Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic no. 573 by Nutmeg

Posted by PeterO on November 8th, 2010


I found this one more difficult than many a Guardian Cryptic. Several of the entries seemed at first to have far too much clue for the answer, which is generally a sign that careful parsing is necessary. My favourite was 14/15, with its very unobvious anagram and misleading surface.


1 UMBRELLA STAND Anagram (‘redesigned’) of ‘at slumberland’.
10 ALL-STAR Charade of RATS (‘traitors’) + L (‘left’) + LA (Los Angeles, ‘US city’), all reversed (‘travelling west’).
11 PITCHER Double definition; the “bowler” in baseball.
12 IRISH Charade of IRIS (the flower, ‘flag’) + H (‘top of Hoist’).
14/15 YOUTH HOSTELLER Anagram (‘perhaps’) of ‘those let hourly’. That took quite a while to get, and was one of the last to go in.
16 PRICE WARS Envelope (‘in’) of RICE (‘basic food’) in PWARS, an anagram (‘fancy’) of ‘wraps’.
18 OVERSPEND A charade of OVERS PEND (‘cricket match unfinished?’). Overspend can be a noun, an instance of overspending.
19 SATYR Hidden (‘to some extent’) answer in ‘iS A TYRant’.
20 TRAVELLER Envelope (‘during’) of a charade (‘attended by’) of RAVE (‘party’) + LL (‘students’, L being a student driver) in TER[m] (‘short term’).
23 COPSE Envelope (‘trap’) of S (‘sun’) in COPE (‘manage’). A copse or coppice is a thicket, for example growing from the cut stumps of trees.
24 RATTLED Charade (‘middle of’) of ATTLE[e] (‘postwar PM, almost’) in RD (‘road’).
25 ROPED IN Definition (‘recruited’) with cryptic amplification.
26 UNPRESENTABLE Envelope (‘wearing’) of charade of PRESENT (‘now’) + AB (able-bodied, ‘sailors’) in UN + LE (a and the, ‘French articles’).


2 MULTITUDE Anagram (‘could make’) of ‘tumult die’.
3 RETCH Homophone (‘reported’) of wretch (‘rat’). Cat as a verb means to vomit, or retch.
4/13 LORDS SPIRITUAL A cryptic definition that perhaps does not repay too close analysis. LORDS (‘cricket-loving’ and ‘members of an upper house’) SPIRITUAL (‘song’). The Lords Spiritual are bishops of the Church of England serving in the House of Lords.
5 AMPLIFIED Charade of A MP (‘a politician’) + envelope (‘held’) of ‘if’ in LIED (‘prevaricated’).
6 TATTINESS Charade of an envelope (‘collecting … in’) of TIN (‘can’) in TATE (‘gallery'; about the only one in Crosswordland) + SS (‘2 shillings’, from pre-decimal days).
7 NEHRU Charade (‘first’ indicating order) of NEH (hen, “bird’, reversed, ‘flying up’) + RU ( Rugby Union, about the only ‘game’  in town).The ‘well-known Indian’ is Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India after independence.
8 FAMILY DOCTORS Cryptic definition; ‘bad’ in the sense of unwell; ‘relations’ in the sense of FAMILY. Not an easy one to get, with the mostly nondesctipt crossing letters.
9 DRILL SERGEANT Charade of DRILL + SERGE (‘two types of cloth’) + [p]ANT[s] (‘pants with trimmed edges’).
16 PRECLUDES Envelope (containing’) of C (musical ‘key’) in PRELUDES (‘pieces of music’). Definition ‘bars’ as a verb, not musical.
17 ANTIPODAL Charade of ANTI (‘not liking’)+ PO (‘river’ – an Italian change from Cam, Dee, Exe etc.) + DAL (lad, ‘boy rises’). I weas held up for a while by failing to take heed of ‘rises’, and entering ANTIPODES.
21 ACTON ACT[i]ON (‘court case’ ‘one’s lost’). My home town, in the west of London (‘part of capital’).
22 RE-RUN Charade of RE (reversal, ‘climbing’, of ER, ‘queen’) + RUN (‘ladder’, as in a stocking).
23 CUPPA Charade of CUP (‘award’) + PA (‘father’).

6 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic no. 573 by Nutmeg”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    A good blog, Peter, and folk are going to need it today. The Quiptic’s meant to be a gentle Monday morning warm-up for experienced solvers and an accessible challenge for improvers. This wasn’t that. I agree with you: this was a medium-difficulty daily cryptic.

    I didn’t enjoy it much. ‘Cat’ for throw up? It’s not in any of my dictionaries and I’ve never heard of it. If you’re going to clue IRIS on ‘top’ of H then it’s got to be a down clue, in my opinion. ‘Capital’ for London is bad enough, but who outside the M25 has ever heard of Acton? (Sorry, Peter, I’m sure it’s delightful.)

    I did like ANTIPODAL.

  2. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Peter.

    I’d never heard of ‘cat’ in this context, either, and didn’t see the parsing of 10ac.

    A few of the long answers were educated guesses – in 8d. I assumed ‘practice’ referred to lawyers or doctors and took it from there, and with 4/13, I assumed it must be ‘Lords?, but must have typed it in wrong, as the ‘check’ button erased it, which held me up for a time.

    I liked 9 and 16d.

  3. PeterO says:

    K’s D – I must admit that at one stage a slight feeling of panic did creep in, when so many answers did not present themselves with the readiness I expected from Nutmeg’s last outing. In 12A, the ‘top’ refers to the manipulation of ‘hoist'; I had not noticed this before, but Nutmeg eschews the use of ‘on top’ in favour of the more orientationally neutral ‘at top’.

    Stella – Now you bring my attention to 10A, I note that I had left out the salient reversal. Now you don’t have to stand on your head to get the wordplay. I cannot say that I had across the usage of ‘cat’ before, but I was not too surprised to find it when I looked it up. Perhaps it is something I picked up from Ginger.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Peter, for the explanation about IRISH. You’re right, of course – the clue does make sense and it was just my inability to parse it. I guess it’s just when you’re in a bit of a mard about the puzzle you look for flaws that aren’t there.

  5. FumbleFingers says:

    Thanks for the blog, Peter. Glad to see I’m not the only one who’d never heard of cat = retch.

    Apart from that, I quite liked this puzzle – though as Kathryn’s Dad says, it did seem a bit harder than the average Quiptic.

  6. Andrew says:

    I knew cat = be sick from Evelyn Waugh’s ‘A Handful of Dust’, where John, the hero’s young son, shocks his nanny by using it.

    The vicar’s sister had engaged John in conversation. He was telling her the story of Peppermint. ‘… he’d have been all right, Ben says, if he had been able to cat the rum up, but mules can’t cat, neither can horses …’

    Nanny grasped him firmly and hurried him towards home. ‘How many times have I told you not to go repeating whatever Ben Hackett tells you? Miss Tendril didn’t want to heart about Peppermint. And don’t ever use that rude word “cat” again.’

    ‘It only means to be sick.’

    ‘Well Miss Tendril isn’t interested in being sick …’

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