Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 570 / Pan

Posted by Big Dave on October 18th, 2010

Big Dave.

Another relatively straightforward solve.  I did need the checking letters to get 11 across, an author that I had heard of but was not one that readily came to mind.  Apart from that there were no problems.

All definitions given are from Chambers 11th Edition. Most of the standard abbreviations used in the wordplay are shown with the unused letters in brackets e.g. G(ood).

Across

8 HOT FLUSH – this menopausal symptom is a charade of HOT (violent), F{emale) and a LUSH (drunk)

9 UTERUS – an anagram (mangled) of SUTURE gives the medical name for the womb

10 ASBO – a court order that places restrictions on a person who has been found guilty of antisocial act is hidden inside LindA’S BOyfriend

11 SAUL BELLOW – S(pecial) and ALLOW (sanction) are placed around (restricting) an anagram (broadcast) of BLUE to get this author who won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976

12 CLARET – CLARE (girl) is followed by T(ime) to get this wine from the Bordeaux region

14 ENERGISE – an anagram (collapse) of SEE REIGN gives a word meaning to perk up

15 FRAGILE – FR, the abbreviation for a religious father, is followed by AGILE (lithe) to get a word meaning delicate

17 PLONKER – this fool could be Rodney Trotter! – PLONK (inferior wine) is followed by ER (Elizabeth Regina / Queen)

20 FLAMENCO – F(orce) and LAME (weak) are followed by an anagram (mistreated) of CON to get this spirited, rhythmical dance which originated in Andalusia

22 THEORY – put the chemical symbols for HE(lium) and O(xygen) inside TRY (test) to get a hunch or idea that has not yet been proved

23 CLEFT STICK – this semi all-in-one (&Lit) clue is a cryptic definition of the position a voter might find himself in – C(onservative), LEFT (Labour) and STICK (fail to advance) provide the wordplay – the “?” at the end usually tells you that there is something a bit unusual about the clue

24 FILL – a word that sounds like Phil (abbreviation of Philip / little man) means to satisfy – the homophone is indicated by “said”

25 POLITE – a word meaning sophisticated is built up from POLE (European) around (captivating) IT (Italian / another European)

26 THOROUGH – an anagram (fashion) of HOT is followed by a ROUGH (hooligan) to get a word meaning comprehensive

Down
1 CONSOLER – someone who cheers you up when you are in distress is built by placing COOLER (more relaxed) around (having gained) N S (North and South / two points)

2 AFRO – this hairstyle is an anagram (cook) of FOR A

3 GUSSET – an angular piece inserted in a garment to reinforce some part of it is hidden inside (welcomed by) freezinG US SETtler

4 CHAUCER – put CHAR (tea) outside UC (University College) and E(nglish) to get a famous fourteenth century poet – according to Chambers CHAR is a Cockney spelling of CHA!


5 DUMB-BELL – this double-headed weight is constructed by putting ME (the setter) around B B (Base twice / double bass) and then all of it inside to DULL (cloud)

6 NEGLIGENCE – put an anagram (alternative) of LINE around G(ood) then add GEN (abbreviation of Genesis / little book) and CE (Church of England) to get a dereliction of duty

7 TUTORS – TU (Trade Union) is followed by an anagram (out) of SORT to get these teachers

13 RAGAMUFFIN – my favourite clue in today’s puzzle – a charade of R (Rex / King), an AGA (an iron stove / means to bake) and MUFFIN (cake) results in a scruffy child

16 LINESMEN – these officials on a tennis court are an anagram (represented, which needs to be thought of as re-presented) of NINE ELMS

18 EARPLUGS – put LUG (pull) inside an anagram (change) of SPARE to get these plugs (stops) of soft material inserted into the ears (organs) to keep out sound

19 GOLIATH – the giant famously slain by David is built up from GO (set off) followed by HAIL (a form of address) reversed (northbound, a construct that only works in a down clue) and placed around (carrying) T (middle letter / heart of wiTch)

21 LOLLOP – put a LOOP (circle) around (drinking) L and L (litres) to get a verb meaning to lounge

22 TAKE ON – this phrasal verb meaning to acquire is constructed from TA (thanks) and KEN (man) around (admitting) O (nothing)

24 FLOP – the first letter of Fellini is followed by LOP (cut) to get a failure

14 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 570 / Pan”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Dave – a very comprehensive blog, with full colour pix as well!

    We seem to be repeating ourselves every week with comments about the difficulty of this puzzle. It’s fully cryptic, and frankly, I found this tough going in parts today, so if it is genuinely intended for near beginners, then my sense is that this would be on the hard side. On the other hand, I imagine that it’s pretty difficult for setters to produce a puzzle for ‘beginners’ – can’t use too many devices, no obscure words, and so on. So not quite setting with one hand tied behind your back, but maybe something of that sort, I don’t know.

    I liked RAGAMUFFIN and also TUTORS for its excellent surface. I didn’t like F for force; and ‘polite’ imho is not a synonym for ‘sophisticated’. I’ve come across a number of sophisticated people who were decidedly impolite. And ‘rough’ wouldn’t have been my first choice for ‘hooligan’.

    Anyway, that’s enough from me for this morning. Let’s hear what others think.

  2. Stella Heath says:

    Excellent blog Dave, thank you. I agree with Kathryn’s Dad’s comment – this was a little tougher than a gentle stroll. Never having heard of the author didn’t help, or the term ‘in a cleft stick’.

    I think the clue of the day is definitely ‘ragamuffin’.

  3. Big Dave says:

    Kathryn’s Dad

    I agree with you that, compared with a typical Rufus puzzle, these Quiptics don’t seem to be hitting their target audience. I have yet to see a “quick” style clue.

    F is the symbol for Force, as in the well-known equation F = ma (force = mass x acceleration)

    The meaning of the word polite has gradually changed from being refined or cultured, as in polite society, to being the attributes associated with that kind of society so I think the definition is ok.

  4. anax says:

    K’sD:
    “…setting with one hand tied behind your back…”
    That’s precisely what it is. There’s a common misconception that writing easy clues is easy and writing hard clues is hard – the exact opposite is true. The setter is limited in which devices to use, how many, how to indicate them, how oblique wordplay definitions are and the same for the answer definitions; but he/she is still expected to be smooth, clever and entertaining. It is monstrously difficult, I assure you.
    “Easy” setters such as Rufus et al are actually doing something beyond the capabilities of the majority of “hard” setters; these guys are the ones with the real skill.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Afternoon, anax @ no 4. That’s an interesting insight from a setter’s point of view. Since 225 started blogging the Quiptic, I think the executive summary from contributors has been that the puzzles are generally sound (I still don’t like polite = sophisticated btw!), but maybe on the hard side for beginners.

    But where do beginners begin? You don’t want ‘feline domestic animal (3)’ in a cryptic or a quiptic, but then on the other hand you don’t want the convoluted stuff that you guys tease us with in the prize crosswords either.

    So I think the Quiptics are a commendable idea, if misleadlingly advertised; but Rufus and Everyman are also good introductions to CrypticLand.

  6. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks for your comment anax. I can see it must be quite a tour de force to make the difficult seem effortless, and to judge the difficulty level of a puzzle.

    I t reminds me of this painting by Zurbarán
    Bodegón (Still Life with Pottery Jars)
    ,where the four vessels seem to be lined up, but in fact are at different points on the table.

  7. walruss says:

    I agree with comments as to the general difficulty of these so-called ‘easier’ puzzles in The Guardian. All I can say is I’m glad I didn’t have to lear n on them! Some unnecessarily tasteless answers too, I thought, which didn’t help us to forgive the trickiness.

  8. tupu says:

    I agree with K’sD and others re level. Thanks anax for a helpful comment on setting – ars est celare artem (for non-Latinists ‘the art is to conceal the art’ – :) this phrase is of course a good example of itself if the reader can’t translate it!)

    :)Re polite I remember reading somewhere that a gentleman is someone who never insults another accidentally!

  9. tmesis says:

    Its a misconception to say that these should be for “beginners”. However it does say at the bottom of the page that the Quiptic is a part cryptic / part quick crossword. I don’t think I have ever seen a quick style clue in any of the ones I’ve tried over the years.

  10. Dynamic says:

    My feeling on trying Quiptics 1 and 2, and possibly a few more of the early ones (they are quite a breeze for a seasoned solver) was that they fulfilled the criteria (listed below) that I’d like to see for beginners.

    In having fairly straight definitions in almost all clues, one might argue they’re part ‘Quick’, but I’ve not seen any straight quick clues.

    I think this makes them useful training grounds. (The other way I’ve seen beginner training was an old Telegraph printed version in the mid 1990s where each day a different clue type was introduced and as I recall, as small crossword using that type of clue was provided to reinforce the lesson)

    Would it be useful to have a semi-permanent “Newbies area” on a blog such as this, where, perhaps the first 10, 20 or 30 Quiptics are blogged (with a direct link over to the puzzle in question on the Guardian website), so that people can learn the skills. They can also feel free to use the Solution button to deconstruct the clues and notice the techniques used.

    CRITERIA FOR AN IDEAL QUIPTIC / BEGINNERS’ CROSSWORD
    1. No libertarian clueing construction (e.g. rebuses, split-word anagrind/fodder such as refused, wher ‘used’ indicates the anagram & ref is part of the fodder)
    2. At most only a smattering of simple word-splits, such as pinhead = head of ‘pin’ = P, middlemarch=R, backbone=ENOB)
    3. No truly extraneous/unjustifiable words.
    4. No interlinked clues or non-specific references to the setter’s name.
    5. Fairly unspecialised vocabulary and little obscure general knowledge in surface, answer and wordplay, while still employing deviousness such as verb/noun swapping in surface reading versus wordplay. Any obscure word ought to be very clearly derivable from wordplay.
    6. Lack of current-affairs, making clues fairly timeless.
    7. Lack of smut, Spoonerisms, and Cockney rhyming slang.
    8. Limited country-specific geographical knowledge required.
    9. Limited & careful use of flower (=river) and butter (=goat), and prohibition of banker (=river) and other things that don’t ‘do’ the verb in question.
    10. Limited degree of mixed-mode clueing, (e.g. take an anagram of a word from which a ‘ball’ (one of the letters O) has been removed) and limited degree of ‘nesting’ of cryptic operations within one-another.
    11. No problem in including ‘old chestnuts’, particularly cryptic definitions, which can form good entry points and encourage lateral thinking.

    As ANAX points out, this does make it harder to contruct silken surface readings, and it is harder to construct highly interesting grids when you’re attempting to avoid obscure words and avoid themes.

  11. Dynamic says:

    I forgot to mention that I felt the first few Quiptics ever published were far better for beginners to learn the ropes than the current Quiptics since they’ve been blogged here, some of which have decidedly tricky areas.

  12. Derek Lazenby says:

    Yup.

    But I’d still like to hear from our “silent majority” who read but don’t usually post, some of whom must be the intended audience. What do you think? Are these puzzles hitting the mark?

  13. Pierre says:

    Good points, Dynamic and Derek. There were some commenters on the blogs I and others have done already whose comments were helpful but from whom we haven’t heard since. We don’t bite!

  14. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I don’t think [like many others] that this was the easiest of Quiptics.

    And I don’t like ‘IT’ in POLITE (25ac) being ‘another European’ – it is really unfair, in my opinion.

    Didn’t enjoy this puzzle – sorry!

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