Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 1901: Jigsaw

Posted by jetdoc on November 9th, 2008


A bit of a treat this week — the most challenging Azed for a while.

For those who have not tried this kind of puzzle before, the first step in fitting the answers in the grid (or the way I do it, anyway; there may be a far more logical way to go about it, for all I know) is to look in the grid for pairs that have checking initial letters and note their lengths. In this case, we have 8/4, 4/7 and 6/8. Here, it helps considerably that one of these pairs starts in the top left-hand corner. Then experiment a bit with pairs of solutions that fit, seeing what other checking initial letters they give you and whether there are corresponding answers (even if you haven’t solved all the clues yet, you can see what the possibilities are, because clues are in alphabetical order of their solutions). Once I had determined that CAPOTTED and CAUP — excellent words, both — would work at the beginning, and that I needed POSAUNE rather than PIGBOAT to check with the P of CAUP, it was pretty much plain sailing to complete the grid.

However, there are three clues — 3, 24 and 33 — which I can’t fully work out. I wouldn’t normally worry too much about that, as my answers have to be correct, but a blogging week demands more rigour. I have asked a couple of friends (no cheating involved — I didn’t send in a solution) and they haven’t cracked the wordplay either. Thanks to Richard, who has now — predictably — explained them.

Fave clue this week? I’m not sure — there are some lovely words among the solutions, but no clue really stands out from the rest. However, I predict that the Azed Slip will show 27 as the ‘popular’ favourite, and I want to register my disagreement, so I will go for 23.

1 ALEW A = the top grade; LEW = Lew Grade, the influential showbusiness impresario and television company executive. ‘Alew’ is a Spenserian call to attention. Note that Azed puts ‘Grade’ at the beginning, so it would have a capital letter even if it weren’t a name.
2 ALFORJA Hidden in ‘meal for jaunt. An alforja is Spanish word meaning ‘a saddlebag; a baboon’s cheekpouch’.
3 ANCON *(CAN); ON = ‘on the way to being drunk’, so ‘inebriate’. I can’t work this clue out. Ancon means, among other things, the elbow — so, if the clue were ‘One’s crooked can, inebriate’, it would just about work as an &lit (‘one’s crooked’ as the definition, with ‘crooked’ doing double duty as the anagram indicator), but the surface reading would make even less sense than it does already.
4 ARROGANCE ROG = ‘rogue’ minus a pair of letters; A RANCE is a bar.
5 CAPOTTED *(CADET); bagging POT = prize. I learn that capot is ‘the winning of all the tricks by one player at the game of piquet, and scoring forty’.
6 CASHBACK C = college; B = barrels; housed in A SHACK.
7 CAUP CA = about (circa); UP = ‘at an end’ (over). A caup is a two-handled wooden drinking bowl.
8 CHUCKIE Double definition — a pebble (more usually chuckie-stone or, in Scotland, chuckie-stane); and a chicken, which lays eggs.
9 CISLUNAR *(RUNS CLAI) = ‘runs claim’ endlessly (without the M), with ‘fraught’ as the anagram indicator. Cislunar means ‘between the moon and the earth’ — the moon, presumably, being our neighbour because it’s the nearest large-ish object in space.
10 CONTRASTY *(START); in CONY, rabbit fur. A contrasty image would not have many grey areas.
11 CORALLA OR ALL; locked in CA = cases. Plural of ‘corallum‘, the skeleton of a coral colony.
12 CRISTA *(STAIRC) — half of ‘stair carpets’. A crest; a ridge or fold resembling a crest, e.g. the infolding of the inner membrane of a mitochondrion.
13 DICAST DI = ‘I’d’ reversed; AS = when; in CT = court. Dikastes were 6000 Athenians chosen annually to act as judges.
14 EXITANCE ’ENCE = from ’ere; *(TAXI). The amount per unit area of light or other radiation emitted from a surface.
15 GENU E = energy; in GNU. The knee (I include the link because I wonder how they unambiguously classified two of the pictures as ‘male knee’ and ‘female knee’ — is there something I wasn’t taught in biology?)
16 HONGI Hidden in ‘laugh on giving. A greeting which involves pressing one’s nose to another person’s nose.
17 KANT Double definition — Immanuel Kant; also an alternative spelling of ‘cant’, a sloping or tilted position or face.
18 KURD K = ‘end for black’; URD = bean plant (urad dal, much used in Punjabi recipes.) The Kurds (or some of them, anyway) inhabit the high mountain region south and south-east of Lake Van between Persia and Mesopotamia.
19 LABRUS LARUS = the principal genus of the gull family; B = black. The wrasse genus of fishes, of the family Labridae.
20 PERSIENNE PERSE = dark blue; *(NINE). An Eastern cambric or muslin with a coloured printed pattern.
21 PIGBOAT PI = mixed-up type (also pye and pie); *(GOT AB). US naval slang for a submarine.
22 POINCIANA INC = incorporated; in *(A PIANO). A tropical tree and a shrub (the one referred to in the Chambers definition, I think); also a town in Florida; and a jazz composition, by Nat Simon and Buddy Bernier, featuring on an album by the wonderful Ahmad Jamal.
23 POSAUNE *(PANO USE), i.e. ‘piano’ minus I, and ‘use’. A German trombone.
24 PROA A Malay sailing-boat or rowing boat, esp a fast sailing-vessel with both ends alike, and a flat side with an outrigger kept to leeward. I haven’t worked out the cryptic indication for this — it reads like a straight, non-cryptic clue.
25 RUNBACK *(BAN); in RUCK = players gathering over ball (Rugby Union). The runback, in tennis, is the area behind the baseline at either end of the court.
26 SANITISE To be clued by competitors.
27 STARKERS *(STREAKS); around R = ‘middle in Lord’s’. I always like allusions to my beloved second home, but I strongly disapprove of anyone, naked or not, violating the hallowed turf; so I hope this doesn’t get the popular vote as favourite clue.
28 STIR Double definition (and a much-used one in crosswords, too).
29 STONK KNOTS reversed. Good word.
30 TAGS TA = thank you (‘cheers’); G&S.
31 TINGLY TIN = metal, for U in ‘ugly’.
32 TRIMTAB RIM = edge; in BATT reversed. A tab or aerofoil on an aircraft or boat, that can be adjusted in mid-passage to trim the craft.
33 TROUT Another one where I am stuck on the cryptic indication; I thought it might somehow involve ‘half-truth’, ‘half’ being a measure of drink, but I can’t make a compound anagram or anything similar.
34 TWIN AXIS WIN = success; in *(TAXIS). The axis of symmetry of a twin crystal.
35 WHIRRET *(I THREW R). A blow; to give a sharp blow to.
36 YARN-DYED *(REY DANDY) — i.e. ‘grey dandy’ minus G (= good).

8 Responses to “Azed 1901: Jigsaw”

  1. Richard Heald says:

    3 is indeed an & lit., playing on the phrase ‘crook the elbow’, which in Chambers means ‘to drink alcohol, esp to excess’. This is an exceptionally clever clue, I think, with both ‘crooked’ and ‘inebriate’ having different pronunciations in surface and cryptic readings – indeed, it won F.R. Palmer 2nd prize in Azed Competition No. 161.

    The wordplay in 24 is simply PRO (on the side of) + A (it).

    The reasoning behind 33 is ‘a litre’ with tr out = ‘a lie’.

  2. Richard Heald says:

    Clue 23 was my favourite too, highlighting Azed’s ability to choose exactly the right anagrind for the job.

  3. bridgesong says:


    I also had difficulty explaining ANCON and TROUT, so additional thanks to Richard for his explanations.

    I’m due, I think, to blog this week’s puzzle, so just a note that there is at present no link to it from the crossword index page on the Guardian website, but you can reach it by using the search facility and entering Azed 1902.

  4. George says:

    I haven’t been trying Azed for very long, but this was a really fun solve. I had only about half of the answers before starting on the jigsaw part (and was worried that half the grid was going to start with C making it difficult). CAPOTTED, TWINAXIS and EXITANCE got me started and helped narrow down the other possibilities.

  5. Peter Biddlecombe says:

    I found this really tough, and had about 3 goes at fitting in answers before doing so correctly. My preferred method for jigsaws is to solve most (or ideally all) of the clues of a particular word-length which intersect – such as the 8s in this grid. Alternatively, if you get two answers with a rare letter like X, you can gamble that they intersect at that letter.

  6. Robin Gilbert says:

    On 3, “One’s” is, I suppose, required to make the definition work, but I still don’t see what part it legitimately plays in the wordplay / subsidiary indication. Surely, in a true &lit, every word should play a part simultaneously in both definition and subsidiary indication?

  7. Wil Ransome says:

    I rather agree with Robin. Strictly speaking it isn’t quite an &lit. But it’s something like one – a semi &lit.?

  8. Richard Heald says:

    Re ANCON, I agree that ‘One’s’ is the weak link of the clue, but if one interprets it as ‘One has’ in the cryptic reading, I think it just about passes muster.

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