Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Genius 82, Lavatch: Regression to the mean

Posted by jetdoc on May 2nd, 2010


An entertaining puzzle from Lavatch — and not too difficult once you spotted what was happening. Where a clash occurred, you needed to 1a,25 — use the letter alphabetically half-way between the two clashing ones; in each case, this gave two new real words.

Solution Entry Explanation
1,25 SPLIT THE DIFFERENCE *(petit French field); in SE = Home Counties
5 TEMPED TEMPEH MP = politician; TEED = prepared to drive.
9 EYE UP YE = the old; U = university; EP = record (‘extended-play’, somewhat archaic now)
13 OVAL ORAL O = ball; LAV = John, reversed
15 PONTIC PONTIE *(not); in PIC = image. Related to the pons, a mass of fibres joining the hemispheres of the brain.
16 SINUSES IN USE; in SS = ‘on board ship’
19 THEREOF THEREON TH = first letters of ‘the hedonistic’; *(free); O = love
23 WAVE RAVE W = initially welcoming; AVE = greeting. &lit.
27 ECLAMPSIA LAMPS = punches; E = English; CIA = spies. Acute toxaemia with convulsive fits in the last three months of pregnancy, so ‘a problem for one expecting’.
28 REEST SEER, reversed; T = the. To dry or cure with smoke.
29 SHANDY SHANNY How ‘sandy’ might be pronounced by someone who is drunk.
According to Chambers, the shanny is the smooth blenny, Lipophrys pholis, a small marine fish found in inshore waters and rock pools. Wikipedia says shannies are pricklebacks, which doesn’t sound very smooth.
30 DEVILISH DEVILISM EVIL = wicked; in DISH = heart-throb
1 SWEATS SWEARS W = with; E = English; SATS = exams (scholastic aptitude test, standard assessment task, or something…)
2 LAEVULOSE VEAL, reversed, “you lose”
3 TYPE CUTTER TYPE = kind; C = cocaine; UTTER = unqualified.
4 HARMING HARMINE H = hydrogen; ARMING = getting ready to explode
6 EGAD EG = say (e.g.); AD = what one discovers upon a hoarding. An expression of surprise, like “Crumbs!”
7 PRION PRIOR PRI[s]ON — S = ‘is briefly’. Any petrel of the genus Pachyptila, blue-grey above and white below, feeding on the plankton of the southern oceans.
8 LANDLESS HANDLESS If Ireland is landless, it becomes ‘ire’.
11 BASKS CASKS K = king; in BASS = fish
14 A NATURA REI A RARE (bloody) I; *(aunt).
17 SERENGETI *(site green). An &lit, because ‘exotic site’ is both the definition and part of the wordplay
18 STEMLETS STERLETS M = spymaster (MI5’s first, apparently); *(settles)
20 VAILS NAILS “veils”
21 INFLAME ENFLAME I = one; NF = National Front; LAME = pathetic
22 RESTER RESTEM Hidden in ‘queerest erotica’.
Restem is a Shakespearean word, meaning ‘to force (a way) back against the current’.
24 VILLA ‘Villain’ minus ‘in’
26 AMEX AMEN AM = MA (parent) reversed; EX = old

10 Responses to “Guardian Genius 82, Lavatch: Regression to the mean”

  1. Mr Beaver says:

    Thanks for the blog, jetdoc. Hats off to you if you found it ‘not too difficult’ !
    I think we put our last answer in 2 days ago (18d – ‘sterlets’ was a new word to me!).
    The penny dropped fairly early on, but even so, I thought it made solving clues extra challenging, as you couldn’t always rely on crossing letters being what they seemed – especially as several of the entered words were obscure (at least to me – 5a, 10a, 29a, 8d, 14d, 18d and 22a), in particular PONTIE – I couldn’t find a definition for this anywhere – is it someone’s name ?
    Not complaining mind, you expect a Genius to be hard and it certainly gave us something to chew on on the days when we’d finished the daily puzzle before bedtime!

  2. jetdoc says:

    STEMLETS/STERLETS was the last one I got — in fact, it held me up for a while.
    PONTIE is in Chambers under the entry for PUNTY,… — ‘an iron rod used in holding and manipulating glassware during the process of making’.

  3. Jan says:

    Thank you, jetlag.

    I did not enjoy this puzzle although I had a great feeling of achievement when I completed it to my satisfaction.

    Early on, just one, new (to me), word and my confidence was shattered. How many solutions would need words which I didn’t know? I decided that feebulose, kropulose and bmalulose couldn’t be sugars and I had to resort to Chambers’ Word Wizard to realise that I had forgotten veal.

    There were only 3 high spots, all of which involved solutions which I had seen immediately and brain-filed because I couldn’t see how they fit the clue.

    PRION – I think our Aussie friends would have had an advantage with this Southern ocean petrel.
    EGAD – I could write a dissertation on my thought processes before realising the justification for this obvious answer.
    LANDLESS – Again, the obvious answer but why the Emerald Isle and anger? My non-cruciverbalist husband pointed it out!

    ‘From the nature of things’, I found it a bit too clever-clever. Yes, that clue took the longest to solve! Egad!

  4. Jan says:

    Oh, dearie, dearie me! Sorry, jetdoc – I’m not even jetlagged.

  5. liz says:

    Thanks, Jetdoc. I never quite twigged what ‘split the difference’ meant in this puzzle, and didn’t finish. I suspected something along the lines of a mean and occasionally filled in the right answer — PAUNCHIEST for example and ORAL — but my method was too random to work!

  6. Terry says:

    Thanks for the blog, jetdoc. A meaty puzzle indeed that took me the best part of the month to finish.

    One small point: I think the middle letter for 20d must be N giving NAILS.

  7. jetdoc says:

    Thanks, Terry — I transcribed wrongly from my own solved version. I have now corrected 20d.

  8. rainer says:

    PONTIE found in Urban Dictionary

    A word newly used within the glasgow community to describe the population who dont understand basic slang of the Scottish nature.
    ye dinnie ken whit were oan about ya pontie

  9. TRIALNERROR says:

    Not much fun, so many single unches having to accommodate three letters. I had to reprint this a few times, ‘cos the grid ended up looking like a badly played game of Battleships. Would work better with extra squares to keep track of the split unches…

  10. jetdoc says:

    The default Print version of the Genius is pretty unsatisfactory, I think, especially when there are clashing squares. I do ‘clever’ (not really) things on my computer so that I get a printout with a larger grid and properly typeset and spaced clues. Clashes like this are more common in the Listener, for which I always print out a really large grid with room for at least two letters in each square.

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