Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 590 / Hectence

Posted by Big Dave on March 7th, 2011

Big Dave.

I found nothing particularly noteworthy in this workmanlike puzzle.  As 10 of the 28 clues involved anagrams it was easy to solve but lacked variety.

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. R(ight).


1a SPITTING IMAGE – This double or exact likeness is created by reversing (up) TIPS (gratuities) and adding an anagram (wrong) of TIMING and AGE (period) – up is usually used to indicate a reversal in a down clue

10a ALLOTMENT – A word that sounds like (reportedly) “a lot meant” (many intended) is actually a plot of land

11a CAIRN – Put the CAIN (the first ever murderer) around (covers) the third letter of coRpse to get this pile of stones

12a TRAWL – Start with the Ford Model T, the car that you could have in any colour so long as it was black, add R(ight) and a tool for boring small holes to get a verb meaning to fish using an open-mouthed net dragged along the seabed

13a IMBROGLIO – Put an anagram (management) of OIL RIG around MB (a doctor) and add O (zero) to get a confused or embarrassing situation

14a EMBRACE – Reverse (upset) ME (the object pronoun as opposed to I, the subject pronoun) and add BRACE (a couple of, for example, pheasants) to get a cuddle – upset is usually used to indicate a reversal in a down clue

16a DRAUGHT – DR (Doctor) is followed by (C)AUGHT (grabbed without its first letter / top off) to get this dose of medicine

18a ANXIOUS – This adjective meaning worried is a charade of A, N(ew), XI (eleven / team) and (L)OUS(Y) without the letters at each end (endlessly)

20a CHEER ON – A phrasal verb meaning to urge is constructed from CHE (the ubiquitous revolutionary) followed by R (Rex / king) inside (to capture … in) EON (a long period of time)

21a INAUDIBLE – an anagram (bad) of IN DUBAI followed by LE (LanguagE‘s extremes) to get a word meaning cannot be heard

23a SPURT – This burst of speed is a charade of a verb meaning to egg on and T (top of Toast)

24a UNION – A charade of UNI (shortened form of UNIversity / small college) and ON (working) gives a confederation

25a LIVERPOOL – Another charade, this time of LIVE (reside), R(ight) and POOL (lake) gives this city

26a METEOROLOGIST – This weatherman is an anagram (broadcast) of IS TO GET MORE placed around the last letter of (latest from) ecologicaL and O (sphere) – I don’t like O representing a sphere, and it’s not in “Chambers XWD – A Dictionary of Crossword Abbreviations”


2d PILLAR BOX – Put PILLAR (column) on top of BOX (fight) to get a receptacle used to post letters

3d TOTAL – Hidden inside (partially) Kyoto talks is a word meaning complete

4d ITEMISE – A word meaning tp make a list is derived by putting IE (Id Est / that is) around (to include) an anagram (training) of TIMES

5d GO TO BED – A phrase that means to retire at night could be taken as going to the flower border

6d MICROWAVE – Put a CROW (bird) in between (cuts) MI and AVE (M1 motorway and Avenue / different ways) to get this type of oven

7d GRILL – A verb meaning to closely question is built from an anagram (about) of GIRL followed by L (learner / student)

8d BATTLE FATIGUE – An anagram (new) of TABLET followed by FAT (puts weight on) and then EU and GI (soldier) reversed (returning) gives this combat neurosis

9d UNFORTUNATELY – A word meaning sadly is constructed by putting UN and UN (United Nations / international organisations) around (supporting) FORT (castle) and ending with (L)ATELY (recently) without the initial L (Left off)

15d AVOIDANCE – An escape comes from A and VOICE (speech) around DAN (martial arts expert)

17d GARRULOUS – An anagram (rambling) of GURU’S ORAL gives a word meaning very long-winded

19d SUBTLER – An anagram (forced) of BUTLERS gives a word meaning more refined

20d CHERVIL – CH (Companion of Honour) followed by an anagram (cooked) of LIVER gives this herb

22d ABIDE – A verb meaning to put up with is a charade of A, BID (tender) and E (East / compass point)

23d SPROG – This child (issue) is a charade of S(ociety) and PROG(ram) (short agenda)

There is a scheduled power outage in our village today so I may not be able to respond to any queries until late afternoon.

7 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 590 / Hectence”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Dave, for a very clear blog.

    I enjoyed this one as a warm up to the Indy puzzle, and thought it ticked most of the boxes for a Quiptic. I liked ALLOTMENT in particular.

    Perhaps as you say a little anagram-heavy, but I suppose if a setter’s trying to keep it simple, then that’s the easiest way to signpost a solution for an inexperienced solver.

    I couldn’t quite parse METEOROLOGIST so was grateful for your O = sphere connection. I don’t like it much either.

  2. Robi says:

    Thanks Hectence and Big Dave for his usually good pictorial blog :) .

    I don’t really agree with the comment: ‘I found nothing particularly noteworthy in this workmanlike puzzle.’ I thought SPROG and ALLOTMENT were good. Strange that EMBRACE is in both this and today’s Rufus – I wonder how often such a coincidence occurs. Unfortunately, I didn’t get UNFORTUNATELY until I had all the crossing letters – thought it was something to do with UNESCO or some such.

    Overall, I thought this was just about right for a Quiptic and I enjoyed solving it (although I’m not much of an expert.)

  3. Robi says:

    P.S. Like Big Dave, I don’t like use of ‘up’ to indicate a reversal; surely, this should be reserved for down clues, especially in a beginner puzzle like the Quiptic.

  4. Angstony says:

    Thanks Big Dave and Hectence.

    It seems odd that this puzzle has two across clues featuring reversal indicators for down clues, and yet none of the down clues do. Surely it would have been trivial to reorient the puzzle so that the clues all made sense. Or maybe Hectence intended the crossword to be presented the other way and the fact it wasn’t is an editorial error.

  5. Big Dave says:


    I wondered the same, especially as there are two other across clues (16 and 23) that use “top” to indicate an initial letter.

  6. Derek Lazenby says:

    You guys are too good to understand what makes a good Quiptic. It takes someone who is almost a beginner to do that. The opinion of the class dummy therefore is that this was rubbish as a Quiptic. It took twice as long as Rufus, broke the rules as noted above, and included uncommon words. I vaguely know IMBRAGLIO, but don’t know anyone that uses it, and how many have heard of CHERVIL? Wikipedia talking of Root Chervil says “Now virtually forgotten in Britain…”. The other forms are hardly common, I can make no recollection of hearing it used in any TV recipe (I have to humour the wife by having cookery programs on), and if it has been, it can’t have been that often, and I certainly wouldn’t have heard it elsewhere as I hate gardening and don’t cook. I wonder how many fast food eating tower block dwellers sympathise with me?

  7. Derek Law says:

    Derek, it’s a little disingenuous of you to quote Wikipedia’s definition of the obscure vegetable root chervil, yet leave out its description of the really rather well-known herb: “chervil is used to season poultry, seafood, and young vegetables. It is particularly popular in France, where it is added to omelettes, salads and soups.”

    You’ll not get far in crossword land without knowing the names of plants!

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