Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 565 by Nutmeg

Posted by PeterO on September 13th, 2010

PeterO.

Mostly straightforward, with a few less usual definitions, and a couple of more elaborate wordplays

Across

1 BEEF UP Reversal (‘setback’) of FEE (“what’s earned’) in PUB (‘bar’).
5 AUBRETIA Charade of AUBRE[y] (‘Mr. Beardsley, almost’) + reversal (‘rejected’) of AIT (“key’, island). Definition, this garden plant.
9 DEMOCRAT Charade of DEMO (‘show’) before (‘after’, if you see what I mean) + envelope (‘into’) of R (‘runs’, as in cricket scores; very common) in CAT (‘jazz lover’).
10 AERATE Reversal (‘in recession’) of ET (‘alien’; the film crops up rather frequently) + AREA (‘region’).
11 SIZE S[e]IZE (‘confiscate’) with E removed (‘non-European’). Definition: a weak glue or gooey stuff.
12 LIQUIDISER Charade of LI QUID (‘£51′; LI is 51 in Roman numerals) + IS (is ‘is’) + ER ( Elizabeth Regina, ‘queen’; very common, in crosswords, that is).
13 EGG BOX Slightly cryptic definition.
14 EXTORTED Anagram (‘broadcast’) of DEXTER TO. Note the misdirection in the definition – ‘pressed’ does not have the expected sense of strapped.
16 GROUNDED Charade of GROUND (‘worn down’) + ED (editor, the ever-present ‘pressman’).
19 KNOTTY Charade of KNOT (‘shorebird‘) + T[erritor]Y (‘borders of territory’). With only two intersecting letters, more difficult to get than 13.
20 IMPEDIMENT Envelope (‘pinched’) of DIME (’10-cent’) in IM PENT (‘I’m locked up”). Definition: ‘bar’.
22 JINX Charade of J (‘Jack’ e.g. in a bridge hand) + IN (‘admitted’) + X (‘last in boX’). The definition conforms to the surface of the clue better than to the dictionary.
23 SORREL Hidden (‘partly responsible for’) in ‘friendS OR RELations’. Plain sorrel is a flowering plant, even if not grown for its blooms.
24 WORSHIPS T (‘time’) removed from (‘short of’) WORS[t] HIPS  ‘what the fattest weight-watcher has’.
25 LETHARGY Envelope (‘about’) of H (‘husband’; an abbreviation found more often in crosswords than elsewhere) in an anagram (‘troubled’) of ‘greatly’.
26 SEDATE Charade of SE (‘case of SauternE’) + DATE (‘time’).

Down

2 EVENING PRIMROSE Anagram (‘unorthodox’) of ‘I’m serene proving’.
3 FROZE Envelope of OZ (‘Australia’) in FRE, an anagram (‘erring’) of ‘ref’. Nice surface.
4 PERPLEXED Charade of reversal (‘turning up’) of PREP (‘homework’) + L (‘left’; very common) + EX (‘former’) + ED (‘editor’).
5 ANTIQUE Charade of ANTI (‘opposing’) QU(eu)E (‘line-up axing EU’).
6 BHAJI Charade of B (‘a spot of Butter’) + HAJI (‘pilgrim’; one spelling of the Mohammedan pilgrim to Mecca). Definition: ‘food’, an Indian appetizer.
7 EARLIER Charade of EARL (‘nobleman’) + IE (‘That’s’ i.e. that is, id est) + R (‘right’). Definition ‘former’.
8 IN THE MELTING-POT Envelope (‘stops’) of M (‘male’) in an anagram (‘playful’) of ‘petting in hotel’.
15 TAKE TURNS Envelope (‘tucking into’) of TURN(‘queasy feeling’) in  TAKES, an anagram (‘minced’) of ‘steak’.
17 UNEARTH Charade of [s]UN (‘star missing Small’; S for small is common) + EARTH (‘planet’).
18 DIE AWAY Charade of DIE[t] (‘diet, skipping end’) + AWAY (‘on holiday’).
21 IDLER Initial letters (‘in the first place’) of ‘I Do Little Except Relax’. The whole clue also reads as the definition, a kind of clue known in the trade as an &lit.
22 JIHAD Alternate letters (‘regulars in’) of ‘JaIl HeArD’

12 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 565 by Nutmeg”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, PeterO. Either you live in a different time zone or you’ve been up very late … but a helpful blog, which I needed in a few cases to understand the wordplay.

    I thought it was a generally sound puzzle with LIQUIDISER and BEEF UP particularly good. But goodness, if this is meant for beginners then there were some tricky ones: ‘haji’ for pilgrim isn’t exactly in everyday use, and I certainly had never come across Aubrey Beardsley before (Peter, yes); ‘key’ to clue ‘ait’ in the same clue is okay if a slight stretch, but I wouldn’t have fancied getting it when I was a newbie.

    I enjoyed it though, but interested to hear what others thought about the difficulty level.

  2. Eileen says:

    Congratulatons on a great début, PeterO.

    It certainly seems to have been a good decision to start blogging the Quiptic [and it caused me to start doing it!]. As Kathryn’s Dad says, newcomers could certainly do with some help with this one, which, once again, was more tricky than the Cryptic, I thought but I enjoyed it a lot.

    There are some nice clues here: I particularly liked the use of quid and dime in the answers.

    [Having noticed several Xs and a couple of Zs, I eventually realised - I don't usually spot these things - that this puzzle is a pangram.]

  3. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks, Peter O – and to Eileen for spotting the pangram. For beginners’ information “pangram noun a sentence or verse containing all the letters of the alphabet, such as The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” (Chambers online)

    This was definitely a tough one. I’d never heard of ‘ait’ for ‘key’, or ‘size’ for ‘glue’, nor the plants or a bird called a knot, which is why I took a long time to see 19ac, having rejected the right answer at the outset.

    There were also some very good clues, especially 24ac, which made me :)

  4. PeterO says:

    K’s D – you are certainly right: in 5A, using an unusual meaning (unless perhaps you are in a Florida state of mind) of key to clue an uncommon word ait, is definitely not an entry-level manoeuvre, particularly when it forms a particle (reversed, yet) in a word which might not be familiar to non-gardeners. I had come across ait from Chiswick Eyot, passed by the Boat Race each year. Since this came to me mainly via radio broadcasts, I was not even thrown by the alternate spelling. Maybe I should have written maneuver above; I live in New York, so the blog was written at a civilised hour on Sunday evening.
    Thank you, Eileen, for pointing out the pangram. It crossed my mind with the third X (in JINX!), but in the heat of the chase I did not follow up on it.

  5. Derek Lazenby says:

    OK, as the regular who is probably closest to still being a beginner, let me put a measure on Eileen’s, comment “more tricky than the Cryptic”. It took me precisely twice as long as today’s Rufus! By any stretch of the imagination that cannot be a qualification for being described as a beginner’s puzzle.

    Specific items seem to have been mainly covered already (in 4 posts? hot stuff kids!). But in addition….

    I suppose “prep” is just about ok, but I’m not sure. There are only two ways you would know it, either a) you are one of the undeserving rich who went to public school where they are into such affectations (everybody else just does “homework”); b) you are old enough to have read the odd book or comic story which features public school kids, the sort of book in fact that modern kids will not only have not read, but have probably never heard of. As beginners are more likely to be younger, they are more likely to have not read the books, and as the majority of the population don’t go to posh schools, then “prep” might just be questionable for a general introduction puzzle. I’m old enough to have read the books.

    As for the fairness of “Beardsley”, you might think it is one of the less common surnames, but Wikipaedia lists 28 people with that name as being in some way famous. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beardsley_(surname) Strangely, almost all the English entries are footballers. So add that to the “never heard it before” “ait” and you have a seriously non-beginner clue.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Fossilised fish hooks, Derek! You’ll be telling us you’ve read Jennings and Derbyshire next.

  7. walruss says:

    I agree with Eileen and Derek, that this is far too hard for a beginner.

  8. Derek Lazenby says:

    Regretably so. But they were quite fun when one was young enough to simply read them without worrying about surrounding issues. And if one of our setters references the author I’d be stuck because I can’t remember that far back. Oh, damn, curiosity is going to make me Google it now!

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and nutmeg

    Like others I thought this was pretty hard. Doing it on screen does not help.

    The NE corner was teasing. It took me ages to rethink 7d and get ‘ex’ out of my mind. An excellent clue. Another problem here was that ‘aerate’ did not seem a very good fit and I removed it at one stage but eventually felt it must be the answer.

    I found ‘knotty’ itself troublesome and it was the last to go in. I kept looking for vowels and/or ‘r’ after ‘k’. Eventually I started to look up a non-existent word, saw ‘knot’ on the way and remembered it is a bird. Should have known better!

  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Hi tupu.

    Don’t forget there’s an option to print off the Quiptic if you prefer to do it on paper.

  11. tupu says:

    Hi K’s D

    Thanks. I know. It was late and I just thought I’d have a quick go before going to bed. I imagine the penny would have dropped for itself if I’d taken longer – but it’s strange that in spite of long experience one can forget to look automatically for ‘n’ after ‘k’ and sometimes ‘q’ before ‘u’!

  12. sidey says:

    Late on parade, but triple unchecked letters in two clues with only two of six checked. Poor construction and completely unfair in any crossword let alone one aimed at beginners. Poor.

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