Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic

Posted by Admin on August 16th, 2010


Update: Due to the feedback received, and some volunteers willing to blog, we will start covering the Quiptic within the next couple of weeks next Monday (23rd Aug.). Initially the blog style will be similar to the other posts on this site but Anax’s suggestion at comment #24 will be considered further once the new team members have settled in.

Original post:

It has been suggested that we should provide a blog for the Guardian Quiptic each week (see Stella’s comment). I have no objections to this if there is some interest in this puzzle and if one or more people volunteer to write the posts.

Please indicate in a comment if you would find a blog useful. If you are interested in blogging this puzzle please contact me: admin {at} fifteensquared {dot} net

32 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic”

  1. Barbara says:

    I would certainly appreciate a blog for the Quiptic. I think it is usually quite challenging and always interesting.

  2. koran says:

    I agree with Barbara. The Quiptic is usually easier than the regular crosswords but often has some nice clues and it is far from simplistic (for my brain anyway!)

  3. Lopakhin says:

    Agreed; sometimes I find it more cryptic than qui…

  4. walruss says:

    Some kind of ‘training ground’, is it not? For the would be Guardian solver, I mean!

  5. Stella Heath says:

    Yes, that’s it. It’s published online on Mondays, and can be quite as challenging as, say Rufus.

  6. tellmee says:

    Yes please. Always download the Quiptic because the Monday Cryptic is (usually) the easiest of the week. DearRufus gets us off to a gentle start but, as with all gnetle affairs, it’s over too soon! Quiptic compensates.

  7. Derek Lazenby says:

    Well, having once volunteered to do that it certainly gets my vote. Sadly health issues have arisen, but I guess doing the occasional one might be possible.

    At the level of we regular Quipticers there is always something that needs explaining. And even if we don’t always need explanations, we musn’t forget those just starting and still stuggling.

    And it isn’t always that easy. Last week’s attracted several comments saying it was harder than a normal daily. That of course is not the intention, so it is worth recording that assesment.

    15² is a better place for comments than the crossword as there is the danger of accidentally spoiling things by revealing too much in direct comments. Whereas, if you come here you have already (usually) decided to look for answers.

    As I’ve said before, I think it is bad planning to solve it on a Monday. We usually have Rufus or similar anyway, whereas the Saturday Prize can be far too obscure for those of us the Quiptic is aimed at. So leaving it till Saturday is good insurance of having a do-able puzzle on that day.

  8. Derek Lazenby says:

    Oh yes, and it might encourage a wider range of readers of these blogs to put their head above the parapet and actually contribute a post or two. They may come to enjoy it!

  9. tellmee says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with Derek.

    Incidentally, I thought last Saturday’s prize (Paul) was an excellent puzzle, but I object to clues having no definition – unless this is sign-posted in the special instructions or they are “of a kind.” There were too many of these from Paul last weekend.
    Anybody else got any thoughts on the matter?

  10. Gaufrid says:

    Hi tellmee
    We do not discuss prize puzzles until after the closing date for submissions so please save your question until the relevant blog appears on Saturday.

  11. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Even if some people ask for it, I am not sure whether the Quiptic should be blogged.

    Just like the similar Observer’s Everyman, the Quiptic is a weekly puzzle, but unlike Everyman the Quiptic solutions are available whenever you want [using the cheat button – preferably in a sensible way].

    The level of the Quiptic clues is usually so “basic” [sorry Arachne, Hectence, Pan et al – but I do like your crosswords!] that these clues are more or less self-explanatory.

    I think, fifteensquared should only blog crosswords that need the right feedback at the right time, of which for me the Guardian’s Quiptic is not a good example.
    [but it is, most of the time, a good crossword]

  12. Derek Lazenby says:

    Sil, now read my post #7 and think about it again. I am seriously disappointed by your comments.

    Two points are worth repeating.

    1. Quiptics are not uniformly easy.

    2. The solutions may be obvious to you, but do you really have to express such disdain for the needs of non-experts who need all the help that they can get? Nobody is going to force expert solvers to read a single post if they are so sniffy about non-experts that they don’t wish to demean themselves.

    It’s hard to know for sure, but given the regular appearance of new first time posters, many of whom have said, “gosh I finally finished a cryptic” then I think it’s probable that we have many more readers than we get to know about. And from the comments we have seen, then many of our unseen readers would, to use your words, find a Quiptic blog the right feedback at the right time. It is these people that Quiptics are targeted at, so why should anyone want to deny them help?

  13. MikeS says:

    In my experience the quiptic is often a bit harder than a typical Monday Rufus (which is always a joy to solve) and sometimes harder than most weekday puzzles (eg Nutmeg’s recent effort). So why not have a blog if there is enough interest?

  14. tellmee says:


    Thanks for that I will take it on board. Will the puzzle in question be up for comment when the time comes automatically, or do I have to start a new thread in some way. I’m a very new boy on this block but a very old boy viz-a-viz Anno Domini!

  15. Gaufrid says:

    The blog of the Paul puzzle is scheduled to appear at 5am on Saturday and you will be able to add a comment anytime after then.

  16. tellmee says:


    Thanks a lot.

  17. Kathryn's Dad says:

    This thread has prompted me to look at the Quiptic – I never really knew what it was before but I now see it’s a kind of on-line Guardian Lite. I’ve tried a few, and would judge from a comparatively small sample that they’re broadly equivalent to an easier daily cryptic – but by no means a walkover.

    So yes, why not a blog if there are volunteers to produce it? I think Derek’s comments above are very pertinent – beginners (and we were all beginners once) will enjoy the puzzle and will no doubt enjoy the blog for the explanations and discussions that ensue. And if that encourages more solvers to contribute here, then what’s not to like?

  18. Eileen says:

    Like Kathryn’s Dad, I hadn’t looked at the Quiptic before [I buy the paper and it isn’t in there!] but I did yesterday, after the discussion, and agree with him. I find Sil’s comment, “Even if some people ask for it, I am not sure whether the Quiptic should be blogged.” extraordinary – is this how democracy works? [rhetorical question!]

    It seems that there are a number of people who would welcome a blog but no one [apart from a tentative Derek] offering to do it, unless they have replied direct to Gaufrid. I wouldn’t mind doing it from time to time, if necessary, but this could also be a “training ground” for would-be bloggers, too, which would be good.

  19. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Ah well, I should have chosen my words more carefully.
    To be very clear, it wasn’t my intention to express ‘disdain’ for non-experts.
    Maybe, one thinks otherwise, but I’m a pretty average solver myself [certainly as far as speed is concerned].

    So, if enough people want the Quiptic to be blogged, then why not?

    That said, I still think that there is a difference with other crosswords at this site. Normally a blog appears on the day that the solutions become available.
    For dailies this means shortly after publication, for prize puzzles after a week or so [in which we don’t have the ‘official’ solutions available yet].
    The Quiptic, though, appears on a Monday complete with its solutions. Given the fact that the cryptic techniques are usually very basic (which doesn’t mean that I don’t like the Quiptic or find it super-easy), I am rather convinced that most solvers are capable of retracing the construction themselves once they see the solution. But maybe I am wrong.
    Subsequently one has to wait another week for the blog, which feels a bit like joining the party when the party’s already over.
    [that’s different from, say, the Everyman: when you get stuck during the week, you remain stuck]
    That was my main point, and the source of my doubts.

    But again, if there’s a need for a Quiptic blog – let’s start one.

  20. Gaufrid says:

    “Subsequently one has to wait another week for the blog, …..”

    I don’t see how you have reached this assumption. As the solution will have already been published, the intention will be to post a blog on the same day that the puzzle first appears on-line, just as we do for the daily, non-prize, cryptics.

  21. Derek Lazenby says:

    Nya hah, yes I see. Fair point Sil. That is another reason for treating them as I do, your emergency get out for entertainment on getting stuck on a Saturday!

    There have been occasions when I couldn’t see the justification of a solution even having seen the solution, just as with a normal cryptic. Presumably the crossword’s taget audience will have found that more frequently.

    Whilst I’m typing though, it does occur to me that perhaps the motive for only publishing once on Mondays is to encourage beginners to keep comimg back to it when they get stuck rather than hitting the Cheat button, in much the same way that one can keep returning to an unsolved Prize. There is of course no way to enforce this behaviour, but hopefully those who want to learn will realise it is better for them to work like that.

    Anyway, just to show willing publically, I have put my name forward for the job for when the Big C is not keeping me away. Hopefully that should mean more presence than absence, but one never knows.

  22. Stella Heath says:

    Hi, Eileen and Derek.

    As it says at the beginning that to offer oneself as a blogger we should do so by e-mail, I did this straight away.

    This morning I learned that I am the only person who has officially presented themself, so if either of you would like to help, I should appreciate it. As you may know by now, I too have health issues (ME) which shouldn’t normally be any limitation for this kind of task, but you never know…

  23. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Re #20.

    When the blog will be published on the same Monday the Quiptic appears, it will be a different story, indeed.
    It is then up to the solver to look at the blog whenever he/she wants. We’ll get a blog that is kind of valid for a week.

    BTW, I volunteered for blogging – but if it should be done on the day itself, I fear I have to withdraw [my job making it impossible].

  24. anax says:

    Gaufrid, just out of interest…

    Given that many regard the Quiptic as a training ground before moving to tougher puzzles, I wondered if this blog format allows you to emulate what’s done on Big Dave’s Telegraph blog; that is, the answers (in brackets) are formatted in white text and thus only visible if you click/drag over them. The blogger can thus give additional hints to the clue make-up and the struggling solver can use these as assistance, only choosing to reveal the answers as a last resort?

  25. walruss says:

    I don’t know why you need a ‘Quiptic’ to learn on, if the Monday puzzles generally are not too hard. Rufus certainly should be at about the same level of difficulty! Several of the others too. How did otheres here learn? Just get as many as you can, and work backwards from solutions to the ones you don’t get, I bet!!

  26. Stella Heath says:

    You don’t need a Quiptic, but they’re fun and not too taxing. They’re not just for newbies , but also for people who want a ‘quick fix’, for example.

    If you don’t want to bother, or think they’re too easy, that’s your choice, but those of us who do them and enjoy them might sometimes want an explanation, or just to make a comment, and the blog might help some people to get into this fascinating world.

    Fifteensquared has certainly helped me to improve my solving skills, and I’m sure people who are just starting, and are therefore unfamiliar with certain tricks and conventions, would appreciate the explanations. No doubt they can work them out for themselves, but a little push in the right direction can’t do any harm, and may even help.

  27. Derek Lazenby says:

    Why it would be useful to have a blog…..

    I gave up my Saturday pleasure and just did this week’s Quiptic as a bit of research for the benefit of you lot in this thread. I was investigating…

    a) could I blog it
    b) were there any I didn’t get, despite the alledged easiness.

    Well, first of all I finished it, unlike last week. That’s a good start for both a and b. But, despite that, there were still queries.

    So a) was strictly speaking no, but then other bloggers have put “I don’t get it” comments in their blogs, so I think I was near enough.

    And b) is a no, I solved them all, unlike last week

    Specifically for a)…

    9ac, I have London = capital and (against)*, but where does the AX come from? I tried and ; no joy on either

    6dn, tones = attitudes ? really?

    There was another, but I just spotted it!

    There you go. A regular solver, at the bottom end of the regular solvers pile needs answers. According to the FAQs there are a few thousand daily visitors here, presumably many of whom are not posting because they think that even the likes of me are too good at this game! Yeah, frightening thought, but probably true. You have to guess they would want more than just those two explained. So the sooner we start this the better!

  28. Derek Lazenby says:

    Oops, just counted my As again, belay comment on 9ac, once you stop having senior moments, you only need the x, which is ok.

  29. Stella Heath says:

    Hi Derek

    I took the ‘x’ as coming from ‘extra’. as in XL, XS, etc.

    Regarding 6d, I think if you say to someone ‘I don’t like your tone’ you’re actually objecting to the attitude they are expressing, rather than the pitch of their voice :)

  30. Dynamic says:

    I’ve noticed one or two people here and on recent Guardian Cryptic comments bemoaning the fact that Quiptic is only weekly. That needn’t hold you back, and you can even do ten-a-day quite easily…

    For anyone wanting a quick fix, struggling with a tough Guardian daily crossword, or for newbies wanting to learn the ropes of cryptic solving, don’t forget that the Guardian has an archive of hundreds of previous Quiptic crosswords available for free, and I know of three really easy ways of finding them, which might help some of you (because they weren’t all obvious to me at first):

    1. Use Next and Previous links.
    On the Standard (interactive) version of any Quiptic, scroll to the very bottom of the page (where you usually wouldn’t look!) to find links to Latest, Next and Previous (when they exist). For example, you could start with Number 1:
    then use Next to find Number 2.

    The beauty of the Quiptic is that they look very solvable without any need for a memory of 1999’s then-current affairs or any obscure knowledge or vocabulary, so I think they’re a great way to learn to solve. And the Check and Cheat buttons all work, even that far back in history, so you can see the answers if you get stuck and try to work out why they’re correct, and you’ll soon build up a basic feel for clue types, common abbreviations and tricks used in down clues only, for example, and probably get faster at solving and better at solving from the cryptic wordplay, which gets important when obscure words appear. I’m not a fast or particularly instinctive solver, so I might do this myself. (It could also be somewhat useful to Newbies to blog the Quiptics 1 to 10 or so, I guess (with links to the crosswords themselve on the Guardian website), so they can get to learn the cluing types and reinforce their learning experience.

    2. Use Search on the Guardian crosswords homepage and use their search to find Quiptics by setter, by date/month or by serial number.

    3. Edit the address line (URL) in your web browser.
    This is so easy in Firefox (just start to type quiptic and it’ll show some recent Quiptics you’ve visited) and many other popular web browsers are similar.

    If you have the address of any Quiptic, you can edit the serial number in the address to find the previous Quiptic or any random number.
    For example the current Quiptic, No 561 is at
    Edit that to 560 and works just fine.
    Randomly pick No 143, and also works.
    If you want the Print version directly, add /print, thus:
    If you want the Blind/Partially Sighted version add /blind to the end, thus:

    When editing the address, most browsers show you pages you’ve visited in your browsing history that are close to what you’re typing in, narrowing down the list as you type more or as you scroll to a specific one, so as you delete 561 and leave 56, it’ll show you you’ve been to 560 and 561 before, if you have done so (but won’t show 559 until you change to 55). That should save fruitless searching to find one you haven’t solved already.

    Hope this helps someone.

  31. Stella says:

    Interesting post, Dynamic

  32. Stella Heath says:

    For those of you with doubts about the level of difficulty of the Quiptics, I suggest you visit Pan’s offering today.

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