Never knowingly undersolved.

Genius 91 by Tramp

Posted by bridgesong on February 6th, 2011


Solving time : about a day and a half. I found this hard, partly because of a grammatical error in the instructions which made them more obscure than was necessary. There were two elements to this puzzle; first the cryptic parts of the clues were swapped round within the four groups. Second, the cryptic parts of the clues did not relate to the initial letters of the solutions. In the event, I found the only way to get started was to guess some of the definitions and try and find confirmation from the cryptic elements of other clues. Once I had successfully done this and noticed that the initial letters were not included in the cryptic elements, the penny finally dropped. I didn’t help myself by wrongly guessing that “motorway junction” in 6 down was a definition of “cloverleaf”.

Tramp is a name new to me, and new to the Genius series. It has been pointed out that the initial letters of the four groups of solutions can be arranged to form the name of a well-known setter. I have no idea if this is significant or not. I do have quibbles with some of the clues, including one where general knowledge is required. Having said that, there were some pleasing surface readings. I’ve added (in brackets) the number of the clue where the cryptic part is to be found.

9(18) LEPER EP + ER
10(19) LEGO EGO = I
12(1) POLLEN Anagram of last letters of “will John, Paul George, Ringo”
15(8) ATTEMPT TT + EMPT(y)
17(16) PETIOLE E(uropean) + TIO (Spanish for uncle) + LE
22(11) ANGELS The general knowledge question
24(25) UNIT
25(26) ULNAE L + NAE
26(24a) UNCLE TOM Initial letters of “Nick Clegg, lost essential trust of ministers”
1(17) PETER OUT * of ROULETTE, with L omitted (“ball finally dropped”). It occurs to me that there might be a completely different explanation for this clue, referring perhaps to Pete Best being excluded from the Beatles.
2(12) POGO O(scar) + GO (= bash)
3(22A) ATTAIN Initial letters of Take That + A1N(umber)
4(24D) UTTERLY John TERrY (“disgraced former England captain”), with the second R replaced
by the final letter of appeaL
5(6) ULTIMATE M1 + T(junction) (all rev) in LATE
6(5) UPBRINGING PB + RINGING. I admit to not fully understanding this clue
7(15) ARCTAN C(our)T in RAN
18(21) LOLLIPOP LL in OI (the odd letters in Bowie) + POP. Again I’m not entirely sure about this one. Do the words “Under Pressure” in this clue form part of the definition (in which case they’re superfluous) or are they in some way part of the cryptic element?
21(14) LOOK UP OK in OUP
22(3) ANARCH N(orway) + ARCH
24(4) USER Middle of preSERved

21 Responses to “Genius 91 by Tramp”

  1. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for the blog – quite a task with a puzzle like this.

    You didn’t like it as much as I did! I think I can see what you mean by the grammatical error in the instructions, but I’m not sure. I did find the instructions confusing at first, but I think that was just because they were rather complicated.

    18(21)- “Work under pressure” – “OP” under “P” (plus the parsing of OLLI as you have it).
    6(5) Lead=PB, in golf’s opening=ING, round=RING, giving (U)PBINGRING, then you move RING up three places.

    I was impressed by the clueing in this puzzle – accurate but creative and funny. If Tramp really is a newcomer, I’m doubly impressed!

  2. JS says:

    Thanks a lot bridgesong and Tramp.

    I, like many others I would imagine, had a definite déjà vu moment when I saw this crossword. The crossword editor said in his monthly column:
    “Our January Genius is by a new setter, Tramp.”

    My déjà vu moment came when I read the special instructions – I knew I’d seen something similar if not identical not that long ago; a little research on previous Genius puzzles came up with:

    “Paul: Genius 81 – 1st March 2010.

    Special instructions: 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 its 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 solutions may be arranged to give something to drive.”

    (The four letters here were H E R D.)

    Tramp’s instructions were worded slightly differently but led to the same thing:

    “Tramp: Genius 91 – 3rd January 2011.

    Special instructions: The 28 solutions are divided into four groups of seven, each member of a group beginning with the same letter. All 28 definitions are normal and positioned with the correct clue number, but the cryptic parts of the clues have been swapped around. The cryptic part for any definition will always be found in a clue whose solution begins with the same letter, though these ignore the initial letter of the solution.”

    Tramp gave no clue to what the four letters might be, but as you say they turned out to be – P A U L.

    I thoroughly enjoyed tackling the crossword, as I did G 81, but the question for me remains – Is Tramp really a new setter? If so he/she must be a fan of Paul or was Paul having some fun?

  3. beermagnet says:

    My guess is that Tramp is a new setter, or at least not Paul (none of the clues have Paul’s telltale style), someone with a penchant for popular music judging by the Robbie/Beatles/Bowie refs, and that this was indeed a homage to Paul’s Genius 81. (I too searched back in the archive for a reminder thinking the device had been used much more recently.)

    I too had 6D Cloverleaf, and others where I made wild guesses for def – I also had 2D Spit, 19 Play out, 24D Moss – it was the only way to get something on the grid before being able to join up the cryptic elements. I have an alarming spider’s web of arrows pointing between clue numbers in the margin of my print.

    It was worth persevering, and I certainly enjoyed this crossword so ta to Tramp, and enjoyed revisiting it while reading the blog (so ta to bridgesong), until I came to …

    17a PETIOLE Blast! I put in PEDICLE. That is also a “stalk” and fits the crossing letters and nearly fits the cryptic part except for the obviously not so well known Spanish Uncle “Dic”. I gave up googling to check this for obvious reasons. I have no Spanish, but now I see it, I have heard of TIO for Uncle. It wouldn’t have sprung to mind though.

  4. Mr Beaver says:

    Don’t knock the ‘Angels’ question – it was the first one I got ! Not that I’m a Robbie Williams fan, you understand !
    It take us a while to get our heads round this, and I think it took us a bit longer than a day and a half, but it was enjoyable.

  5. bridgesong says:

    Thomas99 @1, thanks for your help in analysing those two clues. I’m sure that your parsing is correct.

    JS @2, thanks for quoting the two sets of instructions in full. I think it shows that Paul’s version was less confusing. I agree with Beermagnet @3 that the puzzle may be a homage.

  6. Robi says:

    Thanks Tramp and bridgesong for a good blog.

    Like beermagnet @3, I put in PEDICLE for 17 – should know better as I used to be able to speak Spanish :(

    I tackled this by ignoring all the cryptic definitions at first; the definitions sufficed for a good guess at the beginning. Nerdy question: I’m not sure where the first ‘A’ comes from in ANARCH – anyone help?

  7. Matthew says:

    Robi: The first A is unindicated because it’s the first letter of the word.

    Paul also set Genius 61 which also had clues of the same type as this puzzle.

  8. Robi says:

    Thanks Matthew; I should have read the instructions properly! :x

  9. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, bridgesong. This is the first Genius I’ve completed in a while and I enjoyed it very much once I got my head round the instructions. I thought some of the surfaces were really good and didn’t have a problem with Angels (my children were teenagers when this was released!).

  10. Dynamic says:

    I think this is probably the first or second Genius I’ve done, and I enjoyed it. In the past I looked at a couple and made little headway but haven’t even tried the Genius very often.

    I also tried PEDICLE but couldn’t find any wordplay to fit. It was near the end and I hadn’t unravelled all the definition/wordplay matching so I was intrigued enough to make a table like a couple of the bloggers of advanced cryptics (DuncanShiell?) have used on this site, and then I found which clue provided the wordplay and used Google translate to find TIO.

    Anyone interested can download my notes (29 KB Word97 DOC) here.

    A couple of blanks I can fill in, perhaps considered obvious:

    For 22a(11a wordplay) I had:
    N(o)+G(ood)+ELS (=Ernie Els = golfer)
    with the “it made Robbie Williams’ solo career” as definition, of course.

    For 4d/24d I considered model(T) part of the wordplay:
    (model)T + (John)TER(r)Y, swap r for (appea)L

    Seems I’m using parentheses for deletion and annotation, confusingly.

    And Thomas99 has already done these two, which I agree were very creative, yet accurate:

    For 6d/5d I’d written:
    PB (chem.symb lead) + IN + G(olf) + RING (=round, which is moved up by three characters in a down clue)
    So, it’s:
    U + PB + RING + IN + G

    For 18a/21d I had:
    O[LL]I +P(ressure) + OP
    OI=bOwIe oddly missing, LL=lines, OP=work, which comes under P=pressure.
    Superbly crafted and precise clue, as they all were.

    Thanks to Tramp for a thoroughly enjoyable, artfully worded yet scrupulously fair challenge (once I understood the instructions) and to every comment above, all of which I found interesting. I also noticed the PAUL as the four letters and the 2d surface-reading reference to “Punk … Independent cryptic” another of Paul’s guises, but didn’t know about Paul using the same special instruction before.

    Some very neat stuff indeed.

  11. Tramp says:

    Many thanks for these kind comments.

    I am a new setter and wrote this puzzle as a homage to Paul. I took the idea from Genius 10 from April 2004. I was so impressed with this puzzle, I contacted Paul and he suggested that I have a go myself. That’s when I started compiling puzzles (very badly). Since then, I’ve been mentored and encouraged by Paul and the amazing Enigmatist and I think I’m getting better.

    I deliberately included ‘Pogo’ so that I can write a surface that alluded to Paul’s other pseudonym;Punk in the Independent.

    I realise that Angels was a bit esoteric for people who don’t know the song. For the record (no pun intended) I’m not a big pop music fan, I abhor Robbie Williams but I find pop and films etc can make good surface reading.

    I now see that a few of the clues could be neater and thanks for pointing this out – I’ll remember that for next time.

  12. Dynamic says:

    Hi Tramp,

    Thanks for coming on to comment. I think you can be sure that your debut was a great success and we’re all hungry for more from you.

    The crossword was flawless with nothing extraneous – just took some precise unravelling to marry up the wordplay and definition and rule out the wrong answer that would also fit (PEDICLE). Only the instructions left some of us wondering which way to interpret it (and for me that is often the case with special instructions, be it from you or Araucaria) when we’re not sure if we have to make modifications to the solution, the whole clue or parts of the clue. Usually for the Guardian it’s within the clue. Variously – I’ve seen the definition, subsidiary indication/wordplay and surface reading invoked specifically and when there are extraneous letters, body parts or consistently missing letters it’s sometimes not clear if they’re missing from the clue or the grid entry or both, so for me I usually just dive in and see if I can see from the answers I’ve put in)

    I think Angels and Ernie Els are well-enough known in the UK (especially Els among cruciverbalists!) at least to feature with such a definition and such clear wordplay (though of course the wordplay need marrying-up with the right clue) and you’d only need to know one to solve the clue and look up the other.

    I’m really looking forward to your next offering, be it musically themed or otherwise, and hope it’s just as Super, Tramp.


  13. Tramp says:

    Thanks a million Dynamic. The comments on this page have made my day.

    My first efforts at this puzzle had titles that hinted at the four initial letters. In the end though, I couldn’t think of a hint that worked and didn’t give the game away. The editor suggested leaving the title blank. I think if the word had been anything else it would have needed a clue to the initial letters to be fair to the solver.

    I must also point out that I got Paul’s permission to use his idea before I wrote the puzzle.

    Incidentally, when I said I’m not a big pop music fan, I took my name from Supertramp; I’ve always been partial to them and Floyd. I mostly listen to Mahler and Wagner these days though.

  14. bridgesong says:


    Can I associate myself with Dynamic’s remarks? I know how much work constructing a puzzle like this must entail. And it’s a mark of the standard that you achieved that I gave serious consideration to the suggestion that Tramp might be Paul in disguise! Well done, and I look forward to many more.

  15. Tramp says:

    Thanks folks – it means a great deal

  16. sidey says:

    Hello Tramp. Here’s to your long career, dashed impressive no matter how long you’ve been setting. I especially liked your concealment of the definitions which often stand out rather obviously in this sort of puzzle.

  17. Jan says:

    Late to the party, as usual – thanks for the blog, Bridgesong and thank you, Tramp, for an excellent puzzle – I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I had to check Angels but I do know my Tia Maria and Tio Bert! The NW was last to be completed

    I look forward to Tramp’s next outing.

  18. Tramp says:

    Thanks again – what a smashing bunch you are.

  19. Dynamic says:

    As it happens, it was the end of the puzzle before I really sussed the letters spelled PAUL and I did just work my way into the puzzle from guessing definitions or wordplay elements (The definition for POGO was my first, which led me to find the OGO wordplay) and know that both clues began with P. I think the fourth initial letter I discovered came surprisingly late, after I’d done a good proportion of the puzzle. I consider it part of the challenge to work out what’s missing and I enjoyed it immensely without any hint.

    Probably the only title obscure enough would be something like “Tribute to a mentor”, when we’d perhaps guess after solving that Paul had mentored you, especially those of us, unlike me, who recognised the 4 unclued initial letters in groups of 7 as a Paul invention.

    Thank you so much for dropping by, Tramp, to introduce yourself and give us a little background, including your pseudonym.

  20. JS says:

    Thanks again Tramp – for the very enjoyable (there can be no higher praise from me; enjoyment factor is my No. 1 criterion) crossword and your posts here.
    Very impressive debut – hope there will be lots more. As can be seen from my Post #2 I really did wonder if this was Paul in disguise as it were – so maybe that’s even higher praise – whatever, well done and keep up the good work!

  21. Paul says:

    Tramp – you are a star!

    And a nice bloke to boot.


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