Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed Crossword No. 2,010 ‘A Score and a Half’ Competition Puzzle

Posted by The Trafites on December 12th, 2010

The Trafites.

Nick:  My second blog of an AZED competiton puzzle.

The preamble:

Special instructions: This puzzle marks an unrepeatable occasion, hinted at by the unclued entry at 1 Across (not given in Chambers as such). Further help in identifying the theme is provided elsewhere. Competitors should submit a cryptic clue to 1 Across with their entries.

The title appears to be 20+10 (a score+half a score), with perhaps a cryptic ref. to 21.

(my thoughts) For me, a fairly straight forward AZED clued puzzle, and with my wife Lorraine (the other half of the ‘Trafites’), being an avid fan of The Simpsons, the theme came pretty quickly for me having to watch it most evenings.  Hidden in the grid can be found 24ac ‘SIMPS’ on ‘BART’ (hidden in grid bars) in a dingbats style, i.e. implying BART SIMPSON.  I cannot see any more ‘nina’s’ or hints yet on my final edit of this blog (Thursday 9th Dec.) so to save my sanity this is the final version.

The Simpsons was first broadcast on 17th December, 1989, thus this year marking ‘a coming of age’ (1ac) of the show being 21 years old.  There are links in the blog below to the cartoon series.

Of course, I could be totally wrong about all this!  Comments welcome. I WAS.  See comments below.

Incidentally, the theme doesn’t need to be discovered to complete this puzzle, which seems a bit strange as usually it needs to be proved by the solver in some format to be able to enter the competition.

4dn appears to have an error of sorts, comments welcome (of course);  9ac is the usual ‘gotcha’ AZED sometimes puts in;  1ac will be an interesting phrase to clue of which I found terribly difficult to come up with anything interesting (no definition in Chambers!), so look forward to seeing the winning clues very much indeed. – good luck everybody!

Legend to solution comments:
* = anagram.
< = word reversed.

1. Competition clue phrase (see preamble) (12, 4 words)
A COMING OF AGE 21 years of The Simpsons, hence Bart (found hidden in the grid) is 21, I suppose (he is still a 10 year old brat* in the series). See comments below
9. Reversal of fortune cut short with a versatile crop? (4)
SOJA JOS(s)<(luck or fate) + A
alternative spelling of ‘SOYA’
the ‘gotcha’ clue, as the solver needs to work this out and not guess to get it correct as the ‘j’ is an unch
my last answer in the grid
10. Old highwayman grabbing excellent dye (7)
11. Stop a doughboy beginning to enter US submarine (6)
HOAGIE HOA(stop)+GI(doughboy=US infantryman)+E
a ‘hoagie’ is another name for a submarine sandwich in the US
12. Shore station divided by river (6)
14. Wanting to slaughter lots half disposed of in a mass? (6)
17. One avenue’s opening separating trees arranged in rows (7)
SERIATE I(one)+A(venue) in (TREES*)
at a first quick glance, ‘terrace’ seems to be the answer here
18. Riding wear for men (5)
CHAPS sort of cdd
so easy it was hard!
19. Death limiting lives? You can’t — that! (6)
RESIST IS in REST; &lit?
20. Nickelodeon? Make flicks having turned nickel in (6)
KINEMA (Ni<) in (MAKE*)
‘nickleodeon’ implies an old word for cinema
24. Unruly miss takes in soft fools (5)
short for ‘simpleton’ – also one of the hints to the theme, if I am correct
26. Measure that’s sad, truncated – one aims to influence policy (7)
ENTRIST EN(a measure in printing)+TRIST(e)(sad)
see under ‘entry’ in Chambers
29. Blurred mirage? One records mental pictures (6)
so simple it leads one to think it isn’t right when solved
30. Eye candy satisfactory in tricky role (6)
31. Rosencrantz’s end in Hamlet (he expires)? (6)
LETHEE hidden: HamLET (HE Expires)
Shakespearean word for death (see under ‘lethal’ in Chambers), hence the ref.
to Rosencrantz and Hamlet; &lit, I guess
32. Antoine’s strong baccy in top of the mouth (7)
a type of tobacco with ‘Antoine’ as the reference to it being French
33. Naan’s toasted on this maybe, taken as vindaloo arrives (starters only) (4)
TAVA first letters
an Indian cooking griddle (see TAWA2)
34. Dicky tummy and spleen’s caused by high-pressure aircon (12)
an air conditioning system – this is two words, so should be clued (6, 6) I think
1. Deer served in large meat-plate – this’ll collect the refuse (9)
ASH-BUCKET BUCK in ASHET(a meat-plate)
2. Altered cloth? Nothing in it for country chill (6)
dialect word for coolness
3. Turning up (on board the Pequod?) to call on small grotesque figure (5)
a whaler’s call ‘reversed’ hence ref. to the Pequod
4. Eros in mind, smitten? It may give point for writer (10)
IRIDOSMINE This appears to be an error in the intended anagram of ‘EROS IN MIND’,
as I can’t see how else this clue is supposed to parsed.
IRIDOSMINE is used to make pen nibs
5. Oxygen, say, given to person, one breathing with difficulty (6)
6. Flour (wheat) well mixed? Hew out this Scotch cake maybe (4)
FARL comp. anagram: (FLOUR WHEAT*) minus the letters ‘HEW OUT’ = (FLRA*)
7. You’ll need to rattle object inside jagged rock to find this big fish (8)
ARAPAIMA RAP+AIM in AA(a type of volcanic jagged rock)
8. End of rope held by men for she-asses (6)
same word as Jenny, female ass/donkey
10. As of old, weight settles (so it’s said) (5)
PEYSE homophone of PAYS(i.e. settles)
Chambers lists various spellings of this word, all pronounced the same,
so the solver has to complete the adjoining lights to get the intended correct spelling
13. Restyle IOM differently so as to annoy? (10)
this clue just shouts ‘I am an anagram’
15. Confused setter in embarrassing situation – very high winds (9)
16. Oribi, e.g., fourth lost after good old soldiers ran it punishingly (8)
a punishment – see GAUNTLET2
21. Information quite short, soon to be delivered in stables? (6)
IN-FOAL INFO+AL(l)+cryptic def.
22. Not a word accepted by a beak in a hermitage (6)
ASHRAM SH in A+RAM(beak of a ship etc.)
23. Calm hush over misfortune (5)
25. In the past, a test when there were no women? (6)
PREEVE pun on PRE-EVE(before women)
obsolete words(in the past) for proof and prove
27. Driven wild about start of the bairns’ colic (5)
(see BOT1)
28. Eastern Church image, stunner found in old abode? (4)
IKON KO(stunner, i.e. knock-out) in IN(see IN2=INN)
………………………. _

16 Responses to “Azed Crossword No. 2,010 ‘A Score and a Half’ Competition Puzzle”

  1. Bob Sharkey says:

    Thanks, Traffites – you’ve made my day. Brilliant review. I was scratching my head for days trying to spot the theme. Surely it couldn’t have been about the number of the puzzle being 2010? Bart Simpson’s 21st – who’d have thought it?

  2. DFM says:

    The theme was the correspondence of the number of the puzzle and the current year, as hinted at in the preamble and by the initial letters of all the clues (work it out from the clues listed in the blog). Nothing to do with the Simpsons!

  3. AJK says:

    Yes, absolutely brilliant when someone points it out (as a fellow AZED solver did to me).
    AZED mentioned last year in one of the slips that this would occur, so I was looking for the connection of year date with puzzle number. I got the clue phrase very early, but didn’t see the initial letters of clue phrase.

    A ‘tour de force’!

  4. The Trafites says:

    D’OH! I KNEW I was wrong here – looking too hard. Yes, quite brilliant. I did notice the number and thought about this year being 2010, but that was about it.


  5. Chris says:

    Re 4dn: My print edition of the Observer had EROS IN MIDI as the anagrind.

    The acrostic in the clues is very unobtrusive. I only spotted it after solving the puzzle, tipped off by the hint in the preamble (“Further help in identifying the theme is provided elsewhere”).

  6. sidey says:

    Curses, I’ve been waiting for this and missed it completely. Bart Simpson was obviously not ON in retrospect. Brilliant.

  7. DFM says:

    The incorrect anagram was corrected by Azed at proof stage but GU failed to make the correction in the online edition

  8. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the blog, The Trafites. I got stuck on 9A, where there are quite a few alternatives for SO?A. Was tempted to guess SOYA but glad I did not and spend time writing a clue that would not be eligible for the comp. It seems obvious now that you’ve explained it, I did wonder about ‘versatile’ as to whether it belonged to definition or wordplay. I did not see the ‘first letters of clues’ theme either.

  9. Bob Sharkey says:

    Well said, nmsindy, your toils with 9A mirrored my own. There is one alternative to SOJA in my view, and that’s SOLA, the plant cultivated to provide pith for pith helmets and the like. A reading of ‘fortune cut’ equivalent to ‘loss’, then truncated by ‘short’, then reversed surely works. As has happened many times in the past, Azed may have to consider whether to allow one or the other as an alternative solution. I hesitate to say which of the two he intended, but providing a few competitors raise the issue in their letters, he will almost certainly address it in the ‘slip’.

  10. sidey says:

    I wonder what the ‘correct’ version of 4d was…

  11. Bob Sharkey says:

    Sidey, Chris @5 has answered your question. It was explained by a post from Don Manley last Sunday on the crossword centre message board. Always worth a visit to check for issues like this.

  12. sidey says:

    Sorry about missing that Bob (and Chris).

  13. The Trafites says:

    Bob #9 – but is ‘sola’ a versatile crop?

    (Homer Simpson)Nick

  14. Bob Sharkey says:

    I believe the fibres are used for other materials, such as matting, etc., and also for silages.

  15. bridgesong says:


    I thought about SOLA as well, but decided that it didn’t in fact fit the clue. It may be a versatile crop, but I don’t think that Azed would ever clue LOSS as “fortune cut”; it doesn’t work at all as a synonym. Once I’d come to that decision, it was time to search Chambers for the alternatives, and then search for the reversals of the words that were then generated. Only JOSS fitted the bill.

    Apart from that, I’m another who spotted the coincidence of puzzle number and year, but completely missed the acrostic. Like you, Nick, I spent far too long looking at the completed grid for ninas, rather than at the clues. I thought Bart Simpson was most ingenious, if a little unlikely for Azed.

  16. Bob Sharkey says:

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

    You won’t find this sense of the word defined in Chambers.

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