Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Genius no.63, Brummie: The final curtain

Posted by michod on October 6th, 2008


As a newcomer to the Genius since the site went free, I found this OK but a little – not hard to get going with, but tough to finish because the entry method for the thematic clues, though good, left you with the kind of ambiguities a definiton-only puzzle would (I love cryptics, they;re so much easier!) . The final curtain, as it were, was little underwhelming, and I felt that the whole synonym idea could have been deployed to better purpose. The eight thematic clues are asterisked, two theme words in bold.


9. SQUEAMISH. MAE<in SQUISH. One of the last to go, quite tough as Mae is quite a long way down the list of women’s names that come to mind.

10. (b)OUNCE. A lynx or snow leopard, not endangered in crosswords at least.

11. S(h)USH+I. Nice surface, though wd be better if I could refer to India.

12. HIGHS PEED. Peaks=highs a bit close to the definition of the whole, but it’s still a nice charade -Brummie likes the odd lavatorial reference, and so do I.

*13. NOODLES (ONE’S OLD*) = NITWITS. I had ninnies at first – dimwits, cretins, prob others alsot possible.

*14. IN V(O)ICE = ACCOUNT. A very clever clue, which possibly should have had a question mark after ‘clamped’ – O  is in ‘in vice’, i.e. opening clamped.

*17. C(ockr)OACH = TUTOR. I found most of these quite hard to get, because you have to force yourself to ignore checking letters while trying to cold-solve the clue.

19. C(l)UE. This being the clue.

*20. (c)UTTER = SPEAK. I had sheer at first, although that is really the same meaning as in the definition, so couldn’t have been right.

21. LOR(I’M)E+R.

22. G RO(s)SES. Took a while because of mistakes at 22 and 23 dn.

24. FOOD CHAIN. A rare CD, and not a great one – I don’t see another meaning for it really.

26. MOT+IF (TOM<).

28. RE(S)IN.



1. IS IS. Ref part of the Thames in Oxford, where people punt.

2. RUSS+ET. Ref comedian Russ Abbot – not sure you see him much these days.

3. PACIFIC RIM. CD (the main edge) + CAPRI FC II*+M(ilan).

4. (w)EIGHTS. Rowing races with eight rowers I believe.

5. THE GRAVE. Unclued answer, the non-literal sense of 19dn.

6. POTS (DD). Not sure why, but I fingered this one early on as thematic, and had ‘pans’ as the entry, which slowed things down.

7. INSECURE. (SINECURE with S dropping two places). Good clue.

*8. (th)RUSH = REED. Looking back, it took me a moment to remember why – surely Rushdie’s neither a singer nor particularly acne’d, and has seven letters anyway – ah, of course, the spotty singer’s a thrush!

13. NAT+AL.

15. CUSTOM-MADE. Straight charade of the compound word’s two parts.

16. TAKAS (TAKES with A for E). The only really obscure word here, except possibly lorimer.

18. TORT + OISE. Apologies to those who roll the R in tortoise – it worked for me.

19. CURTAINS. Formed fromthe first letters of the asterisked entries, and defining 5 down – although not very directly: both refer to death, but in subtly different ways.

*22. TENDER (RED NET<) = GENTLE. Another ambiguous one – I had ‘kindly’.

*23. A LIGHT = SETTLE. Can’t even remember what I had here.

*24. SACK (CASK switching C and S) = FIRE.

25. CAN+T.

27. FLAG (DD).

6 Responses to “Guardian Genius no.63, Brummie: The final curtain”

  1. mhl says:

    I enjoyed this puzzle a lot, but I’m afraid I disagree strongly about IN VOICE – this was the last clue I got, and took much longer than everything else in the puzzle. The definition part (“singing well”) can only be IN VOICE (2,5), not INVOICE (7) and is only down as the latter in the clue to make the ACCOUNT synonym work.

    I thought the intended reading was “Ring” = O inserted into (“opening” or “opening up”) IN VICE for “clamped”. If that’s right, I’m a bit unhappy about that too, since “clamped” can’t really be substituted for “in vice” in a sentence…

    Anyway, I thought this stood out as rather unfair clue in an otherwise excellent crossword.

  2. Fletch says:

    Well I enjoyed this, I think the recent puzzles in this series have been very good. Never win it though!

  3. michod says:

    Mhl, my reading of INVOICE was the same as yours, I just didn’t phrase it as clearly. ‘Clamped’ could certainly be substituted for ‘in a vice’, but only really for ‘in vice’ in a headline, I suppose, so it’s perhaps a little unfair. You’re right that the length for the clue answer should have been (2,5), but it was unclear whetehr word lengths were for answer or entry – the preamble said they were the same, and perhaps should have been clearer.

  4. beermagnet says:

    It was NITWITS that I was stuck on for 3 weeks. I was looking for a synonym of Noodles as in Heads for most of that time.

  5. How to Be an Affiliate Marketing Genius? says:

    [...] Guardian Genius no.63, Brummie: The final curtain [...]

  6. mhl says:

    Sorry, michod – I misread your comment on that clue.

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