Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 1799

Posted by neildubya on November 26th, 2006


Azed – A brief introduction

If you regularly finish the puzzles in the “dailies” and fancy a new challenge then a barred crossword like Azed (or Beelzebub in the Independent and Mephisto in the Sunday Times) is the obvious choice. The vocabulary is wider than the daily crosswords (both in the clues and the answers) and the cluing is that little bit more subtle. On the other hand, you get more help from grid – the amount of “checking” (i.e. letters that appear in both an across and down answer) is much more generous than in barred puzzles.

To tackle Azed, you’ll need the 2003 edition of the Chambers Dictionary. It’s the standard reference for the puzzle and you’ll find that it contains a large number of words (often obscure, scientific or foreign) that other single volume dictionaries do not. That said, you’ll find that many of the words in a typical Azed puzzle are already within your reach. For example, of the 36 words that appear in the puzzle we’re looking at today, 22 of them can be found in the Concise Oxford Dictionary, which is one of the references for the daily Times crossword.

Most Azed puzzles are “plain” but every so often one will have a theme or gimmick. These are usually a bit tougher than the plains but generally not quite as tough as the special advanced cryptic puzzles like the Listener.

A brief introduction to Azed the man can be found here .

This wasn’t too tricky as Azeds go but I really struggled with the last few clues, which were all short (4 or 5 letter) words, and which somehow made it even more frustrating that I couldn’t get them. I’m still not sure about 2D and I can’t understand 23A but I know it’s the right answer.

6 F in CORAM – one of the keys to solving Azed puzzles is learning a wider range of abbrevations, or at least being prepared to check them in Chambers. F is “fine”, which you’ll find in lead pencils.
14 BLOODFEUD – anag of “of doubled”; clever, as that’s not obvious anagram material.
18 WEED in anag of LET – a slang word for “con”
22 OIL in anag of MESS – “no longer” in the clue tells you that you’re looking for a word (or in this case, a spelling of a word) that has fallen out of use. “Oil” is Australian slang for news or information.
23 OR E’ER – I know this is the right answer but I can’t parse the clue – any offers?
29 PS, MB in A LOOK – ps is “postscript” and when medical students graduate they are awarded an MBBS degree (Medical Bachelor, Bachelor of Surgery)
30 HOSEL – hidden in “tHOSE Learners”.
32 TRENCH – you see this construction in the dailies too: “Fish in river? The opposite…” means simply “put river (R) in fish “tench”.
33 ENZEDS – anag of SIZE END minus I(nternational)
1 anag of HOTTER in A FUG, H, T – the first part of this clue reads really well but I can’t help but think that the definition – “it occurs post eventum” – doesn’t sound like it belongs with the rest of it.
2 BLIT – I think, but I can’t make the clue work.
4 LAD in ROUE – a roulade is not just something you eat.
5 DECOR – Azed proves he is down on the street with the kids with a reference to those cheeky Geordies, Ant and Dec.
6 YT in CODE – “yt” is an obsolete word for “that”.
7 ROOF,IE – another pop culture reference, the slang word for rohypnol.
10 AID, anag of SENT in MAKES
19 ROW (up) around ARRI(AGE) – this is probably one of those clues where you get the definition fairly easily but then have to work out why it’s right. Here, this means establishing that “ARRIAGE” is a Scottish feudal service. That’s how I did it anyway.
20 anag of NOT, FOE, M(ass)
25 S in HALE
28 FORD – FORDO is an archaic word for “overcome”; take away O (“love”). Mistress Ford is a character in “The Merry Wives of Windsor”.

5 Responses to “Azed 1799”

  1. says:

    2 Down – straightforward double def. The degree is a B.Lit, and to blit is to transfer data between computers.

    23 Across – REE(“reel” without the last letter) inside OR(=tincture – see or2 in Chambers)

    28D was one of the two I was stuck on, so thanks for explaining that. The other one was 11A. FLO? I can’t make anything work with that clue!

  2. says:

    You’ll kick yourself – 11A was FLOC, hidden in “oF LOCals”. Def is “fuzzy cluster”. Ta for explanations of the others.

  3. says:

    1D clue.. Because the vocabulary is very hard, Azed and other advanced cryptic setters feel obliged to give you a very fair definition, often including direct quotes from Chambers. This helps you to be sure you have the right answer, often without understanding all the wordplay, but makes it much harder for them to write clues with convincing surface meaning. That’s best reason I can find why some people who can thrash me at Listener solving struggle to do a Times puzzle inside 20 minutes – they’re not as used to definitions that are fair when you understand them but not so close to what’s written in the dictionary. The advanced cryptic setters who manage to make most of the clues convincing (which certainly includes Azed) deserve extra praise.

  4. says:

    I take your point but, in this case, AFTERTHOUGHT is not exactly a difficult word so surely you could get away with a more “cloaked” definition?

  5. says:

    Correct! Not sure why Azed opted for this def.

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