Notes for Azed 2,658

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 2,658 Plain

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

It seemed to me that a couple of tricky parsings in this 13×11 puzzle raised it above the mid-point of the difficulty range; although there were several anagram clues where the fodder was clear, they weren’t always easy to work out, and (unusually for an Azed) there were no ‘hiddens’. I thought that overall it was an enjoyable solve.

Setters’ Corner: This week I’m going to look at clue 28d, “Corner of Scotland to recognize up there having entered university (4)”. The wordplay here has a three-letter chiefly Scots (ie ‘there’) word meaning ‘to recognize’ or ‘to know’ being reversed (‘up’) around the usual single-letter abbreviation for ‘university’. The point of interest here is the use of ‘enter’ to indicate containment, rather than its more common function as an insertion indicator. Setters on occasion will take a definition from Chambers and use it to their advantage, an example being ‘over’, which I see quite often used to indicate containment. The basis for this is the meaning ‘from side to side of’, but in practice this never describes something being divided by another thing – a ‘bridge over a river’ is not much use if the bridge is in two separate parts with the river in between. When I am assessing potential new entries for the lists in the Clinical Data section of this site, if the Chambers definition seems promising I then go to the OED to get clarification from the examples of usage given there. With ‘enter’, the word is given by Chambers as having a sense of ‘admit’; it has to be said that in most instances it is not the subject of the verb into which the object is being admitted, eg in “Some‥officers‥entered me into the army” it is the army which is doing the receiving, but I think that an example such as “I immediately entered another able seaman, which‥made the number six” suggests that it is synonymous with ‘admit’ in the sense of ‘allow in’. I added it to the list of containment indicators several years ago, albeit I assigned it a classification of ‘Advanced’ rather than ‘Standard’, ie suitable for use only in barred puzzles, but I subsequently removed it. I’ll probably reinstate it, because its credentials are at least as good as those of several others that are in commonly seen in crosswords.

Incidentally, if you are thinking of submitting a competition entry, or a complete puzzle, and you have a word in a clue which can be spelt either -ize or -ise in British English (as here with ‘recognize’), which should you choose? It doesn’t matter – for clue writing competitions, either spelling will be accepted; for puzzles, there will be a ‘house style’, and the editor will amend as necessary – Azed’s puzzles, as you would expect from a  lexicographer – are characterized by the ‘-ize’ forms, but the Telegraph, for instance, standardises on the ‘-ise’ spellings.


1a Keenly sentimental and increasingly amorous, I, before and after school (13)
A combination of a six-letter word meaning ‘increasingly amorous’ or ‘increasingly kind-hearted’ and the letter I (from the clue) is contained by two instances of the usual abbreviation for ‘school’. For the purposes of the wordplay, the words after the second comma need to be read as ‘[with] school before and after’.

13a One decrying member of travelling troupe? (8)
The wordplay here is a second definition of a sort, being a (3,5) phrase which could describe a wanderer with a travelling theatre company.

16a People dividing view, any, regarding apartment block (11)
A three-letter word for ‘people’ contained by (‘dividing’) a five-letter word for a view or a doctrine which one holds to be true is followed by a dialect form of ‘any’, producing a word whose existence is perfectly logical but which I don’t remember encountering before.

18a Student boozer, one joint incorporating another (not the first) (6)
A four-letter joint containing (‘incorporating’) a three-letter one from which the first letter has been omitted (‘not the first’) provides a word which Chambers indicates as a venue but OED gives only as “A convivial meeting of German university students (and the like) at a tavern or restaurant”. What exactly ‘the like’ are I cannot say; in my experience, when it comes to analogues, students are like dames.

23a Having what looks like hand one pair of bridge partners fed on (6)
A charade of a one-letter word for ‘one’, the letters representing a pair of partners at the bridge table, and a three-letter word meaning ‘fed on’.

25a Like some breakfast? Against money being put into measure of grain once (11)
If you immediately thought of ‘against’ being CON, got the answer, and then struggled to make sense of the last part of the wordplay, then you are in good company! It is actually a two-letter word for (among many other things) ‘against’ and a three-letter slang word for ‘money’ which must be put inside the name of a unit of weight equal to 100lb, formerly used for measuring grain.

30a Scrap metal, inferior, including such as in Scotland, all returned (7)
A four-letter word meaning ‘inferior’ is placed around (‘including’) a Scots form of ‘such’ and the whole lot reversed (‘all returned’).

31a French art turning back on itself? It represents reality (4)
Wordplays such as ‘art master’ for TEACHEST crop up every so often (usually in Azed’s puzzles or mine), and here it is the French version of ‘art’ in the ‘thou art’ sense which appears twice, once forwards and once backwards (‘turning back on itself’).


2d Basset? Crowning feature in position (7)
A five-letter ‘crowning feature’ is combined with that same two-letter word that appeared in 25a (‘in position’); if you are not of a geological bent, then like me you may need to look up both the answer and ‘basset’ to check that all is as it should be. 

3d Appropriate in female, it may prompt immune response (6)
A three-letter word meaning ‘appropriate’ (in the adjectival sense) is contained by a term for many female birds, not to mention a few fishes and crustaceans (apparently).

5d One side of wagon? With that it’s shiny black (4)
When one ‘side’ (either the first or the last letter, but, as it turns out, the last letter) of the word ‘wagon’ is added to the solution, a five-letter word meaning ‘shiny black’ is produced (ie “With that it’s shiny black”). I’d come across this word in another puzzle only a couple of weeks ago, which was handy.

7d What’ll suggest clan literally conforming with others? (6, 2 words)
If you read the answer as (2,2,2) with a comma between the last two words, it suggests a four-letter word for a clan or a division of a tribe. This one is quite hard to explain, so I have added an explicit version of the explanation below.

Click to reveal

8d Hemp genus from Q I had planted in region not far from there, yielding … (4)
The contracted form of ‘I had’ is contained by (‘planted in’) the two-letter abbreviation for the state which borders Queensland to the south-west (‘region not far from there’). Unusually for Azed,  the two clues joined by ellipses stand alone, so if you ignore the ‘yielding’ here then both 8d and 9d are perfectly normal. Why has he written ‘Q’ rather than ‘Queensland’? I think the idea is that because Q is an abbreviation, the implication is that we are similarly seeking an abbreviation for the nearby region. Could we be meant to think of Qatar and Saudi Arabia in the wordplay? No, I don’t think that works any better.

12d Butter’s given a wee bittie salt? It provides more than we really want (10, 2 words)
The ‘butter’ here is the sort that makes occasional appearances in Christmas cracker jokes (I seem to remember a very contrived one about ‘temper spent butter’), and its possessive form is followed by a four-letter Scots word for a pinch, producing a (5,5) solution.

19d Lady’s mantle from the orient in puckered fabric (7)
The usual abbreviation for ”Eastern’ (ie ‘from the orient’) is contained by a six-letter puckered fabric, and the solution really is an article of clothing rather than a plant.

26d Solid leader being somewhat demoted as formerly (4)
A four-letter word for a particular solid figure, familiar to all motorway users, has its first letter (‘leader’) being moved downwards by a couple of positions (‘somewhat’) in order to produce the answer.

(definitions are underlined)

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5 Responses

  1. Daron says:

    It’s OK. The penny finally dropped. It’s quite clever I suppose.

    • Doctor Clue says:

      I think if the answer were EPINST then it would be clever. As it stands, I wonder if asking the solver to infer a comma is perhaps just a bit of a stretch, but if you cut the clue in half you’d find AZED written right through it 😉

  2. Daron Fincham says:

    I still can’t parse 7d. I have IN-TE- any further help would be gratefully received.

    • Doctor Clue says:

      Hi Daron

      It’s one of those clues that you’d probably only find in an Azed puzzle!

      The solution is (2,4). If you consider it as being made up of three two-letter chunks – A, B, and C – and then read them as “A B, C”, they suggest a four-letter word which means ‘a clan’.

      Hope that helps. If not, I have added an explicit explanation to the note on that particular clue above.

      • Daron says:

        Thanks for that. I had the correct answer, but I’m still baffled as to how you worked it out !