Never knowingly undersolved.

Genius 90 / Crucible

Posted by Gaufrid on January 3rd, 2011


I am a last minute stand-in and it may be difficult for me to remember what I did a month ago, particularly with the festivities in between, so please excuse any errors or omissions.

We were told that six pairs of clues represented 9dn and had no definition. 9dn and one other clue also had no definition. The other clue turned out to be 7dn which, with 9dn, gave Samuel Langhorne Clemens whose nom de plume was Mark Twain.

Six symmetrically placed pairs of undefined answers were synonyms or examples of ‘mark’ and ‘twain’ (1/29, 10/27, 12/24, 17/16, 28,5 & 22/6). For a while I was held up by the apparent lack of a definition in 23ac and spent some time trying to include it as part of the thematic material until I realised that the ‘six pairs’ in the preamble referred to symmetrical grid entries.

1 SCRATCH RA (men with big barrels {Royal Artillery}) replacing o (nothing) in SC[o]TCH (whisky)
5 DUALITY ALI (boxer) in DUTY (obligation)
10 SPOT S[u]P[p]O[r]T[s]
11 BRAZIL NUTS BRA (support) ZIL (Russian car) NUTS (crazy)
12 GOSPEL GO (travel) SP (Spanish) EL (American railroad)
13 URETHANE URETH[r]A (wee canal (not river)) NE[w] (mostly new)
14 RAFFISHLY *(HIS) in RAF (servicemen) FLY (do their job)
16 BRACE BR (British Rail) ACE (excellent service {tennis})
17 STAIN STA[y] IN (don’t go out without your hat)
19 PLANGENCY EN (tiny space) in P (soft) *(CLANGY)
23 PAROXYSM O (nil) in *(X-RAYS) in PM (afternoon) – I cannot see a definition in this clue.
24 COUPLE UP (out of bed) in COLE (old king)
26 RECOMBINES RE (sapper {Royal Engineer}) B (bay) in MINES (tunnels)
27 DUET DUE (expected) T[wins]
28 APOSTLE OS (sailor) in *(LEAPT)
29 PAIRING P[rovisional] *(IRA) IN G (government)
2 COPPOLA PP (very quiet) in COOL (not excited) A (American)
3 ACT UP PUT (lay) CA (about) reversed
4 COBBLES COBBLE[r]S (run out of balls)
6 UNITED IT (sex appeal) in *(NUDE)
8 TITANIC *(AT[la]NTIC I[ceberg]) &lit
15 FRIVOLOUS I (one) VOL (book) in *(FOURS)
18 TRADE UP D (Germany) EU in PART (some) reversed
20 NICOSIA I (island) in *(A COIN’S)
21 COLLEEN [be]LLE[ek] in *(ONCE)
22 SYMBOL LOB (throw) MY (writer’s) S (son) reversed
25 UDDER [sh]UDDER (shake mum avoided)

8 Responses to “Genius 90 / Crucible”

  1. Robi says:

    Thanks Gaufrid. I wouldn’t have been able to complete this without some hints on the web.

    I started thinking 12 was PORTAL, as por is Spanish for by and ‘tal’ has some obscure reference to an American railroad.

    I think you have a typo in the answer to 20.

    Well done Crucible for a very testing puzzle.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks Robi, typo corrected.

  3. Crucible says:

    There was indeed an error in 23A and I apologise for it. The original clue read “Fit new x-rays …” until I stupidly ‘embellished’ it in the final edit, thus adding an extra definitionless clue. Lesson: don’t tamper with the editor’s approved version.

  4. sidey says:

    Very enjoyable, thanks all.

  5. peter says:

    Thanks, Crucible, for admission of error at 23a.
    Having found PAROXYSM, I eventually decided it had to be a reference to some unfamiliar work of Mark Twain, though my searches were fruitless.

  6. Jan says:

    Thank you for the blog, Gaufrid. I hadn’t noticed the symmetry of the solution positions, so, forgive me and thanks, Crucible, for a very enjoyable puzzle.

    Paroxysms apart, I chuckled when the significance of GOSPEL and APOSTLE dawned – my mind was fixed on scratches and scars.

    I thought 8d was a superb clue.

    My only little gripe was with the definition in 3d. I can see why ‘act up’ could fit ‘tipped to replace his boss’, but I thought that some reference to ‘act up’ as naughtiness would have been better, especially as a layabout was involved. I could well be missing something obvious.

  7. Jan says:

    Sorry, I shouldn’t have included ‘tipped’ in the definition, just, ‘replace his boss’.

  8. Mr Beaver says:

    re ‘acting up’, I’ve often heard this applied at work where a manager leaves and a junior temporarily fills the post (usually without extra pay!) – sometimes leading to a permanent promotion to the senior post.

    It took us a long time to twig the theme, so whiled away many frustrating hours over the festive period !

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