Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 2070 – Jigsaw

Posted by Andrew on February 12th, 2012


I was a little apprehensive when I saw that the blogging cycle had delivered me a jigsaw puzzle, because these tend to need a lot of “cold-solving” of clues before any progress can be made. Fortunately a combination of some gentle clueing and early success in fitting some answers into the grid meant that it turned out to be not much more difficult than an average non-special Azed, and probably easier than some.

My strategy with jigsaw puzzles, whether from Azed or Araucaria, is to start by grouping the clues in order of the lengths of the answers. This immediately showed a problem: there were seven each lengths 4 and 5, whereas the grid had six 4s and eight 5s. It eventually turned out out that the enumeration of clue 36 was wrong. This was corrected on the website on Tuesday, along with another error in 19. As pointed out in the comments, there also seems to be a mistake in 26.

I was lucky to get KAKISTOCRACY and METROSTYLES (despite the erroneous clue!) early on, and found that there was only one way they could be fitted into the grid. THUMB-MARKED and a guess at MISTREATMENT (or possibly MALTREATMENT) soon followed, meaning that it became fairly easy to fit in other answers as I found them.

The clues below are listed in the order they appeared, with the definitions underlined, and here’s the completed grid (I’ve just noticed it’s missing a vertical bar on the bottom row):

1. Pack leader housed in the Lakelands (5)
AKELA Hidden in LAKELANDS, with “the” being superfluous. Akela is the name used for the leader of a cub scout (formerly wolf cub) group, named after the head of the wolf pack in Kipling’s The Jungle Book
2. Ankle, say, is wrenched as this – it’s triple-bonded (6)
ALKYNE Composite anagram – (ANKLE SAY)* = AS ALKYNE
3. Horse breaks a rule going free – one inspected material (8)
4. Half of cash spent in coin? Its delights were imaginary (8)
COCAIGNE CA[sh] in COIGNE. Cocaigne (various spellings) is “an imaginary country of luxury and delight”
5. Clump of old grass completely swallowed by SA tot (6)
DALLOP ALL in DOP (South African term for a tot “e.g. of wine”). DALLOP is a variant of “dollop”, which has the obsolete meaning “a tuft of grass or weeds”
6. Low-energy stream modified later in time (8, 2 words)
7. Gambler keeping reserve in drawer (5)
8. Home carpentry support I twice got out for simple pair of units (4)
DYAD DIY AID with I removed twice
9. My skin’s red – derma damaged, not right (4)
EDAM DERMA* less R. Edam cheese has a red skin.
10. What’s at centre of fear holding people back in purge? (5)
ENEMA Reverse of MEN in [f]EA[r]. Not an &lit as I originally thought (thanks to Pelham Barton for the correction), but still a grimly appropriate surface reading.
11. E.g. gorilla shot when about to feed (8, 2 words)
12. George (the first), plus one in his group maybe, English-speaker (6)
GRINGO First letter of George, + RINGO (both members of the BEATLES)
13. Victim of earthquake, island in grip of e.g. Basher, independent (5)
HAITI I in HAT + I. A basher is a straw hat. Reference to the devastating Haiti earthquake of 2010
14. Time for start of operation, hands on, reverse of sport (5)
H-HOUR HH (hands) + O[peration] + reverse of R[ugby] U[nion]
15. Lack of business consisting of ruin of most of retail (7)
INERTIA IN (consisting of) + RETAI[L]*. Perhaps soemone with a copy of the 2011 Chambers can tell me if “lack of business” is given as a defintiion of INERTIA; or maybe it’s figurative usage here
16. Imprisoning king, oik acts badly, ribald – no way to run a country! (12)
KAKISTOCRACY K in (OIK ACTS)* + RACY. “Government by the worst”.
17. Yielding, Guy was nabbed before he —— (5)
LITHE Guy Fawkes was arrested before he had time to light the High Explosives
18. Making marmalade, mum’s put in a ——, chopped? (6)
MEDLAR MA in (A MEDLAR)*= MARMALADE. I don’t know of medlars are often added to marmalade – they’re traditionally only eaten after they’ve started to decay and ferment.
19. Came across peculiar story: ‘The French will produce speed fixers for some players’ (11)
METROSTYLES MET + STORY* + LES. “Fixers” appeared as “Fixer” in the published version. A metrostyle is “a device for regulating speed in a a player piano”. I couldn’t find a picture of one, so I don’t know what they look like (the etymology is “measure”+”pillar”), but I did find this old advert for a “Metrostyle Pianola”
20. *Ill-use (12)
MISTREATMENT The competition word. I guessed the TREATMENT part early in, but MALTREATMENT seemed an equally likely possibility
21. Punishments, having skipped PE for benders (6)
NANCES [PE]NANCES. “Nance” and “bender” are both rather offensive terms for a gay man.
22. In crazy fashion youth initially fired barrel backwards (7)
NUTTILY Reverse of Y[outh] LIT TUN
23. Veterans? Taken for a ride, first to finish (4)
OLDS SOLD with S moved to the end
24. Stock valuation zero, lowest point – I’m quitting (separately) 6)
OMNIUM O + MINIMUM less and I and an M
25. One living by the sea, directed towards inhaling right air (7)
26. Grand piano, not right at all, I installed (8)
PALATIAL P + I in (AT ALL)* As some commenters have noted, this explanation is missing an A, but the clue could be fixed by the addition of “one” before “not right”.
27. Group of young friends, special in attitude (5)
28. Thin plate mostly implanted in head or limbs (7)
RASCALS SCAL[E] in RAS (fairly familiar in Azed croswords as a headland)
29. A rodent turning up in bracken (4)
TARA Reverse of A RAT. Tara is a New Zealand bracken
30. A Buddhist temple rearing graceful evergreen (4)
TAWA Reverse of A WAT.
31. Book (gospel) dropped in the mud, ruined – not just this! (11)
32. Excellent spinner not on full length of pitch (short) (8)
TOP-NOTCH TOP (spinner) + NOT + CH[ain], a chain (22 yards) being the length of a cricket pitch
33. Raced, first in the Olympic running events (4)
TORE First letters of The Olympic Running Events
34. One leading church, free from formality? (8)
UNSTARCH UN (one) + STAR (leading) + CH
35. Scott’s collection of plate, yielding profits once inscribed with his initial (8)
VESSAILS ESS (Scott’s initial letter) in VAILS (obsolete word for profits – cf “avails”). Chambers defines VESSAIL as “plate”, so, as the note says, “the plural form … is a little dubious”
36. Exercise joint, one constricted (5)
WIELD I in WELD. The enumeration was incorrectly shown as (4) in the published version

21 Responses to “Azed 2070 – Jigsaw”

  1. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I think I pretty much agree with you Andrew.
    It is interesting to compare the amount of help provided by this type of alphabetical against Araucaria’s. Although the latter gives a definite start letter this type can give more assistance towards the end with those tricky ones.
    Thanks for explanation of ‘vessails’,I had it but more as a inevitability than a fully understood solution.
    As always with Azed I learned an astonishing word meaning- never heard the expression ‘limb of Satan’ and hence limb as a rascal!

  2. Matthew says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew.

    I agree that this was pretty easy once one had solved the clues to the 11- and 12-letter entries and guessed MISTREATMENT (or maybe MALTREATMENT).

    Your explanation for PALATIAL was also the best I could come up with, but it doesn’t explain the third A.

    Your image is also missing a horizontal bar in the right column. A problem with the Guardian crossword applet is that it doesn’t display bars in the right column or bottom row.

  3. RCWhiting says:

    I have just read the last part of your blog and discovered that I wrote down ‘wield’ quite early without noticing the error.
    My initial entries (kak…, mist….,thum…..) were identical to yours. I wonder whether anyone else found an alternative?

  4. Andrew says:

    Matthew – I hadn’t noticed the extra A in PALATIAL. So does that make three errors? I can’t see any other way to make the clue work.

  5. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Azed for the puzzle and Andrew for the blog. I found this took me about the same time as the previous two plains.

    10: I do not think this is “& lit”: the last two words form no part of the wordplay, and are sufficient as a linking word and defintion on their own. (It is still a good clue.)

    15: “lack of business” does not appear explictly in Chambers 2011 under inertia. I took this as business “the state of being busy” (pronounced with three syllables).

    26: I cannot find the missing A either.

  6. Richard Heald says:

    Re 26, in Azed’s defence I suppose it’s possible that the original version of the clue may have had a ‘one’ before the ‘not’ (making the wordplay P + A + I in (AT ALL)*) which was accidentally erased at the printing stage.

  7. The Trafites says:

    As well as the above issues, I also wondered if Guy Fawkes had access to high explosives in those days? Surely it was just gunpowder, a low explosive?


  8. bridgesong says:

    Andrew, thanks for the blog. I had a different issue with LITHE: is “yielding” an adequate definition? Perhaps coincidentally (or perhaps not) “yielding” is given in Chambers as a definition for the very similar LITHER, but not for LITHE.

  9. Andrew says:

    Bridgesong – I thought lithe = supple = yielding seemed fair enough, but it’s an interesting coincidence (?) about “lither”.

    Pelham – you’re right that 10 isn’t an &lit, despite its appropriate and slightly gruesome surface. I’ll amend the blog.

  10. Pelham Barton says:

    bridgesong @8: As you say, Chambers 2011 gives “yielding” explicity under lither but not under lithe. However, it does give lithe¹ supple or lumber, and supple¹ pliant; lithe; yielding. One has to be careful about making links of the form X = Y = Z, but I do not think we are really dealing with two different senses of supple here.

  11. Pelham Barton says:

    Andrew @9 – thanks for dealing with (clue number) 10. Our comments on LITHE crossed, and of course I meant “explicitly”.

  12. sidey says:

    I do like Azed specials. I rarely touch Chambers these days, I might if they made the newest edition available to download. It means I miss some of their really not very good definitions though. It does mean I have fewer of the problems others encounter with it though.

    I don’t print to paper very often either, preferring DoroPDF which means I can scribble over the screen. It did make spotting the wrong enumeration more difficult though.

    My first clue entry was EDAM so stuff sort of spread from there.

    HE is obviously wrong for gunpowder, it’s still a darned good clue though.

    Good entertainment. What else can you ask from a puzzle?

  13. The Trafites says:

    Well, sidey, I for one get annoyed on puzzles like this – quite a few errors (whether they are typos on transcription, or setter error) when the competition gets judged. I doubt the clue to ‘lithe’ would even get a mention in the slips due the obviously wrong assumption.

    I can’t see how a judge can judge when he seems to prefer certain ‘rules’ that he himself can’t seem to abide by.

    But, having said that, a few errors makes it a bit more ‘rewarding’ to solve, I suppose.


  14. Jan says:

    Thanks, Andrew. I found this easier going than the usual puzzles since there were so few unfamiliar words.

    I didn’t see the High Explosive connection; I just read it as ‘lit he’, which didn’t make much sense!

    PB @5 – thanks for that explanation of INERTIA. It becomes clear, now.

    I had to endure a chemistry lesson from my husband explaining the different bondings of alk-anes, -enes and -ynes, even though I was in the same A-level class as him!

  15. Wil Ransome says:

    Amongst all the mistakes that have been mentioned, nobody has pointed out that 19 has a singular definition but a plural answer. It is ‘fixer’ on the printout which is all I have left, but I think I checked in the paper copy and it was also singular. So where Andrew gets his ‘fixers’ from I’m not quite sure. Perhaps it was changed in later editions.

    Nice crossword as always but an unusually large number of errors from someone. Usually they don’t matter, but the wrong enumeration of 36 did cause a delay.

  16. Matthew says:

    To be fair to Andrew, he says in his introduction that there was an error in clue 19 that was corrected on the website on Tuesday, and under the explanation of clue 19 he says that “fixers” appeared as “fixer” in the published version.

  17. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for the blog; it is particularly appreciated when an advanced cryptic gets such a thorough one.

    I certainly enjoyed the puzzle a lot, despite noticing the questionable elements in lithe and metrostyles. The “metrostyles” clue was indeed corrected and it now says “fixers” online; and at the time I just saw the “HE” allusion as evidence of unwonted libertarianism from Azed, which I for one was quite happy with. It would presumably not have seemed untrue to call the large close-packed quantity of gunpowder “high explosive” at the time – it was as “highly explosive” as things got back then, and then the extra leap to the modern abbreviation was one I didn’t mind making either… I even chose it as my favourite clue. I’ve since seen that the OED excludes gunpowder pretty emphatically:

    [High Explosive:] “An explosive agent or compound. (See A. 3) high explosive, an explosive compound, such as dynamite, guncotton, etc., which is more rapid and powerful than gunpowder…” – and also gives no instances earlier 1874.

    Chambers (which Azed uses, of course) is is less unequivocal, but the implication is still there I think. I haven’t got my proper Chambers with me today but the online Chambers 21st Century gives:

    “1 a detonating explosive of immense power and extremely rapid action, eg dynamite, TNT, etc. 2 as adj exploding with a huge effect • a high-explosive bomb.
    ETYMOLOGY: 19c.”

    I don’t think the normal Chambers mentions the 19th century coinage (and I’m not sure how much it matters). Anyway, it was good enough for me, but I can see why some might think it’s a bit odd for Azed. Perhaps he’ll mention it in the slip.

    PS. Guncotton, I now know, has nothing to do with gunpowder and didn’t exist in 1605.

  18. Thomas99 says:

    Sorry – slight error in the OED quotation above, which shouldn’t have the bit at the beginning. It should just say:

    “[High explosive:] an explosive compound, such as dynamite, guncotton, etc., which is more rapid and powerful than gunpowder…” – and also gives no instances earlier 1874.”

  19. Thomas99 says:

    (but with the right number of inverted commas)

  20. Wil Ransome says:

    My apologies about 19. I didn’t look carefully enough and assumed that because it wasn’t mentioned in the comments it wasn’t mentioned at all, which was silly.

  21. PeeDee says:

    Thank you to Sidey for recomending this puzzle in the Guardian blog on Saturday. Thank you to Andrew for the blog and particularly for explaining LITHE and RASCALS.

    HE for Guy Fawkes’s day seemed stretched to me, too much of an anachronism for comfort.

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