Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 1904

Posted by Andrew on November 30th, 2008


A moderately difficult Azed, which I somehow found more of a slog and less of a pleasure than usual, though as always it’s scrupulously fair and there are some excellent clues.

dd = double definition
* = anagram
< = reverse

1. FLAPTRACK PART* in FLACK. Flack is an American word for a press agent or PR person – possibly, according to Chambers, from “flak”, which they perhaps have to take a lot of.
12. GURGE G URGE. A literary word for a whirlpool.
13. TOPOS TOP OS. A stock theme in literature (incidentally it’s also an advanced mathematical concept, but Chambers doesn’t give this meaning). OS is a abbreviation for outsize, meaning large, as in clothes sizes – familiar in crosswords but I don’t know if it’s still used in the clothing trade.
14. UNLICH I in LUNCH* – a form of “unlike” used by Spenser.
15. TEMENE MEN in TEE – plural of “temenos”, meaning a shrine or sacred place. TEE here is “the umbrella-shaped finial of a dagoba”, and a dagoba is Sri Lankan shrine.
19. HERBOSE HE SOBER*. While I have no wish to defend the nonsense of homeopathy, it’s not exactly “abounding with herbs”, as ChambersAzed defines this word – in fact according to practitioners the less abounding, the more effective.
20. SWAPT (T PAWS)<. “Thailand” usually suggests “Siam”, but in this case the IVR (International Vehicle Registration) is needed.
22. AROID O in ARID – the definition “perennial” is an adjective: AROID is an adjectival form of “arum” (as in the lily).
24. CRACKLE R in CACKLE &lit. I think Rooks make a crackling sound, though I can’t find a reference for this.
26. RACK 3 defs: Chambers has 8 main meaning for RACK, including three used here: (1) instrument of torture (“stretcher”); (3) to draw off from the lees; and (4, among a variety of alternatives) a horse’s bones – which a knacker’s yard would have plenty of.
29. INCAVI INCA VI(king)
30. LEVANT VAN in LET. “Unacceptable service” as in tennis. LEVANT means to decamp, or “bolt”
33. NERKA R in NEK + A – obscure words but simple wordplay
34. MALEDICENT MALE + CE in DINT. Dint is the same word as in the phrase “by dint of”, but here in an archaic sense of “blow” or “stroke”.
35. MESENTERY SENT in MEER + (ha)Y. Delightfully defined as “a fold of the peritoneum, keeping the intestines in place.” “Meer” or “mir” is “a peasant farming commune in pre-Revolutionary Russia”, and one of the definitions of “send” in Chambers is “to pitch into the trough of the sea”.
1. FUGU FUG + U(niversal). A fug is a stuffy atmosphere, as might be found in a crowded pub. Chambers adds “often smoky”, which isn’t true of pubs any more – hooray! Fugu is the fish that is a valued but dangerous delicacy in Japan, as it has some highly poisonous parts.
2. LOUNDER LO UNDER – a Scottish word (it’s just struck me that we seem to have had fewer than usual in thius puzzle) defined as “beat” (as a verb) or “a heavy blow”: either of which could be defined by “wallop”.
3. PIG IT Change D to P in DIGIT
4. RACHISCHISIS CHIS twice in RAIS(e) – a form of Spina Bifida.
5. ANOTHER PLACE THORPE* in ANLACE. Members of the House of Commons refer to the House of Lords an “another place” (and maybe vice versa). Jeremy Thorpe was leader of the old Liberal Party from 1967 to 1976 and was involved in a scandal in which he put on trial for conspiring to murder a former (male) lover. He was acquitted, so be careful what you make of the surface reading…
6. CITESS CI TESS. Ci is the abbreviation for the “curie”, which is a unit of radioactivity, named of course after Marie and Pierre, and the tragic heroine is Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles.
8. STONE T(alkies) in SONE + 2 definitions – “gem”, and the director Oliver Stone.
9. DESERTER DES TERRE*. A deserter is one who bunks. I’m a bit hazy on the details of German grammar, but I’m sure DES is one of the genitive versions of the definite article, hence “of the”.
11. SECCO S ECCO. In a rather multilingual section of the puzzle, ECCO Italian for “behold” or “here is”, and a secco (Italian for “dry”) is a painting on dry plaster, i.e. a type of fresco. (Incidentally, an Italian once told me that the expression “al fresco”, in the sense of “outside”, is not used in Italy.)
16. CHARISMA “Char is Ma” Let’s quickly pass over any suggestion of sexism here…
21. PLONKER dd – those of a delicate disposition look away now. PLONKER can be “a smacking kiss”, which is “more than a peck”, but also slang for the penis, as is “pecker”.
23. DIVIDE I twice in DVD + E
25. AGENE hidden
27. ANTAR Comp anag &lit – (MIRANDA SAT – DIM AS)*. A Shakesperian word for a cave – which Caliban has one of in The Tempest, and entices Miranda there (I think – experts please put me right).
31. TAKY KATY* – nice, with the sense related to “taking to” someone.

8 Responses to “Azed 1904”

  1. Chris Lance says:

    35. MESENTERY SENT in MER + (ha)Y.

    I couldn’t work out where the “farming commune” fits in, and I still can’t. I can’t find MER in Chambers, and in any case it looks as though it should be MEER. But neither of the meanings of that word is helpful either.

  2. Andrew says:

    Chris – yes, MER was a typo in the blog. Now fixed, and I’ve expanded the explanation.

  3. Richard Heald says:

    I’m pretty certain Azed has misdefined MEER in 35Ac. Chambers gives MEER(2) as a variant spelling of MIR(2), meaning ‘a Muslim ruler’, whereas it’s actually MIR(1) that’s defined as the farming commune. Suggests Azed hasn’t learnt his lesson after RUSA-gate last month!

  4. Andrew says:

    Richard, I think you’re right; I actually made a mental note to check that very point when writing up the blog, and then forgot to do so. Strange for two such similar mistakes to occur in close succession.

  5. bridgesong says:

    Andrew, I think that 5 down, with its reference to daggers, is even more subtle than it first appears. On July 13, 1962 Harold Macmillan sacked seven members of his cabinet in an attempt to regain his waning political popularity. The incident became known as the Night of the Long Knives ( a reference to an earlier incident in pre-war Nazi Germany). Jeremy Thorpe famously commented: “greater love hath no man than this, that he should lay down his friends for his life”.

  6. Andrew says:

    Thanks, Bridgesong. I knew the quote but didn’t realise that it came from Jeremy Thorpe.

  7. Max says:

    While trying to confirm 15ac, a Google search threw up the fact that Azed 1711 had previously clued it as:

    Pieces inserted into finial for sacred precincts

    I was a bit quicker this week, and less mistakes – progress!

  8. Alan O'Brien says:

    I also had the MIR MEER problem; but it didn’t bother me too much. I know that Azed is a lexicographer who does a lot of his clues from memory, and somethimes he makes minor mistakes, as here.

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