Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 1938: Sister act

Posted by jetdoc on July 26th, 2009


Apologies for the late posting — this has been an unusually busy week, including the small matter of celebrating an England test victory at Lord’s; I have also been working on information about one of the main anti-flu medicines, so ‘deadline’ had a whole new meaning.

I managed to complete most of this between overs on Sunday, but then got a bit stuck on two or three clues. I still don’t understand 14a, though I would simply have written it in without question had I not been blogging it. Favourite clue has to be 6d, for its wordplay.

1 SCAMBLING-DAYS AMBLING = strolling; D = daughter; in S CAYS = southern islets. Days of makeshift meals in Lent.
11 PURULENT RULE = principle; in PUNT = gambling bet. Like matter, in the sense of pus.
13 HERS ‘Mother’s’, without ‘mot’ (a word; a pithy or witty saying). Bathroom towels might be inscribed ‘his’ and ‘hers’ (if you like that kind of thing).
14 TRITIDE I’D = I had; in TRITE = used until novelty and interest are lost; hackneyed. A compound of tritium with another element or radical.
15 MASK Presumably this is correct, though I can’t work out the wordplay. It looks like a compound anagram, but of what? ‘Element of disguise mask’ is an anagram of ‘kiss mug of neediest male’, or, more controversially, ‘kiss fatigued mole semen’, but not ‘kiss from young lady’. Thanks to Gaufrid for his explanation — simple, really!
16 IMAGES ‘I’m ages’.
17 SABKHA Anagram of ‘Arab sheikh’ minus ‘hire’. A broad, salt-encrusted coastal plain, above the level of normal tides and subjected to only occasional flooding, common in Arabia.
19 REEN ‘Ne’er’ backwards. ‘Rhine’ and ‘reen’ are alternative spellings of the same word, meaning a ditch or watercourse.
21 SLAMMING STILE *(mangle’s limits). The upright member of a doorcase against which the door shuts and into which the bolt of a rim lock engages.
24 AITU IT in AU = gold. In Polynesia, a demigod
25 AMPLER ‘Sampler’ (a test-piece of embroidery, commonly including an alphabet, with figures, names, etc.) without its first letter.
28 JOSTLE ST = street; in JOLE = dialect word meaning a knock.
30 VEIN Hidden in ‘preserve incisors’. A fissure or cavity.
31 ABIOTIC AB = sailor (able-bodied seaman); I; ‘cito’ (quickly) backwards.
32 PYET *(type). A magpie in Scotland.
33 DIES IRAE DESIRE = wish; with I = one, and A (’a) = all, in symmetrical positions. Day of wrath, a thirteenth century Latin hymn describing the day of judgement.
34 DETERIORATING DETER = prevent; I = one; ORATING = speaking. This clue is numbered ‘24’ on the PDF.
2 CUE BALL *(lac blue). The white ball is the one struck by the cue in snooker, billiards, etc.
3 MUSAK A in MUSK. Musak, a non-standard spelling of Muzak®, is supposed to be soothing, but often has the opposite effect.
4 BLASH S in BLAH. Scottish word meaning ‘a dash or splash of liquid or semi-liquid; battering rain; watery stuff’.
5 LEEK ‘Keel’ (a poetic term for a ship) backwards. A national emblem of Wales.
6 INTERNUNCIO *(nun in erotic). A messenger between two parties; the Pope’s representative at minor courts. I like ‘flicks’ as an anagram indicator.
7 GRIMES Peter Grimes is an opera by Benjamin Britten, with a libretto adapted by Montagu Slater from the Peter Grimes section of George Crabbe’s poem The Borough. Captain Grimes, ‘an unrepentant pederast, bigamist and drunk’, is a character in Evelyn Waugh’s novel Decline and Fall, the protagonist of which is Paul Pennyfeather.
8 DOTANT DOT = limp (intransitive verb); AN = one; T = little time. Shakespearean word for a foolish person.
9 ABIGAIL ‘A big ail’. An old word for a lady’s-maid.
10 YODE Y = unknown (quantity); ODE = poem. Past tense of ‘yead, yede or yeed’, to go or proceed (Spenser)
11 PHOSSY JAW *(Pshaw joy’s). Phosphorus necrosis of the jaw is an occupational disease of those who work with white phosphorus, also known as yellow phosphorus, without proper safeguards. It was most commonly seen in workers in the match industry in the 19th and early 20th century.
12 DESPERATE *(speed); RATE.
18 BASSIST B = leader of band; ASSIST = support. &lit.
20 PLEBEAN [H]ELP reversed; BEAN = head. Shakespearean spelling of ‘plebeian’.
22 MATOKE ATOK, a species of skunk; in ME. Plantain in Uganda.
23 MILTER *(I’m let); R = a bit of roe. A male fish, especially in the breeding season.
26 MENSA Star group = one of the southern constellations, the Table; bright lot = an international organization, founded in the UK in 1946, open to people with a high IQ rating (and no proper friends). MEN = chaps; SA = sex appeal (in crosswords, anyway).
27 PIPIT PI = private investigator (‘busy’ can mean a detective); in PIT = bed. Any member of a lark-like genus (Anthus) of birds related to wagtails.
29 OBOE [H]OBO; E = end of fence. A double-reed treble woodwind instrument; an organ stop of similar tone.
30 VEER Double definition — to pay out (cable, etc), to slack; to change direction, to shift round in direction or in mental attitude.

10 Responses to “Azed 1938: Sister act”

  1. liz says:

    Thanks, Jetdoc. I can’t help you with MASK, I’m afraid. I think it must be right, too, but I can’t see why. Thanks for explaining 13ac, where I couldn’t see the wordplay either.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    15a ‘M as K’ gives ‘kiss’ from ‘miss’ (young lady).

  3. jetdoc says:

    Duh! Thanks, Gaufrid.

  4. liz says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid!

  5. Chunter says:

    33ac: DIES IRAE seems to be the flavour of the month (or at least of last weekend – see 5dn in Guardian 24755).

  6. Andrew says:

    I didn’t think of it when I solved the puzzle, but Captain Grimes isn’t actualy Paul’s boss in Decline and Fall. The Headmaster of the school is Dr Fagan, and Grimes is just one of the teachers masters.

  7. jetdoc says:

    The Decline and Fall reference may well be wrong — I haven’t read the book; I just found it by googling.

  8. liz says:

    Andrew — I wondered that, too.

  9. The trafites says:

    I found this pretty easy going, but it took me ages to get PIPIT as my last entry in the grid. GRIMES was pretty tough too.

  10. sidey says:

    jetdoc, your comment at 26 is unkind, but very funny.

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