Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Genius 110 – Picaroon

Posted by Andrew on September 2nd, 2012

Andrew.

As the instructions say: “All clues are normal [phew!]. Half of the 28 solutions must be turned round and entered in the grid backwards.” This meant filling in answers in pencil until their direction could be confirmed by crossing letters. In addition “ambiguities about the orientation of on quarter of the solutions are resolved by ensuring that the final grid contains an appropriate thematic wish (made by one of the clued solutions).” The ambiguities (which in fact were all the 5 and 7 letter answers apart from the poet at 19dn) were answers such as 15ac, GENESES, where the checked letters are _E_E_E_ and so don’t determine which way the word is to be entered. With help from the unambiguous answers it became clear that the “wish” was in the squares around the perimeter, which spell out the vaguely-appropriate “Because I do not hope to turn again”, the opening line (previously unfamiliar to me) of the poem Ash Wednesday by T. S. Eliot (who appears, reversed, at 19dn).

Across
8. RAGLAN RAG (e.g. The Sun) + L + AN. The commander is (presumably) the Lord Raglan who initiated the Charge of the Light Brigade.
9. IN SPIRIT RIPS< in I NIT
10. INSTANCE IN + STANCE (position)
11. DITHER [ha]D + IT (sex, rumpy pumpy) + HER
12. ACIDULATE C[alamar]I in ADULATE
13. ON END ON (running) + END (goal)
15. GENESES (G SENSE E)*, definition “more than one making”
17. HANGMAN HAN + G-MAN (FBI agent or “fed”)
20. SANA’A SAN (polite form of address in Japanese) + AA (Alcoholics Anonymous – an organisation for a “lush”). Sana’a is the capital of Yemenh.
22. CONTRALTO Reverse of ART (drawing) + LT in CO NO
25. PENMAN PEN (to shut up) + MAN (exclamation, as in “Oh, man!”)
26. TROOPIAL (POOR TAIL)*. Usually spelt Troupial, referring to one of several South American birds.
27. SUPERIOR [c]ROUPIERS*
28. PLOUGH PLO + UGH
Down
1. BARNACLE RAN* C in BALE
2. DOTAGE TA in DOGE
3. CRINKLIER C (“see”) RINK + ??
4. ATTESTS Cricket fans may be AT TESTS
5. URARI RU< + IRA<
6. GUNSHIPS SNUG< + HIPS
7. ENSIGN ENS (Chambers gives “an en (printing)” halfway down a long list of definitions of “nut”) + (N GI)<
14. XANTHIPPE N[ational] in TAX< + HIP P.E. Xanthippe was the wife of Socrates, whose name (rather unfairly, it seems) has come to be used for “a scolding or bad-tempered woman”
16. TRUNCATE UTTERANC[e]*
18. ALTER EGO [Richard] GERE< in ALTO
19. T S ELIOT Reverse of TOILEST = “[thou] art working”
21. ACAJOU Hidden in ammoniAC A JOUrnalist
23. POMONA POM + ON (happening) +(coupling with) A. Pomona is a Roman goddess of fruitful abundance. I also know it as a stop on the Manchester tram system, named after Pomona docks, which in turn were named after Pomona Gardens, and they were named after the goddess.
24. OPEPE O + PE PE. The opepe is “a W African tree … yielding a hard yellowish wood used … as a substitute for teak”

7 Responses to “Guardian Genius 110 – Picaroon”

  1. sidey says:

    Extremely clever setting, must have taken ages to find so many ambiguities. A very enjoyable solve. Thanks Andrew.

  2. jvh says:

    Thanks Andrew. I think the end of 3d is li (chinese unit of length just over 500 metres) with re (about) reversed.

  3. Jan says:

    Thank you, Andrew.

    I agree with both the above. Guessing that the perimeter spelled out the ‘thematic wish’ sent me a’Googlin to find the poem of which I’d never heard, either.

    Thank you, Picaroon, a very artful construction.

  4. bridgesong says:

    Thanks for the comprehensive blog, Andrew. I see that Picaroon has been given this week’s prize puzzle and I can thoroughly recommend it (my blog of it will appear next Saturday).

  5. Trebor says:

    Great puzzle after a couple of Genius offerings I didn’t care for. I second the recommendation of this weeks Prize as well.

  6. Unthought Known says:

    Really enjoyed Picaroon’s previous Genius offering and wasn’t disappointed with this one either, following – as Trebor said – a couple of months that weren’t to my taste. Found it just the right level of difficulty to keep dipping in and out of, with some really well structured clues.

    Also second the prize puzzle as being worth a look, 20Ac is a beauty.

  7. Mr Beaver says:

    Well, chacun à son goût. The construction of this was indeed a work of genius, but I just don’t seem to be able to get on Picaroon’s wavelength. We eventually finished this, but it was a long slog – we kept returning to it to chip away a little more. I think EGATOD was the last to go in – maybe appropriately!

    Had very much the same feeling about Saturday’s, which we have only just finished :(

    Admirable perhaps, but not very enjoyable… just my opinion, obviously.

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