Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 2017

Posted by Andrew on January 30th, 2011


I found this one of the hardest Azed plain puzzles for a long time, with, I think, a higher-than-average proportion of obscure words. I ended up with some rather tedious dictionary-searching to get the last few answers, and also to confirm out a lot of the explanations. I can’t fully explain 12dn – help needed!

10. SOL-FA L in SOFA, and “what do starts” is “do re mi” or tonic SOL-FA
11. MINAR Hidden in “rooM IN Arab” , with “houses” being used as a verb
13. PEA-BRAIN BEAR* in PAIN. Winnie the Pooh described himself as “a bear of very little brain”, which, as the clue says, is roughly the same as being a PEA-BRAIN
14. ARNA Composite anagram – (ARNA FRIEND I’M)* = (INDIAN FARMER)*. The arna is a water-buffalo, from whose milk one might get ghee.
15. GRASSUM GRASS (lawn) + U (open to all, as in films) + M[oney]. GRASSUM is, in Scots law, “a lump sum paid … by a person taking a lease … called in England ‘premium’ or ‘fine‘.
16. RIGGALD Homophone of “wriggled”. This is a variant of “ridgel”, “a male animal with only one testicle in position or remaining”, so “deficient in knackers”
17. BUTTE BUTTER less R. “A conspicuous and isolated hill”, as seen in the Wild West
18. ONE-HANDED [lov]E in (DONNE HAD)*, and presumably Donne wrote with one hand
24. RICHT RICH TOWN less OWN (proper). Scots for of “right”, and East is (usually) on the right side of maps.
26. SPANIEL AN in SPIEL. “Spaniel” is an adjective meaning “fawning” for the definition
27. ALAWITE A WIT in ALE (archaic beer festival) giving a member of a Shiite sect based in Syria
29. ABLE AB (sailor) + LINE with IN removed(i.e. “cast”). AB means “able-bodied seaman” so this seems a bit weak to me.
30. COCCULUS C (100 again) + OCULUS, with another C inside
31. SULKY Double definition – farouche can mean sullen, or sulky; and barouche is a carriage, as is a sulky
32. EWERS WE “served in” ERS (bitter vetch)
33. SPEAR PYRITES PEAR (pear brilliant is a type of gem) in SPY RITES. I knew iron pyrites, known as “fools’ gold”, so at least the second word was easy to guess with a few crossing letters
2. LOERIE Alternating letters of LEI and ORE
3. FLANGED L in (FAG END)* (lit=drunk)
5. TEAGLE T (Latin equivalent of the Greek letter tau) + EAGLE (lectern)
7. NIBS Double definition – crushed coffee beans and toffs (cf “his nibs”; and “nobs”)
8. INUST N in SUIT*. The word means “burnt in”
9. CANUTE AN in CUTE. Contrary to the popular version of the story of Canute and the waves, he understood tides very well, though the story is probably apocryphal anyway.
10. SPARRAGRASS SPAR A GRASS (one who “sings” to the police, say)
12. REMEDILESS (IS LED)* in MERE* + S[tring]. I don’t know who H King is – maybe a literary reference? – but I’m sure someone will enlighten me.
19. DRIBLET Reverse of BIRD + LET
25. CABLE CABINET TABLE less TABINET*, &lit, referring to Vince Cable
28. WAKA W[ith] AKA (alias)

5 Responses to “Azed 2017”

  1. Andrew Kitching says:

    Hi Andrew. After a slow start, I finished before noon last Sunday, so a bit easier than average in the end. I think 12 is a reference from a Dickens novel- not sure which one. Not a great fan of Dickens.

  2. Phi says:

    Henry King is from one of the Hilaire Belloc Cautionary Tales, which starts

    The Chief Defect of Henry King
    Was chewing little bits of String.
    At last he swallowed some which tied
    Itself in ugly Knots inside.

    Physicians of the Utmost Fame
    Were called at once; but when they came
    They answered, as they took their Fees,
    “There is no Cure for this Disease.

    HK has turned up a fair bit in puzzles due to the final verse which offers repeated thematic possibilities. Go and check it out – while no-one would claim the Belloc verses are astonishing literature, they do deserve to be remembered as good light verse.

  3. Bob Sharkey says:

    Just 2 typos, Andrew. 8D missing anag./*. 26D Should be ‘M in STOP’

  4. Andrew Kitching says:

    Thanks Phi. I will look it up. The only Belloc verse I know of is ‘keeping hold of nurse, for fear of something worse…’ which I think is also from cautionary tales.

  5. Andrew says:

    Thanks Phi – I know the Belloc verses but didn’t spot the (rather indirect) allusion in the clue. One of my favourites, as well as the one Andrew K quotes, is the one that ends “It is the business of the wealthy man/to give employment to the artisan”.

    Bob – thanks for pointing out the typos: now corrected.

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