Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Genius 64/Locum – The A-Team

Posted by Andrew on November 3rd, 2008


After two very tough offerings from Paul and Brummie, this required very little genius in either solving the clues or fitting the answers into the grid. An enjoyable enough puzzle, and a clever feat of construction, but rather a disappointment from a solver’s point of view. I very quickly solved all but a few of the clues, and found there was only one possible way to fit the 11-letter answers into the grid. After that filling in the rest and solving the remaining clues was a formality. Hugh Stephenson’s newsletter bemoans the fact that there were very few entries for September’s Genius, despite it being the first under the free service: I suspect there may be quite a lot more for this one.

I’ve listed the clues in the order they appeared in the original list, with in their position in the completed grid in brackets, using the usual numbering scheme.

dd = double definition
* = anagram
< = reverse


A CAPPELLA [9ac] A(ndy) CAPP + ELLA (Fitzgerald) – easy to spot from the definition and enumeration

ACORN [11dn] First letters

ADORINGLY [2ac] RING replaces L in A DOLLY

ADULATE [3dn] (LAUDATE)*. Laudate Dominum (Praise the Lord) are the opening words of the Latin version of Psalm 117, which is often set to music.

AESOP [3ac] (POSE A)<

ALARM [6dn] LAR(k) in AM &lit – I’m not sure this quite works: I guess the wordplay is supposed be be LAR(k) “in the morning”.

ALL SQUARE [4ac] ALL’S QUARE. A reference to Brendan Behan’s play The Quare Fellow (1954)

AMALGAM [10dn] A M AL GAM &lit

AMOUR [1ac] A(r)MOUR

AMPERSAND [1dn] (h)AMPERS AND. The first ampersand in the clue gives the AND; the second is the definition.




ANGUS [5dn] Hidden rev, and must be a down answer because of the “up” – I thought this woud be crucial in fitting the answers into the grid, but as I mentioned above this is determined by the 11-letter words.

AO DAI [12ac] An obscure answer hidden in an obscure name – clever but not particularly satifying to solve.


ARISTOCRACY [4dn] (ASCOT I CARRY)* Another very easy one that I spotted early on, which made it seem pretty likely that all the answers began with A.

ARMBAND [7ac] B in ARMAND. A & M Denis were early exponents of the TV wildlife genre, which they narrated a perhaps slighly exaggerated version of their Belgian (Frrench) accents.



ATHOS [10ac] (p)ATHOS – on of the Three Musketeers



8 Responses to “Guardian Genius 64/Locum – The A-Team”

  1. mhl says:

    Thanks for the excellent post on this, Andrew.

    I’m rather annoyed that the PDF version misspells UTC as UGC – I would wasted must less time on the clue but for that error.

    A CAPPELLA: As you say, this was easy to spot from the definition and the enumeration (not to mention ELLA), but I’d never heard of “Andy Capp”…

    ALARM: My interpretation was the same.

    I liked the clue for AMPERSAND :)

    Overall, I thought this was a lot of fun and not too easy – it needed a couple of sittings for me. I didn’t spot the “A” theme until far too late because of starting solving the clues sequentially, though, which probably slowed things down. It turns out this was good practice for yesterday’s Azed, as well, having never done this type of jigsaw before. :)

  2. Andrew says:

    On checking, I’m slightly surprised to find that the Andy Capp strip is still running in the Daily Mirror – even more so given that its creator, Reginald Smythe, died in 1998. The modern version is somewhat sanitised, in that Andy is no longer either a chain-smoker or a wife-beater.

    As I said in the blog, I was lucky to see the A-theme by getting ARISTOCRACY early. This came about through my usual strategy of skimming quickly through all the clues trying spot any obvious answers. Knowing the first letter of each answer and having a good idea of the second is a huge help.

  3. Ali says:

    I only spotted the fact that every answer began with an A after I’d completed the grid. Which, given that AUTOPILOT was one of the first clues I solved, makes me about as far removed from a genius as it’s possible to be without falling over!

  4. Andrew says:

    It seems my prediction was correct. From this month’s newsletter: ‘Either people found Locum’s October “all-the-A’s” Genius puzzle slightly easier than average or the fact that the crosswords are now freely available is reaching a wider audience. For the number of correct entries for October was an all time record at 398.’

    And I still haven’t won the £100 :(

  5. Tom Hutton says:

    Where can I find this crossword? Is it a regular feature somewhere?

  6. Andrew says:

    Tom, the Genius puzzle is online only – you can get to it (and all the other Guardian and Observer puzzles) from

  7. Tom Hutton says:

    Thank you, Andrew

  8. Geoff Adams says:

    Yes, you’re right on two counts – 1) lar(k) in am (cf “rising with the lark”, and 2) it doesn’t quite work. I was aiming for a near-&Lit. I missed!


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