Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 571 / Moley

Posted by Big Dave on October 26th, 2010

Big Dave.

When I noticed that this puzzle had yet to be reviewed, I put this together hastily.  Several of the clues seemed to have words added solely for the surface reading, and the missing homophone indicator in 15d was somewhat surprising.

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(erman).


1          GAMINE – this tomboy is an anagram of ENIGMA indicated by variations

5          ALTER EGO – a charade of synonyms for to change and oneself gives another identity

9          AIR FORCE – this time the charade consists of synonyms for wind and strength and gives an armed service –I didn’t like affects as a way of joining wordplay and definition

10        PANAMA – our third consecutive charade consists of to criticise, A (one) and a shortened form of mother to get a hat (6)

11        STIR – a disturbance is hidden inside laST IRregular with “meeting” presumably intended to indicate that you need combine the two words

12        GLASSHOUSE – a double definition – a military prison and somewhere plants are grown

13        GENTOO – fortunately I has come across this  penguin with a white stripe across its head before – it comes from a charade of information and also

14        EMIGRATE – an anagram of REGIME AT is signalled by variance to give a move to another part of the world

16        NEUROSIS – this mental affliction consists of a homophone (they say) of new followed by an anagram of SO SIR indicated by confused

19        GREENS – SNEER is reversed (returned) after G(erman) to get a political party with one MP in Parliament

20        IRRITATION – two closely related definitions – an itch and an annoyance

22        COMB – combine C (Circa / about) with an anagram (wild) of MOB gives a verb meaning to search

23        DIVERS – an anagram (around) of DRIVE is followed by S(on) to get aquatic performers

24        ENORMITY – could be a double definition of two synonyms (evil and atrocity) or possibly a “quick” clue (that would be a rarity!)

25        AGITATED – an anagram of DATA I GET, indicated by incorrectly, gives a word meaning nervous

26        SOOTHE – a word meaning to calm comes from a word meaning therefore followed by an anagram (surprisingly) of HOT and one compass point


2          A LITTLE LEARNING – A (indefinite article) followed by synonyms for partial and knowledge gives the first part of the saying that ends “….is a dangerous thing”

3          INFER – to guess is an anagram (composition) of FINER

4          EGREGIOUS – an adjective meaning outrageous or notorious (flagrantly bad) is built up from EG (for example) followed by an anagram (badly treated) of I (one) GROUSE

5          AVERAGE – a word meaning years is preceded by (putting … first) to state to get the arithmetical mean

6          TAPAS – an anagram (cooked) of PASTA for light savoury Spanish snacks

7          RANCOUR – a word meaning managed and an old city, the latter preceded by a CO(mpany) results in a synonym for bitterness

8          GAME SET AND MATCH – “Duck and Pheasant” are GAME, add SET (team) AND (with) and MATCH (marriage / alliance) to get a winning declaration in sports like tennis

15        INGENIOUS – a short word meaning fashionable is followed by a homophone of a word meaning brilliance to get one meaning clever – the only problem is that there is no indicator for the homophone, rendering the clue unsound

17        RAIMENT – an anagram (changes) of R(ight) INMATE gives an old-fashioned word for clothes

18        STIPEND – a salary, especially that of a priest, is an anagram (maybe) of SPEND IT

21        ASSET – a fool and an ubiquitous alien combine to give something of value

22        CAMEO – a verb meaning arrived is followed by O(nothing) to give a small role in a play or film, often giving scope for character acting

8 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 571 / Moley”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Dave, for blogging.

    There were some good clues in this: I liked RANCOUR and CAMEO, and A LITTLE LEARNING when I finally got it.

    But I share all your niggles. The clue for INGENIOUS is just plain faulty, which you wouldn’t want in a daily cryptic, never mind one intended for beginners. I’m sure it’s not what Moley intended, so maybe it’s a case of “many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip”.

  2. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks, BD – how different are all these Quiptics?
    I thought this is really one for beginners – there’s no trickiness at all.

    And 15d, ah well, enough said about that – but it shouldn’t have come past the editor.

    However easy, I made one mistake [initially, that is].
    Entered for 4d EROGENOUS (which is an anagram of ‘one grouse’), only to find out that that’s not really ‘flagrantly bad’ … :)

  3. Big Dave says:


    On reading “a web-only crossword, part-cryptic and part-quick” my expectation was of a beginner-oriented crossword, but that does not appear to be the reality. The “part-quick” clues seldom appear, and the puzzle seem to fall between beginner level and the regular Guardian cryptic.

    As Anax said last week, ““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.”

  4. FumbleFingers says:

    Thanks for blog, Big Dave

    I hadn’t realised until today that 15×15 now has a slot for the Quiptic. To be honest, I only came here to vent my spleen about the faulty clue for INGENIOUS, which frankly I think is appalling. I suppose anyone can make a mistake, and it’s true I just get the puzzles off the net without paying. But does no-one proof-read these things?

    Maybe it’s just an odd gap in my vocabulary that I didn’t know GENTOO. I know it’s easy enough for a seasoned solver to infer from the clue, but isn’t the Quiptic targetted at less experienced solvers in the first place?

    I personally dislike the inclusion of a “non-cryptic” clue for ENORMITY, which seems to me like finding a bit of anchovy in my apple pie – it’s just not a good mix.

    Finally – maybe I’m descending to the level of nit-picking here – I don’t approve of the grid itself. 13a & 19a have 3 consecutive unchecked letters, which I think looks amateurish and out of place coming from the Guardian.

  5. Derek Lazenby says:

    First something good to say. Most of it was Quiptic standard!

    But, as above, the grid.

    I had two unknown words, GENTOO which is gettable being a charade and GAMINE which without an anagram gadget was ungettable, good job I have one then. It didn’t make a good start for the first clue to be an unknown. I’ve never heard tomboys called anything else but tomboys, so who on earth uses that word? I sure somebody can provide an example from literature, please.

    What is the point of criticizing the inclusion of a plain clue when they are advertised as being part and parcel of a Quiptic? If I wanted to criticize that clue it would be that I would never dream of using ENORMITY as a synonym for either definition as the word expresses the size of something, and neither evil nor atrocity express “size of”. The word isn’t even tied to the size of bad things. A seriously crap definition to my mind.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Hi Derek. I got gamine because it comes from the French ‘gamin’ for waif or street urchin and it’s the feminine form; thus the definition ‘tomboy’. I agree it’s a bit obscure for a Quiptic.

    Here’s the quotation you wanted, although in this instance it’s used adjectivally:

    ‘He was fascinated by Lou’s quaint aplomb … her gamine knowingness.’

    It’s from St Mawr by D H Lawrence, whose Visitor Centre in Eastwood is under threat of closure, sadly.

  7. Stella says:

    Hi Dave, thanks for stepping in. I started the blog – in fact was a fair way into the down clues – when my communications went down, and it’s taken up to now to get back online.

    I found this acceptable quiptic standard, with a good mix of gettable charades and anagrams, plus a straight definition or two, though I share the reserves expressed by others.

    I got ‘gamine’ with no trouble, but then I have a degree in French :). I didn’t know ‘gentoo’, but it was easy even for a beginner to guess, in my opinion, and I found a photo in Wiki.

  8. Big Dave says:

    Hi Stella

    I thought you must have a problem of some kind. The trouble with comms problems is that you can’t even email to explain.

    I’ve added a picture, and link, for the gentoo – best known these days for its association with the Linux operating system.

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