Never knowingly undersolved.

Genius 81 by Paul

Posted by duncanshiell on April 4th, 2010


It’s nearly a year since I blogged a Genius and it clearly hasn’t got any easier.  This one took me an age to get into, but eventually I got a chink of light and began plodding away to completion.

The preamble told us that:

Solutions are divided into four groups of seven.  Each member of that group begins with the same letter.  The definition in all 28 of these clues is normal (and is placed at the correct clue number), but all subsidiary parts of these clues have been swapped around.  The correct subsidiary part for any definition can always be found in another clue where the solution begins with the same letter.  All 28 subsidiary parts of these clues ignore the initial letter of the solution.  The four letters that begin the solutionjs may be arranged to give something to drive.

When solving this, I tended to focus on possible definitions and then look for wordplay that supported the answer I came up with.  I was fairly sure that 1d was LYSOSOME or RIBOSOME and 10a looked like DOJO which fitted only with RIBOSOME and 12a was possibly EOCENE.  24a and 24d had to begin with the same letter so HOWL and HASH seemed a possibility.  It took me a while to realise that ‘on key’ was part of the definition for 24d.  That gave me ‘R‘, ‘D‘, ‘E‘ and ‘H‘ as the likely leading letters and led me to HERD as the thing to drive.  This gave me confidence that I got the leading letters right, so I was able to build on this knowing that wordplay and definitions could only interchange on answers beginning with the same letter.

The four groups of 7 are:

H‘: 14a HORMONES, 24a HOWL, 25a HOUSE, 3d HEARSE, 4d HEIGH-HO, 19d HECKLER,and  24d HASH




A couple of the definitions may need a bit more explanation than I give below.  17a DEAD SET, I think relates to the action of a setter dog when it has discovered game and remains intently focused on pointing it out.  For 7d RELATE, this refers to the national federated charity working in a wide range of relationship issues.  Many years ago it was known as the Marriage Guidance Council, hence the cryptic reference to ‘union negotiators’.

I found the clues very rigorous once I worked out which clue went where.  Also the surfaces generally read well throughout with some good misdirection.  The longest clue only had 10 words.  I blogged an Independent on Saturday recently where there were almost always more unchecked letters than checked letters in words of odd numbered letters.  This grid was better with at least some of the odd lettered words having more checked than unchecked letters.

I have ignored link words when parsing the clues.

In summary – a real challenge, but very satisfying to finish.

No. Definition Entry Wordplay at

Components of Wordplay

8 individual DISCRETE 17a – two islands IS (island) + CRETE (island) = ISCRETE
9 go off ELOPE 21d – bound LOPE (bound) = LOPE
10 martial arts hall DOJO 23a – soft drink old OJ (Orange Juice) + O (old) = OJO
11 of a particular unit REGIMENTAL 5d – misinterpreted name legit Anagram of (misinterpreted) NAME LEGIT = EGIMENTAL
12 relating to a period EOCENE 18d – once foreign (English) Anagram of (foreign) ONCE + E = OCENE
14 might they be replaced HORMONES 24a – no more when moving, close to tears Anagram of (moving) NO MORE + S (last letter of [close to] tearS = ORMONES
15 turns back REWINDS 11a – east given mah-jong points E (east) + WINDS (reference ‘wind tiles’ which are Honours in Mah Jong) = EWINDS
17 saw arrangement DEAD SET 8a – disturb sedate Anagram of (disturb) SEDATE = EAD SET
20 remove from power DETHRONE 10a – the stupid individual’s after resistance Anagram of (stupid) THE + R (resistance) + ONE (individual) = ETHRONE
22 root RADISH 7d – a course A + DISH (course) = ADISH
23 it’s preserved DILL PICKLE 16d – sick little child ILL (sick) + PICKLE ([troublesome] little (?) child [not sure what purpose the word ‘little’ is serving in this clue) = ILLPICKLE
24 cry HOWL 4d – bird OWL (bird) = OWL
25 to contain HOUSE 19d – river OUSE (river, there is more than one in Britain) = OUSE
26 turning the other way EVERSION 9a – form VERSION (form) = VERSION


No. Definition Entry Wordplay at Components of Wordplay
1 cellular particle RIBOSOME 22d – that is covering chest IE (that is) containing (covering) BOSOM (chest) = IBOSOME
2 one returns ECHO 12a – cut short CHOP (cut) omitting the last letter (short) P = CHO
3 in which a corpse HEARSE 24d – key-hole E (key – reference musical key) + ARSE (reference arsehole) = EARSE
4 word of resignation HEIGH-HO 25a – timeless figure, this answer no use EIGHT (figure ‘8’) excluding the T (timeless) + HOUSE (the entry at 25 across) less USE (no use) = EIGHHO
5 come again RE-EMERGE 1d – a quarter tripled, consuming mutation of germ (E [east [quarter of the compass] + E + E [3 of them, tripled]) containing an anagram of (mutation) GERM = EEMERGE
6 having reproduced image, perhaps DOWNLOADED 20a – now terribly loaded Anagram of (terribly) NOW + LOADED (rich) = OWNLOADED
7 the union negotiators RELATE 22a – lift ELATE (lift) = ELATE
13 tissue EPITHELIUM 2d – coal gas PIT (coal[mine]) + HELIUM (gas) = PITHELIUM
16 various compounds DIOXIDES 6d – one strong thing dies out I (one) + OX (strong thing) + anagram of (out) DIES = IOXIDES
18 American actor EASTWOOD 13d –  a number buried in ground A + (TWO [a number] contained in [buried in] SOD [ground]) = ASTWOOD
19 one shouting down HECKLER 14a – community left queen to support king EC (European Community) + K (king) + L (left) +ER (queen) (as a down clue, LER is ‘supporting’ K) = ECKLER
21 prophet ELISHA 26a – girl touring hospital LISA (girl) containing (touring) H (hospital) = LISHA
22 jacket REEFER 15a – on price that’s been raised RE (on) + FEE (price), all reversed (raised [it’s a down clue]) = EEFER
24 symbol on key HASH 3d – remains ASH (remains) = ASH

8 Responses to “Genius 81 by Paul”

  1. sidey says:

    Congratulations Duncan, to be honest I gave up very quickly.

    Dead set I’m sure refers to the cutting implements, set, or bending the teeth out so they clear a space for the rest of the blade. If memory serves, dead set is when the teeth are not bent so the saw won’t actually work.

  2. bridgesong says:

    Yes, this defeated me too, although I see that I did correctly guess one or two answers, but without being able to find the wordplay. Leaving out the first letter really made it difficult. I just hope that July’s puzzle is a little easier, as I have to blog that one!

  3. liz says:

    Thanks, Duncan. Definitely one of the harder Genius puzzles. Can’t remember exactly, but I think it took me about 10 days (off and on! I do have other things to do!). I guessed that E and R would be two of the letters early on and the first clue I got was REGIMENTAL. Then I got the D and finally H. The one I was unsure of was REWINDS, because I couldn’t find any ref to Mah-jong points or tiles that made sense of the wordplay.

  4. Mr Beaver says:

    I am impressed by anyone who started this, never mind finishing it!
    Stared at it blankly for a couple of days before giving up without having entered a single answer.
    It would be interesting to know how many correct solutions were sent in.

  5. Jan says:

    Thank you, Duncan and thank you, Paul. I loved it.

  6. Jan says:

    Sorry, I forgot to thank Sidey, re. DEAD SET. I looked for it as a term referring to the set of a saw but found no reference and thus came to the same conclusion as Duncan, i.e. the position taken when a setter sees (saw) the game.

  7. ben says:

    I loved this crossword- the way one possible definitive solution set you scuttling off to look for subsidiary support elsewhere. Brilliant fun. I’m struggling with April’s however despite solving the link clue.

  8. chuck says:

    Genius #81 was a real tough nut to crack, I did get there in the end after about two weeks of confusion. If you didn’t get the link word, (herd) you were sunk.

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