Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Genius No 62: a problem in dialectics

Posted by bridgesong on September 1st, 2008


Although I’ve been a subscriber to the Guardian crossword website for some years now, this
is the first time that I’ve attempted a Genius crossword.  Having managed to complete this
one without too much difficulty (with one exception) I’m kicking myself for not having done
them previously.  Solving time was about a day (not spent exclusively on it).

Lavatch is a new name to me (it doesn’t appear in Jonathan Crowther’s A-Z of Crosswords) and
there was nothing about the setter in Hugh Stephenson’s monthly email newsletter.  Perhaps
there will be next month.  The puzzle used a variation on a theme sometimes used by Azed,
where crossing solutions clash, and the solver has to determine which letter to insert.

Here the instructions were to be found by taking the first and last letters of redundant
words in the synthesis clues, as follows:


Which gives the following messages: Make new real words, of the philosopher.

Sure enough, in every case it proved possible to substitute a letter where the clash
occurred which provided a new word for both solutions.  It soon became apparent that the
clashes formed a downwards diagonal, and after considering Socratic and Platonic, it became
obvious that Hegel was the philosopher in question.  One additional element of difficulty
was that there was no definition in the clue to verify the new words, but they all seemed to
work for me (except one…)

The clues themselves were pretty straightforward and there were not many obscure words.  I
found it easiest to start by solving the (S) clues and identifying the redundant words.  I
knew that solutions to these clues could be written into the diagram immediately, whereas at
first with the T and A clues, it was necessary to leave gaps for possible clashes.

I’ll be away when the blog appears and probably unable to respond to any comments until September 8th.


1    WEEDS – weed = grass + S; changed to HEEDS on entry in the puzzle
4    GARBOLOGY – Garbo, Loy with G inserted
9    FLIER – f + ie between L and R; changed to FLEER on entry
10    AGUECHEEK – an ague is a fit and a cheek is part of an ass; Sir Andrew Aguecheek is
a minor comic character in Twelth Night
11    ENRACED – race in end: changed to ENRAGED on entry
12    COLDITZ – col + ditz(y); Colditz castle was used by the Germans as a prisoner-of-war
camp for prisoners who had staged escapes from other camps
13    PALLID – ll in paid; changed to PALLED on entry
15    MIGNON – mooning* less o
17    CANADA – CA + nada
18    PRAGUE – pr + (H)ague; changed to PLAGUE on entry
22    ATHLETE – let in anagram of heat
23    TARPANS – a simple anagram of Spartan; tarpans are a breed of horse.  Changed to
TAIPANs on entry
26    BLUE MOVIE – another anagram
27    SCORE – c in sore; changed to SCARE on entry
28    ETERNALLY – (R)eally around tern
29    TENOR – ten + 0 + R(egina); changed to TENON on entry


1    DUFFER – I think; or it could be DUFFED; there are very few words which start with H
and have F as their their third letter, so working backwards after inserting the H
for Hegel, that’s what I came up with, though I admit that it doesn’t seem to fit     the
clue.  By the time that this blog appears, the answer should be available on the
website so that we can all see where I went wrong
2    EMBER – (M)ember; entered as EMEER
3    SCRAP – sap round cr; entered as SCRAG
4    GRANDER – GR and ER; entered as GRANDEE
5    RAUNCH – launch, with r for l
6    OCCULTING – hidden, but you can’t see it until you remove the redundant word
7    OBEDIENCE – O(ld) Bede round an anagram of nice
8    YOKOZUNA – Yoko (Ono) + Zun(i) + a; a yokozuna is a champion sumo wrestler
13    PENTHOUSE – two definitions
14    LADIES MAN – anagram of maidens + al(l)
16    SCRABBLE – s(i)c + rabble
19    POTTERY – entered as LOTTERY
20    WEEVIL – wee + vil(e); there’s a running joke in the Patrick O’Brian novels  (set
in the Royal Navy in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries) about
choosing the lesser of two weevils…
21    ASTERS – another simple anagram, entered as ASTERN
24    ONSET – on + set: entered as INSET
25    AGRIN – r(ector) in a gin; entered as AGAIN

3 Responses to “Guardian Genius No 62: a problem in dialectics”

  1. Spann says:

    I had cuffed for 1d.


  2. bridgesong says:


    I think you’re right; cuffed makes more sense than duffed, although I don’t think that it’s a particularly good clue. I can confirm that HUFFED is the answer you find on the website this morning.

  3. Mick h says:

    It was the first Genius I’ve solved too, and seemed reasonably straightforward, though I clearly didn’t read the preamble very carefully. I only took the first letters of extra words for the message, which read: ‘MAKE REAL WORDS’ – enough to sort out the clashes, and I saw HEGELIAN appear anyway. I’m not sure that the relationship between thesis, antithesis and synthesis quite reflect the Hegelian view of dialectics, but I’m not offering to come up with a better way!

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