Notes for Azed 2,703

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 2,703 ‘Jigsaw’

Difficulty rating: 5.5 out of 10 stars (5.5 / 10)

How to set a ‘jigsaw’ crossword:

  1. Set a normal plain puzzle.
  2. Rearrange the clues in alphabetical order of their solutions, and renumber them accordingly.

Job done, although it’s usual to remove the numbers from the grid. It’s also wise to check that the alphabetical order of the clues is correct, particularly where two answers start with the same pair of letters – note that here clues 25 and 26 are the wrong way round.

Azed throws in a Jigsaw from time to time, typically to break up a run of plain puzzles, although the last one was 2,463, the best part of five years ago. I think this one may well have started life as a ‘plain’, because very few (arguably, zero) concessions have been made in the clueing to compensate for the additional difficulty associated with the format. I thought this one was pretty tricky, and wouldn’t have been a trivial solve if it had been presented in the normal way.

When it comes to solving a puzzle like this, the only way to start is to ‘blind’ solve as many clues as one can. Every answer that you get helps to establish the initial letter(s) of others – so if the third clue gives you CHIPS and the seventh FISH, you know that the intervening answers lie alphabetically between the two; if the fifth answer is COD, then answer four begins with a C and its second letter is between H and O in the alphabet. When you come to start putting entries in the grid, the first letters of answers are very important. Look at that nine-letter entry at the top left (labelled 1d in the grid) – not only does it provide the first letters for six across entries, but the lengths of those entries are also relevant; if we had established that one answer was MARMALADE, for that to fit in the slot would require there to be a seven-letter answer beginning with M, a five-letter answer beginning with R and so on – even if you’ve only got a few answers, you’ll be able to work out whether this is possible. I would suggest that if you can get the two entries that share a first letter in the NW corner, you’ll be on your way; after the notes I have added a couple of hints which may help if you are struggling to get started.

Incidentally,  Azed has a standard note for Jigsaws which tells us that ‘Every entry is in the Chambers Dictionary (2016)’. Strictly speaking, this is not true, as some answers (eg plurals) are inflections of entries and not explicitly given; for this reason, editors generally avoid such a statement, hence you will see ‘Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended’ even when all the entries are, to all intents and purposes, to be found ‘in’ Chambers. This wording also ‘fits’ puzzles which contain proper nouns not in Chambers. For my own puzzles, I’ve settled on the wording ‘All entries are verifiable using Chambers Dictionary (2016)’ when every entry is given by, or can be inferred from, Chambers.

Clue Writers’ Corner: Azed asks for ‘a brief explanation of your clue’, and it is important to include one. This should not only give a clear and concise description of how the clue ‘works’ structurally, but should also alert Azed to anything else which may not be obvious on reading the clue. This is particularly important for relatively new entrants without a ‘track record’ – if Azed can’t initially make sense of a clue, he is inevitably going to look more closely at an entry from a competitor who submits sound clues month after month than from an unknown. Apart from clarifying the wordplay, if you are relying on an unusual meaning of a word, eg ‘snags’ for Australian sausages, or on a reference to a particular person or place, eg ‘Mars?’ for BRUNO, you should always make that clear. So when submitting the clue ‘Street, also first of reds on board’ for STRAND, add something along the lines of “R(eds) in (ST AND), &lit with 2 defs, ref London street, Monopoly’. Azed knows a lot about clue structure, but don’t assume that he is an expert in pop music, manga, or street art. If you look at the explanations of successful clues in the Azed slips, you will get a good idea of the sort of thing that is appropriate. No need to go overboard, though, as he won’t have the time or inclination to read an essay.

1 Supply of food, first to last river fish? (5)
A five-letter word for a supply of food – and for the item on which such a supply might be presented to consumers – has its first letter moved to the end (‘first to last’).

4 Black crew maybe doctored barrows? (5)
The usual abbreviation for ‘black’ (when grading pencil leads) is followed by a four-letter plural which could be applied to the crew of a human-powered craft (and to what they use to provide the propulsion). The definition seems wrong – ‘undoctored barrows’ or ‘barrows before doctoring’ would better describe the animals in question.

5 Aussie foreman, self-important when trailing dogie, say (9)
Here we have a five-letter word meaning ‘self-important’ or ‘annoyingly overconfident’ following (‘trailing’) an American word for a calf or cow (‘dogie, say’) which shares its spelling with both a leader and  a knob.

6 Wild feline that mostly plays with cubs (7)
An anagram (‘plays’) of THAT missing its last letter (‘mostly’) and CUBS. Nice clue.

9 Health reduced by half – but it may be double (4)
A (4-4) interjection meaning ‘Cheers!’ (‘Health[!]’) loses one half, it doesn’t matter which.

10 Undress as before? See where heart is in illness (7)
Be careful here. It would be easy to assume that ‘illness’ was the definition, and the checkers won’t tell you otherwise. But it is the word meaning ‘illness’ which must have its central letter (‘heart’) replaced by the letter whose name is written as ‘see’ (ie the illness word has ‘see where [its] heart is’). The answer has the slightly odd qualification in Chambers of ‘Shakesp etc’, which makes it unclear whether it is obsolete or not; Azed has played safe by adding ‘as before’, although OED does give examples of its use from the nineteenth century (but it sounds decidedly archaic).

11 Light rifle? Summer abroad taking in range with time (9)
The French word for summer (‘Summer abroad’) contains (‘taking in’) a familiar five-letter word for ‘range’ and the usual abbreviation for ‘time’.

12 One applies coating that may be repeated away from table put up (4)
A nine-letter word meaning ‘that may be repeated [from memory]’ has the consecutive letters TABLE removed (‘away from table’) before being reversed (‘put up’). The choice of reversal indicator tells you that this is going to be a down entry, another hint that the puzzle may have become a Jigsaw only during adolescence.

14 Not much of a rise? With one accepted he’s a clever dick (7)
A five-letter word for a hillock (‘Not much of a rise’) has the usual abbreviation for ‘with’ and a single-letter word for ‘one’ inserted (‘accepted’), producing a 4-3 solution.

17 Good behaviour displayed by monarch in writing (7)
If you see ‘writing’ in an Azed clue, it’s a fair bet that it will lead to the two-letter abbreviation for ‘manuscript’. Here this abbreviation frames the (4,1) signature of a particular British monarch whose state of extinction should come as no surprise to anyone.

21 Litre drunk I drained, one inside little old barrel (6)
An anagram (‘drunk’) of LITRE without the I (‘one drained’) contains a dialect form of the word ‘one’ (‘one inside’). The answer is in Chambers, but its entry refers you to a variant spelling which includes a D.

22 Fresh slice of sausage – try without a stuffing (5)
The first letter of SAUSAGE (‘slice of sausage’) is followed by a word for ‘try’ (as one might do to establish the proportion of precious metal in an alloy) from which the internal A has been removed (‘without a stuffing’).

27 Some coins amounting to pound found in Glaswegian drain (6)
The single-letter abbreviation for ‘pound’ is contained by a Scots word for a drain which might put you in mind of a leading English woman cricketer before she got married and added her partner’s name to her own. Or it might not.

28 Handgun completely missing fawn (5)
An eight-letter (generic) word for a handgun has a three-letter word meaning ‘completely’ removed from it. The surface reading might suggest that the answer is a noun, but it isn’t.

29 Casts stop going on board steamer (7)
Like the ‘writing’ in 17, ‘stops’ often turn out to be organ stops, of which Chambers offers an impressive selection. Here the ‘stop’ in question is a fifth (hence the name) above the basic pitch, and it is contained by (‘going on board’) the usual abbreviation for ‘steamship’.

33 Self-consciously Scottish stuff, creative works in brown et al (10)
A three-letter collective term for ‘creative works’ is contained by a three-letter word for ‘brown’, with the combination being followed by an expanded form of the abbreviation ‘al’ in the expression ‘et al’ – probably best not to submit that last bit to close scrutiny.

(definitions are underlined)

Additional hints:

The entries across the top are clued by 6 and 22. The entry down the left hand side is clued by 5. All these clues feature in the notes above.

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5 Responses

  1. Les Knight says:

    ……bring back Araucaria, if only! ‘alphabeticals’ at there best. Seriously, I adore this type of puzzle, even if it takes an age to do it. Lack of education doesn’t help, but experience more than makes up for it. Thank you for the start, had the solutions ready to put in!

    • Doctor Clue says:

      Hi Les

      I’m with you there – an alphabetical from Araucaria when he was at his peak would be as good as it gets. Incidentally, the ‘monarch’ in 17 reminded me of an Araucaria clue from many years ago for HENNA which involved a reversal of “wife of Will S” and has inspired a number of imitations (perhaps ‘hommages’ would be a nicer word) on my part, the best of which (I’m afraid) is probably “Fat lady who brought Adrian M into the world (4)”, though it’s a bit past its solve-by date now.

      I would say that a classical education comes in handy every now and then, but experience – plus Chambers, access to the Internet, and a twisted mind, all of which I possess – are way more important.

  2. Ursula Wright says:

    Phew… That was hard. Glad it was only a 144 piece jigsaw and not a 1000 piece one.
    Thanks for the 3 additional hints, which got me started.

  3. Coot says:

    Hi Dr C and thanks for the blog. I’m not good enough at blind solving Azed clues so I’m afraid I bailed on this one very quickly. But I did get 36 and would be interested in your view of it. Specifically, I was surprised to see ‘entering’ as a hidden indicator. To my mind, in this sort of clue the solution is already present to be found by the solver, whereas ‘entering ‘ seems to imply that the solution has to be moved into position. Or is Azed telling us that we have to enter the fodder to find what we are looking for? Thanks

    • Doctor Clue says:

      Hi Coot

      I don’t blame you – if it had been an ordinary puzzle I would have rated it as quite tricky, and neither the mix of word lengths nor the intersections of entries did solvers any favours.

      I entirely agree with you about 36. In the introduction to the Hidden Indicators section of the Clinical Data, I wrote ‘…any containment/insertion indicator that suggests something being found within something else (eg ‘framed by’) can also be used; containment/insertion indicators that suggest something being placed into something else (eg ‘entering’) cannot.’

      I don’t think the phrasing of the clue allows for any alternative interpretation along the lines of ‘enter the hiding place to find the answer’, and the only mitigating factor is that it’s one of the easiest clues in the puzzle. There are plenty of sound alternatives, such as ‘…in museum, Mahommadan’ or ‘…coming from museum, Mahommadan’. Although I note that Chambers doesn’t give the spelling ‘Mahomaddan’, so it should actually read ‘Mahommedan’.