Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Genius 103

Posted by bridgesong on February 5th, 2012

bridgesong.

Lavatch  is a setter whose puzzles (in this series anyway) always seem to involve having to change the word before entry in the grid.  This time the down clues all included a name which had to be “dropped”, i.e. extracted and put at the end of the rest of the letters in the clue.  Across clues were normal.  For the down clues I have therefore shown first the actual grid entry, then the word before modification.  It should be obvious in each case what the name was.

I thought all the clues had excellent surface readings.  There were some obscure words, such as ORECTIC, but these were easy to deduce from the wordplay.  The only clue I can’t explain adequately (at least to my own satisfaction) is VERANDAH, where the insertion of ER doesn’t appear to me to be indicated.

Here’s a link to the original puzzle.

Across
5 LINEAR NE (sounds like “any”) in LIAR
7 SCROOGES ORCS(rev.), *GOES. Definition is “near”.
9 GNASHERS SHER (Anthony) in SANG (rev).
10 PAMPAS PAM, PAS. Norman is here used to denote a French word.
11 NAME-DROPPING N(ew), *DAME, POR(rev), PING.
13 ORECTIC T in CICERO (rev).
15 UNIDEAL UNI, DEAL.
18 STRAITJACKET JACK in *ATTIRE in ST(reet).
22 PRETTY R in PETTY.
23 ORVIETAN OR, *NATIVE.
24 EDENTATA EDEN, TA-TA.
25 RUNWAY UNWA(R)Y.
Down
1 SEESAM SESAME E, S (bridge players), AM in SE(x).
2 ORNEDDAI ORDAINED O(ld) R(ome) DAINED (sounds like “deigned”).
3 ERSPIP PIPERS REP in SIP (all rev).
4 BORMENID BENIDORM BENI(n), DORM.
6 IGNTNORA IGNORANT (s)IGN, O, RANT.
7 SPSTOM STOMPS SP, MOTS (all rev).
8 EHAL HALE As in Hale & Pace.
12 CACTTARA CATARACT CA TAR, ACT
14 CITYTONI TONICITY TON, IT in ICY.
16 NDAHVERA VERANDAH ER in V AND A, H. I’m not entirely convinced by this parsing.
17 XTHORA THORAX THOR, AX.
19 AHYPAT APATHY A PATH, (fl)Y.
20 KSEINA KINASE Hidden in “crack in a sealed”
21 EROD RODE RODE(o).

8 Responses to “Guardian Genius 103”

  1. nusquam says:

    Thanks. I was stumped by ‘linear’ at 5ac, but I see your explanation works. My difficulties were compounded by doubt about 5dn. Is ‘rant’ a fair equivalent of ‘speech’? Does ‘ignorant’ mean ‘imbecillic’?

    In 16dn, isn’t ER ‘Elizabeth Regina’ a royal?

  2. bridgesong says:

    Nusquam, I think you mean 6 down. One definition of “rant” in Chambers is “empty speechifying”, so I think the clue is fair. I also think that “imbecilic” and “ignorant” are sufficiently close in meaning.

    At 16d, yes of course ER is a royal: that wasn’t my objection. I can’t work out how ER in V AND A can be clued as “Royal museum first in having”.

  3. nusquam says:

    Sorry. On second inspection I see you were troubled not by ‘royal’= ER in 16dn but by the parsing. I took it to be ER, with museum = VandA followed by ‘first in having’ = ‘h’ outside it (without).

  4. Gordon says:

    Hi Bridgesong

    If I had a hat, I would take it off to you. I am very impressed that you finished this, and also nusquam by the sound of it. I have completed every Genius in the past 8 months or so since I started doing these, with the exception of Auracaria’s ‘Printers Devilry’ which I gave up on part way through because it was irritating me. This is the first puzzle I tried to complete, and failed to do so, even though I continued with it because as you say the surface readings are so nice. Despite me getting 11A as my first clue, which was the theme of course, I could not get more than a dozen clues all month. Either I’m getting senile very early, or for some reason I just was not on Lavatch’s wavelength.

    I did though do Verandah and parsed it as Royal Museum = VANDA; First in = ER inserted, as First referred to the first word ‘Royal’ and that was ER. I then had ‘H’ simply as a shortened form of ‘having’ etc.

    Well done both of you.

  5. stumper says:

    Thanks to you Bridgesong for the excellent blog and to Lavatch for the clever puzzle.

    Like Bridgesong I remain a bit puzzled by the ER in Verandah, and also 19 doesn’t seem quite right: “having no zip” reads like an adjective, ie apathetic not apathy

  6. Lavatch says:

    Thanks to bridgesong for the very comprehensive blog and to those taking the trouble to comment.

    (Gordon,
    I’m sorry to hear you had such difficulty with it. I wonder why… It wasn’t supposed to be any harder than usual!)

    Here is my take on the queries raised so far:

    The intended parsing of VERANDAH is as nusquam states:
    Royal (=ER) museum (=V AND A) first in having (=H) outside (=indicates position of VANDAH relative to ER) gallery (definition).
    The construction ‘X Y outside’ implying ‘X with Y outside’ is a little stilted, I think, but not unreasonable (well, not by Guardian standards, in any case…). It’s certainly widely used, although perhaps not entirely satisfactory.

    I agree that ‘rant’ is rather loose for ‘speech’. Looking at it again now, I am surprised it didn’t get an editorial tweak before publication since it could easily have been made more exact without any radical surgery.

    The def. for APATHY, though, seems OK to me because the word ‘having’ functions as a gerund.

  7. bridgesong says:

    Thanks, Lavatch, for dropping in and for your explanations. It’s always good to hear from the setter. As far as VERANDAH is concerned, I see that my error was to treat “outside” as part of the definition, rather than part of the wordplay.

    So far as the level of difficulty is concerned, I think it fair to say that this has gradually increased over the nearly nine years that the Guardian has been running this series. Some of the early ones were no more difficult than normal daily cryptics (easier, in fact) but more recently the bar has been set a little higher. If I hadn’t had to blog this puzzle, I don’t know whether I would have persevered, as I certainly found it challenging.

  8. Thomas99 says:

    If you thought this one was hard check out some of Lavatch’s Spectator crosswords! (They’re all usually available in pdf form by googling, by the way.) There are some fairly epic struggles there.

    I enjoyed this one a lot – at least once I’d ditched Ben for Enid in Benidorm… There were 221 correct entries, according to the crossword editor – a bit lower than normal, but as he says New Year may have had something to do with that. I thought it was harder than some recent Geniuses (e.g. Paul’s Okra Winfrey/Michae Wiener one) but about right for the slot.

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