Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 1985

Posted by John on June 20th, 2010


The usual pleasurable experience. All the clues are utterly sound and you know you’ll get there in the end, even if the progress is a bit slow. The words are — in this crossword it seems exceptionally — incredibly difficult and one spends ages wading through Chambers. Often one knows what the answer must be but simply doesn’t know words along the way.

1 SCUMBAG — (bum)* in scag — had always thought it was skag, but Chambers gives this as an alternative spelling
6 BEMAD — the definition is ‘The old send dotty’ and it’s b (dame)rev. — P.D. James is a Dame
11 QUARRY TILE — (quality err)* — a quarry tile is unglazed, so it’s rough
12 MO(UNSEE{n})R — a Frenchman — mor is a layer of humus — is Azed being marginally offensive here, or is there something I don’t quite see?
13 F(AI)RY — a fairy is an enchantress, one of whose definitions is (fem) a sorcerer or magician
14 ‘S PICA — ‘s is is shortened and a spica is ‘in birds, a spur’
15 UNCO OL{d} — uncool is dated, and one of the several Scottish meanings of unco is ‘a piece of news’
16 PeTRI MERcifully and a trimer is something in Chemistry, as is a polymer
18 CASE MATE — a casemate is ‘any bombproof vaulted chamber or an armoured compartment eg in a ship’
20 RECAPTOR — ca in (porter)*
25 A P OGEE — the apogee is the point in the orbit furthest from the earth
29 pulL ON GEe-gee — a nice hidden & lit., for a longe is a long rope used in horse-training
30 ZE(RD)A — of course the maize is Zea, a genus, and a Zerda is a fennec, which is a little African fox with large ears — as everyone knows.
31 PALATIAL — pal (Itala)*
32 STENOPAEIC — I can see pot)* — well it was obvious what the anagram was, but the answer was less than obvious
33 SERGE — (egres{s})rev. — serge is a strong twilled fabric and it’s egress in the verbal sense, which is of course there
34 HYACINE — (an icy)* in HE — hyacine is a Spenserian version of hyacinth (the stone) — Azed signposts this with the word ‘antique’
1 CheongSAM (FUll-length)
2 CHOANAE — (each no{se})* about a — choanae have the expected zoological definition
3 MUNRO-BAGGING — (born)rev. in mugging — the Munros are mountains over 3000 feet and Munro-baggers are keen to climb them all — originally Scottish, but now also English, Irish and Welsh
4 AREOLA — (role)* in AA — an areola is the red bit round the nipple — Carmen are the AA, the people who do things with cars— I’ve come across this (outrageous?) idea before in Azed, so it wasn’t too difficult
5 GREATS — re in (stag)rev. — at Oxford (surely originally, but perhaps elsewhere too now) Greats are the final Honours Examination of the school of Literae Humaniores — before anyone accuses Azed of elitism, he was not at Oxford
7 ETEPIMELETIC — (let) in (timepiece)* — the answer word refers to animal behaviour, where the young are cared for by their parents or adults or other individuals of the same species
8 M(I NIM)A — parity is used in the parenthood sense, so it’s ma, and one of the archaic senses of nim is to take
10 DE{s}CAR{t}ES — a decare is 10 ares (and in reply to Bob Sharkey and others below — yes I do think Azed would do this sort of thing — after all if he has AA for Carmen this is nothing — my misspelling of Descartes, shocking)
11 QUICK — I think this is three or four definitions — the reference is to Diana Quick, also soon is a def, not sure if revealing is in some way a def, and deepest feelings as in cut to the quick
19 T(RID)ARN — quite simple, if you know that a tridarn is a Welsh dresser
21 CONNER — cr{eel} around (none)*
22 TERAPH — (rap) in (the)* — a teraph is just what you’d expect
23 OU (T{ota}L) AY — ou ay is a Scottishism meaning Why yes or Oh yes
24 DARIC — r in (acid)* — yes you guessed it, a daric is an old coin (Persian)
26 PORTE{r} — the Porte is the Turkish Imperial Government
28 DALLE — a dalle is a decorative tile, and if you put the word inside Med you get medalled, which means decorated

6 Responses to “Azed 1985”

  1. Bob Sharkey says:

    Thank you, John – a review with a theme. I have a few points and doubts. First a slight omission – in 3D every bagger’s fear – ‘You missed one’

    11A Note that we have ‘err’ not ‘errs’ – a problem in the surface unless ‘quality’ is read as meaning ‘persons of quality’

    12A ‘Mounseer’ was in its day mildly derog.

    29A ‘exert’ is not listed as an intransitive verb, and so the clue lacks a distinct internal definition. Another example of this trend in &lits.

    5D Azed is usually careful to flag Scots definitions, but has overlooked ‘stag’ as meaning ‘colt’

    10D I have DE(S)CAR(T)ES for this – presumably seconds as well as time.

  2. jmac says:

    Completely agree with John’s preamble. An entertaining puzzle that provided hours of amusement! Thank you John for your great blog – there were more clues than usual that I was not able to parse properly and now I can see why. Agreed with Bob on his parsing of 10D.

  3. Brian says:

    I don’t think 10D is sound. Either it’s based on a misspelling of Descartes or, as Bob suggests, “wasting time” means you must take out “s” and “t”, which is a stretch, and doesn’t convince me. But I can’t believe Azed would not know how to spell Descartes!

  4. AJK says:

    I thought this was one of the best I’ve done. Not too tough, but some lovely clues- DALLE was terrific, as was AREOLA.

  5. John says:

    My suspicion is actually that the Great Man did make a mistake over the Descartes clue and, like me, foolishly spelled him as Decartes when he was setting the crossword and then after the event realised and saw that this rather weird stretch of wordplay would just about pass muster.

    But he’s too Great a Man for such blemishes, perhaps. I don’t know.

  6. Bob Sharkey says:

    John, I take a different view of 10D. Note that the final ‘s’ is not expelled, and that the indicator is ‘wasting’. This creates the impression of a process of leakage rather than one of complete or completed exclusion. As happens so often, the ‘penny drop’ effect is exquisite.

    Another, of the bitter-sweet variety, occurs in 27A.

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