Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Genius 44/Paul – O bald man!

Posted by ilancaron on March 4th, 2007


I’ve not done these before but the Genius series is monthly series in the online (only) Guardian that offers a preambled themed puzzle which doesn’t require frequent round-trips to Chambers. Yet.

This month’s was gratifyingly hard and, even when the penny finally dropped, wasn’t clear sailing. My way in was 7D because of the obvious anagram combined with a v. common cryptic “order” (OM) gave me OM,ICHAEL. But, to be honest, I had to solve virtually all the across clues before I got even there.

Theme: extra O in front of all down clues: sportsmen and actors which are undefined. The preamble was pretty vague (as befits a preamble) about the challenge: namely, a “there’s a “common ‘problem’, that should be entered into the grid”. The actual published solution is cleverer than I gave it credit for: namely, “All down clues lead to bald men (ie with nothing on top)”.

I will say that “Genius” is a pretty embarrassing name for a series – I’m sure there are other words that start with a G that could have been chosen.


1 LOBO – def: “animal”. It’s the “flipping” of OBOL.
4 OBOL – def: old coin (inverse ofLOBO)
9 STOA[t] – “Manx” indicates tail-less.
10 READ,E – Charles READE is the author.
11 M(IM)E – Def: “unspeakable act” (pun!). I’M has been eaten (cannibalized) by ME (Paul).
12 ALDI – hidden in “venereAL Disease”. UK supermarket chain.
13 COR – double meaning
14 R,ACER – ACER is kind of tree.
15 H(YEN)A – YEN in “currency” and half of half is a quarter and HA
16 ACNE – cane* (indirect anagram!) and def: “complaint of youth”.
17 A,XIS – rev(six=cricketing “home run”).
18 LAM,A – Buddhist priest
19 F,ISH – def: “search”. ISH is “more or less” suffix.
20 ALPHA – ALPHAbet contains 26 of them in English.
22 [n]ATTAR – def: “oil”. Rev(ratta[n]=palm)
23 [d]ELI – Hebrew priest
24 [d]OR(G)Y – Dory’s a fish. An ORGY is a “lot of fun”! At least, so they say.
25 [pon]D,ACE – kind of fish
26 M(I)AUL – sound that a cat makes. MAUL is “mangle”.
27 DEED – palindrome
28 KNOT – two meanings: kind of bird and kind of KNOT (“reef”)
23 [d]ELI – Hebrew priest
29 S,AND – S for Sulphur and AND’s the “joiner”!


2 O,FA,BIEN, BAR,THE,Z – Goalie. “well translated” is BIEN and he’s French so that’s nice.
3 O(BRUC,E W)IL,LIS[t] – Actor. rev(we curb=we put a restraint on) in OIL (“liquid commodity”), followed by LIS[t] for “put down shortly” (in the sense of writing something down).
4 OP(A,TRICK, STEW)ART – Actor. OP-ART is “abstract works”.
5 OGE,OR,GE (FORE)M,AN – Boxer. rev(ego)=”I lifted”, OR=”golden”, GEM=”stone” contains FORE=”front”.
6 O(TELLY, SA)VAL,AS – Nee Kojak. TELLY is our “box” and our “shape” is OVAL with AS for “while” and “it”. It seems that SA is produced from “it” (AS) which has both been mangled (“it gets into shape”) and put into the “shape” (OVAL). “While under box, it gets into shape”. So this is sort of an &lit – but since there’s no definition not sure what to call it. Just took a look at the actual online solution: I overengineered matters: SA=sex appeal=”it”.  I missed this.
7 OM,ICHAEL, JORDAN – Basketball. OM=”order” (Order of the military), (chile a)* followed by a “country”=JORDAN.
8 OMAR,VIN, H,AGLER – Boxer. OMAR=”Muslim caliph”, followed by VIN=”foreign drink”, H for heroin (“drug”) and lager*.

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