Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 1850

Posted by Colin Blackburn on November 18th, 2007

Colin Blackburn.

Like Jane last week I found this Azed relatively straightforward. It had the usual mix of obscure answers, obscure elements in the wordplay and tricky devices but it was scrupulously fair and so it was solvable—it just takes a little more work than, say, Brendan in the Guardian. In some cases wordplay led to words I had never heard of but could guess or part-words that I could use to give a bit of leverage.

Across
1 ASSEMBLY SHOP — (SHAPE SYMBOLS)*
10 GUTSER — GUTS+ER — a GUTSER is a glutton as is a lurcher. Lurcher is obsolete and no doubt Victorien qualifies its era of use.
11 SOLANO — AN in SOLO — the solano is a dry, dust-laden Spanish south-easterly wind.
12 CLAFOUTIS — A F in CLOUT+IS — A fruit dessert topped with batter. Oddly it is from the French meaning “attached with nails”.
13 STEW — WETS< — wets was a term applied to those Tories who opposed Thatcher (or her ideas) during her premiership.
15 SPAT — S+P+AT
16 TOLUATE — (TALE OUT)* — excellent surface playing on the two meanings of salt.
20 REEN — (g)REEN — ref. the Green Party. A REEN, rean or rhine is a ditch.
21 PHENOL — (NO HELP)*
22 RIGHTO — “?” — this reads like a homophone and clearly fits the definition but I don’t know the homophone without reading all the ars in Chambers!
24 AIRT — I in ART — a Scottish word meaning direct.
27 LANGAHA — HAG< in LANA — this clue was a little wooden!
28 PLEA — cheaP LEAther
31 STOT — STOT(ious) — this clue screamed out for a word ending in IOUS meaning drunk. I couldn’t think of any until I had a couple of checking letters in.
32 ORICALCHE — OR+(CHALICE)* — a word meaning the alloy brass but derived from “mountain copper”.
33 DESIST — S in DEIST
34 HARASS — RAS in HAS — RAS is a classic crossword head; suffers = HAS.
35 AESTHESIOGEN — (IN THE SEA GOES)* — here I had a few letters near the strat of the word and guessed at AESTH… the rest of the anagram didn’t look promising but I went straight to Chambers.
Down
2 SUCTORIA — (SUIT ORCA)* — I needed several checking letters to work out this obvious anagram. Once I had SU-T… I could guess at a few possibilities.
3 STEELE — E in STELE — For a change the Encyclopedia Brittanica beats Wikipedia in a Google search to find out who exactly Steele was after guessing the answer fron the wordplay, Sir Richard Steele.
4 MELA — LA & ME swapped — a MELA is a Hindu festival.
5 BRACTEOLE — (TRACE)* in BOLE — a small leaf on the axis of a flower.
6 YOOF — Y+OOF — variable or unknown undoutedly means X, Y or Z. OOF is money, as is greens. Sprigs are youth.
7 SLUSH — S+LUSH
8 HATPIN — (PATH)* + IN — the surface for this one doesn’t strike me as very smooth but I may be missing some allusion.
9 POSTILLATES — O+STILL in PATES — a postil is a marginal note and as a verb means to gloss.
10 GASTEROPODA — ASTER in GO + POD+A(ldrin) — aldrin is an insecticide (surely and opportunity to use Buzz Aldrin in a clue somehow?) and so helps to provide a surface here. Although the wordplay was straightfoward I was blinded by my fixation that it was GASTR… rather than GASTER….
14 HEPTARCHS — P in (THE CRASH)* — this is one of those nice guessable words. I’d guessed that the word began SEPT or HEPT from the clue and that is probably ended in ARCHS. The rest was just confirming the letters in the anagram.
17 ANTI — AN + IT<
18 SHAN — (HAS)* + N — the Shan are a group of Mongoloid people from China, Burma, Thailand and Assam.
19 POTHOUSE — THOU in POSE — an old word for an alehouse.
23 GNEISS — E in S-SING< — the stuttering of c-celebrate leads to the stuttering of s-sing.
25 RATBAG — TBA in RAG — TBA = to be announced; RAG = newspaper and RATBAG = a shocking person.
26 TACIT — sophisTICATion<
29 LASH — AS in L.H.
30 CHAI — CH+A(nd)+I(ndia) — nice &lit to
end on.

4 Responses to “Azed 1850”

  1. Matthew says:

    I believe that the homophone for 22 across is “wry tow”.

  2. linxit says:

    22: You’d have been rather annoyed if you had gone through all the R’s in Chambers looking for the homophone! It’s “wry tow” for twisted rope.

  3. jetdoc says:

    ‘Victorian’ in 10ac refers to the fact that it’s an Australian word. Azed has used that a few times, as I remember.

    I was a bit baffled by the wordplay in 8d, too, though it was easy enough to solve.

  4. Colin Blackburn says:

    Aloha, thanks for the corrections and clarifications. I’m just pleased that the blog appeared automatically as I wrote it on the day of the puzzle and relied on the timestamp facility working.

    I’m now half way up Manau Kea in Hawaii having just been to the summit (14,000 feet) to look at the telescope. I’m hoping that the Grauniad crossword service and fifteensquared is going to keep me sane over the next couple of weeks.

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