Never knowingly undersolved.

Azed 2091/ Plain Competition Puzzle

Posted by duncanshiell on July 8th, 2012


This was a standard competition puzzle from AZED.  None of the entries were particularly difficult to parse.

As is the case with many of AZED‘s puzzle there was a determined raid on words of Scottish usage, archaic or obsolete words and words with variant spellings.



I reckon that well over ten entries or component parts of wordplay fell into one or more of those three categories, includimng JUNTO, KINCHIN-COVE, KIMMER, PANG, PUER, RAMAKIN and engrave.

Although I have commented that the clues are easily parsable, I do have queries about the meaning and/or structure of at least a couple of the clues.  Is there a specific meaning of E, L and T that I have missed in the clue for 33 across?  If not, I am troubled by, what seems to me, to be the fairly arbitrary device of just introducing three random letters into the clue to help form the anagram.  ELT is an abbreviation for English Language Teaching which doesn’t seem to have any relevance in the clue, nor does the meaning of ‘young sow’ for the word ELT.  No doubt I am missing something and commenters will tell me what I have missed.

I am also a little bit confused about the construction A R-REALIST in 14 down, as again this looks like a device just to get the second R into the anagram  Here too, I look forward to being told what subtlety I have missed.

There were number of clues I liked a lot.  E.g., the clue for LINTIE at 4 down, the one for PETIT MAÎTRE at 5 down and the one for RIVERA at 22 down.

Overall, this was a fairly routine AZED crossword that, as usual, increased my vocabulary but it was also one that somehow failed to get me excited on the grounds that the wordplay didn’t always seem to flow smoothly into or from the definition part of the clue.

No. Clue Wordplay Entry

One of the Pedaliaceae – what’s bestowed includes fruit (plural) (12)


GRANT (something bestowed) containing (includes) (APPLE [example of a fruit] + PL [plural])


GRAPPLE-PLANT (a S African herbaceous plant (Harpagophytum procumbens) of the sesame family, with woody hook-like growths on its fruits.  The term Pedaliaceae also describes the sesame family)


Baked cheese and egg mixture: batter similar (7)


RAM (hit with repeated blows; batter, reference battering-RAM) + AKIN (similar)


RAMAKIN (a mixture of cheese, eggs, etc baked in small moulds, or served on toast)



Letter from Israel always enclosed (4)


AY (always [Scottish and Northern England], variant spelling of AYE) + IN  (enclosed)


AYIN (the sixteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet; letter from Israel)



Round Turkey tunics are fashioned to order (8)


Anagram of (fashioned) TUNICS containing (round) TR (International Vehicle Registration) for Turkey


INSTRUCT (order)



A tittle-tattler in Falkirk (I’m meretricious) (6)


Hidden word in (in) FALKIRK I’M MERETRICIOUS


KIMMER (Scot’s [Falkirk is a town between Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland] word for a gossip; tittle-tattler)



Pigment from a bird’s feathers and bill imported by Italian city (7)


A/C (account; bill) contained in (imported by) TURIN (Italian city)


TURACIN (the soluble red pigment of turaco [any of various African arboreal birds] feathers, containing copper and porphyrin, unique in the animal kingdom; pigment from a bird’s feathers)



Fine cloth from leaf fibre missing for eastern overgarment (4)


PINAFORE (a loose protective or decorative garment worn, formerly esp by a child, over a dress; overgarment) excluding (missing) (FOR + E [eastern])


PIÑA (a fine cloth of pineapple-leaf fibre)



Jack quits as leader of cabal, near archaic? (4)


JUNTO (variant spelling of JUNTA [cabal or faction]) excluding [quits as] J (the first letter [leader of] JACK)


UNTO (an archaic meaning of UNTO is ‘to’ [near])



Tip is to fence tree, hard for worm (8)


(HINT [tip] containing [is to fence] ELM [example of a tree]) + H (hard)





Pustules of a kind, inflamed, enclosed, one turning gold on the outside (8)


AU (chemical symbol for gold) reversed (turning) containing (on the outside) (RED [inflamed] + IN [enclosed] + I [one])

U (RED IN I ) A<

UREDINIA (pustules)



Wild (and rare) creature, one renowned for living the high life? (4)


TAKI (a rare wild horse (Equus przewalskii) native to the Mongolian steppes, with a reddish-brown coat; widl [and rare] creature])


TAKI (reference TAKI Theodoracopulos, a Greek-born journalist and writer living in New York City, London and Switzerland. His column "High Life" has appeared in The Spectator magazine since 1977, and he has also written for other US and UK publications; renowned for living the high life) double definition



Superannuated master?  He certainly sounds depressed (4)


SIRE (sounds like SIGHER [one who SIGHS may well be depressed])

SIRE (obsolete [superannuated] meanings of SIRE are ‘man of high rank’ and ‘senior.  The dictionary meaning of superannuated is to set aside or cause to retire on account of age; to pension off’. I draw a pension, but I hope I’m not totally old-fashioned or out of date. My wife hasn’t described me as obsolescent – yet)



A strong breeze (7)


Standard AZED competition puzzles have one clue that is simply a definition.  This is it for the July competition puzzle.  Solvers are invited to write a cryptic clue for the entry.

SNIFTER (a strong breeze)



Cable maybe attached to stern of frigate as exhibit? (6)


E (last letter of [stern of] FRIGATE) + VINCE (reference Dr VINCE Cable.  At the time of writing the blog, he is Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in the UK coalition government.  Dr Cable is a Liberal Democrat, a member of the minority party in the coalition)


EVINCE (to make evident; exhibit)



Participant in debate making some sound in seat (8)


SONE (unit of sound on a scale such that the numerical value is proportional to the perceived loudness; some sound) contained in (in) REAR (buttocks; seat)


REASONER (one who participates in debate)



Mark a chanoyu that’s mishandled?  It could offer any — with mocha (4)


One of AZED‘s compound anagrams.  RAKU, ANY and MOCHA taken together form an anagram of MARK A CHANOYU.  We are invited to reverse engineer the anagram (mishandled) ignoring (could offer with) ANY and MOCHA

RAKU (a type of Japanese coarse-grained, lead-glazed pottery fired at low temperature, used esp to produce tea bowls. CHANOYU is a Japanese tea ceremony, so there is a strong link between RAKU and CHANOYU, although MOCHA is coffee rather than tea.)



What’s viscous at heart and are E, L and T troubled about it? (7)


Anagram of (troubled) ARE E, L and T containing (about) C (middle letter of [at heart] VISCOUS)

T R EA (C) L E

TREACLE (the dark, viscous uncrystallizable syrup obtained in refining sugar)  See comments in my preamble.



Performer in opera, mostly succinct one received by Germans worriedly? (12)


(TERSE ([succinct] excluding the final letter [mostly] E + I [one]) contained in (received by) an anagram of (worriedly) GERMANS


MASTERSINGER (an anglicised variant of MEISTERSINGER [any of the burgher poets and musicians of Germany in the 14th to 16th centuries; performer in opera, amongst other forms of the arts).

No. Clue Wordplay Entry

Greek sailor identifying coaster (4)


GR (Greek) + AB (abse seaman; sailor)


GRAB (an Eastern coasting vessel; coaster)



Guy unusually filling space in discharged sci-fi tool (6, 2 words)


Anagram of (unusually) GUY contained in (filling space in) RAN (discharged)


RAY GUN (in science fiction, a gun that fires destructive rays; sci-fi tool)



Stuff from Scotland found on anonymous African cutter (5)


PANG (a Scottish word [from Scotland] meaning stuff) + A (anonymous)


PANGA (a broad, heavy African knife used as a tool and as a weapon; African cutter)



Tile shows representation of this finch? (6)


L IN TIE is a description of the formation of the word TILE; in fifteensquared notation TILE could be written as TI (L) E with the L being inside (in) the word TIE

LINTIE (a mainly Scottish word for linnet [common finch])




‘Exquisite’ as Sachin T. may be labelled in Paris (11, 2 words)


Sachin Tendulkar, renowned Indian cricketer, is often referred to as the LITTLE MASTER in world cricket circles.  PETIT [little]  MAÎTRE [master] would be a French [in Paris] literal translation of LITTLE MASTER

PETIT MAÎTRE (fop; dandy; exquisite is defined in Chambers as a noun meaning dandy)



Give sharpness to a tea brewed with spice in (9)


(A + an anagram of [brewed]  TEA)  containing (with … in) CUMIN (a plant whose seeds are used a s a spice)


ACUMINATE (sharpen)



Experienced perfumers do, we hear, rarely culpable (6)


Sounds like (we hear) KNOW SCENT (understand scent, as experienced perfumers do)

NOCENT (rare word meaning guilty; rarely culpable)



Tropical fish caught in intricate traps (5)


Hidden word in (caught in) INTRICATE TRAPS

TETRA (any of various species of tropical freshwater fish of the family Characidae)



Old boy, king movin’ slowly, supported by arm? (11)


K (king) + INCHIN‘ (movin’ – inching and moving) + COVE (inlet of the sea; Chambers also gives one definition of ‘arm’ as inlet)  As this is a down clue the word COVE supports the previous letters.

KINCHIN-COVE (obsolete [old] word for boy; old boy)



Indicate advocates of good behaviour on the rise?  Those reaching upwards may reveal it (6)


(TIP [indicate] + MRA [Moral Rearmament [a movement succeeding the Oxford Group in 1938, advocating absolute private and public morality]; advocates of good behaviour) all reversed (reaching upwards; down clue)


ARMPIT (if you reach upwards with your arms, you may show your ARMPITs)



They ensure steady traffic flow?  Otherwise for a r-realist! (9)


Anagram of (otherwise) A R-REALIST


ARTERIALS (defined in Websters as a noun meaning through streets or highways [AZED told us that Websters was his source for the nounal usage of the entry].  Presumably ARTERIALS are designed to ensure steady flow, but a REALIST will tell you that the principle doesn’t always work)  I’m not sure why we have REALIST presented with a stammer.



Studies in old English port (6)


DENS (studies) contained in (in) OE (Old English)


ODENSE (third largest city of Denmark after Copenhagen and Aarhus; also a port city)



Artist I have found with a bit of research in art institution (6)


(I’VE [I have] + R [first letter of {a bit of} RESEARCH]) contained in (found… in) RA (Royal Academy; art institution)


RIVERA (reference Mexcian artist Diego RIVERA [1886 – 1957])



Is engraving (old-style) a reworking of R. Stein? (6)


Anagram of (a reworking of) R STEIN  The only R STEIN that comes readily to my mind is Rick STEIN, celebrity chef and restaurateur.  Google teels me however that there used to be (maybe still are) STEIN engraving machines.

INTERS (buries; an obsolete [old style] meaning of ‘engrave’ is to deposit in a grave;)



End of shank on cleek damaged?  Protect with rope binding (6)


K (last letter of [end of] SHANK) + an anagram of (damaged) CLEEK


KECKLE (protect by binding with rope)



Antitoxin extractable from diverse ruminants (5)


Hidden word in (extractable from) DIVERSE RUMINANTS

SERUM (blood serum contains antibodies, taken from an animal that has been inoculated with bacteria or their toxins, used to immunize people or animals;antitoxin)



Measure (long lost), one … (5)


FURLONG (a measure of distance, 40 poles, one eight of a mile, usually restricted to use in horse-racing these days) excluding (lost) LONG + AN

I spent some time on this clue trying to convince myself the answer was FARAN as one obsolete [lost] meaning of FAR is ‘long’.  However, when I couldn’t find FARAN in any dictionary I eventually realised what was going on.

FURAN (a colourless liquid heterocyclic compound obtained from wood tar or synthesized, and used in tanning and nylon production)  This clue is linked to 30 across where the definition ‘element in the tanning process’ is found.



… Element in the tanning process, last in SA country promoted (4)


PERU (country in South America) with the U (last letter [last in]) promoted from position 4 to position 2. to give PUER. This is a down clue so promoted is a valid word to describe the movement of U

PUER (a variant spelling of PUREone of whose meanings is ‘dog’s faeces or any similar substance used by tanners'; element in the tanning process’)


9 Responses to “Azed 2091/ Plain Competition Puzzle”

  1. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Egg,lettuce and tomato spread with treacle is a favourite sandwich filling in the Azed household.
    (no,I have no idea either).

    I thought 14d was very odd since I am sure there must be a superior way of indicating the extra R.

  2. Phi says:

    E,L and T are Elsie, Lacie and Tillie, the three girls who live in the treacle well in the Dormouse’s story in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which makes the clue & lit.

  3. duncanshiell says:

    Phi @ 2

    Thanks – I’ve been back to Google and see that if had searched on ‘treacle’ rather than on some combination of ‘E L and T’, I would have found a reference to Elsie, Lacie and Tillie.

    RCWhiting @ 1

    Interesting cuisine idea – I bet there is a household somewhere that thrives on such a combination.

  4. RCWhiting says:

    Indeed, see recent contributions to The Guardian letters page.
    Thanks Phi @2.

  5. sidey says:

    Thank you for the blog duncan. Isn’t the stammering extra letter thing simply one of Azed’s little trademarks? He’s used the device for as long as I can remember, certainly caused some head-scratching when I first encountered it.

  6. Bob Sharkey says:

    Re 14A, isn’t it appropriate in the sense of ‘stuttering to a halt?’ There’s always a reason for the oddest thing in an Azed, I find. Nobody has yet mentioned the redundant ‘certainly’ in 26A, but it’s there for a reason.

  7. RCWhiting says:

    I think it is just natural emphasis:
    He isn’t depressed (sigher is not sire) but ‘he certainly sounds’ so.
    14ac you are probably right although his usual double letters are not for anagrams.

  8. Paul B says:

    Sighers need not be depressed, you may consider, after a quick look at Collins, for example.

  9. Joe says:

    I am intrigued by the reference to R. Stein. He appears to have been an experimental engraver before 1814 and is mentioned in Brewster’s Edinburgh Encyclopedia Vol 8 p. 644.

    Does this person know more?? I have not been able to trace an engraving.


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