Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Genius 101 / Brummie

Posted by mhl on December 4th, 2011


This was a fun Genius puzzle, we thought, and quite doable once you untangled the rubric. There were plenty of smiles for me, particularly in how the missing letters changed the meaning of the clues.

One set of 5 abbreviations were US states:

Arizona, used in 5 across
Illinois, used in 22 across
Wisconsin, used in 7 down
Kentucky, used in 8 down
Mississippi, used in 19 down

The other set of 5 abbreviations are elements:

Lithium, used in 9 across
Iodine, used in 12 across
Oxygen, used in 21 across
Phosphorus, used in 4 down
Boron, used in 23 down

The other two abbreviations are SW (south-west) used in 20 down (one of many DIRECTIONS (11a)) and dm (decimetre) used in 17 down (one of many MEASUREMENTS (18a)).

1. LUCIFER Double definition: “Nick” (as in “Old Nick”, the devil) and “an antique lighter” – a lucifer is an old word for a match
5. DELIBES (BESIDE)* around L = “line”; Definition: “scorer” (Delibes was a composer). The anagram indicator here is “crAZy”
9. BELIE BEE[f] = “complaint (no tail)”; Definition (BEE): “Insect”
10. COMES AWAY O = “Ring” in (MACAW’S EYE)*; Definition: “almost gets detached”
12. UGLI Sounds like “ugly” = “plain said” (4) Definition: “Fruit”
14. DRAGONS TEETH (DOGS THREATEN)*; Definition: “anti-tank obstacles”
21. RE-DO [bo]RED[om] = “boredom” without “boom” = “resonance”; Definition: “Wine”
22. BARBIE DOLL (BOAR BILLED)*; Definition: “a pretty vacuous plaything”
25. SNAIL-LIKE SNAKE = “deceitful type” around ILL = “evil” + I = “one”; Definition: “Slow”
26. TWEED TWEETED = “communicated in modern fashion” without TE = “musical note”; Definition: “Material”
27. ASKANCE ASK = “Question” + ANC = “political party” + E = “energy”; Definition: “suspiciously”
28. MUSETTE MUTE = “Dumb” around SET = “fixed”; Definition: “small bagpipe”
1. LIBIDO BID = “Offer” in OIL reversed = “elevated fuel”; Definition: “drive”
2. CELERY (EEL)* in CRY = “blubber”; Definition: “plant”
3. FLEA CIRCUS Cryptic definition
4. RECTI Hidden in “direction” – the hidden answer indicator is “in Part”
5. DOMINANCE N = “Newton” in (COMEDIAN)*; Defintion: “mastery”
6. LASH L = “Latin” + ASH = “name of a tree”; Definition: “belt”
7. BEWIGGED EGG = “old-fashioned person” in BED = “cradle?”; Definition (BEGGED): “Sponged”
8. SKYLIGHT SIGHT = “sense” around L = “large”; Definition (SLIGHT): “cut”
13. STATUETTES STATUTES = “Regulations” about ET = “alien”; Definition: “Oscars etc”
15. GRENADINE GRENADE = “weapon” around IN = “small measure”; Definition: “Material”
16. AMBROSIA A = “one” followed by (AIMS)* around ORB = “globe” reversed; Definition: “Delicious food”
17. LANDMARK LARK = “Joke” around N = “new”; Defintion (LANARK): “town in Scotland”
19. RODENT RT = “Right” around ODE = “literary work” + [woma]N; Definition: “haMSter?”
20. PLEDGE PL = “Place” + EDGE = “lip”; Definition: “SWear”
23. BREAM (ARE)* + M = “medium”; Definition (REAM): “Papers”
24. PLAN PLAN[e] = “Tree” without its last letter; Definition: “plot”

10 Responses to “Guardian Genius 101 / Brummie”

  1. Mr Beaver says:

    Thanks for the blog mhl. I agree, this was far from the hardest Genius crossword – the ‘straight’ clues were mostly fairly easy. But it was tricky getting started as you don’t know what variety of clue you’re dealing with. The ones with missing letters in the clue were trying – I think in every case we got the answer first then had to work back to find the missing letters.

    I found it odd that two clues were in ‘groups’ on their own (17d and 20d) – particularly as the group names (14a and 18a) were plurals. I may be doing Brummie an injustice but it smacked of trying – and not quite succeeding – to get all the subtractions into two groups!

    Still, we finished it, and that’s always a bonus for a Genius!

  2. sidey says:

    I enjoyed what I managed to complete of this. Unfortunately I fell foul of the ridiculous requirement to log in to even view the puzzle, lost all my answers and gave up.

  3. James says:

    Thanks for the blog. I’ve recently encountered a problem with the online Genius site, in that it doesn’t save my work. Anyone else had this issue? Pretty frustrating, I can tell you!

  4. dunsscotus says:

    Thank you Brummie and mhl. Happily, the IT side of things worked for me. I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge and was really chuffed to have finished it!

  5. sidey says:

    James, your progress is saved as a cookie or several. When you click ‘Save’ you should get a message confirming it.

  6. mhl says:

    The crossword editor mentioned in the newsletter that just arrived that there were technical problems over the weekend with submissions to the Genius:

    Our November Genius puzzle (No 101 set by Brummie) was hit by a late technical problem. At some point in the early evening of Friday 2 December the system for accepting the online entries broke down. It was not possible to discover the reason and fix the fault over the weekend, as those who tried to send in entries late on Friday and on Saturday will have discovered. The problem also affected the early birds tackling the December Genius No 102 by a new setter Qaos, uploaded today (Monday 5 December). Our apologies for this disruption, which will have been extremely vexing for those affected by it. We are working to restore normal service as soon as possible.

  7. Judge says:

    Minor typo – the answer to 26a should be TWEED, not TWEETED.

    Great blog and I enjoyed the puzzle.

  8. Jan says:

    Thanks for the blog, mhl.

    I was more confused than usual by this puzzle. It was a while before I realised and wrote …

    ‘Definition matches solution – clue needs extra letters.
    Definition matches clue – solution needs extra letters.’

    Were the extra letters IVRs, US States or chemical symbols and while SW was obvious, was I to use DM for decimetres or MS for milliseconds as measurements?

    I convinced myself that it was IVRs and US states (not chemicals) and really couldn’t be bothered to re-collect my thoughts on completion.

    9a Obviously the insect was BEE but then, with B_L_E was it to be BELEE, BELIE or BELLE? I opted for BELIE and Long Island. It’s not a state but it is in the US – I was getting bored!

    I submitted my entry with doubts remaining so my enjoyment was dulled.

  9. Trebor says:

    Another interesting Genius – Brummie seems to enjoy this taking letters out / adding letters in to the wordplay business. Got about 80% during my first session but never bothered returning to finish it off having worked out all the devices.
    After a couple hours at this month’s (102) I fancy 80% completion might be a bit ambitious!

  10. Gordon says:

    I found the two ‘added’ categories frustrating; so I agree with Mr. Beaver. I suffered from this in that unlike everyone else it seems, I made a mistake with the answer to 20d. I had FLEDGE. I had Place = FL as a cheeky Brummie nod to one of the main categories of missing letters because this is another US state [and seemingly Brummie could have made this clue into a 6th US State if he had wanted]. Lip = edge [rather than ledge] and the answer was [r]ear = fledge. So the missing letter was an ‘R’ which is a direction [right] in my book.

    I also found another possible missing element for 4d. RECTI is in the exact middle – i.e. HEART of DIRECTION. So the missing letters could be He [Helium] rather than P.

    This was another reason that I did not like the puzzle as much as I felt I should, as it would not be difficult to construct other solutions for different missing letters. A little too sloppy for me.

    I also struggled and failed to get my solution entered on Friday because of the technical issues mentioned by mhl.

    Still, as I had the one mistake it did not matter.

    Nice blog by the way – mhl

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