Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,372, Quantum: Quality Control

Posted by michod on April 25th, 2008


Hmm, well as today’s fifteensquared quality controller I have a few negative items to feedback here (OK, that’s enough of that – internal ed). Too many rather straightforward cryptic defs for my liking. Sorry if I seem over-critical – the clues I don’t mention are mostly ones I don’t have an issue with! 


1,5.  QUALITY CONTROL. ‘It’s testing to keep the standard up’. Er, yes, that’s exactly what it is. Only works as a CD if you try to make the sentence mean something else by reading the first two words with a subtly different emphasis.

9. INCUS. The last one I got, due to a shortfall in anatomical knowledge, though it was clear from the outset that the clue led to a bit of the ear.Eventually I guessed the word correctly then looked it up. But this sort of word really needs some wordplay, not another CD.

10. UNEXPOSED. E in EXPOUNDS IN*. I really can’t see the objection some people have to nouns as anagram indicators – a confusion of ‘expounds in’ – nothing wrong with that at all.

13. NAIVE. EVIAN<. One of my favourite reversals, neatly handled.

18. ELECTABLE. I thought at first this was a CD, but the first half (‘fit to pick first’) is actually a charade, fit = ABLE and to pick = ELECT. Trouble is, those are the etymological halves of the whole word, which makes this a dud for me.

21. RHO MB. Neither the most common Greek character not the most common doctor.

23. GYROSCOPE. Another CD of sorts - a paradoxical definition you could call it.

27, 28. KITCHEN CABINET. CD. +’Downstairs’ refers to servants in the old days, as in the ’70s BBC series (oops, and book before that, I believe) ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’.


1. QUIDS IN. Nice charade with a good surface, probably my favourite here.

2. ANCHORITE. I (l)ONER + H ACT*. My second last answer, and I still don’t quite get it. The clue is ‘I, loner, left out, with hard act to follow, possibly. But the definition appears to be in the first two or four words, coinciding with the wordplay in the first seven, and the last three are purely for surface, unless I’ve missed something.

5. C(HEA(p))T.

6. NO. PROBLEM. Indeed.

7. ROS(I)E. Good to have more than just ‘girl’ for the definition – the reference could be either to Laurie Lee’s novel Cider with Rosie or to Rosie Lee, Cockney rhyming slang for tea. You choose.

8. LUDDITE. (DUD TILE) The followers of Ned Ludd. Hmm, wonder if there’s a Luddite Facebook group yet?

14. ESTABLISH. One of those (unsatisfying, to me) double meaning clues which relies on two definitions actually leading to the same meaning of the word required as an answer. If you see what I mean.

16. THEORETIC. HERETIC TO*. The anagrind must be ‘waver’, and here I don’t think it works – to affect the fodder, it would need to be ‘wavering’.

18. EARMARK. Two meanings, I think referring to a clip you might see on a farm animals ear, which would leave a mark.

20. CHE ROOT. (hom. route). Symetrically opposite the other tobacco clue – was that deliberate?.




8 Responses to “Guardian 24,372, Quantum: Quality Control”

  1. Andrew says:

    I totally agree with you about the unsatisfactory double defs (6dn was another of these) and the not-very-cryptic cryptic defs. Could do better!

    I think 2dn is supposed to be an &lit.

    18dn – I thought this referred to clips around the ear as supposedly inflicted by old-style bobbies on the beat etc, but your version maybe makes more sense.

    BTW a couple of typos in the blog – “QuantAm” in the title, and for 9ac “..this _short_ of word..”

  2. Eileen says:

    I’m glad it’s not just me, too!

    I was with Andrew in thoughts about clips around the ear but agree that your blog makes more sense.

    17dn is presumably ODD-JOBMAN? Is the reference to home improvements?

    I quite liked 13ac, too – and 12ac.

  3. michod says:

    Thanks for the corrections Andrew, now taken in. 17 down I assume to be a reference to home improvements as you say, Eileen, though the definition’s not great.

  4. Paul B says:

    Thanks for this excellent blog Michod, with which I concur almost entirely.

    16dn ‘heretic to waver’ might be okay, depending on your view. I expect Quantam (sic) would say that the anagram fodder (regarded almost blindly by most compilers as a single unit of SI) warrants plural usage as, even in the wacky world of the arbitrarily constructed surface, it is actually two distinct SI parcels (‘heretic’ and ‘to’). By the same or similar token the fodder might also be regarded as a string of letters, thus mitigating plural usage.

    Confusingly, the technical reason why plural usage is okay for single-word anagrams can also be used to justify singular usage: you just choose to interpret as one lump (a string) or more than one (lots of letters).

  5. Dave Ellison says:

    2d ANCHORITE I see AN = IF, as in Shakespeare (possibly), followed by CHORE (hard act?), with IT in there; but can’t see where IT comes from. Or maybe I am just straining too much.

  6. Andrew says:

    As Michod says, it’s an anagram of I (l)ONER + H. ACT, and then it’s “&lit” – i.e. the whole clue is a (rather strained) definition.

  7. Gary says:

    what on earth is ‘odd common’?

    a ‘casual type’?


  8. Gary says:

    oops sorry

    I didn’t operate the ‘check’ function at the Guardian website correctly

    Mind you ‘odd jobman’ is almost as dire an answer


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