Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Genius 94, by Puck: In vino veritas

Posted by jetdoc on May 2nd, 2011

jetdoc.

Well, I thought I was getting on just fine with this puzzle, but I was completely stuck on two answers, 17a and 21a. None of my resources — dictionaries, word lists, TEA, Google, Wikipedia, friends, husband etc — could shed any light. However, since I didn’t manage to finish the blog until this morning, I have access to the answers on the website; those two seem pretty obscure to me.

Five wines (26d) are clued without definition. Before entry, each must have its C or K (19a) removed, then be drunk (1a) by having its remaining letters arranged in alphabetical order. Numbers in brackets refer to the grid entry; wordplay gives the full, unmutilated answer.

Any occurrence of P or T (18a) in the other solutions is ignored in the subsidiary part of the clue.

Across
1 DRUNK High-living Muslim returning about noon, tired and emotional
KURD = High-living (Kurdistan is mountainous) Muslim, reversed; N = noon. Euphemism much used in Private Eye
4 POSTNATAL Bone gets sodium and aluminium after birth
OS = bone; NA = sodium; AL = aluminium; + PTT
9 MOTHBALLS Items protecting clothes initially on hangers back in shopping centres
OHB = first letters of ‘on hangers back’; MALLS = shopping centres; + T
10 WORST Least acceptable choice of winger for Wales?
W and S are the ‘wingers’ of Wales; + T
11 LIEBFRAUMILCH
wine
A brief chillum high
*(A brief chillum), with ‘high’ as the anagram indicator. Remove C and rearrange letters alphabetically.
17 EGRI BIKAVER
wine
Endless grief, cycling around avenue guarded by Hell’s Angel?
*(grie); AVE = avenue; BIKER = Hell’s Angel. Egri Bikavér is the Hungarian name for Bull’s Blood. Remove K and rearrange letters alphabetically.
18 PORT Left 26 with no 19 in it
Left, in nautical terms. I don’t know why port should be wine without a cork, though; I think port bottles have them.
19 CORK One that stops in Irish 18
Double definition
20 AFFIDAVITS Sworn declarations from a couple of fellows, one with surname that’s Welsh
A; FF = couple of fellows; I = one; DAVIS = Welsh surname; + T
21 BLAUFRANKISCH
wine
Halfback ruins game
I knew this was an anagram of ‘halfback ruins’, but had never heard of Blaufränkisch and didn’t find it in my searches. It doesn’t help that the annotated solution on the Guardian website omits the C. Remove K and rearrange letters alphabetically.
28 INERT Sluggish? Tight rein needed
*(rein) + T
29 CENTESIMO South American coin caught by Ken, given to Inuit after each lose a kilo
C = caught; [k]EN; ES[k]IMO (each losing K); + T. Centesimo
30 ELKHOUNDS Deer chases dogs
ELK = deer; HOUNDS = chases
31 PIETY Devoutness that is unknown
IE = that is; Y = unknown; + T
Down
1 MEDOC
wine
This setter has the Italian equivalent of appellation contrôlée
ME = this setter; DOC = Denominazione di Origine Controllata. Remove C and rearrange letters alphabetically.
2 UP TO As far as for all to see, nothing
U = for all to see; O = nothing; + PT
3 KEBAB King meets pig turning up for a takeaway?
K = King; BABE = pig (Babe)
4 PILAF Rice dish starters for Indian lovers at feast
Initial letters of ‘Indian lovers at feast’; +P
5 SUSHI American into his fresh Far Eastern food
US = American; *(his)
6 NEWEL Post novel with letter (first in letterbox)
NEW = novel; E = letter? (well, I suppose it is one); L = first in letterbox
7 THROMBOSIS Complaint arising from clot annoying boorish males after beer’s gone
*(boorish ms) (boorish males without ales); + T
8 LITMUS TEST Trial showing acid nature of 51 goddesses
LI = 51; MUSES = goddesses; + TT. This should have been given as (6, 4), not (10).
12 EPITAPH Grave words from a hospital, shortly after quarter to one
AH = a hospital; E = quarter; I = one; + PTP
13 HURTFUL Fling’s about fun? Pointless, as causing pain
HURL = fling; FU = fun without N (compass point); + T
14 INVADER At home against Arsenal, starting with the German attacker
IN = at home; A = Arsenal, starting; DER = German definite article
15 SACCHARINE Sweet substance — bit of honey in case car crashes
*(h in case car)
16 HEARTBREAK Hare injured by tip of buried rake sadly comes to grief
*(hare); B = tip of buried; *(rake)
22 FATSO Person that’s plumped for follow-up to “Do-Re-Mi”?
FA SO = next two in the tonic sol-fa notation; + T
23 INCAN Tinned, like some old people’s tongue
IN CAN
24 NONES In one sense offers a service
Hidden in ‘In one sense’. A church service originally held at the ninth hour, or 3 o’clock, afterwards earlier.
25 SWEEP Sooty’s top No 1 puppet
S = Sooty’s top; WEE = euphemism ‘number 1’; + P. Sooty and Sweep
26 WINE Pigs heading off for 18, perhaps
[s]WINE
27 TOKAY
wine
Tango? Sure!
T = tango (NATO phonetic alphabet); OKAY = sure! Remove K and rearrange letters alphabetically.

20 Responses to “Guardian Genius 94, by Puck: In vino veritas”

  1. Rishi says:

    It would appear you forgot to add the explanation for two clues.

    5d: US (American) in SHI (anag of HIS), ‘fresh’ being the AInd.

  2. Rishi says:

    4d: Rice dish starters for Indian lovers at feast (5)

    This is puzzling. ‘Rice dish’ is the def; ‘starters for’ is acrostic ind. We have ?ILAF. How do we get P?

  3. Rishi says:

    Sorry. I was less than careful. Shouldn’t butt in.

  4. jetdoc says:

    Thanks, Rishi — that’s what comes of blogging in a hurry!

  5. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for the blog, jetdoc.

    I had the same difficulties with 17 and 21 [very gratifying to know that even husband was stumped!] but found it very enjoyable otherwise. I’ve only ever ‘finished’ a handful of Genius puzzles!

    I initially had the same thought about 18ac, then concluded that it meant PORT had no C or K.

  6. Robi says:

    Thanks jetdoc – I gave up on this one, although I got the theme I didn’t know the more obscure wines.

    The annotated solution for PORT says that is doesn’t have a C or K in it (!)

  7. Eileen says:

    I didn’t look at the annotated solution – honestly!

  8. jetdoc says:

    The annotated solution for PORT says that is doesn’t have a C or K in it (!)

    Well, there’s no arguing with that, I suppose.

  9. Wanderer says:

    Thanks jetdoc and Puck. I don’t often complete a Genius and I found this one extremely challenging and enjoyable. I loved the linkage between CORK, PORT and WINE in the clues — they were meaningless to me for ages until they all fell into place at once. Even then it took me a long time to read CORK and PORT in the way we were supposed to. I only got Blaufrankisch by realising it was an anagram, knowing that it had to be a wine, and then guessing that because it was such a long word, with a k in it, a German wine was a strong possibility. Then off to google to ask for a list of German wines (there are a lot!) and trawl through it until I found a likely candidate. Cheating, perhaps, but I would never have got it otherwise. For me this was demanding, time-consuming, and ultimately very satisfying.

  10. anax says:

    Very nicely blogged Jetdoc, and I’m glad my failures coincided with others. 17/21 defeated me, as did the requirement that the unches at 11/21 go in alphabetically.

    Despite failing to finish I thought this was a lovely puzzle with Puck’s characteristic mischievousness; he certainly lives up to his pseudonym. 1a, 22d and 25d all brought smiles.

  11. bridgesong says:

    Jetdoc, I also had difficulties with the two unfamiliar wines, but my internet searches eventually proved successful. I certainly don’t regard it as cheating when such obscure words are used. I took the same view as Eileen over CORK – nice to be proved correct. In other respects I thought it an excellent puzzle. Thanks for the comprehensive blog.

  12. Robi says:

    Jetdoc @8; none of ‘is (oops!),’ ‘it’ or even PORT has a C or K in it.

  13. John H says:

    Shame about 21, as the clue didn’t need to be solved to fix the entry – unless you were blogging it…Just rearrange the letters of the anagram in alphabetical order!

  14. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, jetdoc. At first glance, I thought this was going to be impossible, but I found a way in with TOKAY and gradually unpicked the rest, with the exception of 17ac and 21ac. At 21ac I entered all the right letters in the right order but never managed to make a wine out of it. With 17ac all I had were the checking letters.

    Very enjoyable puzzle and I liked the C or K and P or T devices very much.

  15. Mr Beaver says:

    We struggled for ages with this, finally making enough headway to – almost – finish it, so it was frustrating to give up on 17/21. But having seen the answers, I’m glad we didn’t waste yet more time on them!

    There’s enough of a challenge in the tortuous ‘genius’ format without stooping to such obscurities. One or two new words per crossword is fair game, but I felt these two were a bit below the belt.
    I wonder how many correct entries there were?

  16. Jan says:

    Lovely blog, Jetdoc, thank you – and thanks to Puck for another delightful challenge.

    I have written EGRI BIKAVER on my sheet so I obviously found it somewhere – don’t ask me where! As for 21, I did the same as John H and bunged the letters in – with F and H adjacent, from crossing answers, it was obvious that K was the omitted letter.

    I got CORK before entering PORT (I dithered about PORT for ages – too obvious, I thought) so I was trying to uncork my wines by removing the first letter! A whole Christmas tree lit up when the penny dropped – heads or tails?

    I also liked the fact that Cork is a port.

  17. Thomas99 says:

    Re Egri Bikaver – when I finally found it, I was fortunate to be on a webpage (wikipedia?) that told me it was now mainly made with the Blaufrankisch grape!

    By the way the Guardian made a lot of fuss about correcting the letter count for that clue – when it was pretty obvious what was meant and surely it makes no sense to divide gibberish up into two separate words anyway. I wonder if they’d confused it with the “litmus test” word count (8d), which was a far more unfortunate mistake. It certainly wasted some of my time.

    I found it a very satisfying puzzle, demanding but fun, but I wonder what I’d have thought if I’d never stumbled on that Egri Bikaver paragraph online.

  18. gail saunders says:

    Totally agree with Mr Beaver.The names of totally obscure wines as answers, and to be turned into gibberish, makes me wonder why I bothered with the rest!!!!!!!!!! Have just completed the next one (Lavatch) and found it much more enjoyable

  19. Robi says:

    Mr Beaver@15; if you’re still there, I found this on the Guardian crossword site:

    April’s Genius (No 94) by Puck produced slightly fewer entries than of late, 271 with 21 of them on the first day. The ‘coding’ element involved or perhaps too many bank holiday weekends in the month may have been the reason.

  20. Mr Beaver says:

    Robi
    Thanks for that – I hadn’t realised there was feedback on numbers. Hats off to the 271, and especially to the 21 who cracked it on the first day !
    Truly awesome (in the traditional sense)

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