Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Genius 80 (February 2010) – Puck

Posted by Andrew on February 28th, 2010

Andrew.

I struggled with this puzzle when I first tried it, though getting enough down answers to guess that they all had one or more Bs missing. Then I left it for a couple of weeks, lost my original copy, and when I tried again I got through it in a single session. This was just after I’d blogged Puck’s controversial SpongeBob Squarepants puzzle, so perhaps I was more attuned to Puckishness. The theme is rather cryptically explained in the preamble: “Down solutions must be suitably 14 (TAILORED) in order to be 17, not briefly edited, (BLESSED less ED, so “B-LESS”) before being inserted in the grid.” The last sentence (“Three across clues have solutions that are 17 (BLESSED) and are not further defined.”) refers to three items from the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the Peacemakers/Meek/Pure of heart” (but not the Cheesemakers). In the solutions below I’ve shown the the unmodified version of the downs. The entries in the diagram have the letter B removed wherever it occurs.

 
Across
8. POPINJAY POP + IN (two forms of “popular”) + JAY (J spelled out, so “written letter”)
9,12. PEACEMAKERS E in PACEMAKERS (devices regulating the heart) – the first of the “blessed” entries.
10. MEEK ME (setter) + last letters of (“[the] finishes off”) puzzlE booK. The second “blessed”.
11. EXTROVERTS EX (former) + ROVER (Guardian setter) in T S
14. TAILORED Hidden in reTAIL OR EDucation. Starveling the tailor is a character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as is Puck, so they are “play mates”.
15. DESIREE SIRE in DEE
20. ISTABRAQ BRA (cup-holder!) in 1ST A (answer) Q.
22,25. PURE OF HEART (OPERA THE FUR[ies])* – the third “blessed”.
23. TACTICIANS Homophone of TACK TITIANS
24. ROEG RO, E.G.
26. SOARAWAY RAW A[fter] in SOAY
 
Down
1. COVETABLE COVE + TALE
2. BRINK Two definitions (I won’t call it a double definition as they are of different words): BRINK = verge, and ice-hockey pucks are used on a RINK.
3. BEJABERS First letters of “Emulate Jesus.. ” etc.
4. BAY STATE AY + S + TATE
5. SPOONBILL SPOON + ILL
6. RABBLE-ROUSER ALE + U (turn) in ROSÉ, all in RR (Rolls Royce)
7. BREATHE HEART* + E
13. ELIZABETHAN ELIZA + ETHAN
16. EMBROCATE ETA + M in CORE, all reversed.
18. BEFORE TAX FORE in ET A X
19. SQUABBISH I in SQUASH
21. SABBATHS HAT* in ASS*. Saturday and Sunday are sabbaths in Judaism and Christianity respectively.
22. POSTBAG O in P + STAG
24,17. BRIAN BLESSED RIAN (RAIN with “bad heart”) + LESS in BED. Only the B of BRIAN is removed, because BLESSED is entered across.

6 Responses to “Guardian Genius 80 (February 2010) – Puck”

  1. bridgesong says:

    Andrew

    Thanks for the blog. I failed to finish this, Istabraq being unknown to me, and as a result perhaps I also failed to find squabbish. I had (Sir Carol)Reed as 24 across, but I’m sure that your solution is correct.

  2. Tom_I says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    I quite enjoyed this, and finished it in a couple of days, as far as I remember. I didn’t immediately see the theme, but got enough crossing letters to work out that Bs had to be removed from the down solutions, and then it fell into place.

    I had to look up ISTABRAQ to check, but it was gettable from the wordplay, especially after SQUA(bb)ISH went in.

  3. sidey says:

    Thanks Andrew. The theme seems to conclude with BEES anticlockwise round the centre square.

  4. Mr Beaver says:

    We found this fiendishly tough – it took a long time for the penny to drop as to exactly what the theme was. Still, it was most satisfying to get the dam’ ting done.
    Like others, had to use Chamber’s Word Wizard for ISTABRAQ, but I have no guilty feelings about that! Our last to go in was COVETABLE, not a word you hear every day, but obvious once the light had dawned…

  5. liz says:

    Thanks, Andrew and to Sidey for pointing out the BEES.

    I thought I would never get into this. I got 14ac…and nothing else until I next sat down with it when I slowly started to crack it.

    Failed to get ISTABRAQ, despite thinking along the right horsey lines — I thought ‘bra’ would be in there — but I was convinced that the name started with A.

    Some of these Genius puzzles I find much too hard, some too easy. This was in the middle and I enjoyed it very much.

  6. liz says:

    Mr Beaver — I’ll remember to use Word Wizard next time!

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