Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 569, by Arachne

Posted by PeterO on October 11th, 2010


I found the bottom half of this puzzle went smoothly, but the top half was more challenging. Most of the clues are of exemplary Ximenean form, with clear dictionary definitions; the relatively few cases where compromises have been made for a smoother surface are thus all the more noticeable.


9 ACORN Charade of A (straight from the clue) + CORN (‘grain’); an acorn is a fruit, biologically speaking, even if you might not want to eat it (unless you are a pig).
10 EGOMANIAC Charade of EG ( exempli gratia, for example, ‘perhaps’) + OMANI (‘Arab’s’ – as an adjective: of or relating to the Sultanate of Oman or its inhabitants) + A + C (‘cold’).
11 HAPPENING Charade HAPPEN (‘perhaps’ – this time in the dialect sense “Happen we will meet again” – from which ‘perhaps’ derives) + IN (‘fashionable’; very common in crosswords) + G (‘German’).
12 LOLLY Double definition. ‘sweet’ (popsicle for our American friends) and ‘bread’ (money, dough, likewise).
13 DESPAIR Charade of DES (‘of the’, plural, in French) + PAIR (‘couple’).
15 AGENDAS Envelope (‘secretly’) of NDA (anagram of  ‘and’, indicated by ‘changes’) in AGES (‘gets old’). The use of the innocuous ‘and’ as anagram fodder, and its separation from the anagram indicator, make this a somewhat devious clue.
17 TARTS Hidden answer (‘traditionalisT ART School’}, with ‘painted’ serving the surface better than indicating the hidden part.
18 END THe even letters (‘oddly ignored’) of ‘kEnNeDy’, with the apostrophe s being the link ‘is’.
20 RIFTS Anagram (‘cuckoo’) of ‘first’, with ’causes’ serving as link to the definition.
22 SAMURAI Charade of SAM (‘uncle’; the s here is for the surface) + U (‘upper-class’) + R (‘Romeo’, in a phonetic alphabet) + AI (for A-1, ‘top class’).
25 MARITAL Envelope (‘about’) of IT (‘sex’) in an anagram (‘nonconformist’) of ALARM. Definition: ‘in marriage’. Nice surface.
26 NADAL Reversal of LAD (‘boy’) + AN. The tennis great Rafa.
27 OWNERSHIP Anagram (‘unusual’) of RHINE POW’S. This time the s is part of the anagram fodder.
30 DAMNATION Charade of DAM (‘mother’) + NATION (‘country’). Articles in clues are often omitted unless, as the ‘a’  in 9A etc., they serve some purpose in the wordplay; here, however, the  ‘the’ just serves to smooth the surface of the clue.
31 MANIC Charade of MAN (‘chap’) + IC (‘in charge’; Chambers renders the abbreviation as i/c). See also 22A above.


1 DASH Double definition: ‘little’ (a dash of soda) and ‘fly’ (I must dash).
2 COMPOSER Charage of COM (‘common’; not a particularly common abbreviation) + POSER (‘problem’). Wolfgang or daddy Leopold, among others. The ‘say’ is there to indicate that we have an example rather than a definition of the answer.
3 ANTE Charade of ANT (‘worker’) + E (east, quarter). Altogether a well-worn clue.
4 PEDIGREE Charade of PEDI, an anagram (“bats’) of ‘pied’ + GREE (‘short green’ i.e green cut short). Definition: ‘tree’ as in family.
5 LOGGIA Charade of LOG (‘record’) + GIA. I am open to all suggestions as to how to get GIA from ‘a partner leaving Gina’. The obvious way is to leave out the n, but I don’t know the connection between n and partner. Anyway a loggia is an open covered arcade or galery. Thanks to TokyoColin  for pointing out that  N is a partner ( of S) at bridge.
6 PALLBEARER A cryptic definition; a pall is a rich cloth, such as may be draped over a coffin, and a pallbearer’s task was originally to hold the edges of this cloth. Pall is also used metaphorically as something which covers or obscures, such as smoke, darkness or a cloud. I had to add the ‘cloud’; within the time constraints of this blog, I could not locate a dictionary definition (as opposed to examples) to back up what I thought of as a common usage.
7 TITLED Charade of TIT (‘fool’) + LED (‘went first’). Definition ‘noble’, adjective, having a title.
8 ICKY I did not know Miss Pollard, so a trip to Wikipedia was in order to find her first name Vicky. Going topless, it is vICKY. There is scope here for a slightly obscore pun, since a pollard is a polled tree – that is, one with its crown cut off.
13 DATES Double definition: ‘fruit’ (plural) and ‘gets old’ (singular). The mismatch seems to me a perfectly acceptable bit of misdirection, since ‘fruit’ can also be a singular.
14 AUSTRALIAN Anagram (‘wild’) of ‘saturnalia’. The Saturnalia were a midwinter Roman festival (to mismatch again), which segued into Christmas. It has come to take on the meaning of a wild party or orgy. The Sarurnalia, that is.
16 SISAL Envelope (‘eaten by’) of IS in SAL (‘girl’). Another word, ‘is’ this time, vital to the wordplay but flying under the radar. Sisal is the fibre of a Mexican agave plant, used for making a strong coarse string or rope.
19 DOMINANT ’30′ here refers to the answer, DAMNATION, of clue 30A. Remove letter A (‘ejecting a’), and take an anagram (‘drunk’).
21 FETCHING Double definition: ‘going to get something’ and ‘sweet’. The ‘something’ is something of an orphan in the cryptic reading of the clue, but certainly does not belong with ‘sweet’.
23 MADAME Charade of a MADA, the reversal (‘upset’) of ADAM (‘first man’) + (‘then’) ME (‘Arachne’).
24 IRONIC Charade of IRON (‘tough’) + IC (alternate letters – ‘regularly’ – of vInCe).
26 NODE Charade of NOD (‘agree’) + E (‘Ed’s head’).
28 RUMP Hidden answer (‘part of’) tRUMPet.
29 PICT Homophone (‘reportedly’) of picked (‘chose’). The Picts were ancient inhabitants of what is now north east Scotland. Wikipedia paints them as Celts; Chambers (among others) is not so sure, but adds one of their jokes to a second definition:
(in Scottish folklore) one of a dwarfish race of underground dwellers, to whom (with the Romans, the Druids, and Cromwell) ancient monuments are generally attributed.

7 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 569, by Arachne”

  1. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks PeterO for the detailed analysis. I don’t usually do the Quiptic since I assumed it was for beginners, but I found this significantly tougher than yesterday’s Everyman and today’s Rufus. Some very simple clues but a few with well-hidden answers and misleading surfaces. I enjoyed cracking 10ac, 20ac and 1dn, 4dn.

    For 5dn I think N(orth) is S(outh)’s partner in bridge. And there seems to be a typo after LOG in the blog.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Peter, for a helpful and detailed blog.

    I had one or two little niggles (‘com’ for common? Somebody will be telling us it’s in a dictionary somewhere. Miss Pollard?) Otherwise I thought the puzzle was sound and enjoyable, but as Colin says there were some tough parts to it, particularly in the NE corner. There’s a lot going on in AGENDAS and EGOMANIAC for a beginner to get their head round, and similarly I couldn’t see the bridge reference in LOGGIA for ages.

    But there was lots to enjoy: I particularly liked TITLED, DAMNATION and HAPPENING.

    Happen I’ll go now to see what Rufus has provided for us today.

  3. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks for the blog, Peter. I needed it for one or two explanations.

    This was a little tougher than I expected, having popped in, in theory, for a quicky before getting on with my day, which I shall now have to do, ’cause it’s getting late :)

  4. PeterO says:

    Tokyo Colin
    The typo is now corrected. I’m not sure how it crept in, but my proofreading must have been getting lax by that stage!
    Thanks for the bridge connection; it really should have occurred to me. However, I still feel a little hard done by: if the S is indicated by Gina’S, the construction has a looseness at very least out of character with the rest of the puzzle; if not, and ‘a partner’ is intended to give n without further assistance, it is the definition that is loose, particularly when the answer is a less than common word. At least there is a good complement of crossing letters to help us out.

  5. Derek Lazenby says:

    Gave up with 4 to go. Now I know I’m a beginner by comparison to many here, but I’m no way a beginner in the more general sense, having recently lost count of how many Araucaria’s I’ve finished. When I was genuinely a beginner I frequently couldn’t even start one of his. So for me to have to say I got stuck is prima facia evidence that this isn’t a Quiptic.

    As well as those “with a lot going on” mentioned above, I’d also question the use of a reference to another clue in one of these puzzles. Some places don’t allow these types of clue, others have them rarely. It seems to be a particular fetish of Guardian setters (why?), so presumably that is why it got past the editor. I don’t recall seeing one in “Ximenese on the Art of Crosswords”, but that was a long time ago so I may have forgotten.

  6. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Júst on time, I guess [it's Sunday evening].
    Thank you, PeterO, for your splendid effort.

    As Tokyo Colin explained N stands for North, which is rather common [com? :)] in crosswords for a (bridge) partner – even without its counterpart.

    Unlike Derek (#5) I don’t question references to other clues.
    There was just one here – and Araucaria does it all the time (well, don’t take this too literally), in fact he’s the Master of the Cross Reference (in my opinion).

    Another thing that one frequently encounters in crosswords is that “apostrophe s”, like in SAMURAI (which was a very nice clue, btw).
    It is not just there for the surface, it either means “is” or “has”.
    So, here: SAM hás U R AI.

    Even if this not the easiest of Quiptics, it is clear to me – being familiar with Arachne’s normal style – that she really tried to set a puzzle at the Quiptic level.

    Thanks Arachne, thanks again PeterO.

    And my Clue of the Week?
    Perhaps, EGOMANIAC (or AGENDAS or the aforementioned SAMURAI)

    Oh, and I learned a new word.
    Never heard of PALLBEARER [perhaps, happily so, given its context].

  7. PeterO says:

    It is interesting that two of your comments involve possibilities that I had overlooked, but that after the fact I can come up with reasons/excuses for overlooking them.
    The use of ‘partner’ for ‘n’ I still feel smacks of one-hand clapping.
    The “‘s for has” is one that comes up every now and then, and I generally feel uncomfortable with it. Certainly there are cases where the usage gives me no trouble (There’s got to be a better way), but “A’s B” for “A has B” sticks in my gullet (and, for that matter, “A has B” strikes me as rather an odd was of saying “AB”). Perhaps it is just a matter of my personal idiom.
    I agree with you on the cross-reference to 30 in 19. I does ratchet up the difficulty level a notch, but the device is sufficiently common, and not only in the Guardian, that I think a relatively straightforward example not out of place here. Even if a beginner has difficulty with it, it is a useful lesson to learn.
    I would go with AGENDAS as my top clue.

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