Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Genius 51/Doc — EMPLOY

Posted by Colin Blackburn on September 29th, 2007

Colin Blackburn.

The theme required solutions to be adapted before entry but said nothing of the clues. Noticing that the answer lengths were one or two less than the grid lengths this suggested some addition to each answer as it was entered into the grid. Treating the clues as normal I solved a few intersecting clues cold. After three of four from the top corner it stood out that each answer so far contained a double-you and that the only way to get the words to fit the grid was to do something with these double-yous. Unfortunately 1a and 1d both went in, and remained real words, if the W became a QU. This didn’t work for the next couple of answers!

I then thought about the title, EMPLOY. Then it dawned, EMPLOY = use = yous; so, turn a double-you into two yous. Then the answers fitted perfectly and a few modified letters even checked against single occurrences of you in crossing words. Once I had this it became straightforward to solve. The only complication was whether to interpret a you in the grid as a you or part of a double-you.

The cluing was generally sound with some good surface reading. There is one answer that I have tentatively put in which follows from the word play, vaguely, but doesn’t seem to be a word. I may be wrong!

1 WAYSIDE — (DAISY)* in WE — straightforward clue with a good surface to start the puzzle
5 WOOED — OO in WED(nesday) — (a pair of) spectacles is what a batsman gets when he gets two ducks in the two innings of a match, ie two zeroes.
9 IPSWICH — (tr)IPS + WI + CH — some to mean three letters might be frowned upon but as trips appears in the clue it isn’t so heinous.
10 RENEW — seRENE Weather
11 WIN HANDS DOWN — W + IN + HANDS DOWN — 19 = endows.
14 WRAP — “rap” — the completion of filming is a wrap. Great use of the film title for the homophone part of the clue.
15 DHOW — D + HOW — how is a Scottish hollow. Oddly it’s also a word meaning a small hill!
16 WAVE — cryptic def.
20 WEAL — E in LAW<
22 WILD CREATURES — (WALTER CRUISED)* — a French definition here referring to the art movement known as Fauvism.
24 SNOWY — double def. — Tin-Tin’s dog was called Snowy. Strange surface though.
25 CUTE BOW — (CUBE TWO)* — I can’t find CUTE BOW in a dictionary but it fits the grid. I may be misinterpreting the word play.
26 SWASH — double def.
1 WIT — (TIW)< — ref is to the Norse god Tiw.
2 ANSWER — americANS WE Rejected
3 SEWN UP — double def.
4 DECLARE WAR — cryptic def.
6 WEEDED — “we did” — Hmmm.
7 ONE-TWO — double def. — one possible score for an away win in football.
8 DOWN QUILT — D + OWN + (L in QUIT)
18 WIDOW — WINDOW – N — a widow is a short line appearing on the next page separated from the rest of its paragraph; or is that an orphan?
19 ENDOWS — END + WO< + S(tatue)
20 UNWELL — jUNe + WELL — sounds like Doc’s writing about this year!
21 ERENOW — hoW ONE REckoned<
23 WAS — W + A + S

3 Responses to “Guardian Genius 51/Doc — EMPLOY”

  1. Paul says:

    I finished this crossword but couldn’t believe that 25 across was really ‘cute bow’ (though that is what I went for in the end). Not even Google seems to show any results that suggest this is a particularly widely used phrase, and I don’t understand why “How to” should mean “Anagram of”. A very weak clue and answer in an otherwise good puzzle, I thought. Does anyone else agree or am I overlooking something with this clue and answer?

  2. beermagnet says:

    While I will admit that “CUTE BOW” was the last I wrote in, I thought that it was close enough to the definition “hair ribbon”, and clear enough from the construction (CUTE TWO)* , so once I had it I didn’t doubt it – I certainly didn’t go looking it up. The difficulyy with this one (if any) was the anagrind which I took as “How to cube” i.e. cut and mix-up, while also using CUBE in the fodder.

    Overall I liked this puzzle a lot – a thrill seeing the “Employ” = “To Use” => “W”=”Double U”=”UU” trick which meant the puzzle was subsequently soon completed (though I suspect this means it will be considered an “easy” Genius).
    Kudos to Doc for constructing the grid and getting a W in every answer.

  3. Paul says:

    Hmm, I’m glad not everyone found it to be a sticking point, but for me my criticisms stand – you can’t use a word in both the anagrind and the anagram, surely? And does this answer mean that an acceptable answer to a clue containing the definition “clothing” would be “nice dress” or “attractive suit”? Just seems weird to me that you can simply make up a phrase like “cute bow” and put it in a crossword.

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