Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 1885: A distraction from the cricket

Posted by jetdoc on July 20th, 2008


I managed to solve most of this one while multi-tasking at Lord’s last Sunday (otherwise known as looking up each time an England bowler sent down a delivery which failed to take a wicket, then back at the crossword while he walked disconsolately back to the start of his run-up). As I write this blog, with Test Match Special from Headingley in the background, the sense of déja vu seems painfully inevitable. That said, it’s good for the brain, from time to time, to tackle an Azed without so much as a printed copy of Chambers.

There are some lovely words in this — always a plus with Azed puzzles. The clues, I think, are pretty straightforward. So what’s my fave for this week? 17a, I think — AU for ‘one king’s offering’ in the context of Christmas, is neat.

2 PTOCHOCRACY Wonderful word! P = pastor; TO = with; CH = church (Christian organisation); [See comments below] OC = officer commanding; RACY = spirited. Ptochocracy is ‘the rule of beggars or paupers, wholesale pauperization’ (with a z, apparently).
10 MARBLE MALE = man; taking in BR= brother, backwards. A plonker (or plunker) is a large marble.
11 XOANON X = cross (I think I originally thought this was an alternative spelling of the hybrid also known as a zo, dzo, jomo, etc.; see 14a); O = on (?); ANON = unnamed (anonymous) in short. A xoanon (another wonderful word) is a primitive statue, said to have fallen from heaven, orig of wood, later overlaid with ivory and gold.
13 PRUINA RUIN = collapse; in PA = personal appearance. Pruina, a botanical term, is a powdery bloom or waxy secretion.
14 JOMO JO = endless joy (delight); MO = second (moment). These crossbred domestic cattle, dzo or whatever, make frequent appearances in crosswords, with their many alternative spellings.
16 DROMON Anagram of ‘oars on med’ minus ‘sea’. A dromon (or dromond) was a a swift medieval ship of war.
17 DECAUDATE AU = gold (‘one king’s offering’); in DEC[ember] DATE = ‘particular day around Christmas’. Decaudate means ‘to cut off the tail of’.
18 IN ANTIS ‘inanities’ minus ‘ie’ (‘that is’). ‘In antis’ = ‘(of a portico) not framed by columns but having antae terminating the side walls; (of a portico) recessed in a façade’.
20 SESE *(‘Shakespearean’ minus ‘hark a pean’). A variant reading for ‘sessa’ = ‘enough said’.
21 MAKO MA = Malta; KO = knockout, stunner. A small, evergreen tree of New Zealand with red berries that turn purple as they ripen (also called wineberry).
24 GELADAS DALE = depression, reversed; in GAS = chatter. A species of baboon
27 CANELLINI CAN = tin; ELLINI = ‘diner’s insides (INE), ILL’ upset.
28 NUNCIO C = conservative; in *(union). A papal nuncio is an envoy.
31 TIAR Hidden in ‘Marinetti a Roman’. Poetic form of ‘tiara’.
32 EPOPEE OP = work; in EPEE = fencing sword. An epopee is an epic poem, so an ‘extended work’.
33 ALKENE L = little left; in AKENE (also achene) = ‘a dry, indehiscent, one-seeded fruit, formed of one carpel, the seed separate from the fruit wall’.
34 MESSAN *(manses). Scottish word meaning a lapdog, a cur.
35 FASTERNSEEN This is one I got from the wordplay, with no idea whether it was actually a real term or not; and, sure enough, I found that it is. F = female; ASTERN = behind; SEEN = observed. Fasterns-een is Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent, otherwise known as Pancake Day.
1 IMPEDIMENTA *(dime tip mean).
2 PARPEN PEN = writer (as it so often is in crosswords); below PAR = paragraph. A parpen is ‘a stone passing through a wall from face to face; a wall of such stones; a partition; a bridge parapet’.
3 TRUG T = the (or t’, as we northeners are reputedly wont to say); RUG = runner. One might collect beans in a trug, ‘a shallow wooden basket with a handle, used for carrying flowers or fruit’.
4 OBI-MAN IM = I’m; in OBA, a W African chief; N = note.
5 HEAP Hidden in ‘the apocalypse’.
6 OXIDASE OX = neat (an ox, cow, bull, etc.); *(ideas).
7 COURTELLE CO = company; URE = obsolte form of ‘use’; TELL = order. A synthetic acrylic wool-like fibre, proprietary, I think, to Courtalds.
8 ANOMIE I; in AN ’OME (a home being a hostel for the afflicted). Anomie is ‘a condition of hopelessness caused or characterized by breakdown of rules of conduct and loss of belief and sense of purpose’.
9 COMOUS Perry Como was an Italian-American singer and television personality. US = American. ‘Comous’, from ‘coma’ = ‘a tuft of hairs attached to the testa of a seed; a crown of leaves on certain trees; the nebulous envelope of the head of a comet’.
12 NON-RESIDENT *(note dinner’s).
15 OUTRAIGNE Another one I deduced from the wordplay but needed to check once I had access to Chambers. *(I urge on at). Spenser used ‘outraigne’ to mean ‘reign to the end of’. I’m not too happy with the surface reading of this one, but maybe I have missed some subtlety.
19 IGNORER [S]IGNORE = plural of ‘signora’; R = right.
22 AQUILA IL = one left, short; in AQUA = water. The golden eagle genus; the Eagle, a constellation north of Sagittarius.
23 KANAKS A = one; in skank reversed. The description given by Wikipedia doesn’t sound much like any kind of dancing I’ve ever done to reggae music (or maybe it really was ‘frantic skipping in a circle’).
25 ALDOSE AL = not quite ‘all’; DOSE = portion.
26 ANDEAN A DEAN = ‘a faculty head’; including N = ‘new’. Macchu Picchu, which I visited about 20 years ago, is in the Andes and is wonderful.
29 NEMN NEM = ‘men’ (‘troops’) reversed; N = ‘ending of conscription’. Obsolete word meaning ‘name’.
30 APSE ‘lapse’ minus L.

6 Responses to “Azed 1885: A distraction from the cricket”

  1. Matthew says:

    I’m pretty sure that the Christian organisation in 1 across is supposed to be “Toc H”.

  2. jetdoc says:

    You’re right, Matthew. Lazy of me not to look it up.

    Toc H (signallers’ code for h) a society formed after World War I to promote the spirit of comradeship and Christian fellowship, from its first meetings at Talbot House, at Poperinghe in Belgium.

  3. Mick h says:

    Totting up, I reckon more than half of the words here were new to me, which is a lot even for Azed. But the clues are so precise that you can be 90 per cent certain of the answer in most cases before checking in Chmabers – very satisfying.

  4. Mick h says:

    …or Chambers as you might know it.

  5. Colin Blackburn says:

    Is Chmabers their relaunched Anagram Dictionary?

  6. sportsmediaz says:

    Thanks to the article, Now there is more reason to comment than ever before!

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