Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 2012

Posted by John on January 9th, 2011


We have had a plethora of Azed Specials recently, caused no doubt by things occurring at inconvenient times: first we has TWO THOUSAND, which was in effect the October competition and celebrated Azed’s 2000th crossword in this series. We had GROAN in November, a Spoonerisms competition (I’m not sure why), and then in early December we had A COMING OF AGE, which I suspect celebrated the fact that some member of his family came of age (although in the Azed Slip for this he doesn’t support this theory). And now we have the Christmas Special, and Azed hasn’t let us down. I found this very hard but very rewarding: at one stage I became completely stuck and thought I was going to have to ask for help for this blog. Then the penny dropped.

The title “Christmas is Coming” is the first line of the nursery rhyme “Christmas is coming/ The goose is [or geese are: there are different versions, but the singular suits this crossword better] getting fat/ Please put a penny in the old man’s hat”. It goes on but I don’t think the later words are relevant to this puzzle.

So we have to find some pennies and some hats and put the pennies in the hats. Seven times. The other two times (there are nine unclued answers) the words are real ones, not the artificial ones created by putting pennies in hats, and according to the preamble “they help to form a link between the title and the other unclued answers”. Which the words “bloating” and “grey-lag” do, referring to the second line.

Finally we have to set a clue for BLOATING, the longer of the two real words.

Now we are in for a few Plains, and I won’t take quite so much time.

1 BLOATING (unclued) — getting fat
7 LE(A F)Y
11 COMPEND — this was my last in and I found it very hard: the definition is “The old summary”, and judgement by Azed is how you’ll see each comp end. I can’t see why he calls himself AZ and not Azed.
12 RUNNET — a dialect form of rennet, and steep as a noun is rennet; a run is a US brook and net is an obsolete meaning of pure
14 ARGUED — age and rud (= complexion, archaic or dialect, but unusually we aren’t told this) are intertwined to make a word meaning ‘indicated’
15 RenTAL Accepted
16 PIN(T{ake} P{leasure})OT — a pint-pot is amongst other things a drinker of beer
18 YEALM — (me lay)*
21 ENLARGED — (lean)* r ged, showing the result of bloating
22 EG {h}OT(IS)E{l}
23 RAMIWINGLLIES (unclued) — wing in Ramillies
27 ABSINTH — sin in (bath)*
31 SOCENTLA (unclued) — cent in sola
32 HOARD — 2 defs, a hoard is an old word for a hoarding
33 TYPHOON — comp. anag. &lit. with [each typhoon]* = [yacht no hope]
35 E CH O
37 SNEAPS — Sn (peas)*
38 ROO PIT — I found this very hard to explain, but tucked away in the definition of ‘old man’ is ‘an adult male kangaroo’
39 TREDILE (unclued) — red in tile
40 S(TO)IT — this is a Scottish word meaning stagger, and ‘to’ = ‘until’
41 SUDDENER — another comp. anag., this time with a definition in it (prompter), [suddener suit]* = [under studies] — I suppose the surface is an attempt to be about understudies rather than under studies, but I suspect I’m not seeing it all because to me it seems rather vague and loose, and where is the injunction that we have had from Azed to have a clear dividing line between the two parts of the anagram?
1 BCOPPERASHER (unclued) — copper in basher
2 LO(WIN)G — referring to Gray’s Elegy and the lowing herd
3 {w}OMEN
4 TERPAI (unclued) — p in terai
5 INGOES — Is around (on eg)* — a Scottish word for entrances
6 GREY-LAG (unclued) — a type of goose, referring to the second line of the rhyme
7 LUD — a clever and nice clue typical of Azed: if ban is around (lud)* we get bald’un, and a lud (as in m’lud) is a judge (= a wig, slang)
8 ENTEROLITH — (lot therein)*
9 A NA — the abbreviation for Argon used to be A (now it is Ar), sodium is Na, and ana is, in recipes and prescriptions, in equal quantities
10 FELLER — 2 defs
13 TAMDOSHANTER (unclued) — d in Tam o’Shanter
17 TSTIVEROPI (unclued) — stiver in topi — as Azed very fairly tells us, strictly speaking sola and topi are two parts of the same thing, as in sola topi
18 YAWL — w{ith} in (lay)rev.
20 VOMICA — (cavi{ty} MO)*
24 WIND — 3 defs, ‘warped condition’ (= wind (n) with a long i), ‘orchestral players’ and ‘blather’
25 IN TENTS — although I can’t find in Chambers a justification for a camp being tents
26 DO(0 C/O)T — a lover is an obsolete form of louvre which is itself an obsolete word for dovecote, and the lassie comes in because doo is Scottish for dove and so presumably doocot is Scottish for dovecote
28 BAYARD — the noisy ‘ounds bay ‘ard
30 TO OTLE{y{ork}}
34 {go}OD IN
36 {{t}H{e} {M}OO{r}
37 S(1)T

13 Responses to “Azed 2012”

  1. Mike Laws says:

    It would be a coincidence if coincidences never occurred.

    “Please… by Eddie” was Inquisitor 1157 the previous Saturday (18 Dec), featuring types of geese and synonyms for “fat” alternating in the perimeter, with BOW(D)LER in the diagram to be discovered and highlighted. Extra letters in wordplay spelt “Christmas is coming”.

    The research I’d done designing that helped, but didn’t really make this Azed much easier, nor did it detract from its EQ (enjoyment quotient).

  2. The Trafites says:

    I was stuck for a while, as at 41ac I had ‘sundered’, and I am still not convinced that ‘suddener’ is a real word – surely you would say ‘more sudden’?


  3. John H says:

    Coincidences? Telegraph Toughie, Christmas Eve. The whole verse.

    We should talk to each other more.

  4. Paul B says:

    Wil, re your grammatical above:

  5. nmsindy says:

    Re your introduction, John, I may be wrong, but I thought A COMING OF AGE just meant that the puzzle number (2010) had reached the same number as the year ie age.

  6. Scarpia says:

    Thanks John.
    A tough puzzle,but the thematic part was definately made easier for me by having solved the Inquisitor puzzle of the previous Saturday(see Mike’s comment@1).
    My last was also COMPEND and I thought COMP was a shortened form of competition,therefore AZ was the equivalent of Azed.
    Hadn’t managed to parse DOOCOT,so thanks for that.

  7. John says:

    Sorry Paul B, I’m being terribly dim because I can’t see what a dreadful site about cats, with people posting as if they’re in their mid-teens, has got to do with it. And I’m not sure either what you mean by my ‘grammatical’.

    nmsindy I think you’re probably right and my notion that Azed had a coming of age in his family was simply a bit fanciful.

    I notice that whenever I post asking for clarification on comp. anags nobody ever comments (as happened to Robin Gilbert on the Crossword Centre Message Board when he had a second try at getting the answers). Is it I wonder because actually nobody knows what the “rules” are, or at least nobody knows how Azed interprets these rules?

  8. muchpuzzled says:

    26D – DOOCOT

    The definition part “lassie’s modern kind of lover” is faulty.

    It requires one to ‘modernise’ LOVER to LOUVRE ( or LOUVER ) which is an obsolete form of DOVECOT which then requires Scotticising via “lassie’s” into DOOCOT.

    It should more correctly read “lassie’s former modern kind of lover” in order to make clear the obsolescence of LOUVRE implying DOVECOTE. Far too clever by half with AZ hoist by his own petard.

  9. muchpuzzled says:

    41A – SUDDENER

    Like other posters, I am also not convinced that such a word exists as it is not in Chambers or any other dictionary I have referenced. It feels like an artifice created to fill that awkward bottom right hand corner. SUDDEN may equate with PROMPT as an adjective, but I am reluctant to accept this form, even though Scarpia has kindly posted a link to a ghastly ‘poetic’ usage. What does “Suddener” actually mean?

  10. Scarpia says:

    41A – SUDDENER

    Hi muchpuzzled.
    I think you are right,having done more research on SUDDENER,it does not seem to be in any dictionary in my local library,nor can I find it in any online dictionary.I have found a few more examples of it’s use in ‘literature’
    It seems to have been in use from about the mid 19th century,but I doubt if that qualifies it for inclusion in a(Ximenean)crossword.

  11. John says:

    This is a posting on this subject that I put on the Crossword Centre Message Board:

    “On Countdown there is a rule that if the word has one syllable then the comparative/superlative is allowed, but if the word has more than one syllable then it has to be specified. Sort of makes sense.

    “I looked in Chambers and under ‘tall’ it doesn’t give ‘taller’ or ‘tallest’ yet surely everyone would agree that these words exist. Evidently Chambers doesn’t give comps/sups so Azed must take the view that it’s fair for any adjective to have ‘-er’ or ‘-est’, not the Countdown policy but arguably perfectly fair.

    “Actually Chambers probably says this somewhere but I haven’t looked.”

    Whatever view Azed takes I’m actually more concerned about the apparent looseness of the comp. anag.

  12. Bob Sharkey says:

    Actually, John, to my taste this clue is pleasingly compressed and succinct with respect to the two parts of the comp. anag. As has been suggested elsewhere, the opening phrase ‘You may see’ is all that is required to indicate it.

    On the question of the solution, I have a nagging feeling that I have heard the word used in a play, no later than Restoration period, and meaning ‘a prompter’. It’s certainly not in the Gutenberg ‘Complete Shakespeare’ text file (excellent for quick word searches).

  13. Scarpia says:

    41A – SUDDENER
    Thanks again John.
    As far as I can see Chambers’ only mention of this is “Comparative and superlative adjectives are formed by the addition of -er and -est to the base form.”
    So by that rule SUDDENER is o.k.
    I do like the Countdown rule,it stops the formation of ugly words like suddener or littler.

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