Notes for Azed 2,715

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 2,715 Plain

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

I thought this was quite tricky in places, particularly the NW corner, and featured a high proportion of words which are rarely encountered in modern conversational English (not round here, anyway). It seemed a lot ‘tighter’ than last week’s puzzle, even allowing for a couple of repetitions of wordplay elements (eg 32a/22d), and generally seemed very sound. I’m sure that ‘see’ in 7d is a misprint for ‘seen’.

Setters’ Corner: This week I’m going to look at clue 18a, “I lost pity and almost declined old rebuke (6)”. The wordplay is discussed below, but it is the definition that prompts this discussion. We often see ‘old’ or similar used to qualify a definition, indicating that the answer is given by Chambers as obsolete, archaic, Shakespearean, Spenserian, or anything else that shows that it is no longer in current use. Let’s take an example – BRUST, shown by Chambers as a Spenserian form of ‘burst’. We clearly wouldn’t define it as ‘old burst’ (far too similar), but what definitions could we legitimately use? Chambers is typically the primary reference, so is any definition that Chambers gives for ‘burst’ good for BRUST, eg ‘break open old’ or ‘old spurt’? The answer, in essence, is ‘yes’; if we look at the works of Spenser we find that it is actually things like hearts and bowells (yuk!) that ‘brust’, but this would generally be considered irrelevant – he may never have used BRUST as a noun in his poems to describe an act of bursting, but it’s likely that he would have done so if he’d had the need. There are, however, certain caveats – senses which Spenser could not even have contemplated, such as recent introductions like ‘tore apart the perforated sheets of (continuous stationery)’ and informal or slang meanings like ‘a drunken bout’ must be ruled out. With the clue in this puzzle, Spenser in fact used the word with the sense of ‘to scold’ or ‘to rebuke’, so the definition is very hard to fault.


10a S. Indian tree, once wan, before being brought in (5)
A four-letter archaic (‘once’) word meaning ‘wan’ (a variation on a more familiar word) contains the usual single-letter abbreviation for ‘before’ (‘before being brought in’).

12a Traditional American individual, about 50, with jaunty lid (7)
A three-letter word for an individual contains (‘about’) the Roman numeral representing fifty and an anagram (‘jaunty’) of LID. The answer is hyphenated, 3-4.

16a One practising psychotherapy, I use rolling in hospital bed (7)
An anagram (‘rolling’) of I USE is contained by a word for a hospital bed, the result being a term that might be applied to someone whose mantra is ‘Every Sunday, with every Azed, I’m getting  better and better’.

18a I lost pity and almost declined old rebuke (6)
One of those clues where a comma has to be inferred in the wordplay, here between ‘lost’ and ‘pity’. The letter I is omitted (‘lost’) from a three-letter word often indicated in cryptics by ‘wrong’, but also an old informal term for a shame (‘pity’) – the Billy Myles song ‘Have You Ever Loved a Woman’ (an Eric Clapton favourite) contains the lines “You just love that woman. / So much it’s a shame and a ???. / But all the time you know. / She belongs to your very best friend.” The resulting two letters are followed by a five-letter word meaning ‘declined’ which has been deprived of its last letter (‘almost’).

20a Poet’s handle: ‘past its best’ where English is involved (6)
A five-letter word meaning ‘past its best’ contains the usual single-letter abbreviation for ‘English’ (‘where English is involved’).

24a Extremes of accent in an Italian maybe, displaying a strong one (7)
The first and last letters (‘extremes’) of ACCENT are contained by a first name of Latin origin associated with many Italian men, in particular the Venetian explorer who discovered the toroidal mint. The ‘one’ in the definition refers back to the ‘accent’ in the wordplay.

26a Knockout in G and S? It may be fatal for asses (8)
The ‘knockout’ contained by the letters G and S was used to good effect by TE Sanders in one of the shortest Azed cup-winning clues on record, his entry for PADDY-WHACK (Azed comp 221) using just nine letters and a hyphen.

28a I live without (ultimately) dead parts of intestine (4)
The letter I (from the clue) is followed by a four-letter word meaning ‘[to] live’ (almost invariably followed in this sense by ‘a life’) missing its last letter, this being the standard abbreviation for ‘dead’.

31a Measure to beat heroin (5)
A neat clue, made harder by the number of possible synonyms for ‘to beat’ which could precede the usual single letter representing ‘heroin’. It turns out to be the sort that Messrs Squeers and Quelch would have quickly identified.


1d Chat maybe opens up in Shakespeare (4)
Kudos if you got straight to the solution by reversing (‘up’) a Shakespearean word meaning ‘opens’ or ‘undoes’. Otherwise, the way in is through chat3 in Chambers, a dialect term for a pretty tatty tattie, the ‘maybe’ indicating that this is a definition by example.

2d Source of flummery fit to appear in fog? (8)
A four-letter word for a fit of the shivering kind is contained by (‘to appear in’) a word for ‘[to] fog’ in the sense of ‘[to] make indistinct’. The flummery relates not to pudding but to humbug.

4d What’s associated with chips, containing nothing sour (6)
I’d immediately decided that ‘fish’ was a bit to obvious as the companion for ‘chips’, but it took me a bit longer to get from chips to ‘carpenter’, and thence to Lewis Carroll, and from there to a five-letter word for the comrade who wished to talk, inter alia, of shoes, ships and sealing-wax. This word contains the single character that represents love at Wimbledon.

5d Youngster, type that’s dropped in (5)
A seven-letter word for a family of typefaces based on 16th century Flemish types (and named after an Antwerp printer of the era) loses consecutive letters IN (“that’s dropped in”) to produce a familiar word for a vegetable organism also given by Chambers as a figurative term for a young person (this sense is shown by the OED as ‘rare’).

7d Old rose, something from Canterbury seen in Church? (6)
The four-letter word for something associated with Canterbury (the antipodean one rather than its Kentish namesake) is contained by one of the two-letter abbreviations often indicated in cryptics by ‘church’. Chambers confirms the Canterbury association, and tells us that the answer is Spenserian, hence the ‘old’.

11d High Court order, one on page received by gardener (11, 2 words)
A two-letter word for ‘one’ is followed by ON (from the clue) and the usual abbreviation for ‘page’, this pair contained by a six-letter word for a cultivator, or (perhaps) a member of an all-girl dance troupe which first performed in 1894 and is still, apparently, going strong (albeit, I suspect, with a few changes in personnel). The solution is (5,6).

17d Showy plant, a flag planted in miraculous venue (8)
The letter A (from the clue) and a three-letter word for such things as a handkerchief, a newspaper or a sail are contained by the site of the wedding at which water was miraculously changed into wine, a much more difficult undertaking than the reverse process.

18d One sails northward in company describing islands? (7)
A single-letter word for ‘one’ and a reversal (‘northward’) of a three-letter word for ‘the form and arrangement of masts, sails and tackling’ are contained by a word for a company. The answer is hyphenated, 3-4.

24d Combine in bit of work in muddled group cutting lee (5)
A three-letter unit of work is contained by a five-letter word for a muddled group from which the consecutive letters LEE have been removed (‘cutting lee’).

27d Soft, old, and heavenly, not real (4)
An eight-letter word meaning ‘heavenly’ has the consecutive letters REAL omitted (‘not real’).

(definitions are underlined)

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2 Responses

  1. Wil Ransome says:

    Last time I wrote a blog for Fifteen Squared (written earlier, appearing on Sunday) I said but surely this shouldn’t appear until after the closing date of the competition, and I received a reply welcoming me but not addressing my question. I’m posting again because I’ve just written a blog for yesterday’s Azed, due to appear on Sunday. It quite clearly says in the ‘Rules and Requests’ ‘Entries must be postmarked no later than the Saturday following …’, and this to me, and also to those who write for Fifteen Squared, that we shouldn’t disclose answers until Sunday.

    I’d be interested to read a justification for the existence at the moment of the above.

    • Doctor Clue says:

      Hi Wil

      While I could expatiate on the subject, I felt that I had said enough in my previous reply.

      However, I will add that the ‘rules’ applied by Fifteen Squared are of the site administrators’ own choosing; I don’t write articles for that site, but on the occasions in the past when I have commented on posts I am always careful to abide by those rules, just as I would expect users to comply with the rules on my own site.

      If you are concerned about a specific outcome that could result from additional information relating to a prize puzzle being available before the puzzle’s closing date, let me know what you perceive that risk to be and I will do my best to address your concern.