Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 584/Moley

Posted by Pierre on January 24th, 2011


It’s the first time I’ve blogged a puzzle by Moley, and I was pleased when her name came up because I’ve enjoyed her Quiptics in the past. I enjoyed this too and thought it was a well-constructed, beginner-level crossword. However, if you’ve ever wondered why The Guardian is called The Grauniad, read on …

I think it was Eileen in her Guardian Cryptic blog last week who said that the errors in the Guardian crosswords were getting beyond a joke. If further proof were needed, it’s here: in one clue the enumeration given is wrong; in a second there are random brackets around the clue; and in a third, well, you tell me.

Anyway, on with the blog.

dd double definition
cd cryptic definition
* anagram
anagrind = anagram indicator


A nice charade of PAR (RAP reversed or back) THEN (previously) and ON (about). Someone who knows more about Classics than I do will give you chapter and verse on the structure. 

An anagram (about) of (WAS IT)*

A charade of L (learner, beginner) APT and OPS (works). OP is an abbreviation of opus, the musical work, and is very common in crosswordland.

A charade of OCT (of Celtic tradition first letters) and (ROBE)*. The anagrind is ‘new’.

A homophone of ‘sees’, or watches. ‘Reportedly’ is the homophone indicator. Are these two words homophones? You’ve reached the age of consent, so you decide.

A charade of MONO (single) MAN (guy) and IA (A1, excellent, reversed). A slightly unusual word, but clearly clued.

A charade of ELECTION (choice) and ADDRESS (location). Fine as far as the clue is concerned, but the enumeration is given as (15) and not (8,7) which meant that once I’d discovered that ELECTIONEERING didn’t fit, I was left scratching my head.

An anagram (‘broadcast’) of (E ARTISTES)*. ‘A spoken or written story or narrative’ (SOED).

A charade of CAME and L for lake. I may have seen this once or twice before.

A charade of BO (body odour, personal problem) and (RIVAL)*. The currency of Venezuela.

An anagram of (THAT WON)*. The anagrind is ‘reappraisal’. ‘A stand with shelves, used for keeping or displaying small objects’ (SOED)

An inclusion of E (East, a quarter) in BEST.

An anagram of (CON OR A BAD)*. The anagrind is the second ‘bad’. It’s a mineral known as ‘black diamond’. I’d never come across the word before, but it was a pretty obvious anagram. That Chemistry you studied a long time ago should have told you that diamonds are a form of carbon, and there’s not much else that (DOA)* can be, innit?


I liked this one. It’s a charade of O (love) PALE and SCENT.

Moley has not produced a carbon-neutral crossword for us today. Here’s the second mention for the element with atomic number 6. It’s an anagram of (GREAT HIP)*.

A charade of CH for church, OO (circles) and SE (south, east, two points of the compass).

A pretty obvious anagram of (GUNS)*.

An anagram of (CASINOS MIN)*. The anagrind is ‘fantastic’. Setters often use ‘mainly’ in this way to tell you that you need to lose the last letter of the word indicated; here MINE becomes MIN.

A charade of TWO, TIME and D for died.

A charade of RIB and BON (BONE, trimmed of its last letter).

Hidden in teST IRrational. ‘Some’ tells you to look for a hidden answer.

A charade of MOON, our satellite and STRUCK. ‘Deranged or mad’ (Collins). One of several words suggesting lunacy relating to the moon.

A charade of AB (Able-Bodied Sailor) and SOLUTION.

Gallery is almost always TATE. If you put it and IV (Roman numeral for 4) inside it, you have your answer. The clue is surrounded by square brackets. Does anyone have a notion why?

I liked this clue a lot, especially for its smooth surface. It might be a bit of a stretch for a beginner though. It’s an anagram of (METAL)*. You’re then invited to ‘box (in)’ MEN or ‘workers’.

A charade of EN (East, North) and LIST. Plenty of compass points today.

A charade of CRAY and ON.

A further charade of BA (graduate) and BY. Simple, but good.

As you will have seen, the clue is ??? (4). Occasionally, you do get odd clues like this, but in a Quiptic? So brains were racked to no effect before sticking the crossing letters into a wordsearch, which suggested nothing likely. So I cheated, finished the puzzle and then said a really, really bad word about the Crossword Editor, because I can only imagine that this is down to him. ‘Edit. Bring into order for publication’ (SOED). But clearly not today.

A fine puzzle from Moley, but if I were her I’d be pretty hacked off that it had been marred by these three errors. 



26 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 584/Moley”

  1. pommers says:

    Re 23d I think Probo has it right on the Graunid Quiptic comments
    The clue was missing and somebody flagged it by inserting question marks which then somehow got printed.

    Otherwise a fine crossword (apart from the other mistakes)! The faulty enumeration had me fooled for ages.

    Anyway, thanks for the blog Pierre and to Moley for an enjoyable start to the week – now for Orlando!

  2. pommers says:

    Of course I meant GRAUNIAD – perhaps they could give me a job proof-reading!

  3. crypticsue says:

    Really glad you explained the ???? – I thought it was just me! An excellent Quiptic spoiled by the error.

  4. Eileen says:

    Excellent puzzle, excellent blog – but what a shambles! It was indeed my comment last week; I’m [almost] speechless.

    One of the unfortunate consequences of such incompetence / unprofessionalism is that, after a while, when you run up against difficulties, you’re tempted to think that it’s probably yet another mistake. Another infuriating thing is the absence of any apology or explanation, either here or in the Guardian’s own comment column. In the meantime, the crossword page continues to show the beginning of the Crossword Editor’s monthly letter:

    Happy Crosswords in 2011
    3 Jan 2011:

    Hugh Stephenson hopes that 2011 will be problem free on the crossword front but offers a couple of tips that may help you round snags that can occur …

  5. blaise says:

    [Just maybe] Chambers says “warp:…to misinterpret, give a deliberately false meaning to” but I think the explanation given is more likely. By the way, it’s probably already been done, but if I ever compile a crossword I’d like to omit one definition entirely (8 letters).

  6. Robi says:

    Holey Moley! A bit more difficult than usual for a Quiptic.

    I also tried ‘electioneering’ at first before I realised the error. I also wondered what the square brackets were doing in 17. As for 23d………. I thought the answer might be WARE as a type of whatnot, but when I had tried virtually everything else for the last letter and found the answer was WARP, I thought the erudition of 225 would reveal all to me! Perhaps this is a warped sense of humour!

    Eileen @4, last time there was an issue, I e-mailed the editor, which is an option, at least. :)

  7. Eileen says:


    Yes, I’ve tried that. On 25th November, I blogged a Paul cryptic, which quite clearly contained an error. I emailed the editor, asking for clarification. The reply was,

    “Sorry. I was away yesterday. Yes. A mistake got through. He was thinking “old star” ie O/SIRI(u)S.

    Will get the clue changed later today in the archive.”

    i didn’t think changing the clue in the archive without comment in the next day’s paper or on the website was adequate. That isn’t where I would look for an explanation.

    [I really don’t want to go on about this any more – it’s making me grumpy :-) ]

  8. JohnR says:

    14ac worries me – “monomania” is surely an obsession? Someone “obsessed” (which is necessary for the surface) would be a monomaniac.

    Or am I fussing too much?

    Nice puzzle, and blog (and **** to 23dn).

  9. Derek Lazenby says:

    Aww, Eileen, grumpy is fun, don’t fight it, learn to enjoy it!

    Yes, a good Quiptic spoilt. Not being a cheese person, guess which was my last one?

    I’m about to take number 2 son to a pub to teach him Bar Billiards which he has never seen before. Maybe the break and the cider will prompt an answer to whether ??? means WARP!!!!

  10. Robi says:

    JohnR@8. You may be right. I just read this as [being] obsessed with one thing. :)

  11. Robi says:

    P.S. @6, perhaps it should be ‘holy Moley’ : see

    Etymology c. 1941, originates with use in Captain Marvel comic book stories written by Bill Parker and Otto Binder and drawn by C.C. Beck (created in 1940) for American publisher Fawcett Publishing.

    Also, the origin of the word Moly in this phrase, comes from Homer’s Odyssey. In book 10, Hermes gives the herb to Odysseus to protect him from Circe’s incantation. Homer describes Moly by saying, “The root was black, while the flower was as white as milk; the gods call it Moly, and mortal men cannot uproot it, but the gods can do whatever they like.”

  12. BrigC says:

    One of the scarcely known meanings of ‘warp’ is a group of four.

  13. Dynamic says:

    I wonder if some of the Quiptics are submitted as normal crosswords with some clues rewritten to avoid excessively tricky wordplay. Maybe 23 ??? (4) was one of those, or ??? might be characters that won’t display properly in the font, though I can’t think of such a clue, and I’m aware that many such as the obeluses ††† (pictured) in “daggers drawn” some months ago come out just fine for the Guardian).

    I’m sure the Quiptic has to command less attention that the main cryptic which actually appears in the printed paper and that crossword teams tend to be small and modestly remunerated. I also appreciate that it can be more difficult to create an easy crossword than a tough one both for grid-fill, where obscure words help, and for clue-writing where plain cryptic definitions help the newbies but are hard to write, inventively, and where simple wordplay devices can make it harder to provide pleasing surface reading.

    19 Discourses broadcast by English artistes (9)
    I thought that “by” was not good for a beginners’ crossword being ignored, yet wrongly appearing to be part of the anagram fodder (I can’t parse it to be part of the anagram indicator). I’d have preferred to edit it to the compact and technically sound:
    19 English artistes’ broadcast discourses (9)

    I did enjoy 1d, 17d and quite a few others, but agree there were a lot of compass points/quarters in this one. There were some possible misdirections too, such as broadcast, which might be a homophone or anagram indicator.

  14. Pierre says:

    Glad it wasn’t just me missing out on things.

    I’m with Dynamic in appreciating how hard it can be to produce an ‘easy’ crossword. And Derek, you’re right, grumpy can be fun, but I’d rather just have a glitch-free crossword …

  15. Paul B says:

    I doubt it, given the difficulty of some we have seen even since this fledgling blog began. And ‘shambles’ is quite polite, in my opinion.

  16. Pierre says:

    I doubt that anyone is listening any more, but I’ve just checked the Guardian crossword website and it’s still showing Moley’s puzzle with the three errors we’ve discussed above. Ho hum.

  17. Derek Lazenby says:

    Some of us use the RSS feed so we are always listening!

  18. crosser says:

    I had exactly the same reaction as JohnR @8 about 14ac and Dynamic @ 13 about 19ac. I managed to get 16ac in spite of the error but not 23d!!

  19. el stano says:

    Hi all,
    The clue for 23d on the print version is

    Conflict with quiet pervert (4)


  20. el stano says:


    It’s also correct on the interactive version – must have been an editor around before I printed it, about 16:15.

  21. Pierre says:

    For those like Derek still listening, the clue for 23 down has been amended on the Grauniad website. It’s:

    Conflict with quiet pervert (4)

    Which makes perfect sense.

    The square brackets have disappeared from 17 down but the enumeration of 16 across is still wrong.

  22. Pierre says:

    el stano

    Thanks, we crossed!

  23. sidey says:

    I very much doubt Hugh will have the grace to apologise. The man really should go. I had a truncated conversation with him about the wrongly published puzzles over the Christmas period and the failure of the search facility at the same time. He flatly denied it. Did I say he should go?

  24. el stano says:

    From the grauniad at 5:37

    My apologies for the initial lack of a clue for 23 dn in this puzzle. The fact is that, with the crosswords online being free and costing the paper an arm and a leg, there is as yet no system in place for me or anyone else to check the content of the Quiptic puzzles before they are put up on screen.

    I was away on Monday and Tuesday (for I am a poor freelance and not a Guardian staff member) and did not discover until Tuesday evening that an uncorrected version of this Quiptic had been uploaded instead of a corrected one. The mistake was then corrected today.

    Forgive this brief “explanation” but I am now off to top myself.


  25. Robi says:

    Hugh Stephenson’s reply in case you didn’t see it:

    ‘My apologies for the initial lack of a clue for 23 dn in this puzzle. The fact is that, with the crosswords online being free and costing the paper an arm and a leg, there is as yet no system in place for me or anyone else to check the content of the Quiptic puzzles before they are put up on screen.

    I was away on Monday and Tuesday (for I am a poor freelance and not a Guardian staff member) and did not discover until Tuesday evening that an uncorrected version of this Quiptic had been uploaded instead of a corrected one. The mistake was then corrected today.

    Forgive this brief “explanation” but I am now off to top myself.


  26. Robi says:

    Thanks el stano, sorry I have repeated it!

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