Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic nº 578 / Don Putnam

Posted by Stella on December 13th, 2010


Some pretty straightforward cluing from Mr.  Putnam today – it was only my fuzziness after a poor night’s sleep that prevented me seeing most of them on the first run through.  The anagrams were well indicated and the hidden answers were easy to spot, but there were enough less known answers and more unusual synonyms etc. to make this an entertaining puzzle. Thank you, Don.


DISTANCE charade of <ID reversed + STANCE (= ‘attitude’)

TENDER double definition, first as an adjective, then a verb

SCAM hidden, fairly obviously, in SCAM(p)

PROFITABLE charade of PROF(essor) + I (= one) + PLAN (= ‘table’)

PIGSTY slightly cryptic double definition: ‘pen’ in the sense of ‘animal enclosure and what our Mum used to say when saw the mess our room was in: “Clean up this pigsty!”

EMPLOYED insertion of PLOY (= manoeuvre) in E(astern) MED(iterranean)

OFF PEAK cryptic definition, charade of OFF (= ‘rotten’) + TOP (= ‘peak’), to give the time when transport fares are often cheaper

ADMIRED charade of ADD (=’count’) around MIRE, ‘trouble’, as in the expression “to be in a mire”

CARRIAGE insertion of AG (= ‘silver’ in the periodic table) in CARRIE, the wife of this fictional character:

BREACH charade of BR(other) + EACH, for ‘one of two’, a doubtful definition, in my opinion, and ‘breach’ as ‘hole’ seems weak, too


GALL ‘hidden’ in GALL(eons)

LAGOON charade of LA, a common abbreviation for ‘Los Angeles’ followed by GO ON

CALAMITY insertion of A + LAM(b) (‘tailless’) in CITY, indicated by the nickname ‘the Big Smoke’


1 You will surely get trouble, if mice get cooked with fish
MISCHIEF anagram of MICE + FISH, indicated by ‘get cooked with’

ITEM double definition
3 Irritable secret agent about to sleep
SNAPPY insertion of NAP (= ‘sleep’) in SPY (‘secret agent’)
DENOTED reversal of TONED + ED (Miliband), current leader of the Labour party
STRIPPED charade of SPED (‘moved quickly’) around TRIP (= ‘(the) drive’)
ANTAGONISE anagram of AGAINST ONE indicated by ‘roughly’
WELLIE charade of <LEW reversed, indicated by ‘sit up’ + LIE = ‘rest’
SEPARATION reversal of <APES + RATION (=food)
16 A siren spilled gin – how distressing!
ALARMING charade of ALARM (= ‘a siren’) + anagram of *GIN, indicated by ‘spilled’
ESCALATE anagram of *CASE + LATE (= ‘behind schedule’)
LETTICE anagram of *TITLE + a common abbreviation for the Church of England, to give a girl’s name which I only knew as Leticia
ABROAD charade of A(ble) S(eaman) + ROAD (= ‘route’)
BACALL charade of <CAB (= ‘taxi’) reversed + ALL (‘everything’) for the wife of
Humphrey Bogart
GAME double definition

10 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic nº 578 / Don Putnam”

  1. Colin says:

    18d is missing it is the only one I can’t work out.
    Help please.

  2. Colin says:

    Sorry wrong paper thought this was the Granuad cryptic

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you Stella.

    It was an entertaining puzzle on the whole, with some slightly more difficult clues to get your teeth into as well as the straightforward ones. I liked EMPLOYED and PROFITABLE in particular.

    Mrs Pooter seemed a bit obscure (okay, I know you can search for it), and I’m with you on not liking BREACH. ‘One of two’ is surely ‘either’ and not ‘each’?

    But overall, a pleasant warm up for the cryptic.

  4. Robi says:

    Thanks, Stella for the full explanations. For some unaccountable reason (or sloppiness), I originally put separatiNG for 13d and couldn’t find a ‘water’ that filled LA-N-N! Nice puzzle, although I had to check Carrie and Mrs Pooter. I’ll have to try the cryptic later, but might need more 7d.

  5. Tokyocolin says:

    Thanks Stella. I don’t envy you blogging this one. I found parts of this absurdly difficult for a “qui”ptic and very unsatisfying. There were several easy clues, SCAM, GALL for example. But many like PIGSTY and LAGOON were weak. And so many “foreigner unfriendly” clues. Who is Mrs Pooter? What is a Wellie? Why are birds GAME? So is “big game” an ostrich? Is a “drive” a trip? I drive to the shops but take a plane on a trip. And has anyone ever met anyone called Lettice?

    Sorry for venting. But I knocked off the Rufus in a pleasant 15 mins and the Indie in 20 mins but had to cheat to finish this in 45 mins. It ain’t right!

  6. Big Dave says:

    @ Tokyocolin

    Crosswords would be very dull if setters were only able to set UK crosswords without UK-centric clues or answers.

    Mrs Carrie Pooter is the wife of Mr Charles Pooter, the fictional author of the well-known classic “The Diary of a Nobody”. I’m sure that I’m not the only person who has a copy on my bookshelf.

    A wellie is a wellington boot – more people use the abbreviated form than the full one.

    Not all birds are game – only those that are hunted, like pheasants. The term also covers other animals like deer.

    If you go for a drive you go for a trip in your car.

    Lettice is an unusual name, best known these days from Peter Shaffer’s play “Lettice and Lovage” which starred Dame Maggie Smith in the title role. The setter did make the wordplay very easy to compensate.

    I do, however, agree with you re PIGSTY.

  7. Stella says:

    Thanks for your comments. I should just like to point out that a few easy clues, like 10, 12 or 25ac., are a good inclusion in this type of crossword, meant for beginners and strangers to the cryptic style, to help them get started. My quibble with 22ac. was the soundness of both clue and answer, not ‘weakness’ in the sense of ‘too obvious’.

    I’m afraid a British crossword will inevitably have British references, which I also have to look up often, as I haven’t lived there for over 30 years, and my field of study has been other languages and their literature. Hence my comment in the preamble about a few less well-known answers, but the cluing was sound, and I only had to look up to check – in fact, till I did so, I thought 20ac must refer to some spoof on Harry Potter :lol:

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Hi Colin @ no 5. I think ‘trip’ and ‘drive’ are okay as synonyms. You’re obviously too young to remember the Fab Four:

    She was a day tripper
    Sunday driver, yeah
    It took me so long to find out
    I found out

    And The Diary of a Nobody is reasonably well known; my slight gripe was that for a Quiptic, expecting someone to know the wife’s first name was a bit of an ask.

  9. Derek Lazenby says:

    Got stumped with 5 to go, strangely not any mentioned above as problems. And it wasn’t me feeling fuzzy, I seem to be coming out of that. Finished Rufus no problem.

  10. Stella says:

    I don’t know which five you’re referring to, Derek, but I found that the very simplicity of the clues was what stumped me the first time round, as I was looking for something more devious.

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