Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 564 / Rover

Posted by Pierre on September 6th, 2010


The third Monday of Fifteensquared’s coverage of the Quiptic, with two super blogs already from Gaufrid and Stella. No pressure, then …   Before his death earlier this year, Rover was a regular setter of the Guardian cryptic, so whether this is one of his ‘easier’ puzzles or whether it was set specifically for the Quiptic, I’m not sure.


1 WINDOWS ‘Lights’ is a definition of ‘windows’, which could be French.

5 UNHITCH A charade of UN (‘a’ in French) and HITCH (couple).

10 EVIL Hidden in dEVILry.

11 ARISTOCRAT An anagram (using) AI TRACTORS. A common ploy by setters to use A1 to stand for AI.

12 EDGING A double definition, I guess, since ‘finish’ could also be defined as ‘edging’. Unless someone has a better idea.

13 ELEMENTS Some help with this, please. ‘Ingredients’ is the definition, but since brass contains only two (copper and zinc) where does that leave us? My other thought was to take three of the letters of ‘these’, but that doesn’t seem to work either.  Pommers has an explanation for this at no1.  And Pandean has it fully parsed at no 7.  Thanks to both.

14 ORNAMENTS An anagram (off) of NORMA SENT.

16 PSALM I struggled with this. SAL is a woman, but the Eden reference? Eve, where art thou?  Of course, the clue’s referring to Sir Anthony Eden, a previous Prime Minister (PM).  So it’s SAL inside PM.  Good clue.

17 STAGE A charade of STAG (a male partygoer) and E (last letter in champagne).

19 BAPTISTRY ‘In a Baptist chapel, a receptacle containing water for baptism by immersion.’ (SOED). So a kind of cryptic definition. Hmmm …

23 INTEREST An anagram (queer) of STREET after IN. I liked this one for its clever surface reading.

24 MID-OFF A fielding position in cricket.  Flintoff initially is F, and I’m guessing that the way the clue works is that F is in the middle of OFF.  If so, I don’t like it.  The player is ex-England all-rounder Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff, best known for terrorising the Aussies in the 2005 Ashes series and navigating a pedalo when completely trolleyed.

26 AUCTIONEER A cryptic definition, with a play on words with ‘lots’.

27 ZEAL Hidden in freeZE ALways.

28 MEASURE A charade of ME (I as an object pronoun) A and SURE (certain). The sixteenth definition in the SOED has ‘(A step of) a dance.’

29 ASININE A clever charade of AS (like) I (one) and NINE (over the eight).


2 INVADER Unless I’m being completely thick, the kindest thing I can say about this is that it’s quick and not cryptic.  I suppose there are just about two definitions, but I don’t like it much as a clue if there are.

3 DELHI An anagram (cavorted) of IDLE and H. H for Henry is very common in crosswordland, coming from the term in physics for a unit of inductance.

4 WRANGLE A cowboy (WRANGLER) with the R taken off (unfinished).

6 NUTTER To butt someone is to ‘nut’ them, I suppose, in a slang definition.

7 INCREASES A cryptic definition with another cricket reference: batsmen stand ‘in creases’. Where would setters be without our national summer game? The Aussies in the Ashes this winter? Bring them on …

8 COASTAL A charade of COAST (sail) A and L for lake.

9 SILENT PARTNER Cryptic definition. Not the greatest one I’ve ever seen.

15 AIGRETTES An anagram (can also make) of GREAT TIES. ‘An egret’s plume; a tuft of feathers or hair; a spray of gems etc worn on the head.’

18 TONSURE Cryptic definition, since the shaving of the head can happen before a man enters religious orders.

20 TIMBRES An anagram (processed) of TIMBERS. If you’re called Pierre, you’ll know that the answer is French for postage stamps. If you’re not, then you’ll need to have dredged up some schoolboy/schoolgirl French.

21 REFRAIN The only way I can make this work is with a charade of REF (judge) and RAIN (drops), but that doesn’t explain what ‘advice’ is doing in there.

22 VELOUR An anagram (available from) EURO and LV (55 in Roman numerals).

25 DOZEN A charade of DOZE (sleep) and N (number).

18 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 564 / Rover”

  1. Pommers says:

    The only explanation I can think of for 13a is that the word brass contains 3 elements – B(boron), Ra(radium) and S(sulphur). Clever bit of misdirection I think.
    First Quiptic I’ve tried but I’ll be back next week.
    Thanks for the blog Perre (although it wasn’t needed today).

  2. Stella says:

    I don’t envy you this one, Pierre!

    As you imply, some of the clues seem a little dodgy, and 15d is a bit tough for a Quiptic IMHO. A charades might have produced the answer, but a straight anagram – who’s ever heard of aigrettes?

    24ac is also doubtful, and I think not really adequate for this type of puzzle, though it was gettable once you had the ‘m’ from 20d.

    I can’t see 13ac, either.

    Still, there are some excellent clues, and your explanations are clear and informative. Well done.

  3. Pierre says:

    Thanks Pommers at no 1, that would make sense and also make it a clever clue. I’ll amend the blog (but like Captain Oates, I may be some time …)

  4. Eileen says:

    Three super Quiptic blogs in a row now – congratulations, Pierre!

    I’m new to Quiptics but this seems pretty much on a par with Rover’s cryptic puzzles – I’ll say ‘mixed bag’ for the umpteenth time.

    16 and 23 ac are good but there are some weak clues, too: 5ac and 2 and 20dn, for instance.

    Pommers’ suggestion for 13ac is ingenious but it doesn’t work for me, I’m afraid.

  5. Stella says:

    Hi Pommers,

    Yes, at least that sounds plausible. It makes for a much better clue.

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks Pierre

    I did this on line which can be awkward I find. It took me a long time at the end to be happy with 6d but OED gives ‘nut’ as slang for to headbutt.

    Thanks for reading re 13a. An odd clue – the answer was obvious but the rationale went past me.

    As Eileen kindly says, a mixed bag. I liked 19 and 23.

    I think 24a, once explained, is reasonable. ‘F’ in the middle of ‘off’. Once again only possible answer.

  7. Pandean says:

    For the three elements contributing to Brass at 13a, how about Br(Bromine), As(Arsenic) and S(Sulphur)? That covers all the letters without needing two doses of sulphur.

  8. Pierre says:

    Thanks, Pandean, that’s nailed it I think. Gives me another chance to practise editing the blog too!

  9. Eileen says:

    Hi Pendean

    That’s better! – it was the extra S that was bothering me.

  10. Stella says:

    Hi Pandean,

    yes, that works better :)

  11. walruss says:

    Yes, but it wouldn’t be your first choice for a Quiptic, i.e. learner’s clue! Or would it….

  12. Stella says:

    True, Walruss,

    AS I said above, a couple of these clues seem a bit OTT for beginners.

  13. Pierre says:

    I think walruss makes a good point. I needed explanation to understand it, and while I’m not a beginner, let’s just say I won’t be putting my name forward any time soon to blog a daily cryptic. But it’s perfectly fairly clued if a touch on the difficult side; when I was a newbie, I would much rather have tackled a clue like this than some of the other indifferent or clunky ones that appeared today.

    But since this blog is intended to help newer solvers, perhaps we’ll have a comment about this clue or some of the others from a first-time contributor later on today.

  14. Pommers says:

    Hi Pandean
    You got it!
    Was on the right lines but as a chemist I should have nailed it straight off! I too wasn’t happy about the second S but couldn’t see wood for trees. Don’t know about whether this is hard for a Quiptic as it’s my first but I think it’s quite a clever clue.
    See you all again next week.

  15. Paul B says:

    In theory the Quiptic, as a learning tool for inexperienced solvers, ought to be set by someone who knows his or her onions.

    Of course, in no way do I mean to suggest that Rover (GRHS) was not among those who with consummate ease distinguish between their Cepas and their Fistulosums, but, in such an educational device, one would hope to see each clue-type thoroughly investigated for the benefit of the uninitiated.

    Y’know, something really easy, but good.

  16. odon says:

    I struggled with this. 13a was way over my head, while the solutions to other clues seemed too obvious.
    I agree with Paul B – the unevenness of this puzzle was more bewildering than helpful. Would much prefer something “really easy, but good” :)

  17. Pierre says:

    Thanks for your thoughts on this one, odon. I know what you (and Paul B) mean – a bit of a mixed bag today, but come back next Monday and let us know what you think of number 565. Having solved a few past Quiptics in preparation for today, my sense is that they’re on the whole pretty consistent, so you’ll hopefully get something next week that’s ‘easy but good’.

  18. Derek Lazenby says:

    The harder clues, but there were only a few, were definitely OTT for a Quiptic. But some of the easier ones shouldn’t be criticised for being easy. That is surely the point of this crossword?

    Also, despite what some think, there is no law about having non-cryptic clues in cryptics in general, as I’ve said several times before. But in this case, the definition of the puzzle requires that there should be some. Indeed most Quiptics fail by not being as advertised wrt plain clues. So 2dn is totally acceptable here.

    Just to make sure everyone understands, this, remember, is the definition of them…

    “A web-only crossword, part-cryptic and part-quick.” (my emphasis)

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