Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 1927 – Spoonerisms

Posted by Andrew on May 10th, 2009


I knew this special was coming because, unusually, Azed told us about it in the monthly Slip from the previous competition. It’s a format that he invented, and it crops up from time to time. I’ve marked A or C against the numbers to indicate the type of clue – A where a Spoonerism of the answer is defined, and C where the definition itself is “distorted by a Spoonerism”, as the rubric puts it. Type C clues are often fairly easy to spot, after which they become as easy or hard to solve as normal clues; type A can be trickier, as what is defined is usually not a standard word or phrase, and sometimes is just two unrelated words. I think this, along with the fact that in type A there is no definition of the answer, is a bit of a flaw in the format. Nevertheless, this was an enjoyable, if challenging, puzzle. There are a couple of places where I’m not sure I’ve got the Spoonerism right – enlightenment welcomed.

Key: * = anagram, < = reverse

9C. LION coil rat/royal cat (POISON ALL less A SLOP)* – Spoonerisms are also prone to queries about pronunciation: “coil” and “royal” don’t quite match in my accent.
11A. KETONES tee cones K ETON E S
13A. LEONINE neo line LEO + NINE – a word familiar to those who did the Brendan puzzle in the Guardian last week. “Inspiring number” is presumably a reference to the nine Muses.
14C. SEMINOLES Greek croup/Creek group E in (LEMNOS IS)*. Wikipedia tells me that the Seminole include the Creek Nation.
15C. MIA narrows fame/Farrow’s name hidden
16A. TRIFID frighted (IF in DIRT)< or IF in DIRT<
18C. EMERY boating cord/coating board M in EERY
20A. CARNET nar(?) cay CAR + NET. Not sure about this – “cay” is an islet, and I was expecting to find a word that sounds like “nar” and means “near”, but couldn’t.
21C. RUDIES Batty noise/natty boys RU DIES – members of “a youth movement wearing smart clothes”.
24C. MESNE griddle mound/middle ground hidden
28C. SEA EAR Sell short/shell sort E A in SEAR
30C. EIK What’s skating/Scots waiting(?) hidden rev. Another one I’m not sure about – EIK is a Scots form of “eke”, but I don’ see the connection with “waiting” (or “weighting”?)
31A. PEAK LOADS poke leads (A LAD SPOKE)*
32A. ALLY-TOR tally ore ALLY, TOR
33A. NOSE-LED lows ned (DELE SON)<
34C. RO-RO panel chortle/channel portal “row row” – with references to knitting and ferries.
1A. CLUSTER-BEAN bluster keen BRUTES* in CLEAN
2A. ROOMIE moo ree MOOR< IE “Ree” is a (Scottish) enclosure for sheep.
3C. ICENI Bold writs/old brits ICE NI – a rather borderline Spoonerism
4A. GENLOCKS john lex GEN (genitive case) + (dread)LOCKS
5C. STIES Peg pins/pig pens Sty is an obsolete word for “mount”
6. TONSURE The competition word
7A. ONE-MAN wan mun (NAME NO)< cf name rank and number. “wan” is an obsolete form of the past tense of win (“got old”), and “mun” a dialect form of “man” (“country fellow”)
8C. NERINE bled rooms/red blooms ER in NINE
10C. INERM Fine spree/spine-free cf MINER
12A. SCATTERSHOT shatter scot SCAT + REST* + HOT
17A. DISMAYER dace mere MAY in DRIES*
22C. UKIYO-E I’ll start/style art UK I(vor)Y O(palin)E
23C. DIKAST cat in old sort’s/sat in old court’s DIKAS T. Sometimes the Spoonerisms involve a longer phrase.
25A. SEADOG Dis sog ADO in SEG. “Dis” (which needs to be pronounced as “deece”) is Hell, the “damn place”.
26A. NADIR day near D in NAIR
27C. BELLE mare fade/fair maid BELL (=roar) + (rac)E
29C. ELOPE One array/run away POLE + E

17 Responses to “Azed 1927 – Spoonerisms”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Andrew
    Thanks for what must have been a difficult blog to write.

    16a I had the Spoonerism as ‘frited’

    20a I think this must be nr = near since ‘nr’ could be pronounced ‘nar’

    30a is ‘weighting’ as in ‘eke’ or ‘adding to’ (eg the London Weighting Allowance applied to salaries, if there still is one).

  2. Robin Gilbert says:

    20A is, I think, NARRE CAY, “narre” being an obsolete comparative of “nigh”, while “near” was originally, acc. to Chambers, itself a comparative of “nigh”. All a bit convoluted, but I think it works, just.

  3. Robin Gilbert says:

    16A I too had assumed that the spoonerism was FRITTED, since I thought that the first ‘i’ of “trifid” was short, but I now see on checking that it can be either short or long, while “frit” is given only as an adjective, not as a verb that could have a past tense. So FRIGHTED must, surely, be the correct explanation.

    34A Isn’t it CHANNEL PORT’LL rather than PORTAL?

  4. Andrew says:

    Thanks Robin, “narre” is just the word I was looking forward. And I’m sure I meant to write “channel port’ll”, honest guv.

    On FRIGHTED/FRITTED, C says that FRIGHT as a verb is “rare”, and FRIT only as “dialect”, so I think FRIGHTED fits better.

    Gaufrid – thanks for the very plausible explanation of EIK.

  5. Eileen says:

    These heights are far too lofty for me – I don’t do this kind of puzzle but, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, do occasionally look at the blogs!

    Re ‘frit’: as A Midlander, I speak on good authority: it means ‘frightened’, as you will see if you look carefully at Chambers, observing the brackets – past participle [dialect]of ‘frighten’. There is no such verb as ‘to frit’.

  6. Wil Ransome says:

    In 25dn it seemed to me to be a bit of a stretch pronouncing ‘dis’ as ‘deece’, although I now see that it is given in c. I thought it was ‘d__ sog’, but wasn’t quite sure since although the usage I’m sure exists (as in novels that were written in the days when obscenities etc were a bit frowned on) I can’t actually find it in C.

  7. Jake says:

    I avoided this puzzle somewhat.
    Call me light weight, but this was rather strong for a puzzle for me to enjoy.
    I’m glad lots of others managed to solve it, as I only managed four answers ( with grey hairs staring to show, and a few pounds lost from thinking).

    This weeks plain looks more my kind.

    Any who, all have fun tonight.

    Thanks for the blog Andrew. – You are a brave man.

  8. Eileen says:

    Re comment 5: I’m sorry, Andrew, that sounded rather magisterial, which was not intended. I’ve no business, really, commenting on puzzles that I haven’t attempted :-) It’s just that I’ve been fascinated by the use of the word ‘frit’ since it caused such a flurry of interest when used so unexpectedly by Mrs Thatcher. To me it was just a commonplace playground insult and I thought everyone knew it.

  9. Andrew says:

    Eileen – nice to hear from you over here, and no magisteriality detected. I’m with you in associating “frit” with Mrs T. (And by the way, you should definitely have a go at Azed – because of its scrupulous fairness it’s not as difficult as it may seem, and it’s very rewarding and enjoyable when you get the knack. See Peter B’s recent “tutorials” for some hints of how to get started.)

  10. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Andrew, and, at risk of going off-topic, I have, occasionally, flirted with Azed, in a manner of speaking, and did take appreciative note of PeteB’s very useful hints. It’s not the ‘difficulty’ that puts me off but the prospect of being confronted with a majority of words that I have never encountered, nor am ever likely to meet again. That’s not my kind of puzzle – so, apologies again!

  11. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, which explains how these clues work so clearly. I am not a huge fan of Spoonerisms, so I knew this was going to be really hard for me. Got about a dozen or so out, then gave up with severe brain ache!

  12. Jake says:

    Eileen, as you already know…

    the best part of obscure words is that once you find the word, you know that that is the word to be entered. No synonyms, or alternatives. ‘chambers’ really does help in the situation, and makes it some what easier, but once found thats the one !!!

  13. Harris says:

    Many thanks for this very helpful blog. I just about managed it – took me most of a day – and enjoyed it enormously. I look forward to the responses to the clue-writing contest, which seemed to have lots of good possibilities.

  14. Richard Heald says:

    I think the spoonerism in 25Dn is ‘dee sog’, DEE(2) being a euphemism for damn, according to C.

  15. liz says:

    Richard — that’s similar to how I understood 25dn. D— (with a long dash) crops up in Victorian novels etc as a polite abbreviation for the swear word.

  16. Simon Harris says:

    Wasn’t brave enough to tackle this one :) I actually struggled to even follow the instructions, so well done to the few who managed this.

  17. mhl says:

    Thanks for the post, Andrew – we didn’t quite complete this one in time, disappointingly, and it’s nice to see explanations for the ones we didn’t get. However, as with the previous “spoonerisms” Azed puzzles I’d done, it was satisfying (and often very amusing) nonetheless…

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