Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Genius 120 / Paul

Posted by Gaufrid on June 30th, 2013


The special instructions were: *28 across and 12 down are unclued. Five solutions are 28 12 down, not further defined in their clues and 28 12 downs, say, have featured three other solutions, also not further defined.

Despite only solving four clues during my first pass through them, I made quite rapid progress with this puzzle. Initially I concentrated on the lower half of the grid so that 28ac/12dn might be resolved early on and was rewarded when I got 19dn, and a couple of checked letters in 18ac/12dn, which then clearly had to be NOTED TENOR. This obviously helped with the other four, related, undefined clues.

The second part of the special instructions indicated a homophone (say) of 28ac/12dn which would give ‘noted tenner’ and the remaining three undefined clues (13ac, 25ac & 3dn) led to three people who have featured on the back of a £10 note, namely Florence Nightingale, Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin.

A fun puzzle from Paul. I just wish it had lasted longer!


7 A party – a chap hosting one for statesman (9)
ALABAMIAN – A LAB (party) A MAN (a chap) around (hosting) I (one)

8 Po rt so? (5)
SPLIT – cryptic def.

10 Enthusiastic eater gobbling cable rolled over in old syrup (7)
PERIWIG – PIG (enthusiastic eater) around (gobbling) WIRE (cable) reversed (rolled over) – Cockney rhyming slang: syrup of figs = wigs

11 Idle scoffing McDonald’s (7)
DOMINGO – DOING O (idle) around (scoffing) M (McDonald’s) – the first tenor

12 Hearty breakfast, tea and supper, anything but starters! (3)
TAR – [breakfas]T [te]A [suppe]R

13 Time when you’ll need protective clothing and a torch? (11)

15 Item in a stable country backfiring, some extremists claimed (7)
NOSEBAG – GABON (country) reversed (backfiring) around (claimed) S[om]E (some extremists)

18 One round spent, bouncer ending in confinement, inactive (7)
DORMANT – DO[o]RMAN (one round spent, bouncer) [confinemen]T (ending in confinement)

20 Tear up receipt so foolishly – it’s good to retain (3,2,6)
RIP TO PIECES – anagram (foolishly) of RECEIPT SO around (to retain) PI (good)

24 Academic award with a comment from you, it’s said? (3)
BAA – BA (academic award) A – a homophone of ‘you’ is ‘ewe’

25 Sweet man spotted with some camera, wiping face (7)
DICKENS – DICK (sweet man spotted) [l]ENS (some camera, wiping face)

26 Country among people without a story (7)
ROMANCE – OMAN (country) in (among) R[a]CE (people without a)

28 * (5)

29 Drug dealer misspelling the princess-to-be? (9)
DISPENSER – a misspelling of DI SPENcER SPENSoR (princess-to-be)  Edit: Thanks RichWA @ comment #1 for pointing out my inexcusable error.


1 Consciously artificial settlement (4)
CAMP – double def.

2 When under nurse, doctor finally entering (8)
CARRERAS – [docto]R in (entering) CARER (nurse) AS (when) – the second tenor

3 Bobby associated with knifer arresting outlaw, finally (6)
DARWIN – DARIN (Bobby associated with knifer) around (arresting) [outla]W – Bobby Darin had a hit single entitled “Mack the knife”

4 Top flirt (6)
FIZGIG – double def.

5 Balls trapped by team in Manchester, same as before (8)
UNEDITED – ED (Balls) in (trapped by) UNITED (team in Manchester)

6 Cycle resembling a tandem? (4)
OTTO – def. & cryptic def. (the word almost looks like a tandem {bicycle}) – the Otto cycle relates to the four-stroke engine; just google ‘otto cycle’ if you want to know more

8 Little time to burn bridges in conference? (7)
SEMINAR – SEAR (to burn) around (bridges) MIN (little time)

9 Holiday island short of routine (5)
LANZA – LANZA[rote] – the third tenor

12 * (5)

14 More cut up about tiger’s skin (5)
EXTRA – AXE (cut) reversed (up) around (about) T[ige]R (tiger’s skin)

16 Text supporter “K”? (7)
BOOKEND – def. & cryptic def.

17 Slide down into church abroad, having lifted roof (8)
GLISSADE – SAD (down) in (into) [e]GLISE (church abroad, having lifted roof)

19 Drink spiked with poisons (8)
ALBANESE – ALE (drink) around (spiked with) BANES (poisons) – the fourth tenor

21 Hole through which threaded firm loop (5)
PICOT – CO (firm) in (through which threaded) PIT (hole)

22 One for the road, then player’s heading off (6)
CARUSO – CAR (one for the road) [m]USO (player’s heading off) – the fifth tenor

23 Potential killer met criminal stabbing relations (6)
SEMTEX – anagram (criminal) of MET in (stabbing) SEX (relations)

25 Mozart’s seducer abbreviated in foreign currency (4)
DONG – DON G[iovanni] (Mozart’s seducer abbreviated)

27 Pound (gee whiz!) per capita, all but bottoms out (4)
EZRA – [ge]E [whi]Z [pr]R [capit]A – the poet

9 Responses to “Guardian Genius 120 / Paul”

  1. RichWA says:

    Thanks for the blog; like you, I found this a really enjoyable puzzle.
    (29a – I think you mean DI SPENCER)

  2. bridgesong says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid and Paul. ALBANESE was new to me, but reasonably obvious from the crossing letters and the wordplay.

    FIZGIG is also shown in Chambers as FISGIG, so presumably both spellings will be accepted, as the crossing letters are not determinative, and there is nothing in the clue to show which is correct.

  3. Gaufrid says:

    Hi bridgesong
    Regarding 4dn, you are correct that Chambers gives ‘fisgig’ as an alternative spelling but that is for the ‘flirt’. It doesn’t have the definition ‘top’ listed. COED and Collins only have ‘fizgig’ with Collins, but not COED, defining it as a ‘top’.

    I could find no support in any on-line reference to fisgig=top so I suggest that the there is only one correct answer, ie FIZGIG.

  4. DuncT says:

    Thanks for the blog Gaufrid. I worked my way to the theme much as you did, but not as speedily. Partly thrown by assuming 12dn had to be a plural – shouldn’t the instructions have read “…are 28 12 downs”?

    Lots of inventive clues to enjoy – quite a few involving the first or last letters of words, which was also a feature of Paul’s prize crossword last week.

  5. shikasta says:

    I was quite pleased with myself for having finished this much quicker than past Geniuses … until I read your blog & found my errors – I had YOYO for the tandem/cycle in 6D then put SALVO in 8A as a port & the reason there’s a hole in it – it seemed reasonable to me at the time. Ooops.

    Thanks for the blog.

  6. claire says:

    Thanks Gaufrid – I had Domingo at 11 across, but couldn’t parse it (though as it couldn’t be anything else, I submitted it anyway). Is it acceptable to use McDonald’s to indicate ‘M’ or am I missing something here?

    Anyways – perhaps after what must be ten years of submitting Genius solutions (correct in the main) this could be my month to win. I’m not holding my breath

  7. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Claire
    “Is it acceptable to use McDonald’s to indicate ‘M’ or am I missing something here?”

    It is a device that has been used several times in recent years. Personally I’m not particularly keen on it but previous discussions have indicated that a number of people are quite happy since the logo is very prominent and well-known.

  8. claire says:

    Thanks Gaufrid – rather helpfully, just after I read your reply I saw an advert for McDonald’s and have to agree that its big yellow M is rather prominent, so I guess it’s OK – doesn’t mean I like it, though. Where will it all end, eh? We’re doomed.

  9. Gordon says:

    I must be getting thicker as I age, as I failed miserably on this. After 10 days I just had three clues entered. I gave up after that. This was the third month running I could not finish the Genius, after many months of completing every one. Maybe it is just the luck of wavelength with compiler, as this month I’m about 75% completed with the Genius, after a couple of sittings, so maybe I’m not quite as stupid as I thought.

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