Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Genius 73: Pasquale — Off with her head

Posted by jetdoc on August 2nd, 2009


A Genius of average difficulty from Pasquale. Once I had spotted how it worked, I solved it without problems. Having mislaid my solved copy, I had to do it again, and got through it pretty rapidly second time around.

I see that the preamble has been clarified since it first appeared, at which point it did not specify that the initial letters of the extra words in 20 clues spell out the quotation, “In my end is my beginning” (“En ma fin git mon commencement”), a motto embroidered on the emblem of Mary of Guise, mother of Mary Queen of Scots, quoted in a letter from William Drummond to Ben Jonson in 1619. I think that this quotation was used as the theme of a Listener puzzle a while ago.

The definition-only clues give two words, one of which can be transformed into the other by moving its first letter to a later position. As Richard points out, to the penultimate position.

Answer Explanation Redundant word
6 DERANGED RANG = phone; ‘interrupting’ DEED Irene
9 ORACHE [HORACE] Definition-only
10 MANSUETUDE MAN = guy; SUE = girl; *(duet). An archaic word. nostalgic
11 DIVE V in DIE much
12 DESPATCH DE = ‘ed[itor]’ backwards; PAT = boy or girl; in SCH (short for ‘school’, the answer to 18d). Definition: Post Yorkshire
14 [ASPER] SPEAR Definition-only
15 LOCUST C = Conservative; US; in LOT. Locust beans are also known as ‘St. John’s bread’ because, according to tradition of some Christians, St. John the Baptist subsisted on them in the wilderness. Evangelist
17 STYMIE STY = den; IE = that is; M = male. Definition: Snooker nerds
19 PARSE [SPARE] Definition-only
20 CATARACT CAT = water-averse pet; RAT = animal; with C = caught, in it. disturbed
23 JOSS JO, a character in Little Women; S = son. A Chinese idol. influenced
24 ICOSAHEDRA *(I had a score) silly
26 [SPROUT] PROUST Definition-only
27 LATINIST S = first letter of ‘school’, the answer to 18d; in *(lit ain’t). modern
1 HECATE [THECAE] Definition-only
2 LAOS LAS[s]; ‘accepting’ O yokel’s
3 SOMERSET SET = determined; SOMER = sounds like ‘summer’. bowler
4 DAYDREAMER *(made dreary) Employment
5 CHIVAREE C = around; HIVE = busy centre; ARE being ‘drunk’ (= contained). Alternative N American spelling of charivari. glasses
7 GREET [EGRET] Definition-only
8 DOUCHE D = last letter of ‘descended’; OUCH = ‘that hurt!’; E = first letter of ‘ears’. intolerant
13 PICARESQUE *(squire pace) neighbourhood
15 LAPBOARD LAP = drink; BOD = fellow; AR = a right. A flat wide board resting on the lap, used by tailors and seamstresses. nice
16 SPECIATE SPEC = ‘ceps’ backwards; I ATE indigestion
18 SCHOOL S = second; CH = child; OOL = ‘loo’ backwards naughty
21 TOAST [STOAT] Definition-only
22 CARESS [SCARES] Definition-only
25 ERNE Hidden in ‘coarser nesting’ grass

7 Responses to “Guardian Genius 73: Pasquale — Off with her head”

  1. Richard Heald says:

    Lovely puzzle, and it’s worth noting that in the thematic answers the initial letters are always transplanted to the penultimate position (hence ‘in my end …’). Like you, Jane, I feel I’ve seen this quotation used before but can’t think where.

  2. liz says:

    Thanks, Jetdoc. I got the lower half of the puzzle out fairly quickly and saw how the definition-only clues worked. Then got seriously bogged down at the top, because I expected all the definition-only clues to involve moving an S. Very pleased to finish.

    I never checked back to see if the preamble was changed, so never managed to get the quotation. Which was a pity!

  3. Ian W. says:

    An enjoyable puzzle, and the gimmick slowed me down just enough to savour it longer, unlike this month’s Genius by Paul, which I was disappointed to finish over two cups of coffee.

  4. John H says:

    Re 1: Richard, I think it was Quiz Digest years ago. Maybe the compiler can confirm?

  5. Pasquale says:

    I did use a quotation from Luke 13:30 (a similar idea but not exactly the same) in November 1980. Well remembered! — and thanks for the blog

  6. Mr Beaver says:

    We were delighted to finish this in only 2 days (after our first attempt at the Genius in June, which we found impossibly hard).
    I confess I cheated on MANSUETUDE, which inexplicably had passed me by…
    My first inkling as to the theme was 21d, aided by crossing letters.

  7. Matthew says:

    The quotation was used in a recent Magpie puzzle, and so it was the first 20-letter translated quotation that I thought of when I saw this puzzle.

    The other puzzle involved transforming words by moving the first letter to the end. I guessed that this method of transformation was being used in this puzzle as well and solving 22d seemed to confirm it.

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