Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 1970 – Plain

Posted by petebiddlecombe on March 7th, 2010


A reasonably difficult puzzle for me, taking about an hour, with Chambers used a lot. I think part of the difficulty was not getting 1A or 13D quickly. Azed seems to have errred slightly at 35A.

1 M=Monsieur,IS,TRES,SIT=brood (vb.)
11 S=section,PORE=opening – one of those Azed clues that are generous to those who take the trouble to look up the wacky word in the clue – the C def for glomerule gives you the answer on a plate
12 APPERIL – pp. = pages, in Ariel*
13 DOC=medic,IBLE=bile*
14 DIKA = rev. of “a kid”
16 TA=cheers,PEN=writer – “tapen” = made of tape
17 SORT = an attractive woman,I.E.
18 (Bela) LUGOSI – G in rev. of I,SOUL
19 PENULTIMA = (up in metal)* – it means the second to last syllable – hence “part” of “compartment” – poorish solving here as I usually manage to notice when one word in the clue is part of another
25 E(C)TYPE – I though “ectype” would meaning something like “clone”, but it’s just a synonym for “copy”
27 ANKLET – hidden word
29 D(A),LIT – another name for harijan = untouchable
31 (Nancy) DREW – Drew is also a version of Andrew. “Nancy Drew” sounded vaguely familiar but that was it. Mrs B identified her as some kind of detective – she turns out to have been invented for American children/teens in 1930, and has mutated in various ways since – she now uses a cell phone. Wikipedia also tells me that she’s been in 2 TV shows, 5 films, and some computer games.
33 ENTE(r),TEE(thing) – entetée = infatuated (also opinionated, but I don’t think that applies to Madame Bovary)
34 A(GO=progress (vb.))NY
35 SEED-OYSTER =(nearly) (eyed rosters)* – there’s one R too many in the anagram fodder and I can’t see anything in the clue to justify this. “Morse” here is a walrus, and I’m going to make a lazy guess that Lewis Carroll’s “The Walrus and the Carpenter” confirms oyster consumption
3 SOCA = (A calypso – play)* – here the old solving instincts noticed that the letters of PLAY were a subset of those in A CALYPSO. See comment 18 from Bullfrog for a bit more.
4 T.(RIS=rev. of Sir)T.
5 REBOIL – EB = rev. of be, in ROIL – “To last, stock must regularly” is one of those “Verb phrase for which the answer can be the subject” defs which Azed allows.
6 SPELL,I,CAN – a rather unhelpful variant of “spillikin”
7 SPUTUM = gob – PUT=set, in SUM (vb.) = TOT (you could get it from tot. = total = sum, but that’s a non-Chambers abbreviation)
8 TRIP,OLI=oil* – tripoli = diatomite, which is confirmed by C as the right kind of deposit
9 YIKES – I in Esky* – in this Aussie special, a yike is an argument, and an Esky is a container for keeping your cans of Castlemaine XXXX chilled
13 DISP=dips*,REDDEN=blush – dispredden is a Spenserian 3rd person plural of dispread = spread
15 RETREADED = (dated RR, ee)*
21 STE(L)EN,(ston)E – I’d wrongly guessed at STE(L,E)NE as the wordplay
23 AP(TOT)E – an aptote is an indeclinable noun. I guessed at the grammatical meaning of “decline” but had trouble with the rest
24 A(NY)WAY – C confirms the unlikely-looking away=continuously
26 CAR(N)Y – this suggests that Azed still does the Times puzzle, as {Grant = Cary} has been quite fashionable there recently
28 KINGS – double def
30 RIOT = a lot of fun – the “chamber piece”, with “start to finish”, is a trio

21 Responses to “Azed 1970 – Plain”

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the blog Peter. I agree with you about the error in 35ac – I initially guessed the non-existent REED-OYSTER here until I counted the letters.

  2. Handel says:

    Circumstances meant that this was our first solve with only C, no Bradford etc. Very pleased to finish, with the faulty clueing at 35 making that the last to go in. Aside from that this was a very enjoyable puzzle. Will remember ‘penultima’, not the first time a word of this type has created a good penny-dropping moment.

  3. Jake says:

    Didn’t manage to finish this – due trying my hand at Inquisitor 1115 and Spectator 1953 !

    However, I rather enjoyed ‘apperil’ and especially ‘yikes’, and ‘anklet’ was a
    good hidden find.

    Thanks for the blog Pete, in some ways I wish I’d stuck at this as I’d of managed to
    complete it.

    I got lucky with 35ac and placed ‘seed oyster’ in the grid without noticing the other R, but since you pointed it out I see it.

    I never would of knew !!!

  4. Andrew Kitching says:

    Yes, the Walrus ate all the oysters in the poem!

  5. David Mansell says:

    “Of” is not a verb.

  6. Peter Biddlecombe says:

    David Mansell: Peter is not a mind-reader! I don’t understand your point, despite reading through all the clues again and searching my own posting for uses of “of”. Assuming that you’re complaining about one of Azed’s clues or one of my comments about a clue, identifying the clue concerned would be a great help.

  7. David Mansell says:

    Sorry, I was complaining about Jake’s use of “of” as shorthand for “have”. It always irritates me.

  8. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Peter. I had to rely fairly heavily on various aids to finish this and got one wrong: I had TOPEN at 16ac. I also failed to notice the mistake in 35ac, but remember thinking vaguely that the anagram wasn’t quite right.

    Very surprised to see Nancy Drew in a British crossword! I was totally addicted to those stories when I was a child growing up on the other side of the pond.

  9. nmsindy says:

    Nancy Drew, by no means the first or last US TV series, to be shown this side of the pond.

  10. liz says:

    Thanks, nmsindy. The TV series passed me by. It was the books I was referring to!

  11. Jake says:

    David Mansell

    Sorry for my clumsy shorthand, I knew it was bad grammar, but still posted it – I was in a rush to
    go out for lunch!

  12. Andrew Kitching says:

    I hope fifteensquared will consider blogging AZED numbers 1, 500, 1000 and 1500 at the time of AZED 2000. It would be nice to see if the style has changed.

  13. Bob Sharkey says:

    The redundant R in 35A is an oblique reference to an ‘r’ in the month – hence ‘eyed rosters askance’. Our Morse has been eating oysters out of season.

  14. Peter Biddlecombe says:

    Andrew K: If there’s been some announcement that these previous puzzles are being reprinted for the anniversary, I’m sure we can arrange something. But I haven’t seen an announcement myself – have I missed something? (I don’t currently get the Observer)

    Bob S: Nice joke assuming you’re kidding – if Azed really meant a reference to an R in the month, I’m sure he’d have made it more explicit.

  15. Andrew Kitching says:

    No, I haven’t heard anything. I just liked what you did with The Times recently, blogging puzzles from the past.
    I’m not sure whether ‘&lit’ goes as far back as AZED number 1, but it would be nice to see it.

  16. petebiddlecombe says:


    Your best source of old Azed puzzles is collections published by Chambers. Unless someone can persuade the Guardian/Observer site to start a series of vintage puzzles, it doesn’t seem worth blogging them. Unfortunately, only the latest of the three collections is easily obtainable. For the other two, you’d need second-hand bookshops. If keen solvers buy up the remaining stock of the latest one, I guess Chambers might try a fourth book, though the chance of puzzles from 1982 to 1991 making it into a book now seems fairly slim. All three books include competition puzzles where the winning clue is given instead of a plain definition, and the winner is credited in the notes at the back.

    • Chambers Book of Azed Crosswords – 2005 – ISBN 0-550-10192-6 – on Amazon UK, covers 1992-2001. If any big anniversary puzzles are included, this is not mentioned in the introduction. It’s too late for Azed 1000 which appeared in 1991.
    • Observer Azed Crosswords – 1991 – ISBN 0-550-19032-5 – 1976-1981, includes Azed 500
    • Best of Azed Crosswords – 1989 – ISBN 0-550-19030-9 – 1972-76, includes Azed 1
  17. Andrew Kitching says:

    Peter, Many thanks. Yesterday’ s puzzle was my 12 month anniversary of being introduced to the AZED puzzles by an AZED veteran. It was hard work to start with, but now I eagerly look forward to Sundays. And, it’s helped with The Times puzzle too.

  18. Bullfrog says:

    There is another element to 3d — A calypso that rocks is just that; Soca originated when the rhythms and instrumentation of soul and funk were added to calypso. The name is a blend of Soul and Calypso.

  19. Bullfrog says:

    Peter, you have a typo at 28d: KINES should read KINGS.

  20. petebiddlecombe says:

    Thanks – appropriate changes now made.

  21. NormanHall says:


    I couldn’t find STEEN in Chambers as a well lining . Only STENE, STEAN & STEIN


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