’) an anagram (‘stirred’) of A PIMM’S from which the letter P has been removed (‘having no head’). But this would only work (just about) if the A came at the start of the solution – the order of the indicators here cannot mean that the ‘head’ of “Pimm’s” must be removed – if anything, it is the ‘A’ which would have to go. I first recall hearing the word used in this (‘chiefly US’) sense in one of my favourite Simpson’s episodes, series 1 episode 9, known both as ‘Life on the Fast Lane’ and ‘Jacques to be Wild’, which won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program in 1990. It’s the one where Homer gives Marge a bowling ball as ‘her’ birthday present.
33a Some wool for spinning, half of it wrapped in scrap of cloth (5)
Half of the word ‘wool’ (ie ‘it’) is contained by (‘wrapped in’) a familiar three-letter word for a scrap of cloth.
34a Endearment for old woman takin’ time off work (5)
The six-letter present participle of a northern English word meaning ‘to take a holiday from work’ has its closing ‘g’ removed (analagously to “takin'”, with which it shares all but one letter).
2d Spider, not special, i.e. spinning? (7)
An &lit, where an anagram (‘spinning’) of SPIDER deprived of its S (‘not special’) and IE gives a word for which the whole clue stands as a definition.
5d Canal boat friend shortened to fit locks (6)
A very neat clue, where a three-letter word meaning ‘to fit’ or ‘to hang’ contains (‘locks’, ie ‘holds closely’) a four-letter friend missing their last letter (‘shortened’).
7d Raincoat required in blustery air growing steadily? (7, 2 words)
The four-letter name for a Japanese raincoat of ‘hemp etc’ (whatever ‘etc’ is) which crops up every so often in barred puzzles is contained by an anagram (‘blustery’) of AIR, the result being a (1,6) phrase taken directly from the Latin.
12d Mongols maybe covering arid shifting sand in rattletraps (11)
A four-letter term for Mongoloid people of China, Thailand, Myanmar is followed by (‘covering’) a three-letter word meaning ‘arid’ and an anagram (‘shifting’) of SAND.
19d Coarse fibre from part of Spain, end shifted quite a lot (7)
The adjective describing something that comes from the autonomous community of Spain which includes Barcelona has its final letter (‘end’) shifted ‘quite a lot’ – four places upwards, to be exact.
21d Old relations trapped by mounting offence ‒ it’s insurmountable (7)
A term for uncles which is obsolete except in the world of the barred puzzle is contained (‘trapped’) inside a reversal of a word often indicated in crosswords by ‘offence’ or ‘error’, the result being an old word of which a relatively modern meaning (North American in origin) is ‘an unconquerable rival or enemy’.
23d Loyal knight, only a third chaste, in the soup (6)
There were two knights who share the name which is here followed by one-third of the word ‘chaste’, but the particularly good egg was ???? the Younger. Portrayed as one of the Round Table’s finest, his real glory comes on the Grail Quest, where he proves himself worthy enough to witness the Grail’s mysteries alongside Galahad and Percival. He features in a number of episodes, all of which, I’m pleased to say, bear witness to his good character.
28d Naval commander making spurt catching vessel’s tail (5)
A four-letter word meaning ‘to gush’ or ‘to belch’ contains the last letter (‘tail’) of ‘vessel’. The naval slang referenced in the definition seems to date (at least in written form) from the early part of the twentieth century, as in this quote from William Lang’s A Sea-lawyer’s Log (1919):
If you gets noisy and boisterous-like you sees the ????? in the morning.
(definitions are underlined)