Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Genius 47 by Pasquale – Grauniad

Posted by nmsindy on June 3rd, 2007

nmsindy.

A pleasing puzzle based on the affectionate nickname of the paper, famous for its misprints. The eight-letter words had to be entered by shifting their letters in the same way so e.g. as Grauniad became Guardian, acrimony becomes aircyonm. Though it did not say so in the preamble, the definition and letter mixture (DLM) clues were the eight 6-letter words in the puzzle.

Solving time: about 1 hr 15 mins

I’ll list first the answers of the 8 DLM clues with the definitions ACROSS 8 SPARSE thin 12 TEHRAN capital 19 ANTICS Fun and games 23 SHERPA Native mountaineer DOWN 1 TISANE brew 4 MARRED disfigured 18 ADMIRE like 20 CANUTE Old king. The extra letters gave GRAUNIAD.

Other clues

*anagram

ACROSS

5 A CR (IM) ONY

10 TAC(k) O O = egg and taco is a Mexican pancake (so would have eggs) Tack = food

11 DI’S C HAR ROW

13 N (EAT H) ERD h = horse = heroin neat = cow

14 KNOW THE SCORE Ref musical score

17 MAGNOLIA ai (long = pine a) m all reversed

21 DIAMANTINE Tin in (a maiden)* ice = diamonds

22 SANG Double definition

24 TIT AN ATE B C by A

DOWN

2 CON CORD E Cone = nose with cord= string holding parts together

3 THE (SSAL) Y lass reversed

6 gOLDEN

7 MISANTHROPIST (in short I’m past)* Not as common as misanthrope

9 S (CO)URGE Co = firm

14 KENTISH (Think SE)* and Kent is in the South East

15 S (ALES) IAN Religious order (St Francis de Sales)

16 OUT LINES

19 A VERT

14 Responses to “Guardian Genius 47 by Pasquale – Grauniad”

  1. says:

    Call me bitter, having solved everything else correctly and then spent a week stuck on 10A before giving up and just entering a guess – MAYO – from a list of six possibilities, but I’m really not convinced by the answer TACO. At least your explanation does make sense of the cryptic part (thank you!), but I think the definition (&lit) is very poor indeed, as a taco is certainly not known for being *mostly* made with egg. An omelette, maybe, or indeed some mayo, but not taco, surely?

    In my efforts to get to the bottom of the clue (both this morning and, I must confess, before the deadline) I have found numerous other people struggling to work out this one. I shall be most interested to see how many correct entries were received: having got through the bulk of it I was already convinced it would be giving the low entries record-holder from last year a run for its money, but now I’ve seen how many people from what I would assume will already be quite a low number of entrants have entered the wrong answer at 10A, I won’t be surprised if the correct entries barely reach double digits!

    (This is the sort of prediction you should never write down publicly, of course – feel free to laugh at me tomorrow when the e-mail comes round stating that 394268 correct entries were received ;) )

  2. says:

    I was in the MAYO camp — thinking that “mostly made with egg” could conceivably have indicated MA[de],YO[lk]. But TAC[k],O is fine I guess. If you like them.

    On another subject, I had a curious time with 18D: I indeed came up with ADMIRE but from “deaR MAIDEN”, which leaves an N behind (instead of from “DEAR MAIden” which leaves an A) — at this point I had something like G*A*N*D, which was enough for me to guess GRAUNIAD! Of course, I had to fix that N later — but interestingly it got me successfully into the puzzle.

  3. says:

    Oh yes, I noticed that there were two possible ways to get MAIDEN, with two different letters available as a result, but it was subsequently overshadowed by 10A and I forgot to mention it. I suppose it’s not a flaw as such – the instructions do hold true, it’s just ambiguous – but it is a slight weakness.

  4. says:

    Gah. Another one in the mayo camp unfortunately.

  5. says:

    Food mostly made with egg?

    This is being touted as &lit, presumably due to the fact that the indications are couched in a vaguely apposite (by which I mean a great many foods are made with egg) phrase containing an otherwise redundant word (‘made’).

    Apparently, TACK can signify ‘food, especially of the bread kind’ (as in ‘hard tack’), so solvers who did not confuse this with the more obvious TUCK (‘eatables’) should have been okay at that point. After, we see O conventionally represented as ‘egg’, thus TAC(k)/ O.

    Thing is, many taco shells are not made with egg, the defining ingredient being maize tortilla: and a taco (the sandwich of shell plus filling) could contain anything. And if I were hungrier and more pedantic …

  6. says:

    I fear that my misunderstanding of the ingredients of a TACO was down to seeing ‘pancake’ in a definition somewhere and getting over-excited thinking about Shrove Tuesday type pancakes. Going for the & lit didn’t quite work, did it? That said, I think TACO is by far the best approximation given the wordplay and MAYO just a guess. Sorry to those whose fun was spolit though! Over and out.

  7. says:

    I know that Pasquale has signed off and won’t be following this furhter… but for the record: I think that MAYO is more than a guess: it’s a food, it addresses the &lit attempt (since egg is a primary ingredient) and MA[de],YO[lk] is a plausible (albeit loose) wordplay interpretation of “mostly made with egg”.

  8. says:

    Once I’d got the idea of tac(k), I was sure of this. TACO, I must admit, is to me a “crossword word” – I’ve seen it in grids, know its definition from dicts but have no personal experience of it. I was lucky, I think, in that, near Shrove Tuesday, there was an excellent barred puzzle by Charybdis in the weekend Indy based on the ingredients of a pancake including egg so it was fresh in my mind. Re Ilan’s point above, I blog Quixote(aka Pasquale)’s puzzles in the IoS every week so am very familiar with his style – that interpretation of MAYO would be far too loose. I think the real problem here is four-letter words where the two crossing letters are vowels – hard to avoid entirely in puzzles – if it was T?C? I don’t think we’d be having this debate at all. Pasquale’s acknowledgement of the weakness was good, I thought.

  9. says:

    Where is the Guardian Genius puzzle published?

  10. says:

    The Guardian Genius is only available online (unfortunately) at http://www.guardian.co.uk/crossword – you need to register and pay a subscription fee.

    I agree with you Niall about TACO — it’s a near-&lit. Hold the mayo (as we should be doing anyway, since it’s bad for the arteries).

  11. says:

    In self-response to my first comment above, it seems I was right to put the last bracketed paragraph in: there were 144 correct entries for this puzzle! I stand corrected (and surprised!).

  12. says:

    Paul,
    Not sure if you’ll see this reply before the main entry scrolls off the page, but I also am very suprised by the relatively high number of correct entries. Relatively, by which I mean compared with the published number of correct entries for puzzles over the last year or so.
    For example, I believe the all time low to be 38 for the puzzle with a theme of trees. Maybe I do not recall this correctly?
    Given that this puzzle seemed quite hard anyway, and that several well-known solvers on this blog and in particular on the grauniad talk forums went with Mayo, then 144 seems extraordinarily high. 144 solved this puzzle correctly *and* put taco instead of mayo, and yet only 38 solved the tree puzzle? Doesn’t stack up to me, unless perhaps more people are attempting the Genius puzzle these days.
    Cheers,
    spann

  13. says:

    Spann,

    Yes, that’s my thinking exactly. The tree-themed one was quite hard – I think it was actually alternating synonyms for ‘bear’ and ‘wood’, about half of which were trees, made out of the last and first halves of the top and bottom words in each Down column respectively, with these parts of the words then being omitted from the cryptic part of each clue, and all this indicated only by an amusing rhyming riddle in the style of the Teddy Bears’ Picnic – but personally I found that no harder than this.

    Likewise, if I remember correctly, another record-holder at some point (also in double figures only) was the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ puzzle, which I would have to say was probably easier (and certainly far more straightforward, method-wise) than either last month’s or the bear/wood one.

    I can only assume, like you, that more people are entering nowadays, but it must really be a lot more people if we are assuming that – what? – a good half of the correct entries had MAYO at 10A and therefore wouldn’t have qualified as correct after all.

    What would be a far more interesting statistic in the circumstances would be the numbers of *incorrect* entries each month, particularly this most recent one. Let’s face it, no-one presses that one-time-only Submit button without being pretty confident that they’ve got everything right, so I’d imagine that there are normally only a small number of incorrect answers, whereas perhaps this month it would have been more like half of all entries.

    Anyone fancy e-mailing to request this information from Hugh Stephenson, in the name of interesting research? I’d do it myself but I think he’s probably sick of me after enduring both pre- and post-closing date complaint e-mails from me in the past couple of weeks, so others may have more success in seeking a favour!

    Paul

  14. says:

    Paul,

    The genius puzzle I was trying to recollect was called Reafforestation. Here is a link to the editor’s column commenting on the puzzle:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/crossword/update/story/0,,1963542,00.html

    It was another with an ambiguity in one of the answers; I recall emailing the editor myself, and although there was nothing like the furore generated by last month’s puzzle, he did decide to accept either answer. Even so, there were only 43 correct answers (I’m not quite sure where I plucked the number 38 from!).

    A link to the puzzle (genius number 41) is here:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/crossword/print/0,,-18192,00.html

    I see they have now added to the special instructions to give the alternative ambiguous answer!

    I found that puzzle harder than either last month’s or the Paul puzzle you mention, but difficulty is obviously in the eye of the solver, so to speak. There was one Engimatist puzzle – not the light at the end of the tunnel themed one – which caused me all kinds of difficulties and I don’t believe I completed it.

    I agree that the number of incorrect entries each month would be a useful statistic; or indeed, the total number of entries along with the total number of correct entries.

    I will email Hugh Stephenson with this suggestion.

    Spann

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