Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 1849: Lucky bleeders*

Posted by jetdoc on November 11th, 2007


*(Ref: the late, great Ian Dury, ‘There Ain’t Half Been Some Clever Bastards’)

When I say that I found an Azed relatively straightforward, I always seem to get responses from people who say they really struggled this week. Nevertheless, I will risk saying that, as Azeds go, this was on the less torturous end of the scale.

In his Slip, Azed tells us which clue was voted favourite by those who submitted entries. I almost never agree with the popular vote. So I will now get my vote in for 21d. Let us know which one you rate above all the rest, and let’s see whether fifteensquared agrees with the Slip.

1 PHLEBOTOMIST — *(help); b.o. = box office; to; mist = obscure. Having done a bit of phlebotomising myself, I spotted this very quickly, which is always a useful start.
10 ROSULA — Letters from ‘formal US orchard’, reversed. A rosula is a leaf-rosette.
12 TOMAN — A myriad, or ten thousand. Also found in the phrase ‘man’s inhumanity to man’.
13 ELTON — L in Eton. Elton John is an example of a famous Elton (though I think maybe ‘Ben’ would have fitted the wordplay better).
14 SPAHEE — ‘See’ = consider; around ‘pah’ (also spelt ‘pa’), a Maori fort or settlement. A spahee was a Turkish or French Algerian cavalryman.
15 ALLELE — The first one I spotted, genetics being my specialist subject. L (beginning to lag) in ‘allée’, an avenue, walk or garden path. An allele is one of the possible forms of a gene.
17 CINEREA — E (English) in *(Racine). Cinerea is the grey matter of the brain. Agatha Christie’s Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, was wont to refer to his ‘little grey cells’. Apparently, by 1930, Agatha Christie found Poirot ‘insufferable’ and by 1960, she felt that he was a ‘detestable, bombastic, tiresome, egocentric little creep’.
18 OSTRAKA — ‘tr’ = transactions, in Osaka. Plural of ‘ostrakon’, a potsherd or tile, esp one used in ostracism in Greece or for writing on in ancient Egypt. Ostracism, exclusion from society or a social group, is so-called because voters used to write on potsherds the name of the person they wanted banished.
19 HANAP — A hanap is an ornate medieval drinking goblet, so ‘one was drunk from’ is the definition. Word play is: ‘h’ = end of lunch; before ‘a’ = afternoon; nap. Amusing surface reading (inebriation being a not-uncommon motif in Azed puzzles).
22 THRUM — Double definition: thrum can mean ‘a purring’, or ‘the end of a weaver’s thread’. Bottom the weaver is a character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (but you knew that already).
23 AMATEUR — ‘ate U’ = ‘tasted university’, inside *(arm). As well as the rather pejorative sense, implying incompetence, ‘amateur’ means ‘an enthusiast or admirer; a person who practises something for the love of it, not as a profession’.
25 PRIMINE — ‘pine’ = long, outside ‘rim’. A primine is the outer (or rarely the inner or first formed) coat, or integument, of an ovule.
27 SHINNE — An archaic form of ‘chin’. Almost ‘shinned’ = swarmed.
29 LANCET — A weekly publication (organ) familiar to doctors. ‘lacet’, a kind of braidwork, containing ‘n’ = name.
30 YODEL — ‘yl’ = ‘heart of fairylands’, including ‘ode’, which can mean an elaborate lyric.
31 MEASE — A measure of five ‘hundreds’ of herrings, varying from 500 to 630. It sounds like ‘mise’, a payment to a new king, prince, Lord of the Marches or earl, to secure certain privileges.
32 SHEKEL — *(leeks h). ‘Shekel’ can specifically mean a monetary unit of Israel or, more generally, money. ‘Tin’ is also used as a general term for money.
33 PRESIDENTESS — An old word for a female president or the wife of a male president. ‘Is’ reversed (knocked back); ‘dented’ minus ‘d’ (mostly battered); in ‘press’.
1 POT SHOT — A shot within easy range, or a ‘sitter’ (as in ‘sitting duck’). ‘Pots’ = plenty; ‘hot’ = animated. This is given as two words in Chambers.
2 HOOP-ASH — ‘Hoosh’ is a thick soup, made with preserved meat and thawed-out snow, and eaten in Antarctica. It sounds disgusting to me, but Pa has tucked into it here. Personally, I’d rather eat nettle-trees.
3 LYMANTRIIDAE — *(raiment daily). The tussock moths, a family related to the eggers.
4 BONER — ‘Boner’ is a blunder, or gaff (were this a Cyclops puzzle, it would probably be used in a different sense). ‘B’ = bass; ‘oner’ can mean an expert, which ‘dab’ can also mean.
5 TUPAIA — ‘up’ = aloft; in *(a ti); ‘a’ = active. Tupaia is a genus of insectivores, giving its name to the tree-shrew family Tupaiidae. Whether tree-shrews frequent ti trees, I don’t know. (Hoping this won’t get my name written on an ostrakon, I hazard a remark that it’s not the only time this week that this word came up.)
6 MALLEATE — A verb meaning ‘to hammer’. ‘Male’; holding ‘leat’, a trench for bringing water to a millwheel, etc.
7 INTERNET CAFE — *(in fact entrée).
8 SKOL — ‘K’ = king, in ‘sol’ = sun. “Skol!” is a friendly exclamation in salutation before drinking.
9 TINEA — I think the wordplay is: ‘in’ = presented by; *(eta). Tinea is ringworm, or any of several skin diseases caused by fungi, such as tinea pedis, athlete’s foot.
11 SPECK — ‘ceps’ (edible mushrooms) reversed, in ‘bk’ = centrepiece of breakfast. Speck is fat, bacon, or blubber from a whale (maybe an ingredient of hoosh, then).
16 GRUMNESS — What a lovely word! It means moroseness, or gloom. Wordplay: GRU (the Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravleniye, Chief Intelligence Directorate, the military intelligence organization of the former Soviet Union); ‘n’ = name; in ‘mess’.
20 AUXESIS — This means ‘increase in size; hyperbole; growth resulting from an increase in cell size’. And we’ll see what hyperbolic clues the competitors devise.
21 PROTEUS — The blind cave-dweller is the olm, a member of a European genus (Proteus) of tailed amphibians. Proteus was also a Greek sea god, whose ability to assume many forms gave rise to the adjective ‘protean’. So, if he becomes ‘posture’, he is being true to his name.
23 ANELED — ‘and’ containing (‘fed with’) last letters of ‘the final rite’. To anele is to anoint, or administer extreme unction to.
24 MELIK — An Indian word, meaning ‘the head of a village; an owner; an employer’. Made by switching the ends of ‘kelim’ is a woven rug.
25 PSYOP — This is the short form of psychological operation, the use of propaganda to influence enemy opinion or morale. Word play is: *(spy); ‘op’ = opposite; but right now I can’t account for the ‘prompt’.
26 RAMEN — ‘r’ = recipe; ‘amen’ = approve. The definition in Chambers, and hence this clue, is a bit misleading. Although ‘ramen’ is generally used to refer to the dish of noodles in broth, it actually refers primarily to the type of noodles. So using ‘clear broth’ as the primary term is a bit like describing spaghetti as a type of tomato-based sauce.
28 HOUR — Cometh the hour (occasion), cometh the man. I’m assuming that ‘ho’ is being used as an abbreviation for ‘whore’ (though Chambers doesn’t give it, as far as I can see). Then ’RU’ = Rugby Union, reversed.

5 Responses to “Azed 1849: Lucky bleeders*”

  1. Matthew Livermore says:

    I too found this one of the easier ones, but spent ages trying to get ‘hour’ and ‘thrum’. Favourite clue was probably 12ac for simplicity.

  2. linxit says:

    25D: OP is an abbreviation of “opposite prompt (theatre).
    28D: HO meaning whore is in Chambers 10th edition (2006), but not in the 2003 edition.

  3. jetdoc says:

    OP is an abbreviation of “opposite prompt (theatre)
    So it is! Got that when I first solved it, and failed commit it to memory.

    HO meaning whore is in Chambers 10th edition (2006)
    I can’t find it in the online version, under either ‘ho’ or ‘whore’.

  4. Wil Ransome says:

    HOUR (28D)

    I was equally puzzled and eventually decided that it was H [hooker on top] + O [o'] + RU rev. Wasn’t quite comfortable with the “(?)”. Was that political correctness or some kind of lure towards hooker = female prostitute/rent boy? If the latter, then unjustifiably misleading punctuation?

    Like Matthew Livermore my vote is for 12A.

  5. Michod says:

    I think I read HOUR as H for hooker, like Will, rather than ‘ho’, and I thought the ? odd, too – it seemed jsut there to encourage you to read one surface meaning (prostitution) rathere than the other (rugby). But a fine puzzle, I liked 12 ac and 21dn, and also 9 dn, TINEA. I don’t have the clue in front of me, but ‘eta’ was to be decoded as “T” in “EA”. And thanks Jetdoc for such a thorough and well-researched blog – I always accumulate a few new words from an Azed, but I’ve learned even more from this.

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