AZED CROSSWORD 2174
CHARET (Printer’s Devilry)
1. K. Milan: Some ornaments in ba/r I’ll soften, piano.
2. A. J. Wardrop: Of a kind with ruffs and su/its, ducks and loons (ref. clothing & birds).
3. Dr E. Young: You can find in attic bin bat/s, in a variety (ref. Greek wine).
D. Appleton: ‘Nock’ and ‘no’ – t/wo similar words with the same meaning but different etymologies.
E. Bassett: Beyond chance, land under ar/able would be appropriate (ref. church design).
P. Biddlecombe: Gay son mar/rying to discredit Putin (ref. protests at Sochi Winter Olympics).
T. C. Borland: Leftover bones for our poo/r eats.
Dr J. Burscough: Jo and Meg, mar/rying as ‘Little Women’ to become ‘Good Wives’?
S. Collins: One who loves, mo/urns regularly for his passion at Starbucks.
R. B. Harling: Not being used to junk, rigging-master of lor/ries raising yard.
D. V. Harry: Gourmet feels nectarine and pea/r, eats if they’re really ripe.
R. J. Hooper: Crude aquatints – i.e. t/hird-rate compared to Goya, say.
B. Jones: Some pieces by ba/ritone, rich, dark and broody (tritone-rich).
R. Kimbell: Chomping on his third plateful, Bunter spluttered, ‘This bat/on’s crustier’
J. C. Leyland: I’m vexed to find local ben/t on getting my wine bar licence refused.
C. J. Morse: Four-letter words? Ingrid’s having no un/ruly child’s play.
M. Owen: Tireless rescuers involved in sea, r/oiling, to bring victims to safety.
W. Ransome: The politically self-righteous bigot often goes to pri/ories.
P. A. Stephenson: Couple late in mar/rying for a Christmas baby.
P. L. Stone: Thae making hoo/-ha, everyone’s blootered!
J. R. Tozer: Student site a/ired after a vigorous PE lesson.
J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter: What does a holiday maker in the alps do if he is injured climbing? Su/es!
C. Weatherley: All the couples joining protest, mar/rying to change the law.
A. Whittaker: Monsters in Scottish lo/re, a sure jackpot for tourist board.
G. H. Willett: If stressed, perhaps put in with Ada: t/reats there for relaxation.
D. & N. Aspland, M. J. Barker, M. Barley, D. J. Bexson, G. Borooah (USA), P. Cargill, I. Carr, D. Carter, J. & B. Chennells, N. Connaughton, P. & B. Coomer, K. J. Crook, E. Dawid, V. Dixon (Ireland), W. Drever, D. J. Fleming, Dr I. S. Fletcher, H. Freeman, R. Gilbert, G. I. L. Grafton, A. Harker, D. Harris, R. J. Heald, R. Hesketh, G. Johnstone, C. Loving, M. Lunan, S. G. G. Macdonald, W. F. Main, D. F. Manley, P. W. Marlow, M. Martin, I. D. McDonald, C. G. Millin, T. J. Moorey, R. A. Norton, R. J. Palmer, D. Protheroe, D. R. Reed, G. Rosser, T. Rudd, Dr S. J. Shaw, N. G. Shippobotham, P. Taylor, R. C. Teuton, S. J. J. Tiffin, L. Toole, A. J. Varney, M. Wainwright, Ms S. Wallace, L. Ward (USA), J. West, T. West-Taylor, R. J. Whale, P. O. G. White, J. Woodall (France), A. J. Young.
Despite a very warm welcome for the return of an old favourite, the entry was disappointingly low: only 173. Perhaps the appalling weather and widespread flooding had something to do with it. There were few mistakes, mostly NALLA for NABLA, and your favourite clue, of 18 nominated at least once, was ‘He likes to think he’s a good saxophonist but he isn’t’ for OBECHE, three votes ahead of ‘After a rough voyage there’s many a bonking in the quayside inn!’ (SUNDRI).
I must apologize straight away for ALKALIN, which is certainly not in Chambers, and is only justifiable as a bona fide word from its appearance in the OED as an obsolete 17th-century alternative spelling, and from the fact that, according to the Internet, it is an acceptable word in ®Scrabble – I’ve no idea why. I think I simply misread ALKALIS in Chambers Words, and naturally never had reason to check the dictionary entry thereafter. I’m so sorry for the trouble caused. No one got it wrong.
I was asked by more than one competitor whether I adopt a special approach to the construction of a PD grid that differs from that for a normal Plain. Not really, except that as each word goes in I have to be sure that it will be susceptible to devilry. (I don’t as a rule plan the clue as a whole at this stage, though a number of general treatments may spring to mind.) I simply can’t afford to arrive at the cluing process for a word which proves totally unworkable in PD. I choose the clue word before cluing any of the rest, aiming to offer you a reasonable range of possible approaches. CHARET actually proved a little less friendly than I had hoped (and as you doubtless discovered), but it nevertheless yielded an impressive range of ideas. Part of the knack is, as I’ve said before, to produce wording that reads convincingly in both devilled and undevilled forms. If either is less convincing, it must always be the devilled form.
Thought is already being given to a get-together to mark Azed No. 2,250, which is due to appear in July 2015. In the past such gatherings have taken the form of a dinner (or more recently a lunch) at one of the colleges in Oxford. Could I invite realistic suggestions (included with competition entries or separately) as to how the format might be modified or added to, with a view possibly to encouraging newer solvers or those unfamiliar with Azed puzzles to come along. It would certainly be nice to swell the ranks of regulars.
And finally, Mr N. G. Shippobotham’s VHC, omitted in error from the slip for No. 2,165, was ‘“Too rude” for this?’ (anag. & lit.). Short and sweet.