Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 2056 – 23 October 2011

Posted by duncanshiell on October 30th, 2011


AZED has been compiling the Sunday barred crossword in The Observer for nearly 40 years and he continues to create a consistently challenging standard of puzzle.





This was another tightly clued Ximenean offering from AZED, except perhaps for 29a with its use of the two parts of SPITHEAD for two separate elements of the wordplay.  I think the addition of the phrase ‘might one suppose?’ at the end of the clue is AZED‘s recognition that he is deviating from his more routine rigorous and purist approach to cluing.  The use of SPITHEAD in this way, is, of course, a common feature of clues by other well-loved compilers of Guardian daily puzzles.  I am happy to see clues of varying rigour in puzzles.  The solving of crossword puzzles is, after all,  a leisure activity designed to stimulate enjoyment, education and lateral thinking.

I liked the American theme throughout the clue to 15a, NORMALCY, where the component parts employed American spelling and referenced a major city in the United States.

When I was solving this puzzle, I thought there was an extensive use of the ‘?’ in clues.  In the end, I counted 11 uses in 37 clues,  probably not as many as I first thought, but still approaching 30%.  There were 8 uses in the Accross clues, but only 3 in the Downs.

It took me three goes to get the right solution at 16d having worked my way through FREEPORT and FREEPOST before I got the right entry of FREECOST.  Admittedly only FREECOST supports the wordplay.

No. Clue Wordplay Entry
2 Chip in duct increasing? (6, 2 words) PIPE (duct) + UP (increasing) PIPE UP (interject, say something; chip in)
8 Leaders in crime and probably other spheres (5) First letters of (leaders in) CRIME AND PROBABLY OTHER SPHERES CAPOS (heads of branches of the Mafia; by extension, the leaders of any band or organization, criminal or otherwise.)  &Lit clue
12 Like some TV aerials, not straight, turning with electric current? (4) GAY (not [sexually] straight) reversed (turning) + I (electric current) YAGI (denoting a type of highly directional television or radio astronomy aerial, with several elements in a close parallel arrangement, fixed at right angles to a central support that points in the direction of strongest reception.)
13 Fold’s mostly locked inside shambles (6) (SHUT [locked] excluding the last letter [mostly] T) contained in (inside) LAP (fold) LASH-UP (shambles)
14 Parader caught in disarray – it can slow down some on landing (13) Anagram of (in disarray) PARADER CAUGHT DRAG-PARACHUTE (a small parachute attached to the rear of an aircraft, which opens on landing to assist deceleration).
15 Lack of disruption in Wall Street dispersed clamor in the city there (8) Anagram of (dispersed) CLAMOR contained in (in) NY (New York; the city where the most famous Wall Street is) NORMALCY (an Amercian [Wall Street] usage of NORMALITY [lack of disruption])
18 What diners do about drop of e.g. wine producing striking effect? (5) EAT (what diners do) containing (about) CL (centilitre; a drop of liquid which may well be [e.g.] wine.  CL is also the first two letters [a drop of {?}]of CLARET, a wine, but I doubt if this is more than just a coincidence) ÉCLAT (a striking effect)
20 Receiving decoration from assault penetrating redan in the wars (7) DO (assault) contained in (penetrating) and anagram of (in the wars) REDAN ADORNED (receiving decoration)
21 Seed covering mostly die, dead inside (9) GONE (dead) contained in (inside) (PERISH [die] excluding the final letter [mostly] H) PERIGONES (coverings of the seed in sedges)
23 What many Hindus are devoted to is evident in songster’s return (7) IS contained in (evident in) (MAVIS [song thrush; songster] reversed [return]) SIVAISM (devotion to the third god of the Hindu triad, SHIVA or SIVA, destroyer and reproducer).
25 Lower lighting on what sexy miss aims to do to ‘er man? (5) BED ‘IM (what sexy miss aims to do to ‘er man) BEDIM (make dim or dark; lower lighting)
27 Randy beau’s receiving wound not very serious (8) Anagram of (randy) BEAUS containing (receiving) CUT (wound) SUB-ACUTE (slightly or moderately acute; not very serious)
29 Palm fruit displayed by famous clown in Spithead (might one suppose) (13, 2 words) (DOUBLE [a duplicate; a replica; a spit] + NUT [head]) containing (in) COCO (reference COCO THE CLOWN, [Nikolai Poliakoff {1900 – 1974}])  See comment in introduction. DOUBLE COCONUT (the large two-lobed nut of the Seychelles palm; palm fruit)
31 Release from the Bard even includes odd bits of farce (6) ENE (a variant of E’EN [even]) containing (includes) the 1st, 3rd and 5th letters of (odd bits off) FARCE ENFREE (Shakesperean [Bard’s] word for ‘to set free'; release)
32 Master (of history?), one sounding dejected to audience (4) Sounds like [to audience] SIGHER (one sounding dejected) SIRE (master in an obsolete or historic [of history] sense)
33 Aerofoil runs on what’s incomplete? Not so (5) R (runs) + O‘ [on] + TORSO [anything incomplete or unfinished excluding [not] SO) ROTOR (revolving aerofoil)
34 What’s kept hidden by honest lecturers? Press close (6) Hidden word in (what’s kept hidden by) HONEST LECTURERS NESTLE (press close)
No. Clue Wordplay Entry
1 Carton (say) with what sounds like drink for particular Aussie (11) SYDNEY (reference Sydney Carton, the central character in a Tale of Two Cities [Dickens]) + SIDER (sounds like CIDER [drink]) SYDNEYSIDER (a person who comes from or is resident in Sydney, Australia, or the surrounding area; a particular Aussie)
2 Kirk’s place, scorchin’, with nothing to imbibe (8) PARCHIN‘ (scorchin’) containing (to imbibe) O (nothing) PAROCHIN (parish; this is a Scottish word hence use of ‘kirk’ rather than ‘church’)
3 Undersized glutton’s ungenerous when consuming one (8) (PIG [glutton] + MEAN [ungenerous]) containing (consuming) A (one) PIGMAEAN (like a pygmy [or pigmy]; undersized)
4 Exile giving booze up, times being restricted (5) X (times [as a multiplication sign]) contained in (being restricted) TAPE (slang for an alcoholic drink) reversed (up) EXPAT (expatriate; one living in exile, voluntary or compulsory)
5 Island estate, found in Bermuda largely (4) Hidden word in (found in) BERMUDA LARGELY UDAL (an estate held without feudal superior in Orkney and Shetland [island])
6 Goddess driving dad round the bend (5) PA (dad) containing (round) ARC (bend) PARCA (any one of the Roman Goddesses, Nona, Decuma and Morta)
7 It’s quiet on holiday I spent relaxing – this’d keep the kids happy (7) P (piano; quiet) + an anagram of (relaxing) HOLIDAY excluding (spent) I PLAY-DOH (a trade name for a soft reuseable modelling material for young children; this’d keep the kids happy)
8 Crumbs kept in tin snuff-container? (6) COO (expression of surprise [crumbs!]) contained in (in) CAN (tin) CACOON (the large seed of a tropical climber (Entada scandens) of the mimosa family, used for making scent-bottles, snuff-boxes, etc)
9 Ram freed from retreat in tree (3) RAM excluded from (freed from) ASHRAM (retreat) ASH (tree)
10 Hearts in grip of force collapse (4) H (hearts [suit in playing cards]) contained in (in grip of) PUT (force) PHUT ([a dull sound of] collapse)
11 Clock that’s popped poet redeems (11) Anagram of (popped) POET REDEEMS SPEEDOMETER (clock)
16 Disappointment about the market originally not charging anything (8) FROST (disappointment) containing EEC (European Economic Community, the original name for what is more often known today as the Common Market) FREECOST (freedom from charges; not charging anything)
17 In old kit unit mislaid bearing (8) Anagram of (mislaid) UNIT contained in (in) GERE (a Spenserian [old ]spelling of gear [kit]) GENITURE (birth; engendering; bearing]
19 The old fail to become first for emergency measures after terrible seism (7) Anagram of (terrible) SEISM + the first letters of (first for) EMERGENCY and MEASURE MISSEEM (Spenserian [old] word for ‘to be unbecoming to'; fail to become)
22 Unkempt friars cells: class this one into sacking possibly (6) An anagram of (unkempt) FRIARS CELLS yields RIFLER and CLASS.  By giving us CLASS as part of the anagram result and describing the remaining word as ‘this one’ Azed is leading us to RIFLER as the entry RIFLER (looter, plunderer; one into sacking possibly)
24 Snotty stuff combined with turning up what’s fashionable (5) CUM (combined with) reversed (turning up) + IN (what’s fashionable MUCIN (any one of a class of albuminous substances in mucus; snotty stuff [snot is nasal mucus])
25 Bets on what’ll be popular with punters? (5) BACKS (places a wager or bet; bets on) BACKS (reference punting on the Backs in Cambridge; The River Cam passes the Backs of Cambridge Colleges)
26 Fine leather: you’ll need nothing less on foot (4) YOU excluding (less) O + FT (foot) YUFT (Russia leather,a fine brownish-red leather impregnated with birch tar oil, used esp in bookbinding).
28 Goat tailed by eastern cat (4) BOK (goat [South African]) + E (eastern) BOKE (cat in its meaning ‘to vomit’)
30 Place close to one’s heart opened up? Ached leaving (3) BROACHED (opened up) excluding (leaving) ACHED BRO (a place for which one feels great affinity because of birth, upbringing, long residence there, etc)

3 Responses to “Azed 2056 – 23 October 2011”

  1. Bob Sharkey says:

    Many thanks for the review, Duncan. Very thorough, as expected from you. I failed to notice the subsidiary in ‘Spithead’ at 29 across despite knowing that Azed would not leave it resting on just a cryptic allusion. The French term ‘coco-de-mer’, given as the definition in Chambers, is the teaser. I strongly suspect that this clue is a private joke at the expense of a regular solver.

  2. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Azed for another enjoyable crossword and Duncan for the blog.

    29ac: In my view, it is the unsignalled requirement to split a clue word that is unfair. Here Azed has given us some sort of signal – I rather like Bob’s suggestion (@1) that this a private joke. It is also worthy of note that this answer is 11/13 cross-checked.

  3. Bob Sharkey says:

    I hope that other regulars (and punters) will note and applaud Azed’s ‘Oxbridge double’. He had the first leg ‘up’ in Azed 2049 at 9 down –

    Where punters enjoy themselves? Emergency if credit is denied (4) ISIS

    The winning leg is at 25 down in this puzzle.

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