Fifteensquared

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Guardian Genius 86 – Enigmatist: Me, me, me

Posted by Andrew on September 6th, 2010

Andrew.

The special instructions were quite clear, but it took a few readings, and a few answers, beofre I fully got the sense of them. Apart from that, this puzzle turned out less daunting than it seemed at first, but still a challenge, and satisfying to finish. The sixteen answers involved in the eight phrases are shown in blue below; the extra letters from the other clues are shown in red, spelling out EGOCENTRIC and SELF-CENTRED. “I AM” is the answer that appears in all eight phrases (in fact it occurs twice in one of them), and “THE” occurs four times, though I can’t find a phrase involving PLAYING and GREAT. I also can’t explain the clue for 11dn, so suggestion welcome (I can’t even cheat by looking at the website, as there is no annotated solution (yet)). The phrases (as far as I can work out) and their sources are:

I AM A MOLE AND I LIVE IN A HOLE (song)
(I’M) HENRY THE EIGHTH I AM (song)
I AM THE ONE AND ONLY (song)
I THINK THEREFORE I AM (Descartes)
I AM WHAT I AM (song – from the musical La Cage Aux Folles)
I AM THE WALRUS (Beatles song)
I AM LEGEND (novel and film)
and something with I AM, PLAYING and GREAT from the now-available annotated solution, it’s apparently PLAYING THE GREAT I AM.

Across
1. GREAT Homphone of “grate” (fireplace)
4. E WINE PRESS WIN (get) + EMPRESS Oops. forgot what I was doing between solving and writing the blog: it’s WIN (get) + PEERESS with the “head” (first two letters… hmmm) turned, giving EP[E]RESS.
9. G GOD DOGGO< less O
10. THEREFORE THE REF + ORE
12. O MOUNTAIN (OUT ON)* in MAIN
13. EIGHTH HEIGHT with its “peak” “manoeuvred” to the end
14. PLAYING L in PAYING (someone is “in the chair” if they are buying a round). The definition is just “on”.
17. C UTRECHT CU (copper) + homophone of “trekked” (with apologies to our resident Dutch speakers)
20. I AM “Sum” is Latin (as often spoken by the Pope) for “I AM”
21. E RWANDAN WANED in RAN
25. N ALCIDAE A + ICELAND
30. WALRUS URL (address) in SAW (noticed), all reversed. “Morse”, I learn, is French for Walrus, but has also been used for it in English, and probably comes from a Slavic word.
31. T ENVIABLE EN VILLE (in town) with AB replacing the first L
32. R FISHERMEN FR IS HERMES, with N replacing the final S (as in Bridge partners). The disciples James and John, sons of Zebedee, were fishermen.
33. ONE N in OE
34. A MOLE AND I (A LA MODE IN)*. Getting this strange phrase was a big help in identifying the theme – this is one of the “partial” clues, there being no definition.
35. HENRY Double definition – man’s name and unit of electrical inductance
 
Down
2. I RAG DOLL (GIRL LOAD)*
3. AND ONLY Anagram of DON MANLEY less ME. Another partial clue
5. I THINK Lisped version of “I SINK” – also a partial clue. The “10” needs to be replaced by “therefore” for the clue to make sense
6. C EARNEST ARNE (the crossword setter’s favourite composer) in C’EST
7. S REFUGEE GUS in [R]EEFER
8. E STRETCH (THE SECRE[T])*
11. L VAIN No idea about this, apart from V for Very.Thanks to Ian: V (very) + AI (very good) + N (knight, in chess notaion) (+ L=Left to be ignored). I have no idea why I couldn’t see that!
14. F PAR P + AFAR
15. C A LA AL + CA
16. E GIN E.G. + IN. Gin is proverbially “Mother’s ruin”
17. N UMA [H]UMAN
18. T COD “C/O DT” = Care of Daily Telegraph
19. THE Hidden in “near-deaTH Experience”, and it’s the definite article
22. WHAT I AM (I TA) reversed in WHAM. Another partial clue.
23. R NARWHAL H[arbou]R in LAW RAN, all reversed. Quite a confusing clue until you rememberr to remove one of the Rs
24. E AUSTRIA USE in ATRIA
26. LIVE Hidden in “cheshirE VILlage”, reversed.
27. IN A HOLE Reference to “toad in the hole”, and to be “in a hole” is to be in a difficult situation.
28. D ALL YEAR (REAL LADY)*
29. LEGEND E.G. in LEND

21 Responses to “Guardian Genius 86 – Enigmatist: Me, me, me”

  1. IanN14 says:

    Thanks Andrew.
    Like you, I was waiting for the solution this morning to work out the “playing” bit.
    I noticed you hadn’t included “great” in the themed phrases.
    I was sort of assuming when I did it that it was something like “playing the great I am”?
    But I can’t really justify it. (A biblical reference?)
    Anyway, 11d. is, I think, V (very) + A1 (very good) + N (knight), with L (left) left out.

  2. Andrew says:

    Ian, you’re right, I forgot to mention that GREAT should be in the eighth phrase as well.

    Thanks also for the (now very obvious) explanation of 11dn.

    (Blog updated for both points)

  3. IanN14 says:

    Well, Andrew,
    The annotated solutions are up now, and it seems it was “playing the great I am”, but there’s no further explanation.
    I can only assume it’s meant to be a well known phrase or saying, but I’ve not heard it used (at least not with the “playing” part included), and can’t find online reference to it.
    I may be missing something, though.
    Anyone else?…

  4. Judy says:

    Hello – not contributed before, but I lurk frequently (usually on months-old Guardian prize crosswords, so nothing to contribute).

    4A was really bothering me a month ago when I did the crossword – I couldn’t see how EMPRESS with head turned, and losing the E could become EPRESS, so I started to think it might be LIME PRESS – though couldn’t work out how get became LIE, but at least we had MEPRESS. Can’t remember which I submitted now. However, only this morning, having been told the correct answer, I think I can finally see the logic – is it that the M turned 90 degrees becomes an E?? If not, I still don’t get it!

  5. Andrew says:

    Judy, I realise I’ve mistranscribed my scribbled notes about 4ac. After WIN (get) it should be PEERESS (titled lady) with “head turned” giving EPERESS, and then the second E is removed to give WIN + EPRESS.

  6. Judy says:

    Oh PEERESS! Once I got Empress into my head, I stubbornly stuck to it. It all makes sense now!

  7. Claire says:

    Thanks, Andrew and others.

    I think I got it all right (forgot to save a copy) but having seen the blog now, I can’t think for the life of me how I did it.

    Hope this isn’t off the point but a couple of times now I’ve seen links to the annotated solution. Could you tell me how to find it on the Grauniad website please? Thanks

  8. mhl says:

    Claire: there’s a link to “Last month’s Genius solution” on the front page – if you follow that, there’s a link just above the grid called “Click here for annotated solutions to this puzzle”. That page is: http://www.guardian.co.uk/crossword/page/0,,2307330,00.html

    Thanks for the post, Andrew. I didn’t find this as tough as many genius puzzles (or, indeed, many normal Enigmatist puzzles :)) We got everything right, I think, but thank you for clearing up UTRECHT (trekked?!?) and the Pope reference… Anyway, this was a lot of fun, I thought – thanks, Enigmatist.

  9. Claire says:

    Thanks, mhl. Got it.

  10. Spann says:

    Hi,

    Can anyone kindly explain how the extra t is clued in the wordplay part of 18A?

    The annotated solution with its esoteric collection of brackets isn’t helping much:

    EN VI(AB/l[t})LE

    Spann

  11. Andrew says:

    Spann

    I presume you mean 31ac – the idea is that AB (sailor) replaces LT (lieutenant) in EN VILLE (in town), except that the T is to be discarded before the replacement takes place, so the AB just replaces the first L. Sorry that I omitted to mention this subtlety in the blog.

  12. Jan says:

    Thank you for the blog, Andrew.

    Like Judy I struggled with 4a having got empress stuck in my head and hence trying to justify lime press as the solution. I actually made a list … empress, duchess, marchioness, countess, … it was a long time before the all-encompassing peeress entered my head!

    Spann, Hi, ‘Torygraph’ = Daily Telegraph = DT, with only the D being needed.

  13. Jan says:

    Sorry, Spann, you meant 31a not 18d – D’oh!

    I assumed it was from LT for lieutenant.

  14. Jan says:

    Andrew was there before me. :-)

  15. Mr Beaver says:

    I think the ‘phrases’ are all songs. I THINK THEREFORE I AM (a rhubarb tart) is in the Monty Python philosopher’s song :)

  16. Mr Beaver says:

    Sorry, wrong song! It’s this one

  17. Spann says:

    Andrew and Jan,

    Thanks for the reponses.

    I still don’t quite follow :-).

    The extra T has to be clued and appear in the *final* wordplay somewhere, and yet it doesn’t appear to be. So purely as an example, I would expect the final wordplay to end up clueing ENVIABLTE or similar. And yet in this case there’s no T. I also don’t really understand how the AB replaces an LT which doesn’t occur in ENVILLE. Saying the extra ‘T’ is discarded before the replacement occurs is odd because the T isn’t clued in the first place!

    Cheers.

  18. Jan says:

    Spann, I understand your confusion but Enigmatist stated that … ‘a single letter in the wordplay … is superfluous to the solution’. The wordplay contained lieutenant = LT and the T was superfluous because EN VILLE doesn’t have a T.

    But for needing an anomalous T, the sailor could have relieved the first lieutenant. ;-)

  19. Gail says:

    Help. Where does the phrase “a mole and I” orignate? Am annoyed because this was the only clue I didn’t complete but thought it must be that from the anagram.

  20. Gail says:

    Surely it can’t be from ” I am a mole and I live in a hole”?!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Derek Lazenby says:

    Sorry to digress….

    I didn’t do this xword, but I saw post 20 in the RSS Feed. OMG! I actually had the record “We are the Moles” by “The Moles” back in the dawn of history! The words were just that, “We are the moles and we live in our ho-o-oles”. I bought it just so that I could own the worst single ever released. Sadly I’ve no longer got it. The B-Side was the same thing replayed backwards, ye gods!

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