Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 1918 – an enigma

Posted by bridgesong on March 8th, 2009


An enjoyable puzzle with some interesting words but with two clues which have defeated me. Favourite clue is 11 across.

2 COMPTE RENDU MP in COTE, which is an old word for quote, + *UNDER. I’ve no idea what this French term is doing in Chambers.
10 LOBI L(atin) + OBI, which is a West African fetish or charm. Lobi is the plural form of lobus, which means lobe.
11 MANIAC MAN + 1 AC(ross). A quite brilliant self-referential clue.
13 ARVAL LAVRA reversed. I’ve a feeling we’ve seen ARVAL recently, in a non-competition puzzle.
14 COMITIA OMIT 1 in CA(ses)
15 PRELATE P + RELATE, formerly known as the Marriage Guidance Council.
17 PIR Initial letters of Pre-eminent Islamic Reverends. It’s an honorific title given to Muslim religious leaders.
18 AMUSEMENT MEN in A MUSET, or musit, a Shakespearean term for a gap in a fence.
20 ACCABLE The word play is obvious enough, although some setters might take the view that the initial additional “m” should also appear in the answer. Does anyone have any views on this? The word itself is another French term.
23 RYE-ROLL A compound anagram; take the letters of “sir” from “silly error” and you get an anagram of the answer, which means, according to Chambers, “a dark treacly cookie, understood not to be of rye”.
25 CATERWAUL *RAT WE in CAUL. This splendid onomatopoeic word can be traced back as early as Chaucer.
27 LAB LAB(our). One of four three-letter words, all fully checked, in this puzzle.
29 BUNRAKU BUN (which can mean a rabbit) + RAKU, a type of Japanese pottery (for an example, see here). It’s a form of Japanese puppet theatre. This clue was wrongly numbered as 28 in the newspaper version.
30 AMASSES AM (Ave Maria, or Hail Mary) + ASSES, the plural form of as, an old Roman coin and a favourite word for setters. This clue was badly mangled in the version printed in the newspaper.
32 TUBER *BRUTE. An easy anagram, and the first clue I solved (after first checking that the singular word can mean the plural form given in the clue.
33 WALIAN LAW (rev) + IAN. Usually, as Chambers makes clear, prefixed by North or South.
34 GORY GO + RailwaY.
35 CHANCELLERY CHANC(e) + ELLERY, as in Ellery Queen, the US crime writer.
1 CLAPPERCLAW CLAP PER CLAW. To claw can mean to tear, but the clue says “with a tear”, which seems a little loose to me. It is another splendid old word, dating back to the late 16th century.
2 CORRIE This clue had me completely fooled; I wasted a lot of time looking vainly for an arrangement of even-numbered letters that would fit the available space. As well as being a geological term for a recess formed by a glacier, it is of course also the name by which Coronation Street is known to the faithful.
4 PALAMPORE The competition word.
6 RAM RAM(us). Ram is a word that can mean a ship’s beak, the pointed bit at the front which is used to strike the hull of an enemy vessel. However ramus means a barb or a branch. I wonder if there is a misprint in the clue?
7 ENIGMAS I admit to puzzlement. There are two anagrams of the solution in the clue, but I cannot derive a definition from “batting repeatedly”. Any suggestions?
8 NITRE Hidden (and reversed) in pertinacity.
9 DAIS Another compound anagram: take “or” from “radio’s” to get the anagram.
12 CANTERBURYS CANT + *BUYERS + R. The derivation of the term, according to Sheraton is that an order for such an item was placed “by the bishop of that see”.
19 CREMSIN MERC (rev.) on SIN. The last clue I solved, and I can now see that it is obviously an old form of crimson.
26 TRA-LA Hidden in extra Latin
28 AMAH I confess to being stumped by this one. I did originally insert AYAH, but that’s wrong. Can anyone help with the wordplay?
31 SAC SAC(k). An obscure legal term (even to me, and I’m a lawyer) meaning a transfer of feudal rights to the lord of the manor.

9 Responses to “Azed 1918 – an enigma”

  1. Richard Heald says:

    7 Dn is a (to my mind rather loose) & lit. with a cricketing theme. This one reminded me very much of Brian Greer’s classic clue to ENIGMA VARIATIONS: “Terrific score that could bring me gain in game”.

    The wordplay for 28 Dn is AMAH(l), which eluded me for a long time until I typed ‘AMAH’ in Wikipedia and came across Amahl and the Night Visitors, a one-act opera by Gian Carlo Menotti which was first performed in 1951 and is now (apparently) “a popular Christmas classic”.

    Like you, I thought ‘bark’ in 6 Dn might be a misprint of ‘barb’.

  2. PaulD says:

    I believe “batting repeatedly” is just an indicator for multiple anagrams.

    Ah, that popular Christmas classic that I have never heard of. Not the same as “Emil and the Detectives” I suppose.

    Ditto on 6 dn Things are getting very sloppy over the last few weeks.

    I did like 11 ac.

    I think 20 ac. is fair enough (for seasoned Azed solvers). I always wonder with such clues whether it indicates the addition or subtraction of a duplicated letter.

  3. Andrew says:

    In 20ac I think there’s nothing wrong with “m-message” = “c-cable”. It doesn’t always work this way though – sometimes it would be “m-cable” (or something along the same lines that was actually part of a word).

    1dn – it could be “a tear” = “per claw”, (as in “50p a pound”=”50 per pounds”), with “with” being just a joining word.

    “Amahl and the Night Visitors” has been shown on television around Christmas a few times, though not in recent years, I think. The “Night Visitors” are the Magi, who call at the boy Amahl’s house on their way to visit baby Jesus.

  4. Wil Ransome says:

    The comp. anag. at 9dn: this seems perfectly OK to me, in fact rather a good clue. But isn’t Azed breaching his own regulations? He tells us that we should have some sort of break or linking word between the two parts to be anagrammed, yet here there is none. I think I have it right: the letters of [dais or] being the same as the letters of [radio's].

    I cannot see why Azed makes this requirement: in a normal anagram clue part of the setter’s art is to meld it all together as seamlessly as possible. Why should it be any different with a comp. anag.? Once I asked him why, suggesting he devote part of a slip to the reason. But he hasn’t done so ā€” understandable of course with all those entries to deal with. But it would be interesting if some expert who reads this could give the answer.

  5. liz says:

    Yes, I remembered Amahl and the Night Visitors from an old children’s anthology. Didn’t get 19dn, though. Azed used to be impossible for me but 15/2 has obviously sharpened me up. I really enjoy this site.

  6. Richard Heald says:

    Re Wil’s comment above: I don’t think there are any hard-and-fast rules governing the structure of composite anagrams – it just happens to be the case that the vast majority of them do contain linking material (in the form of words or punctuation) separating the two sides of the anagrammatic “equation”. The only criterion is that the syntax of the cryptic reading must be correct, and (though I don’t recall it word for word) I do remember thinking that the DAIS clue seemed perfectly fine in that respect. As another example, consider N C Dexter’s prizewinning clue to WELL-TO-DO: “It’s this Littlewoods could make you” – there is no linking material between the two sides of the anagram, but I don’t think anyone could question its grammatical soundness.

  7. Wil Ransome says:

    I absolutely agree with you, Richard. There was another example recently of a perfectly good VHC, as well as his own 9dn in this competition, that didn’t in fact obey Azed’s maxim that there must be some sort of a split. My point is that in my opinion this is fine, but why has he so often said in his slips that there should be this split?

  8. Sidey says:

    Thanks for the blog bridgesong.

    This was the first Azed I’ve really struggled with for a long time. 16d, although I could get the answer was a real baffler as ‘NUCLEATOR’ doesn’t appear in the online clue.

  9. bridgesong says:


    Yes, I see what you mean. I usually click on the link to the pdf rather than use the interactive online version; it tends to be more accurate. In this case it did include nucleator.

    Incidentally, Wil Ransome’s query about the rules for compound anagrams has led to an interesting discussion on the Crossword Centre’s message board – there’s a link from the bar at the top of the page.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

eight − = 7