Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 1917: In a bit of a spot

Posted by jetdoc on March 1st, 2009


An Azed of average difficulty; somewhat marred, however, by three mistakes, the most serious of which is that the wrong word seems to have been clued at 26d (which, in the grid, is labelled 28) — presumably, the clue should have been for STEDD rather than STEDS (both obsolete forms of ‘stead’). This held me up for a while, as nothing fitted at 34a. Also, the letter count for 12a is given as 8, when it should be 7.

I think the favourite clue this week has to be 21a.

1 GUB ‘Bug’ (= enthusiast) reversed. A Scottish word for mouth.
4 OLD FUSTIC *(could fits). According to Wikipedia, the Old Fustic (Morus tinctoria) is a medium to large tree of the New World rainforests. It comes from India and Africa. It produces a yellow dye and is primarily known for providing the khaki dye for US military apparel during WWI. It is not to be confused with Young Fustic (Rhus cotinus) from southern Europe and Asia, which provides a more fugitive (sic)colour.
12 OPEN AIR *(in opera). Seven letters, rather than the 8 stated.
13 TAISH *(wood) + A. ‘Wood’, in the sense of ‘mad; fierce, furious’, is the anagram indicator. In the Scottish Highlands, a taish is an apparition or voice, esp of someone about to die; second-sight.
14 STRAMMEL S = ‘is’, reduced; a trammel is a net. Strammel is ‘straw; hence, hair’.
15 SOLI ‘Solid’ minus D. Plural of ‘solo’.
16 PANTS Double definition
18 EUCARYOTE ‘cue’ (= tail) reversed; a ryot (in the Indian subcontinent, a peasant or tenant farmer). Eukaryotes (the more usual spelling) are organisms with membrane-bound cell nuclei. This doesn’t actually make them superior to prokaryotes; just more complex.
19 PHYOTOTOXIN *(hotty) in POX; IN = concerned with.
21 BONKBUSTER ‘knob’ (a small group of wildfowl), reversed; a buster is an old slang word meaning ‘frolic’. A bonkbuster is, according to Chambers, ‘a novel, film, etc featuring frequent and graphic scenes of sexual intercourse’, such as the works of Jackie Collins.
25 REST ROOM RE = concerning; *(motors).
28 ICTIC Hidden in ‘neuralgic ticker’. Adjective from ‘ictus‘, rhythmical or metrical stress in contradistinction to the usual stress of a word in prose, etc.
30 DELI ‘I led’, reversed. One might buy fine feta in a deli, but I’m not sure where ‘from Greek island? Not one’ fits in. There’s an island called Delos, where the Delia were celebrated. As ever, Richard has explained this.
31 THIAZOLE AZ = Azed (‘I’); in *(eolith). A colourless, highly volatile liquid (C3H3NS) closely resembling pyridine.
32 EK DUM *(Duke); M = married. Hindi phrase, meaning ‘at once’.
33 ENTERAL ENTER = admit; A L = a learner driver. Relating to, within, or by way of the intestine.
34 REDSTREAK R = recipe; in RED STEAK. An apple with streaked skin. (The D does not check with the down answer.)
35 YND First letters of ‘Young nabobs, doubtless’. Spenser‘s version of ‘Ind’, short for India, where nabobs may have amassed their fortunes.
1 GOSSIP WRITER *(gripes so); around WRIT. Nigel Dempster was a gossip columnist in the Daily Express, Daily Mail and (until he fell out with them) Private Eye.
2 UP TOP *(put); OP = work.
3 BERLEY Australian word meaning ‘bait, groundbait; leg-pulling, humbug’, which sounds like ‘burly’
5 LAMB LA = Los Angeles, where Hollywood is; MB = Bachelor of Medicine. Reference to the film, The Silence of the Lambs.
6 DIM-OUT Hidden in ‘sound I mouthed’.
7 FRESCO ‘Fries’ and ‘cod’, with I and D removed. A mode of painting on walls covered with damp freshly-laid plaster (true fresco), or partly-dried plaster (dry fresco or fresco secco); a picture painted in this way.
8 SAFARIST SAT = brooded; *(fairs).
9 TINNY Double definition. A tinny (or tinnie), in Australia and NZ, is a can of beer.
10 ISOTONE IS ONE; containing TO = until. One of a number of nuclides having the same number of neutrons in the nucleus with differing numbers of protons.
11 CHESTERFIELD CHESTED = packed in a box; *(rifle). A long overcoat.
17 STOTIOUS SOUS[e] = ‘soak endlessly’; TOT = dram; I.
20 HOECAKE *(hackee O). A thin cake of ground maize (originally baked on a hoe-blade).
22 KOSHER KO = stunner; HER = the lady’s; R = number one in ritziness.
23 BOVINE BONE = tot (‘a bone; anything retrieved from a dustbin, rubbish heap, etc.’); VI = six. Of or relating to cattle; stupid, dull.
24 THEORY HE = chap; O = duck; TRY = test. Speculation as opposed to practice.
26 STEDS Hidden in ‘worsted slacks’. ‘Sted’ and ‘stedd’ (which should have been clued here) are obsolete forms of ‘stead’, which can mean a position or situation, as can ‘spot’.
27 ALLAN AN = tank’s interior; ‘all’, reversed. Reference to Allan Sherman, the Jewish American musician, parodist, satirist and television producer.
29 KATA KAT = the chief ancient Egyptian unit of weight, 1/50lb avoirdupois; on A. In karate, a formal sequence of practice exercises and movements.

7 Responses to “Azed 1917: In a bit of a spot”

  1. Alan O'Brien says:

    There were loads of good words, as usual. I think this is the first time I have seen 3-letter words in an Azed, and I’ve been doing them a couple of years. Unfortunately I put in STRUMMEL without really thinking about it.

    Thanks for the blog! Very good.

  2. Richard Heald says:

    In 30 Ac, the ‘from Greek island? Not one’ part is a second piece of wordplay, i.e. DELIAN minus AN.

  3. jetdoc says:

    Doh! Thanks, Richard.

  4. Peter Biddlecombe says:

    I don’t think 3-letter words are that rare. 1918 has a couple. I think you can chalk up another minor error – At 2D, UP TOP didn’t get “(2 words)”.

  5. bridgesong says:

    A very comprehensive blog, as always. OPEN AIR was shown as a 7 letter word in the version printed in the paper.

    But what about this week’s puzzle? One clue omitted altogether (this is in the paper version again) and another apparently truncated (I haven’t finished solving it yet).

  6. Richard Heald says:


    In this week’s puzzle I don’t think any clues have been omitted, but one clue (29 Ac) has been misnumbered, another (30 Ac) has been badly mistyped (although nothing seems to be missing), and there’s one I don’t understand at all and so I’ll have to keep my fingers crossed that I’ve got it right! Otherwise everything seems to be OK.

  7. Sidey says:

    Nice blog jetdoc.

    22 KOSHER is presumably KO + SHE + R. The apostrophe in lady’s not indicating genitive but lady is. Rereading the clue the apostrophe ess could be replaced with a comma.

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