Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 1800 “Sly Oaf” – excellent thematic crossword

Posted by linxit on December 3rd, 2006


Solving time 1:03:33.

A rare thematic puzzle from Azed this week to mark puzzle no. 1800. There’s an extra letter in every clue which has to be removed before solving. These letters in clue order form a thematic phrase which should help to complete the two unclued lights at 1ac and 13ac (in conjunction with the title, “Sly Oaf”).

Rather helpfully Azed put clues to both words in the preamble anyway (…sure sign…), but I didn’t spot that till I’d got them the hard way (i.e. by finding the theme).

The extra letters in clue order spell out “BIRTHDATE OF THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY”. He was born in 1800, and his most famous work was “The Lays of Ancient Rome”, which is an anagram of “SLY OAF CERTAIN OMEN”. It took me a while to get this as 1ac might have been “CURTAIN”, which gave “CENTURY” in the anagram…

In clue entries I’ll put the word with the extra letter in it first with the letter itself in square brackets, followed by a brief explanation of how the clue works. As every clue needs to be altered to spell the message, I’ll mention every clue (if only briefly).

6 [b]ass: H in DOPE rev
12 A[r]t: DEPAINT – (“at pined”)*
14 [t]reed: DEE, PEN
15 T[h]at: GUEBRE – (burgee*)
19 base[d]: SHEBA – E in (SBAH*) – kasbah less ka=soul
20 b[a]iting: C,AU,STIC(k)
22 s[t]oup: SMEETHS – (“the mess”)*
23 Grande[e]: Hidden in GranDE CORsage
27 H[o]ard: O,RAC(H)E
29 [f]acts: CISTED – (“(a)cts die”)*
30 to[t]: STOA – “to” replacing “part” in “Sparta”
31 [h]is: D, IS, TEND
32 p[o]et: TEA-PLANTER – (“a pet learnt”)*
33 [m]end: IN, DIE
34 rot[a]: MIS(RAT)E

1 [s]porter: CADDY,S,S
2 [b]oil: R(APES)EED
3 are[a]: TRAPE – (“PT are”)*
4 car[b]: A,C(I.E.)RATE
5 S[i]ward: NIT-GRASS – (starings*)
6 ge[n]t: hidden in “gET SUpporting” – the ETSU is the Energy Technology Support Unit. Normally even in advanced cryptics there’s a warning in the preamble if any answers are acronyms or abbreviations, but not this time.
7 run[g]s: P(R)OEM
8 ti[t]le: O,VERV(e),IOLENT(“no tile”)*
9 Hell[o]: DEN,E(ntertainmen)T
10 cha[n]t: BEECH MARTEN – (“chat men beer”)*
16 for[m]: SC(HIED)AM
17 se[a]t: JU(DAIS)TS
18 [c]rest: C in TETE rev, ERA
21 Gild[a]: C, RUDDLE
24 s[u]it: R, O, STI(sit*)
25 wi[l]t: SC, API(cal)
26 se[a]t: STE(set*) inside AR
28 wood[y]: hidden in “wHY LEg’s”

2 Responses to “Azed 1800 “Sly Oaf” – excellent thematic crossword”

  1. says:

    A lesson for me when I can’t spot things like the title/CERTAIN OMEN connection here (failed miserably!): (1) look for anagrams, (2) read what you can find in Chambers Biog Dict carefully and calmly – The L of A R is mentioned. Annoying, as the rest of the solve was fun.

  2. says:

    it was unbelievably satifying to finish this one, particularly as I was all set to leave it with CURTAIN OPEN instead of CERTAIN OMEN until the very last minute. A crossword to remember!

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