Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 1857: All creatures extinct and hungry

Posted by jetdoc on January 6th, 2008


This was not officially a Printer‘s Devilry crossword, but the typesetters seem to have contrived some devilry of their own — a typo in one clue, one clue omitted altogether, and one clue wrongly numbered. Apart from that, it was a pretty good Azed, with some interesting clues (and plenty of opportunities for links).

Favourite clue this week — 19d, for its surface reading and the double definition within a definition.

1 PHLEGMONPurulent inflammation, which also seems to have affected the typesetting. ‘Boil’ is the definition. H LEG = ‘hot’ (not ‘lot’) ‘piece of lamb’; in PM = afternoon (should this have said ‘put in afternoon’?); ON = ‘just after’ (one of the definitions in Chambers).
7 PEGH — a Scottish word meaning ‘to pant’. A ‘peg’ can be a pin in a cup to show how far down one may drink; hence a drink measure, esp of brandy and soda. H = hard.
10 OEIC — *(o ice). Open-Ended Investment Company. How fascinating.
11 OLEARIA — O = ‘beginning to ornament’; LEA = pasture; ‘air’ reversed. Olearia is also known as the daisy bush, because its flowers resemble daisies.
12 MISCONSTRUCT — ‘Fashion awry’ is the definition (and may have been an instruction to the typesetters this week). CONS = studies; ‘curt’ (brief) reversed; in MIST.
13 AREOLAR — ‘lo’ (= look) reversed; in A REAR. Areolae, in biological parlance, are (among other things) slightly sunken spots. If you want the Wikipedia nipple picture, find it for yourself.
15 TANTI — hidden in ‘student antics’.
16 RUSTRE — TR, the international licence plate code for Turkey; inside RUSE. A rustre, in heraldry, is a lozenge pierced with a circular opening.
17 SETTLE-BED — *(test) followed by *(bleed). A pallet and a settle-bed are types of makeshift bed.
19 PLEONASTE — L EON (‘left a long time’); in PASTE. Pleonaste (also called Ceylonite) is a form of the mineral spinel — named after a redundant expression, apparently. Someone liked it, then.
24 SACHEM — SAC = Strategic Air Command; on HEM = edge. A sachem is the head of a Native American tribe.
27 ENSUE — *(unsee). Interesting construction — ‘being rumbled’ is the anagram indicator; ‘must avoid tail’ indicates that we should remove the final letter from ’unseen’ before rumbling it. At least, I think that’s how it works…
28 CONFIRM — This clue was omitted from the printed version, perhaps as a result of the instruction at 12a. It was ‘Make official study hard’, which is probably the easiest in the puzzle — CON = study; FIRM = hard.
29 CHALICOTHERE — And this clue was numbered 28 in the printed version. H = ‘horse’s head’; in CALICO = ‘a spotted or piebald animal, esp a horse’; THERE, which can be ‘used without any meaning of its own to allow the subject to follow the predicate, and also in corresponding interrogative sentences, etc; used without any meaning to draw or attract attention or for emphasis’, according to Chambers. The chalicotheres (the name means ‘gravel beasts’) were a group of perissodactyl mammals, related to present-day horses, so there’s a bit of an &Lit here.
30 INSCULP — IN = fashionable; L = line; in *(cups).
31 USED — US = American; ED = ‘end’ minus N (new).
32 DASH — double definition.
1 POMATO — a bit of mild scatology here: POO = ‘number two’; around MAT, which can be a verb meaning ‘to frost (glass)’. I don’t think I’ll bother trying to grow my own pomatoes this year — the Phytophthora infestans would have a field day!
2 HEIR-AT-LAW — *(with a real).
3 LISENTE — IS; in most of LENTEN (= ‘of fast’). The ‘of’ seems to be doing double duty here. Plural of sente, a monetary unit in Lesotho, 1/100 of a loti.
4 GOOLIE — LIE = press; following GOO = sentimentality. ‘Victorian’ here refers to the place in Australia. And ‘goolies’ can also mean testicles — in turn giving rise to the word testiculation, waving one’s arms about while talking bollocks.
5 MONACT — MAC = Scot (maybe); accepts (containing) ON = ‘on the way to being drunk’; T = time. Monact sponges have single-rayed spicules.
6 NETFUL — *(unfelt). A draught can mean ‘that which is taken in a net by drawing’.
7 PARIS — P = prince; A; ‘sir’ reversed. I’m not sure about the definition here, though — Paris was the son of King Priam of Troy, and he did have a somewhat eventful life, in which his behaviour could often have been described as ‘wayward’. Is that it?
8 ERUPT — hidden in ‘cheer up that’. The definition is ‘outburst’. Why ‘you see’, though? Does it indicate a visible outburst?
9 HATRED — ‘red hat’ (a staff officer) with its parts switched.
14 PRECURRER — a Shakespearean word for ‘forerunner’. *(rep); CURRER. Currer Bell was the pseudonym of Charlotte Bronte, whose sisters Emily and Anne used the pseudonyms Ellis and Acton Bell.
18 BUSIEST — IE = that is; S = small; in BUST, a component of so-called ‘vital statistics’ (how quaint).
19 PSOCID — *(dipso); imbibing C = circa (about). A psocid is a member of the Psocoptera, some of which are known as booklice because they are found in old books, feeding on the paste used in bookbinding. Nice clue, using a double definition of ‘volumes’.
20 NERIUM — NE, an obsolete word for ‘not’; on ‘muir’ (Scottish form of ‘moor’) reversed. Nerium oleander is an evergreen flowering shrub.
21 SCOOPS — quantities of ice cream; also exclusive news stories that cub reporters hope to secure.
22 TENTIE — X = 10; TIE = bond.
23 REMEDY — M in REEDY. Presumably, M here means ‘metre’ or some other unit of dimension. But Chambers gives D as the abbreviation of ‘dimension’, which would give REDEDY as the answer.
25 CRASS — RAS = headland; in CS = Civil Service.
26 HILCH — ‘climb’, less MB (doctor), reversed; inside HH = very hard (as in pencils). A Scottish verb meaning ‘to lift’.

3 Responses to “Azed 1857: All creatures extinct and hungry”

  1. Andrew says:

    In 27A I read the wordplay as “unseen [that] tail must avoid …”

  2. ilancaron says:

    I saw in errata section of “The Observer” (I was in London today) that due to the misprints the deadline had been extended to Jan 12. So don’t read this blog! :)

  3. R D Anderson says:

    Yes, plenty of devilries – including the repetition in the afterword. Clearly a new typesetter and/or an everso slightly distracted editor? Still, it’s always exciting to have to negotiate extra obstacles. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

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