Never knowingly undersolved.

Genius 76 by Araucaria

Posted by bridgesong on November 1st, 2009


I found this extremely tough, unlike some of the earlier offerings in the Genius series. I still have a problem explaining a few of the clues. The main difficulty was simply the obscurity of some of the words used, with less help than usual from checking letters because of the nature of the puzzle. Only a few clues were numbered; others had to be inserted where they would fit, like an alphabetical jigsaw. This aspect didn’t prove too difficult, although I didn’t understand why the instructions referred to clues having “their indicated place at the table”. For a while I thought that there might be some food-related theme but if so, I still can’t see it.

1 INHALES HAL in INES. Not sure how sound this clue really is; to inhale is not really to take to heart in any sense.
5 BACONER Strictly speaking, one who thinks Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare’s plays is a Baconian, but there’s no real uncertainty here.
10 NERO WOLFE *ONE FLOWER. The reference is to the American crime writer Rex Stout and his detective hero.
11 NASTURTIA The Spanish region is Asturias; I’m not sure I fully understand the wordplay, except that the usual plural is nasturtiums.
12 DUMKA K in DUMA (the Russian parliament).
13 ALTON ALTO + N; Norman is not shown in Chambers as one of the uses of N as an abbreviation, although it may be in other dictionaries.
14 SINE PROLE SINE can be a mathematical function; a PROLE is one of the people.
16 HUCKABACK (c)HUCK + A BACK. It’s a fabric used for towels.
23 VRAIC RA in VIC. Alternative forms of this word seem to be VAREC and even WRACK. I think that I remember Azed using it recently, but it still took me ages to work it out.
25 MNEMOSYNE *MEN + MO(rris) + SYNE; the mother of the nine classical muses.
26 FESSE-WISE (con)FESS + E + WISE. It’s a heraldry term.
27 COATI COAT + 1.
28 NICE ONE CE + 0 in NINE. To work properly the clue should read something like “number about this French round”.
2 HEADSET Dead-set, with H replacing D. The reference is to the writer DH Lawrence.
3 LITHUANIA (J)UAN in LITHIA, which are salts found in mineral waters.
4 SANCTUS A homophone of “sank to” (it)s.
5 BARGAIN An easy charade.
6 CAWED A crow is one who flies straight; “cawed” sounds like “cord”, but presumably not to Scots who would sound the “r”.
7 NELUMBO (fe)EL(ing) in NUMB + 0.
8 RYEDALE RYE + DALE, although I can’t explain why “dale” should be a chaser.
15 PATROL CAR LC (lower case) + A in *PARROT.
16 HAVE FUN FU(ss) in HAVEN.
19 KEENEST Although “keen” can mean to wail, and thus a possible connection with tears, I can’t work out the wordplay at all.
21 SCYBALA SC + Y + (Lake) BALA.
22 TIE LINE It’s defined as a telephone line used solely for connecting two branch exchanges, but I have trouble getting it to mean “draw a distinction”.
24 CREDO RED in CR; Communist here is used twice, once to define “red”, and once to provide CR (its “leaders”).

16 Responses to “Genius 76 by Araucaria”

  1. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Bridgesong. I must confess I got next to nowhere with this, having previously had some success with other Genius puzzles, including the last Araucaria, which I finished.

    I managed to enter INFANTA, FEAST and TERRACE, and to solve NICE ONE, BACONER, FESSE-WISE and BARGAIN.

    And that was it. Just not enough to hang on to. As you say, the obscurity of some of the words plus the jigsaw entry made it very very tough. Well done for solving it!

  2. Eileen says:

    Hi Bridgesong – and thanks for the blog.

    I, too, gave up – about on a par with Liz.

    Re 13ac: I think N is just ‘top’ i.e. beginning, of ‘Norman’ – not so justifiable in an across clue. I think IanNW14 might have something to say about it! :-)

  3. Eileen says:

    And, in an across clue, ‘on’ usually means ‘after’.

  4. IanN14 says:

    Damn right, Eileen.
    I finished this (after a while) without realising what was going on.
    I spotted (AFTER sending it off) that it was to do with the Periodic Table indicated by “place at the table”.
    ie. answers to the correctly numbered positions corresponded to the recognised letters (or two) of the elements.
    Very clever, but some clues which stretch credibility.
    22d. I think is Draw = “Tie” + Distinction = “Line”.
    (Hey, I didn’t say it was any good…).

  5. Gaufrid says:

    Hi bridgesong
    I think 8d is RYE (drink) D[rink] ALE (chaser) though my preference used to be to have the whisky as a chaser after a beer.

    19d is a dd with keen being used in the sense of wail and sharp – {thou} art in tears = {thou} keenest and the keenest edge doesn’t need stropping (sharpening).

  6. Mr Beaver says:

    Didn’t get many more than Liz, despite many frustrated hours. Kicking myself for not having made the connection with the periodic table…

    I don’t understand the explanation for 1a – what is INES ?

    Thinking it was some Araucarian punning, I spent a long time looking up ‘words’ like INOCISS…

  7. Eileen says:

    Hi Ian

    Apologies for relocating you – I shouldn’t comment so late at night!

  8. Eileen says:

    Hi Gaufrid

    Your comment on RYEDALE gave me a sense of déjà vu. I’ve discovered why: it echoes my own comment on Araucaria 24,671 on 11th April. [Ian, in this clue for RYEDALE, the D came from ‘end of and’!]

  9. jetdoc says:

    I too solved this without spotting the theme — though I thought the Periodic Table must be involved somehow — and found it quite hard going. My companion, who saw the theme almost straight away, had a much easier time of it.

  10. Gaufrid says:

    Mr Beaver
    ‘Ines’ is a variant of Agnes, a female forename meaning ‘chaste’.

  11. bridgesong says:

    Thanks, all for your comments. Quite how I managed to solve it without spotting the theme is a mystery to me: well done to those who did.

  12. Tom says:

    I struggled with this (on and off) all month, but finally finished it today – too late to submit an entry. I didn’t spot the theme either.

    About all I can add is in 11ac I think the wordplay is T for “cross” (T-cross or tau-cross being a T-shaped cross) in Asturias with N(orth) at the beginning, and not S(outh) at the end, the result being a notional Latin plural for nasturtium which is not normally used.

  13. Qaos says:

    Very well done to those that completed this without spotting the theme! I managed not to spot that 2nd letters of the elements were also used, so can only imagine the extra difficulty of not putting in all those helping letters.

    I think the only detraction from this puzzle was the obscurity of some of the words. The theme and implementation were pure genius (no pun intended), but I guess it can’t help but make the grid that much harder to fill. As a result, I found the last 1/4 of the puzzle a bit of a word search than solving.

  14. Russ says:

    You are right that it was a Periodic Table theme. The indicated places were based on the atomic number. So, as examples, F+EAST would go at 9, since this is the atomic number for fluorine (symbol F), NASTURTIA would go at 11, since this is the atomic number for sodium (symbol Na). Once you got the hang of that, then it made fitting the grid a whole lot easier.

  15. Judge says:

    shouldn’t 17d be:

    CLASSIC – ASS in CLIC(k)

  16. bridgesong says:

    Judge, you’re quite right. A slip of the keyboard, I’m afraid. And thanks also to Tom and Russ.

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