Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 1881

Posted by bridgesong on June 25th, 2008


I offered to do this blog, then discovered that I had thrown out my copy of the solution, which doesn’t yet appear to be available on the Guardian/Observer website, so I had to solve it for a second time, but without an up to date Chambers. This time it took about half an hour, but it was much longer the first time. Quite a lot of unfamiliar words this week.


1 SCHOOLMARMISH – “classroom, I’m HH”*; obviously an anagram, but 13 letter ones are never easy, especially when the word is rather obscure
11 POUK – U(nited) in POK(E).  To poke is to feel about; pouk (or pook) is a Scottish word meaning to pluck
12 SLAINTE – “IN” can mean a member of the party in office, so it’s SLA(IN)TE: it’s Gaelic for “good health!”
13 AMISH – A + mish(it). The Amish are a Mennonite sect, made famous by the film Witness, starring Harrison Ford. I’m not sure how much less likely than any other sect they may be to take the name of God in vain
15 INKPOT – a fountain pen is so called because its store of ink is known as a fountain
16 NIPPERS – double, or even triple definition here, as the word means handcuffs, pickpockets and children. Presumably the question mark is justified because Dickens doesn’t actually use the term in any of these senses (although I haven’t checked)
18 ATHOS – A + SHOT*. It’s a holy mountain in Greek Macedonia
20 MAHSEER – HAS* in MEER (or mere, a lake). It’s an Indian freshwater fish
27 NEPIT – hidden. It’s defined in Chambers as a computing term meaning a unit of information
29 ARAROBA – BORA (rev.) in ARA. Also known as Goa powder
31 IMPISH – if I understood this when I solved it, I appear to have forgotten! Any suggestions?
32 AMATI – compound anagram: take the letters “Strad or” from “RAM artist do” and what’s left is an anagram of the answer. An Amati is of equivalent value to a Strad, to a violinist
33 TENSION – IS(rev.) in TENON
34 TABI – tabinet is the curtain material; tabi are socks worn with Japanese sandals
35 ARSENOPYRITES – another 13 letter anagram


1 SPANAKOPITA – PAN + SOAK* + PITA (alternative spelling of pitta)
2 COAITA – aia is an alternative spelling of ayah, a nurse, so it’s CO (care of) + T(emperature) in AIA. It’s a red-faced spider monkey
3 HUMPHREY – HUMPH is a Scottish word meaning to carry, + RYE*. Apparently, to dine with Duke Humphrey meant to go hungry: it’s in Chambers under the entry for dine. Given that it’s shown as an historical usage, perhaps the clue might have been fairer had this been indicated in the clue (e.g. “you went hungry”), although I accept that it would have been no easier to solve
4 OBSESS – BOSSES*; an old meaning is to besiege, and this is also a meaning of the word “invest”. Hard, but fair, considering that it might otherwise be a very easy clue
5 LEHR – the even (regular) letters in eLsEwHeRe
6 ALIZARI – A LIZAR(D)+I. An ai is a sloth, and a skink is a lizard. Madder is a herbaceous plant, whose root produces a red dye
8 MIKE – double definition
9 STOLE – double definition, alluding to the slang usage of “lifted” to mean “stolen”
10 HETEROTAXIS – TEETH OR* + AXIS; it’s defined as an anomalous arrangement e.g. of parts of the body
14 ASMODAY – AS + MO + DAY; it’s an evil spirit of Semitic mythology
19 ATISHOO – another compound anagram; a beautifully compact and clever clue
22 ENAMOR – ROMA(I)NE(rev.)
23 RIBIBE – BIB in IRE*. Another obscure word, which I first came across in Chapter 14 of Don Manley’s Chambers Crossword Manual (but with a different clue)
25 VOMER – REMOV(E)(rev.) It’s a bone in your nose
26 BASIN – B A SIN, where “cob’s tail” = b
28 MISE – CFS, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,is also known as ME
30 RACY – double definition

2 Responses to “Azed 1881”

  1. Richard Heald says:

    31Ac: IMPOUND is HOUND if ‘IMP is H’.

  2. bridgesong says:


    Thank you: what a brilliant clue!

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