Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 1977

Posted by petebiddlecombe on April 25th, 2010


A mostly straightforward puzzle, which I think took me around 40 minutes, with Chambers just used at the end to find the answer to 16D and correct my daft mistake at 23A. This meant that I failed to spot an overconfident wrong answer at 26 down until I wrote this report.

1 B=black,OBOL=money of old, LED=was foremost – I didn’t know the Jamaican slang “bobol” – to be involved in corruption, but the wordplay was clear and ?B?L made barred grid favourite OBOL easy to see.
7 UMMA = the Muslim equivalent of ‘Christendom’ – (Muhammad is – Mahdi’s)* – the amount of material shared between “Muhammad is” and “Mahdi’s” made this easy to spot
10 OLEAGINOUS = sycophantic – O = old, then “a gin” in louse*
11 SI(L)T – easy enough once you give up on “let” for “be a tenant” (if, like me, you think that tenants let as well as landlords – actually they don’t) – first of three clues which should be within the reach of a daily paper solver
12 UNSEAT – ea. = each in nuts*
14 STEP UP – double def
16 SURFMAN – farm* in sun = tan. I guessed wrongly that a masoolah was a surfboard and a surfman a surfer – in fact, an Indian surfboat and a skilled handler of boats in surf
17 BAL(T)I – another clue at the daily paper level
18 RED SALMON = (older man’s)* – red salmon and blueback are alternative names for the sockeye
20 PROPRIETY – (toper I)* in PRY
23 TITRE = “tighter” = ‘not so generous’. I had an optimistic stab at LITRE (with “does anyone really say it like ‘lighter’?” thoughts) until the correct answer for 16D repaired the damage. If like me you’ve never seen titre before, you might have seen titration.
24 S.C. = self-catering,ROUGE=red wine – scrouge as dialect “to crowd” was new to me but again the wordplay was easy, once I’d stopped looking for types of red wine.
27 TIMBRE = sound quality, which can be pronounced like timber = deal – beginners note that there is no deal tree – deal is just “soft wood”
29 ETYMIC = (ME city)* – the anagram fodder with its arbitrary state is easy to see, and you can see “etymic” from checking letters and related word “etymology” = word roots
30 IMAM = Muslim leader and barred grid denizen. If you’re not PM, you’re AM – or are you? In Chambers, both are only given in lower case. I’m therefore not convinced that this really works. A minor point, as my solving brain missed this point completely. But Times 24518/5D had “Has at one time to undergo cold in the morning, and PM” as a clue for CHATHAM. This uses PM in caps when p.m. would fit the surface better. I doubt Azed would want to be less fair than the not completely Ximenean Times.
31 VOLATILISE – (A from Artichoke, TIL = sesame) in olives* – I’d forgotten about TIL but had enough material from the def and anagram
32 AXE L = “cut length short” (or AXE,L = “cut, length short”, whichever you prefer) – an axel being an ice skating jump involving a switch of blades (i.e. feet) between take-off and landing
33 EYE = observe, LINER = what goes in bin – this took a while, as I saw ‘bin tears’ as possible anagram fodder
1 BUSS = a two-masted Dutch boat used for herring fishing – new to me, but the “stutter” wordplay was one of the first setter’s tricks I learned to recognise when cutting my teeth on the Guardian cryptic – the near-uncapsizable vessel being a sub, which we must stutter and then reverse. In theory, the “v-vessel” stutter wordplay could also indicate BUSV by way of v-sub, but this is implausible even if you don’t yet have the S from 14A
2 O.(B=book,IT(UAR=Egypt)IS)T. – Point of order, Chairman: The United Arab Republic was a union of Egypt and Syria. Why, in cryptic crosswords (not just Azed) is it always equated with Egypt alone?
3 BOLE=(tree) trunk, R,O from ‘rip open’.
4 LEDUM – a plant that comes up in barred grids from time to time – hidden word, with “bags” as the containment indicator
5 L(a.m., PAD=walk)IST – a lampadist is a runner in a torch race, lampad being a rare/poetic torch. Again, a new answer word but straightforward wordplay
6 DING = wallop, BAT = drunken binge
7 UNSEAL – N=indefinite number, in HOUSE without ho1 = moderation, then AL(e) = ‘endless beer’
8 MOES = some* – mow3, moe and moue are all versions of the same grimace
9 ASTRINGE = (Tangiers)* – another new answer, confirmed mentally from astringent
13 ACT OF GRACE = a favour – ACT = part of play, OFG = fog*, RACE
15 IN = a member of the party in office = “current Labour MP”,S(E.C.)TILE – similar recognition of the answer to ‘astringe’ above
16 SEPTLEVA = (TV please)* – a septleva was a sevenfold increase in the stakes in basset, a Venetian card game popular in the 18th century – but not popular enough for me to recall it from reading the excellent David Parlett on card games, so apart from my botched 23A, my only recourse to Chambers
19 (w)E(REMIT=relax)E(k) – I didn’t know the ‘recluse’ def for solitaire, but it’s easy to understand
21 P(RIM)AL – straightforward unless you guess at the old daily paper standby, first mate = EVE
22 SUBME = rev. of embus,N – if you know the original meaning of superman, ‘subman’ should be no surprise
25 R from CentauR, I, GIL = rev. of lig = lie – Rigil is a different star from Rigel, but both really share the same name, as they’re derived from the Arabic for ‘foot’. Rigel is in the foot of Orion, Rigil in the foot of Centaur, so there’s an overlap of the wordplay and “functional def” if you know enough astronomy. If not, “double star”, the def. in the cryptic reading, is just as helpful. This needed most of the checkers, as my astronomy is pretty weak
26 FYLE – Y=unkknown in reverse of ELF = “e.g. Faerie Queene”. “fyle” is a Spenserian spelling of file=line. I convinced myself that the wordplay was (L=line,Y) in ER = “e.g. Faerie Queene”, thinking that Spenser’s FQ represented Elizabeth I = ER, and not worrying too much about piddling details like what RYLE was supposed to mean.
28 EMIR – hidden in Semiramide

2 Responses to “Azed 1977”

  1. jmac says:

    Thanks for the blog Peter. This puzzle was set at a a good level for me (i.e. not very difficult). Nevertheless 33ac. was also my undoing as I entered GYLE, and I also toyed with LITRE before seeing the light.

    RE 30dn. Paul recently clued this in the Guardian as:You’re PM, but ___ (a religious leader).

    And re 33ac. just this week we had Brummie offering: Hole ship for the viewer’s enhancement.
    For me, Azed’s clueing of EYELINER was the more inventive.

  2. Andrew K says:

    30 I got from the definition. I didn’t really get the wordplay, so thanks for that.

    23 Most bacteriologists woul pronounce TITRE as ‘teeter’, rather than ‘tighter’ I think (not sure about chemists)

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