Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Genius 111 / Enigmatist

Posted by duncanshiell on September 30th, 2012

duncanshiell.

This is my six-monthly venture into the world of Genius blogging.  Seeing Enigmatist’s name as the setter made me think that this puzzle would be a mite challenging.  So it proved to be.

 

 

 

The first run through the clues did not yield very much at all – absolutely nothing in the downs and only a couple of bits of acrosses.  The first letters I felt confident about were LOP at the end of 9a as I has a nagging memory of an Australian cricketer of the 1980s ending in LOP.  I also reckoned that 1 across would be BACK VIEW or REAR VIEW given the reference to ‘moon’ in the clue.  This gave me I  _P_  W_………… at the beginning of the monster entry at 3, 4, 5, 15, 26.  For some reason the word SPY popped into my mind as a possibility for the second word in the phrase, and then the whole phrase became obvious given the theme of the clue.  Filling in I SPY WITH MY LITTLE EYE SOMETHING BEGINNING WITH then gave me a lot of crossing letters for more across entries and the grid gradually filled across.

It still took me a long time to get going in the downs.  The first one I got was G-STRING at 23 down followed by M-PEOPLE at  7 down.  I then realised how the down clues worked and the rest of the puzzle fell fairly swiftly after that.

Although it was obvious in the end what we had to do, I am still not convinced that the down clues actually do what I think is said on the tin.  As I understand it, in the actual puzzle we have to put the initial letter of the word into the blank in the clue after 3 4 5 15 26 in each clue and then the rest of the word into the grid.  However, If I was playing I SPY, I would say I SPY WITH MY LITTLE EYE SOMETHING BEGINNING WITH B [for instance] and the answer would be BLISTER or B-LISTER not just LISTER.  Shouldn’t the word play lead to B BLISTER, rather than just BLISTER?  Perhaps I am being too picky.

That aside, I enjoyed the tussle with the clues.  There was a good deal of excellent misdirection throughout.  I liked the clues for GARUDA and T-JUNCTION.  The long anagram was very clever, as was the compound anagram EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION at 1 down.

The Genius series regularly throws up quirky puzzles like this, and I look forward to solving more over the next few months

 

Across
No. Clue Wordplay Entry
1

In this leader’s field, moon offering? (4-4)

 

REAR-VIEW (‘moon’ can be defined as ‘to present one’s bare buttocks to public view'; to give a REAR VIEW)

 

REAR-VIEW  (for a leader, the rest of the field will be behind him/her – in his/her REAR-VIEW)

 

8

"He’s besotted!" (so off-putting chap might say) (8)

 

I DO LATER (I’ll put it off, I‘ll DO it LATER is something that might be said by someone putting it off)

 

IDOLATER (a besotted admirer; he’s besotted)

 

9

Aussie batsman in 80s cut past backward cover (6)

 

LAY (cover) reversed (backward) + LOP (cut)

YAL< LOP

YALLOP (reference Graham YALLOP, Australian cricketer at his prime in the late 1970s and early1980s. He was briefly captain of Australia during the turbulent times of Kerry Packer’s World Series cricket)

 

10

What about puckering pleats for layers of leather? (8)

 

EH? (what?) reversed (about) + anagram of (puckering) PLEATS

HE< ELTAPS*

HEELTAPS (layers of material in shoe-heels)

 

11

Recto-bleeper? (5)

 

PAGE + R (right) (recto is defined as ‘the right hand page of an open book)

 

PAGER (an electronic device, especially portable, which seeks or summons someone, for example by means of a bleep; bleeper)

 

13

Dramatist’s the reason disheartened singer goes to the country (9)

 

WHY excluding the middle letter (disheartened) H + CHER (reference CHER, American recording artist; singer) + LEY (variant spelling of LEA [open country])

 

WYCHERLEY (reference William WYCHERLEY [c1640 - 1715], English dramatist, author of The Country Wife)

 

14

Chinwag with inmate is wicked (6)

 

CON (prisoner; inmate) + FAB (fabulous; ‘wicked’ is slang for excellent, admirable, fab)

 

CONFAB (chat; chinwag)

 

16

Intended to keep the Queen of Hearts’ third note (7)

 

MEANT (intended) containing (to keep) DI (reference the late Princess DIANA, dubbed Queen of Hearts by the media)

ME (DI) ANT

MEDIANT (the third tone of a scale, about midway between tonic and dominant; third note)

 

20

The immortal Birdman of Alcatraz initially located in a drug compound (6)

 

A (first letter of [initially] ALCATRAZ) contained in (located in) an anagram of (compound) A DRUG

G (A) RUDA

GARUDA (Hindu demigod, part man, part bird, used as the name of the national airline of Indonesia)

 

21

A hundred quid helps these people practise snobbery (9)

 

C (roman numeral for 100) + L (pound sterling; quid)  + ASSISTS (helps)

 

CLASSISTS (people who prejudice or discriminate on the grounds of social class; people who practise snobbery)

 

24

Where you can get Guinness suitable for slimmers (5)

 

LO-CAL (low calorie; suitable for slimmers)

 

LOCAL (one’s nearest public house; where you can get a Guinness)

 

25

Disaffect sergeant, shot to pieces (8)

 

Anagram of (shot to pieces) SERGEANT

 

ESTRANGE (disaffect)

 

27

As a prospect, compete and finish first when cycling? (2-4)

 

WIN (finish first) + VIE (compete) with the first letter W cycled to the end

IN VIEW

IN VIEW (in sight of, as an aim or prospect)

 

28

Receiving a French city (8)

 

PER (for each or a) + NANCY (French city)

 

PERNANCY (receiving [legal term])

 

29 Spiny anteaters administered "earwigging" in back of stable (8)

CHID (scolded; administered "earwigging") contained in (in) SANE (stable) reversed (back of)

E (CHID) NAS<

ECHIDNAS (Australian toothless, spiny, egg-laying, burrowing monotremes, also called spiny anteaters)

 

Down
1

3 4 5 15 26 _ : Extrasensory perception is abused by one potterer in _____ (1-3,5)

 

Compound anagram (abused) : EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION is an anagram of ONE POTTERER IN and X-RAY SPECS

 

X-RAY SPECS (someone wearing (in) these may acquire EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION)

 

2

3 4 5 15 26 _ : Film dealing with me in another guise (1,2,6)

 

Anagram of (in another guise) DEALING and ME

 

I AM LEGEND (2007 film starring Will Smith)

 

3,4,5,15,26

One witness might enlighten me – why I only get tip by taking in item’s initial, puzzled (1,3,4,2,6,3,9,9,4)

 

I (one) + (anagram of [puzzled]) WITNESS MIGHT ENLIGHTEN ME WHY I ONLY GET TIP BY containing [taking in] I [first letter of {iinitially} ITEM'S])

I (SPY W [I] TH MY LITTLE EYE SOMETHING BEGINNING WITH*)

I SPY [WITH MY LITTLE EYE SOMETHING BEGINNING WITH] (the clue is an &Lit referring to I SPY WITH MY LITTLE EYE [witness]) and SOMETHING BEGINNING WITH [an item's initial])

 

4

See 3

 

See 3

 

[I SPY] WITH MY LITTLE EYE [SOMETHING BEGINNING WITH]

 

5 See 3

See 3

[I SPY WITH MY LITTLE EYE] SOMETHING [BEGINNING WITH]
6

3 4 5 15 26 _ : Show unprincipled blackmailer seizing female (1,6)

 

EXACTOR (blackmailer) excluding the source /root / first letter (unprincipled) E containing (seizing) F (female)

X (F) ACTOR

X-FACTOR (television talent contest)

 

7

3 4 5 15 26 _ : Group exercises work on learner – it all stretches me! (1,6)

 

(PE [physical exercises] + OP [opus; work] + L [learner]) all contained in (stretches) ME

M (PE OP L) E

M-PEOPLE (pop music group from Manchester led by Heather Small – most popular in the 1990s)

 

12

3 4 5 15 26 _ : Trance outfit (1-4)

 

DREAM (trance)

 

D:REAM (Irish pop and dance band of the 1990s; outfit.  Professor Brian Cox, physicist, is a former member)

 

15

See 3 (9)

 

See 3

 

[I SPY WITH MY LITTLE EYE SOMETHING] BEGINNING [WITH]

 

17

3 4 5 15 26 _ : Global shopping accounts for trouble with alien (1-4)

 

ET (extraterrestrial; alien) + AIL (trouble)

 

E-TAIL (selling of goods through the internet; electronic retailing; global shopping)

 

18

3 4 5 15 26 _ : Hooker with handcuffs applying ointment – stop here! (1-8)

 

TJ (reference T J Hooker, American television detective [Hooker with handcuffs] series broadcast 1982 to 1986) + UNCTION (lubricant; ointment)

 

T-JUNCTION (one should stop or give way at a T-Junction)

 

19

3 4 5 15 26 _ : Coral reef running round deserted Scottish island inspiring poet (1,3,5)

 

CAY (low island or coral reef) containing (running round) D (deserted) + LEWIS (on of the islands of the Scottish Outer Hebrides)

C (D) AY LEWIS

C DAY-LEWIS (reference Cecil DAY-LEWIS [1904-1972], English poet.  He served as Poet Laureate from 1968 until his death)  DAY-LEWIS no doubt is an inspiring poet, but I think inspiring may just be a link word.

 

22 3 4 5 15 26 _ : Spot someone who’s not somebody (1-6)

BLISTER (a thin bubble or bladder on the skin, often containing watery matter; a similar spot elsewhere (eg on a leaf, metal or paint)

B-LISTER (second ranking; not belonging to the most important or famous group of celebrities etc; a B-LISTER is somebody who is not somebody!)
23

3 4 5 15 26 _ : The bare mimimum? (1-6)

 

G-STRING (the lowest string on a violin; minimum)

 

G-STRING; (a string worn round the waist supporting a strip worn between the legs; the strip itself or any similar covering for the genitals; mimal clothing; the bare minimum?)  I think this just a simple slightly cryptic definition.

 

26

See 3 (4)

 

See 3

 

[I SPY WITH MY LITTLE EYE SOMETHING BEGINNING] WITH

 

2 Responses to “Guardian Genius 111 / Enigmatist”

  1. yvains says:

    Thank you for the comprehensive blog, Duncan! A beautifully-crafted puzzle – I think my favourites were, on the whole, the same clues you mention, though I also really liked CONFAB and PAGER.

  2. Mr Beaver says:

    I agree with your reservations about the theme. I also wondered for a while if the missing letters would spell something, but I guess that would have been a touch of genius too far!

    We found it tough going – as well as the theme, there were a good few obscurities (pernancy, Wycherley, Garuda and Yallop were all new to me) and a lot of the clues were rather elliptical I thought.

    However, the one clue we failed to get (7d) was our own fault – I’d written in IDOLATOR for 8a – so was reduced to trying to fit in words like hoople and popple :(

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