Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 1992

Posted by John on August 8th, 2010


What you always get from Azed: apparently tortuous clues, but everything’s do-able so long as you persevere with all the wading through Chambers, because all the clueing is completely sound.

1 WIT-CRACKER — wacker round (rict{us})* — am never very happy with ‘leaving us’ when what is meant is ‘getting rid of us’, but the Chambers definition ‘abandoning’ makes it OK I suppose
11 TE(TRADIT{ion})E — tee as in golf — a tetradite is someone who attaches mystic properties to the number 4
12 SPEKBOOM — (mob pokes)*pek
13 D O’ER
14 JonatHAN SAchs — another name for the Hanseatic League
15 SI{l}ENT — a sient is an archaic word for scion, who is a family youngster
16 UNAPTLY — (play nut)* — dare I say it, but one of Azed’s less successful clues with an almost meaningless surface; I can’t understand the ellipsis, but perhaps that’s just me
18 GI GA{-GA} — a giga is the Italian word for a gigue, with which lovers of Bach will be familiar
19 SUN(DEC.)K — a sunk is a Scottish word for a bank, amongst other things
20 RE(ED B{alls})ED — a reed is a Spenserian word for a rede, which as a noun means a tale
24 E THE — ethe is a Spenserian (again) word for easy
26 Evidently the word for which we had to write a clue, although the asterisk wasn’t in my newspaper version
28 BLA(I)N — a blain is a boil, bland in Orkney and Shetland is buttermilk and water — usually Azed signposts the area where the word is used
29 acROBATic — tabor, hidden reversed, and although a tabor is usually thought of as a drum it is also a taborer, or one who plays that drum
30 BIRL — to birl is to carouse (Scot.) and a birlinn was a chief’s barge or galley in the Western Isles
31 NICHROME — (rich men)* round 0
32 AKOLUTHOS — a k (lo)rev. (shout)* — the head of the Varangian guard of the Byzantine emperors — not a word I use daily
33 LETTER CARD — a letter is a landlord and a card is an eccentric chap — a letter-card is a card folded and gummed like a letter, hence the ‘stuck up’, which I had thought referred to a notice-board
1 W US(H)U — wu shu is the same as kung fu
2 TEENAGER — ({p}arent gee)* but otherwise I don’t really get this — it seems that the definition is ‘me’ and the anagram indicator is ‘being wayward’, but …
3 RE BATO{n} — a rebato is a Shakespearean word for a stiff collar
4 A(TOLL)S — I was caught out by this once before, when in a clue by Azed ‘coin’ was ‘as of old’, a term he often uses, so ever since have been on the alert — the as is the copper, once (a Roman copper coin) — atoll is the name in the Maldives
6 KAMSIN — (in mask)* — the kamsin (variously spelt) is a wind in Egypt
7 consultED DICtionaries — the adjective from Edda
8 STENOCHROMY — (h cost Romney)* — have just noticed that I think I made an error and sent off the crossword with an e instead of a y at the end, so my magnificent clue will possibly (probably even if it had been valid) be worthless (but I’m working from a copy, so hope I copied incorrectly) — stenochromy is of course printing in several colours at one go
9 PERTAKE — peke around (rat)* — pertake is an old spelling of partake
10 SPA(NIELLI)KE — niello (plural nielli) is a method of ornamenting metal by engraving
17 METABOLA — (a lobate m)rev. — in some classifications the Metabola are insects that undergo metamorphosis
18 G(RABB{i})AG
21 BEN-NUT — bet around (nun)*, opinion as in ‘It’s my bet that …’ — ben-nut is the seed of a tree yielding ben-oil, which can be used in cosmetic preparations
22 DOUC HE{ad} — a (here comes a pdf) douc is a variegated monkey of S.E. Asia
23 AUTHOR — but how is one to solve this clue without the checking letters (shouldn’t clues always be solvable without these?)? You know it’s someone (the clue has ‘his’), but it could be anyone. Anyway it’s Thoreau minus e with its syllables reversed
25 FILLE{d}
26 FLIT T — as in ‘moonlight flit’, and flitt is an obsolete word meaning light
27 DREAD — DD around rev with a instead of v

9 Responses to “Azed 1992”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for this, John, and esp for explaining AUTHOR which I did not understand tho I got it right. Quite a hard puzzle with most of the answers being unfamiliar words. Re 26A which looks like FOULARD, the Guardian/Observer website did show the asterisk.

  2. sidey says:

    Been time travelling John? 😉

    Good stuff as usual although Author was a bit naughty, it did make me smile when I spotted it.

  3. Bob Sharkey says:

    John, I was perplexed by the linked pair 15/16. Best I could do was to take ‘silent’ as the link-word and then to read 16 as meaning ‘our youngster’ being in denial about having to do History.

    I was stuck for a while on ‘sundeck’ trying to make a Scottish bank out of ‘suneck’.

    20A hilarious – almost an ‘au contraire’ from ‘get your balls out of bed!’

    Can anyone explain ‘one assumes’ in 4D? I’m assuming it gets round the need to flag ‘Maldives’ as an example, but how?

  4. Bob Sharkey says:

    Regarding 2D, I have been carping about certain &lits not having distinct internal cryptic/def. structures for a while. Is that me being old-fashioned?

  5. Myrvin says:

    Usual plethora of unheard of words. To be expected.

    Last one in was ATOLLS, but only because I missed it. Now I understand the A..S in this. Thank you John.
    26a is FOULARD a silk scarf

  6. Myrvin says:

    ATOLL. Chambers says “noun a coral island consisting of a circular belt of coral enclosing a central lagoon.
    ORIGIN: Name in Maldive Islands”
    So it doesn’t actually say that the Maldives are atolls.

    OED says “adoption of the native name atollon, atoll, applied to the Maldive Islands, which are typical examples of this structure”, which does.

  7. sidey says:

    28a A BLAIN is, in Chambers at least, a fish as well as a boil. The surface reading wouldn’t work without the double definition.

    re 4d, perhaps most people assume that tropical islands are all atolls? Works for me as an alternative to ‘for example’.

  8. Robin Gilbert says:

    23dn. I agree with John that, however hard a clue may be, it should be possible to solve it as it stands without having any crosschecking letters – and that it would be impossible to solve (let alone understand) this one until one already had most of the letters, which, in my book, makes it deeply flawed, however clever the wordplay. What’s more, the surface is hardly the greatest ever!

    2dn, on the other hand, I thought was unorthodox and sailing a shade close to the wind, but ultimately fair, the surface providing the element of the definition missing from plain “me” – a quasi &lit. Indeed, this was the clue that appealed to me most in the whole puzzle, with 20ac a close second.

  9. John says:

    Sorry, Bob@3, I can’t help with 15/16 — as I said in the blog the ellipsis defeats me

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