Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 1862: ‘Spoonerisms’ competition puzzle

Posted by jetdoc on February 10th, 2008


I have mixed feelings about Spoonerisms puzzles — they can be fun, but they can also score pretty highly on the cringe-inducing scale. They can also depend on one’s accent (see 27d, which took me some time to get because I don’t pronounce my a’s like that).

The best method seems to be to spot the really obvious ones first, and take it from there. There are a few which I haven’t completely worked out, which wouldn’t bother me too much if I weren’t blogging it. As usual, I will feel stupid when someone tells me the answer.

My fave this week: 23a, mainly because ‘cardy’ is somehow funny in its own right (in a Victoria Wood kind of way, like ‘gusset’). And I have vague memories of a great-aunt serving lardy-cake.

1 CATCHPIT “patch kit” — repair clothes CAT = ‘smart dresser’; CHIT holding P (head of pin).
7 URSA “share bee” = “she bear” Hidden in neighbour’s apiary.
10 OKAY “isle-wrought” = “all right” Tokay, a wine, without its opening. The ‘temperature’ here improves the surface reading, and it is also wordplay for T; but it seems to be, strictly speaking, redundant.
11 ARGONAUT “organ art” — skill at the keyboard ARNAUT, ‘an Albanian, formerly applied esp one in the Turkish army’; about GO, to turn out.
12 DEBILE “bead aisle” — old prayer; division in church *(be led) around I.
13 CLIMBS “hoes Gaia” = “goes higher” C = college; LIMB = branch; S = spades. One of those clues where the words were there entirely to create the Spoonerism.
15 SNED “Hithe sand’ll” = “scythe handle” ‘dense’ reversed, without E (end of nuisance). A sned (Chambers primary entry ‘snath’) is the curved handle or shaft of a scythe.
17 HAIR-WAVER “wear haver” — waste; oats (‘haver’ is ‘(Scot and N Eng) oats’) (but, given that it’s the basis of ‘haversack’, is it pronounced ‘hay-ver’, as it would have to be here?) I *(raw); fed to (inside) AVER, ‘possessions; cattle; a draught animal, esp an old or worthless cart-horse’.
19 AUDIBLES “Paul’s clan” = “calls plan” SEA = ‘the main’, reversed; including *(bluid). ‘Audible’ can be used as a verb in the context of American football, meaning ‘to call an audible (a tactic or game plan)’.
22 GEMSTONE “stem Joan” — stop martyr GONE = ‘dead’; about ‘ME’ reversed; ST = ‘saint’. Deceptive word breaks here.
23 LARDY-CAKE “cardy lake” — knitted jacket, reddish (lake is a reddish pigment) LADY = ‘mistress’; around R = ‘king’; CAKE = ‘a madcap or fool (archaic slang)’.
28 PEON “goalie loafer” = “lowly gofer” O = ‘ball’; in PEN = I’m sure I worked out how this could be ‘net perhaps’, but right now I can’t remember; doubtless someone will enlighten me. A peon is ‘a day-labourer or farm worker, esp formerly in Spanish-speaking America’.
29 PILE UP “[???] pup” — Press arrogant youngster (someone please tell me what sounds like ‘isle/I’ll/aisle’ and means ‘press’!) PIP = to kill (Chambers entry no. 3); accepting LEU = the standard monetary unit of Romania and Moldova (100 bani).
30 TANTRA “Rowley hit” = “holy writ” Hidden in ‘Cretan tragedy’. A body of beliefs. A clue where the extra words don’t much contribute to the surface reading.
31 SKILL SET “Sell skit” — market satirical sketch KILLS = ‘is greatly amusing’; in SET = ‘group’.
32 ATOM “Spiny ’tec” = “tiny speck” anATOMy, minus ‘any’.
33 TEXT “German’s cist” = “sermon’s gist” TT = ‘dry’ (teetotal); EX = ‘except’, inside. A text can be ‘a short passage from the Bible taken as the ostensible subject of a sermon’.
34 PURSLANE “slur pain” — Disparagement hurt L AN in PURSE. Purslane is a herb/salad veg which I have grown.
1 CODSWALLOP “[???] scallop” — ranker slice of meat (I can’t find anything that sounds like “wod” to mean ‘ranker’ (a person who serves or has served as a private soldier; an officer who has risen from the ranks.) ALL in SWOP after COD.
2 AKENE “[???] fruit” — type from fried root (Another one I can’t work out. An akene, or ‘achene’ is a dry, indehiscent, one-seeded fruit, formed of one carpel, the seed separate from the fruit wall, as in the buttercup.) weAKENEd — ‘became less strong’ with ‘we’d’ removed.
3 TABERDAR “dabber tar” — ink pad, black stuff TA = Territorial Army (sometimes called ‘Terriers’); *(barred).
4 HALFA “force Khyber” = “coarse fibre” HALF = part; A = accepted. Halfa is North African esparto grass.
5 PREDILECT “dee prelect” — damn discourse RED = rubbish (also spelt ‘redd’); in PILE = heap, before CT = court.
6 TOLA ”lota” — brass pot ‘A lot’ reversed. A tola is an Indian unit of weight equivalent to 180 grains troy (11.66 grammes).
7 UNIPART “bar kits” = “car bits” *(Puritan). Not being part of the car culture, I was only marginally aware of Unipart, but TEA knows about it.
8 RAMI “Tranches of Brie” = “branches of tree” Rami is the plural of ‘ramus’, a branch. It is also an alternative spelling of ramie, a plant (Boehmeria nivea) of the nettle family, cultivated in China for its fibre.
9 SUBTEEN “tub seen” — boat spotted *(tubes); almost ‘end’.
16 STREET NAME “straight neem” — upright Indian tree RE ETNA = ‘on volcano’; *(stem) round.
16 CREMASTER “mick raster” — (offensively) Catholic screen lines C = about; RE-MASTER = make fresh original copy.
18 VIOLETTA I can’t work this one out — it should be “leo vetter”, or thereabouts. I O LET = ‘I love licence’ (shouldn’t this be ‘license’? Chambers doesn’t give ‘let’ as a noun meaning ‘permit’); in *(a TV).
20 UNALIKE To be clued. The one for competitors.
21 INDWELT “end wilt” — stop plant disease IN = fashionable; D = Dutch; WELT = ‘a band, strip or ribbed border fastened to an edge to give strength’.
24 KEATS “I vend purses” = “I penned verses” Hidden in ‘broke at stitching’.
25 BORON “raw bonne“ = inexperienced French maid BORN embracing O.
26 FLIX “Bown on divas” (ref: photographer Jane Bown) = “down on beavers” (best not to Google this one!) Sounds like ‘flicks’.
27 GULP “Darn Faust” = “down fast”. This requires you to have a Southern accent — the Spoonerism, as far as I’m concerned, is “Dan Faust”. I was similarly miffed in a previous puzzle, when Azed presumed that we’d refer to a female relative as an “aren’t” rather than an “ant”. ‘plug’ reversed (‘stopper coming up’).

6 Responses to “Azed 1862: ‘Spoonerisms’ competition puzzle”

  1. linxit says:

    17A – no, I reckon Azed looked at the wrong pronunciation key in Chambers.

    29A – I had this as “lie pup” rather than “isle pup” (one of the meanings of lie² in Chambers is “to press”.

    1D – This is “swad collop”, not “wod scallop”

    2D – You had it in the explanation – fried root –> “dry fruit”

    18D – no idea either!

  2. jetdoc says:

    2D – You had it in the explanation — fried root –> “dry fruit”

    Yes, silly me — I was trying to get “dried fruit”. Why it’s a ‘type’, though, I’m not sure.

  3. R D Anderson says:

    Any solver like me using shorter vowels than in RP or who is rhotic (I think that’s the word) is going to have problems. But in defence of AZED, don’t we face the same challenge in other puzzles with “I hear” or “reportedly” in the wordplay?

  4. Richard Palmer says:

    In 18 down the Spoonerism is in the clue. I don’t have it to hand but it was something like ‘mad decline at the set’ becomes ‘sad decline at the Met’. Violetta is a character in an opera.

    I agree with the comment on variations of punctuation. I think mispronouncing ‘fast’ as farst’ is a local southeastern thing. I also had problems with 5 down as I would pronounce it with a long I.

    By the way, I thought UNALIKE was a horrible choice for the clueing competition.

    Minor gripes apart, I found it a very enjoyable puzzle.

  5. Ali says:

    Agree on the choice of UNALIKE. It’s hardly an easy word to clue normally, let alone with the added twist. I couldn’t come up with a decent Spoonerism for the defintion and gave up after a few days. I look forward to seeing the winners!


  6. R D Anderson says:

    You’re right about UNALIKE. But wouldn’t you leave a snorter to someone else? Let’s hope AZED accepts non-RP vowel movements.

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