Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic N° 593 by Arachne

Posted by PeterO on March 28th, 2011


An amusing offering from the Spider Woman, notable for some fine surfaces.

1. Exclusive property, often used in films (7,7)
SPECIAL EFFECTS Charade of SPECIAL (‘exclusive’) + EFFECTS (‘property’).
8. A month in Capri? Lovely! (5)
APRIL Hidden answer ‘cAPRI Lovely’.
9. Supports first-class baseball player (8)
BACKSTOP Charade of BACKS (‘supports’) + TOP (‘first class’). A baseball position answering to a wicket-keeper; better known as a catcher.
11. You’ll be one in one when it’s hot (7)
SWEATER Double definition; replace both ‘one’s in the clue by sweater.
12. In ecstasy Ruth lay oddly, without moving (7)
INERTLY Charade of IN E (‘in ecstasy’) + alternate letters (‘oddly’) of ‘RuTh LaY‘.
13. Lost whilst sailing (2,3)
AT SEA Double definition.
15. Where to get tan or laze about (9)
LANZAROTE Anagram (‘about’) of ‘tan or laze’. As Lanzarote is an island in the Canaries, this is an excellent &lit.
17. Sherpa got shoddy ammunition (9)
GRAPESHOT Anagram (‘shoddy’) of “Sherpa got’.
20. The fort’s gold is snatched in robbery (5)
THEFT Charade of THE + F[or]T, ‘fort’ with or removed (‘gold snatched’).
21. Recalling road south, a road in French landmass (7)
EURASIA Reversal (‘recalling’) of AI (A1, British ‘road’) + S (‘south’) + A (‘a’) + RUE (‘road in French’).
23. Animal managed to incubate 200 eggs (7)
RACCOON Envelope (‘to incubate”) of CC (‘200′, Roman numeral) + OO (‘eggs’) in RAN (‘managed’).

Raccoon, Procyon lotor

25. Athletic event, almost more than a sport (8)
MARATHON Anagram (‘sport'; an unusual but justifiable anagrind) of MOR[e] (‘almost more’) THAN A.
26. Arab’s returning soon (5)
OMANI Reversal (‘returning’) of IN A MO (‘soon’).
27. Involving contact with Argentinian boy drinkers in prison (6-2-6)
PERSON-TO-PERSON Envelope (‘in prison’) of SON TOPERS (‘boy drinkers’) in PERON (‘Argentinian’, Juan or Evita).
1. Such a banner might produce rapt gladness (4-8)
STAR-SPANGLED Anagram (‘might produce’) of ‘rapt gladness’. In case anyone needs to know, the star-spangled banner, or Old Glory, is the American flag.
2. Headless nobleman? That’s spooky! (5)
EERIE Charade of [p]EER (‘headless nobleman’) + IE (i.e. id est, ‘thats’).
3. One kid follows everyone around, making us uncomfortable (3,2,4)
ILL AT EASE Charade of I (‘one’) + LLA (all, ‘everyone around’) + (‘follows’) TEASE (‘kid’, I kid you not).
4. Free translation from Braille (7)
LIBERAL Anagram (‘translation from’) of ‘Braille’.
5. Dissenters start to foment armed conflict (7)
FACTION Charade of F (‘start to Foment’) + ACTION (‘armed conflict’).
6. Guarantee shortage of runs will provide result (5)
ENSUE ENSU[r]E, ‘guaranee’ with the r (‘runs’) removed.
7. Couple caress gently, with an up-and-down movement (3-6)
TWO-STROKE Charade (a parlour game, maybe, but not in the traditional sense) of TWO (‘couple’) + STROKE (‘caress gently’).
10. In person they represented threat to health (12)
HYPERTENSION Anagram (‘represented’) of ‘in person they’.
14. Excitement about a container for apples and pears? (9)
STAIRCASE Envelope (‘about’) of A in STIR (‘excitement’) + CASE (‘container’). Definition: ‘apples and pears’, rhyming slang for stairs.
16. Skill with which I restrict growth of plant (9)
ARTICHOKE Charade of ART (‘skill’) + I + CHOKE (‘restrict growth’). Either of two plants, the globe and Jerusalem artichokes, quite different but both esculent.
18. Pagan woman finally converted (7)
HEATHEN Heather (‘woman’) with its last letter changed (‘finally converted’). Some may object that the change from r to n is not specifically indicated.
19. Fictional native American tours Oregon city (7)
TORONTO Envelope (‘tours’) of OR (‘Oregon’, standard abbreviation) in TONTO (‘Fictional native American’, the companion of the Lone Ranger).
22. Hunks show off how to get large muscles (5)
SLABS Charade of S[how], ‘show’ with how removed (‘off how’) + L (‘large’) + ABS (‘muscles’, the recti abdominis).
24. Shop also stocks gemstones (5)
OPALS Hidden answer ‘ shOP ALSo’.

17 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic N° 593 by Arachne”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Peter.

    A very entertaining puzzle which with one or two little exceptions was clearly clued and about the right level for a Quiptic. I wasn’t too keen on HEATHEN and thought PERSON-TO-PERSON was a little complicated, but other than that there were some fine clues and surfaces. Three across clues were my favourites: OMANI, EURASIA and INERTLY.

    Hi ho, Silver! Away!

  2. JohnR says:

    Excellent blog, Peter, and a fun puzzle,as always from Arachne.

    On 27a PERSON-TO-PERSON, I’ve just been looking back at Auraucaria’s Guardian Cryptic 24346 – he clues it with “… issue for drinkers in Argentinian call … ” (the puzzle has a nice “…-TO-…” theme).

  3. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks PeterO. As you say, an enjoyable puzzle, which took me a little longer than today’s Rufus.

    I liked 7d., which I think refers misleadingly to engines.

    Many good and amusing surfaces. If you think of the origin of the song/poem, 1d. is an &lit.

  4. Robi says:

    Thanks spiderwoman for an entertaining puzzle. I thought this was more enjoyable than today’s Rufus.

    Thanks also to PeterO for a fine blog. I saw the PERON in 27 but missed the SON-TOPERS. I particularly liked TWO-STROKE, TORONTO and OMANI.

  5. Stella Heath says:

    Yes, Robi, I forgot to mention it, OMANI was a good one too, which made me :)

  6. Eileen says:

    And it deserved an extra tick for not being OKAPI. 😉

    Thanks for an enjoyable puzzle, Arachne, and PeterO for the good blog.

  7. Derek Lazenby says:

    Nope, you’re all wrong. It is not a good Quiptic.

    1. It took longer than Rufus and I got stuck on two whereas I finished Rufus.
    2. “an unusual but justifiable anagrind” in other words, by definition it has no place in a Quiptic
    3. I’ve been a baseball fan for nearly 50 years, it is catcher, backstop is an error by ignorant Limeys who think the game derives from Rounders, (actually both games separately derive from an older English game Base-ball, the hyphen being important). The term backstop is used in baseball it is defined as “Backstop is the term used for the screen behind home plate in baseball or softball”
    4. And Mo says it’s dinner time so I’ll stop there!

  8. Robi says:

    Derek @7; I bow to your superior knowledge of baseball. It is, however, in the ODE as: (baseball) a catcher. Also in the free dictionary, viz:
    back·stop (bkstp)
    1. Sports A screen or fence used to prevent a ball from being thrown or hit far out of a playing area, as in baseball.
    2. Baseball A catcher.

    So, I don’t think we can blame the setter for using it in this way.

    ‘Sport’ is in the Chambers Crossword Dictionary as an anagrind.

  9. Derek Lazenby says:

    Robi, nice try, but you are using a UK dictionary, not an American one. It would be the same as one of them calling a soccer goal-keeper a goal-minder. It doesn’t matter what foreign dictionaries perpetuate the mistake (and in this case that is us who are foreign), it is still a mistake. There is no such position as backstop in a baseball team, regardless of what English rounders fans or UK dictionaries think.

    And the taget audience for a Quiptic can be expected to have a copy of the Crossword Dictionary can they? I agree with the validity but, I don’t agree with it’s appropriateness for this audience. The bloggers words say the same, even though he may not have intended that.

  10. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Arachne and PeterO. My better half just returned from three weeks in South Italy including a side trip to Capri and she agrees with the clue. I have been a baseball fan for sixty years and, although rare, the catcher is sometimes referred to as the backstop. LANZAROTE was new to me. I liked TORONTO.

    Getemup Scout!

  11. Derek Lazenby says:

    GP: “the catcher is sometimes referred to as the backstop” who by? I’ve never heard any American say it, nor seen any American write it. If they are any such instances then they are seriously rare. English people say it, but that is ignorance speaking.

    Glad you mentioned Lanzarote. Meant to say before, I usually think of a different Lanzarote, a racehorse!

  12. Martin H says:

    Not a good Quiptic for reason 2 given by Derek, but a far better Cryptic than today’s Rufus.

    As a baseball fan, admittedly of more recent standing than Derek, I quibble slightly with his quibble about ‘backstop’. While I have never heard said ‘backstop’ for ‘catcher’, the term, to my surprise, is apparently legitimate. Among other sources, the glossary of ‘Watching Baseball Smarter’ by Zack Hample – an excellent and beautifully written guide for anyone who wants to understand the game, and definitely written by an American who knows his baseball – gives it as a secondary meaning. A timely clue anyway as Opening Day, the start of the regular season, is this Thursday March 31. Go Giants.

  13. PeterO says:

    Derek – You might try looking at a limey publication such as the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language,which gives catcher as an alternate definition of backstop.
    Robi – thanks for the reference to sport as an anagrind. I wonder if the intention is sport in the sense of play, or as the primarily horticultural sense of a spontaneous mutation – or both.
    I had forgotten about Lanzarote until prompted by this crossword, but I have come across it before as the principal setting for Pedro Almodovar’s film Broken Embraces

  14. EB says:

    RE 9ac – Backstop/Catcher.
    All discussion above about these terms seems to refer to U.S. Baseball; Arachne just used the term “baseball” – there is a British form of baseball played in S. Wales and the Liverpool area of England. It is a popular summer sport and is very competitive. Although there are some similarities with U.S. Baseball there are also many differences.
    In this sport one player stands upright close behind the “batter” and is known as the backstop – usually another player, known as the longstop, is positioned some way behind the backstop to field the ball if the backstop misses it.

    More info here:

  15. Derek Lazenby says:

    For a normal crossword that is a reasonable point. For a Quiptic it comes under the heading of too obscure. I have only a vague memory of that game, i.e. a long time ago, but it isn’t it actually called British Baseball to distinguish it from Baseball which is normally presumed to be the American game. I may be wrong of course.

    I note people refering to “estimable tomes” to defend backstop as not meaning the protective screen, however, I shall watch ESPN America this season waiting for the mentions of backstop as a position. Anyone seriously expect me to hear the term on there?

  16. Martin H says:

    “to defend backstop as not meaning the protective screen”! Where?

  17. Robi says:

    Just in case anyone is still out there. Re Derek @9’s: ‘And the taget audience for a Quiptic can be expected to have a copy of the Crossword Dictionary can they?’ I only started doing the Guardian crosswords last November, so can legitimately be called a beginner. I think anyone in the same situation should get a copy of the Chambers Crossword Dictionary. I find it an essential aid, especially for someone of my age who cannot always think of the appropriate synonyms. It’s a paperback and can be purchased here for about £8.

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