Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Genius 48 – Monk

Posted by jetdoc on July 1st, 2007


When Neil asked for someone to blog this one, I had just printed it out, so I readily volunteered, having to date completed all the Geniuses I have attempted, most of them without much (or any) difficulty, and even having won the £100 lottery on one occasion. So much for my hubris — this has to be the most difficult Genius yet! Serves me right for writing to the Guardian’s crossword editor that Genius preambles are usually more helpful than Listener ones; this preamble just about had me defeated. I was forced in the end to resort to collusion (and please note that I did not submit the eventual solution). Thanks to our colleague Michod for his help on the final step.

The preamble went thus: ‘In filling the grid, solvers must note down one-dimensional changes to Guardian Genius. Only the original version does not change’. Now that I understand it, I see that it is economical and quite clever; before I understood, I thought it was obscure and possibly incomplete. It is certainly deceptive in its libertarian usage of upper- and lower-case, of surface meaning, and of punctuation.

Once the clues were solved, there were 13 cells in which letters clashed. The clashing letters from the Down clues were NDMOIEIESOANL, which can be rearranged to ONE-DIMENSIO_AL; those from the Across clues are URIGEADAGNUIS, which can be rearranged to GUARDIAN GE_IUS. So the Across letters are the ones to be entered in the grid, because (as a solver) I note that ‘down ONE-DIMENSIONAL’ changes to [across] GUARDIAN GENIUS’. There is also an extra N, which is presumably the one at the intersection between 11dn and 27ac. Why this N is ‘the original version’ is as yet beyond me.

clue no. here comment here
1 SCULPTRESS — S = ‘succeeded’; CULT = ‘great admiration’, with its final letter in PRESS = ‘among the media’. Barbara Hepworth was, to quote Wikipedia: ‘a major British sculptor and artist of the twentieth century … Although not as renowned, she is generally considered as great a sculptor as her contemporary and friend Henry Moore’.
6 MIST — “missed”.
9 GRIPE WATER — 1 PEW in GRATE (a framework of bars) plus R (initially reserved). Gripe water is ‘a solution given to infants to relieve colic and minor stomach ailments’.
12 ONCE — ‘bonce’ decapitated.
15 ONE-HANDED — NE HAND (Tyneside, or north-east, worker) inside OED (dictionary). This took me ages to solve, partly because I was deceived by clashing letters. Once I’d got it, I realised it was fairly straightforward.
17 SHEBA — simple enough wordplay — SH (mum) plus EBA from ‘kebab’. But the definition? I though Sheba was the queendom rather than the queen, who was apparently called Makeda.
18 GWENT — GENT without (in the sense of outside) W (wife).
19 NOTRE DAME — *(and remote).
20 SAVE ONES SKIN — SAVE = ‘bar’ (except); O = old; NESS = ‘head’ (popping in); KIN = ‘family’.
24 NILE — ‘Madeline’ minus the ’Mad…e’, reversed. This took me a long time, and I got it from checking letters (mercifully, no clashes) — I couldn’t remember seeing the name spelt without another E; but Chambers does give this version, so that’s OK.
25 DISTRIBUTE — DISTRI[ct] (lacking court) on BUTE.
26 EVEN — EVEN[t]. An event is something that happens.
27 MOTIONLESS — presumably TI (time I) in MOONLESS, with ‘still’ as the definition. I am not sure how ’Miranda, say’ indicates ’moon’. Although it’s a Latin gerundive, meaning ‘female person/thing to be admired or wondered at’, ‘Miranda’ as a woman’s name is thought to have been coined by Shakespeare in The Tempest. It could also mean ‘neuter things to be admired or wondered at’, of which I suppose the moon could be an example; in that case, is the initial capital M valid? This seems pretty obscure to me, but maybe I have missed the bleedin’ obvious, and someone will swiftly give us a better explanation.
1 SHOE — “shoo”. A mule is a type of shoe.
2 NAIL — double definition.
4 DRAFT — DT (Daily Torygraph) with RAF (fliers) inside.
5 SPEARMINT — *(miner spat).
7 MONOPTERAL — an adjective describing ‘a circular Greek temple with one ring of columns’. P (quietly) in NOTE (remark), in MORAL (lesson).
8 TWEEDLEDEE — a character in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. WEED (‘spent a penny’ — rather quaint these days) and L filling T[h]E (‘the’ emptied); DEE (a river).
11 FIRST EDITION — *(o it it friends): an anagram (‘reunited’) of ‘o’ (ring), ‘it it’ (it repeatedly), ‘friends’.
13 HORSE SENSE — ‘nous’ is the definition; ‘hors’ in French means ‘outside of’ (so, I suppose, ‘save’ in the sense of ‘except’); ‘esense’ is made up of compass points. I’m a bit uneasy about ‘hors’ for ‘save’, though.
14 EIGENVALUE— a possible value for a parameter of an equation. Reversal of N (Newton) EG (say) IE (that’s), followed by VALUE = esteem.
16 DUODECIMO — usually written 12mo, indicating an interval of a twelfth in music. DEC 1 = ‘month’s opening’, in DUOMO = Italian cathedral.
21 SATIN — SAT IN. Anyone else remember sit-ins?
22 FACE — ‘configuration’ is the definition. I am told that F.A.C.E are the notes between the lines on a sheet of music — something to do with treble clefs and all that, apparently. I, tone-deaf and musically illiterate, would never have known that, and would probably not have solved the clue without help.
23 BELL — BELL[y].

4 Responses to “Guardian Genius 48 – Monk”

  1. Andy Wallace says:

    I agree about the degree of difficulty – clashing letters are hard enough in barred puzzles, let alone blocked ones! I missed the subtlety of the preamble – I read it to mean that the clashes had to be resolved in favour of the letters of GUARDIAN GENIUS, that’s all. I only started solving it on Thursday though, and had only detected 9 clashes with about 3/4 of the puzzle finished. I never got another chance to look at it after that.

    NB 27ac – Miranda is one of the moons of Uranus.

  2. spann says:

    Duplicating my comments from the previous location of the site:

    Gah! Fell foul of a four letter clue for the second month on the trot. I sadly managed to convince myself that 22D was GAGE, being a configuration of notes read (abcdefg), and an american variant of gauge – which is the distance between railyway lines.

    Does configuration mean face then? I will have to check Chambers for this one later.

    Error apart, I actually found this to be not too tricky a puzzle – I don’t think it caused me as much grief as some of the other genius puzzles recently.


  3. Monk says:

    ‘In filling the grid, solvers must note down one-dimensional changes to Guardian Genius. Only the original version does not change’.

    [1] In clue order, ‘down ONE-DIMENSIONAL changes to (across) GUARDIAN GENIUS‘, thereby imposing misprints in the down answers. The letter N in the 8th position in both strings does not clash …

    [2] … thereby not introducing a misprint into FIRST EDITION at 11dn, which is a synonym of the `original version‘ that`does not change.

  4. jetdoc says:

    Thanks, Monk. As ever, once the full solution is revealed, I feel daft for not having spotted it earlier. But that’s the whole point, isn’t it?

    I’m still not too happy about 17ac, though.

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