Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Genius 95 / Lavatch

Posted by mhl on June 6th, 2011


A very clever puzzle from Lavatch. Below I’ve set out the clues with the answers they directly lead to, and below that I’ll explain what has to be done to them to get the grid entries. In each, I’ve put in bold the definition part, and crossed out the word that should be ignored.

(Incidentally, I can take virtually no credit for this post, just having transcribed it from my partner’s notes apart from a couple of clues – many thanks to her…)

7. LUNULE Croissant? In Paris read article about organic one (6)
In French: LU = “read” and LE = “article” around ONE = “un”
8. CROTCHET Cantankerous recitalist ignoring variable note (8)
“Cantankerous” = CROTCHETY without Y = “variable”
9. ANIONS Charged matter some Pakistani dumped on ship (6)
Hidden in “pakistANI ON Ship”
10. RISPETTO Unfinished opera is composed about dry Italian folk enjoying music (8)
(OPER[a] IS)* around TT (teetotal) = “dry” – Chambers defines RISPETTO as “a type of Italian folk song with eight-line stanzas, or a piece of music written in the same style”
11. MORA Unjustifiable delay resolving choice between leaders in Malaysia (4)
The two leaders (first letters) of the word Malaysia are M and A, so a choice between them would be M OR A – Chambers defines MORA as “delay esp unjustifiable (law)
12. HEMOCYANIN American pigment China purchased – money wasted (10)
(CHINA MONEY)* – “haemocyanin” is defined in Chambers as “a blue respiratory pigment with functions similar to haemoglobin, in the blood of crustaceans and molluscs” – “American” indicates that this is the US spelling of “haem-“, which is generally “hem-“
15. OBITER Nibble into gold eggs, by the way? (6)
BITE = “Nibble” in OR = “gold” – OBITER is a Latin word
16. SNAPPY Atrabilious agent riled about card game (6)
SPY = “agent” around NAP = “card game” – I’m afraid this word now irreversibly reminds me of the international hit “Schnappi, das kleine Krokodil” thanks to our language school :)
18. TEA BISCUIT Eg digestive trouble is acute – bit indisposed? (3, 7)
19. GART In Scotland compelled leaders of mob that’s running a government to retreat (4)
G[overnment] A R[unning] T[hat’s] – GART is an alternative spelling of the past participle of “gar” which Chambers defines as “Chiefly Scot to cause, to compel”
21. EBB-TIDES Beside estuary, extremely brilliant, roiling, flowing waters (3-5)
(BESIDE BT)* – the BT is from B[rillian]T = “extremely brilliant”
24. ARISTO Taoist philosopher losing third nobleman (6)
ARISTO[tle] = “philosopher losing third”
25. NAMESAKE Drunken seamen holding cask regularly and one ewer with identical handle? (8)
(SEAMAN AK)* – the AK is from [c]A[s]K = “cask regularly”
26. NOT OUT Refusal rattling vendor having avoided dismissal (3,3)
NO = “Refusal” + TOUT = “vendor”
1. TURN TO Seek assistance from leader of the navy, breaking out guns outside (4,2)
T[he] followed by RN = “navy” in (OUT)*
2. OUT ON A LIMB Openings for Manchester United – Albion to endure shakily in a dangerous position here (3,2,1,4)
(MU ALBION TO)* – MU from “Openings for Manchester United”
3. NEWS SHEETS Papers from Orwell novel – novel in series (4-6)
NEW = “Novel” followed by SHE = “novel” (by H. Rider Haggard, an old crossword favourite) in SETS = “series”
4. BOSS Cry about ultimately glib, heartless stud (4)
SOB = “Cry” reversed + [hearles]S
5. OCHE Old revolutionary readying place from where missiles are launched (4)
O = “Old” + CHE = “revolutionary” – the oche is where you stand to throw darts
6. LENT LILY Flower from heart of Holland telly in Amsterdam broadcast (4,4)
(L TELLY IN)* – the first L is from “heart of holLand”
8. CHROME Metal prettifying Switzerland’s capital (6)
CH = “Switzerland” followed by ROME = “capital”
13. CONSTRAINS Right-wingers prepare special Harrod’s hampers (10)
CONS = “Right-wingers” + TRAIN = “prepare” + S = “special”
14. ARPEGGIATE Instrument for Cockney, sounding jittery and worried, intent to space notes out (10)
[h]ARP = “Instrument for Cockney” + EGGI sounds like “edgy” = “sounding jittery” + ATE = “worried”
15. OVERBEAR Coming across animal, behave dominantly (8)
OVER = “across” + BEAR = “animal”
17. TUSSLE Bit of tension America has with the French anti-capitalist struggle (6)
T[ension] = “Bit of tension” + US = “America” + S = “has” + LE = “the French”
20. RAT RUN Artist losing turn off busy road (3,3)
RA = “Artist” + (TURN)*
22. THEA Articles for lopping tea plants (4)
THE and A = “Articles” – Wikipedia says that “Thea” is “the former name of the tea plant genus, now included in Camellia”
23. DRAB Will Young becoming erect for old strumpet? (4)
BARD = “Will” (Shakespeare) raised

Now, if you take the first letters of each of the extra words, you get the message ORDER PERIMETER GEOGRAPHICALLY. In the completed grid you find around each corner the following towns: BOLTON, TOTNES, BARNET and MALTON. However, BOLTON is in the north-west of England, so should be around the NW corner of the grid rather than the NE. If you order the towns correctly around the perimeter so that you have MALTON around the NE, BARNET around the SE, TOTNES around the SW and BOLTON in the NW you get the final grid for entry. Very nice :)

The official annotations are available online as well.

6 Responses to “Guardian Genius 95 / Lavatch”

  1. Jan says:

    Thank you, mhl, for a very well set out blog. And thank you Lavatch for yet another intriguing puzzle.

    I wondered whether THEO (after the letter swaps) truly counts as a ‘real word’ – I’m being a bit picky, aren’t I? I was happy with SEA BISCUIT because they are both ‘real words’. :)

  2. Jan says:

    I’ve only just noticed, mhl, that you have put SEA rather than TEA in the solution for 18. A very understandable slip in a difficult blogging task.

  3. Gordon Roy says:

    Thank you mhl. I also enjoyed this puzzle a lot, and your blog. Re: point 2 above. Tea Biscuit obviously became Sea Biscuit after the geography was resolved. I’m a bit dubious about Theo also.

    Also for anyone else not familiar with this puzzle, you forgot to cross out ‘riled’ from 16A. I’m not familiar with that ‘hit’ record you mention either – I must look it up.

    Rispetto was my last word in. It took me five days to find this after I’d done the rest. I didn’t get the TT bit until after I’d found the word [in the encyclopaedia [encyclopedia over here]. Britannica online. It is not in any of the American dictionaries I am forced to use here, neither is it in my new Collins. Clearly I need to buy a Chambers next time I’m back home!

  4. mhl says:

    Jan and Gordon Roy: many thanks for those corrections – I’ve applied them to the post now.

  5. Mr Beaver says:

    The hardest thing I found about this was not knowing how the instructions would work until quite near the end. Initially I thought some of the solutions would have to move before they were placed in the grid so one didn’t know whether to write in an answer or not.
    That, and a couple of obscurities (GART ??, MORA ???) meant we didn’t get this nailed until nearly the end of the month. But yes, it was clever !

  6. bridgesong says:

    Thanks, mhl, for a very clear blog, and Lavatch for an ingenious puzzle. OBITER is a word familiar to lawyers in the phrase obiter dicta, meaning a passage in a judgment which is not relevant to the point being decided in the case, but which may be cited as authority in a subsequent case. I’ve never come across MORA, however. The word for delay when I was a law student was LACHES.

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nine + = 18