Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 604/Nutmeg

Posted by Pierre on June 13th, 2011


I don’t rightly know what to make of this one.  There were some good clues all right, but there were some doubtful definitions as well, in my opinion.  And a Grauniad enumeration error.  Any road up, see what you think.

dd  double definition
cd  cryptic definition
(xxxx)*  anagram
anagrind = anagram indicator



Leaves here with a very small computer
A cd.  You would find leaves at the top of a palm tree and a palmtop is a handheld PC.  My last one in.

Deplored crude modern setting for university
An insertion of U for university in (MODERN)*  ‘Crude’ is the anagrind and ‘setting’ is the insertion indicator.

9,7  What jewel thieves do on course to aim for perfect result
A kind of cd/dd.  Jewel thieves might ‘turn’ their diamonds on a (presumably training) course; the definition is ‘to aim for a perfect result’.  Which is not what the expression means, in my opinion; for me it’s more to do with the thoroughness of the search.  Edit: Thomas has the correct parsing for this at comment no 11, for which thanks.

10  Native in Turkey’s elected thus
A charade of IN, TR for Turkey, IN for elected, and SIC, the Latin word for thus.  Sic transit gloria and all that.  It’s also ultimately the root of the word ‘si’ for ‘yes’ in a number of Romance languages, but you’ll know it best from its use when a writer wants to quote something that has a spelling or grammatical mistake in it, when it will appear in parentheses after the word in question.

11  Spare no expense – but path to house needs repair
(BUT PATH TO HOUSE)*  The anagrind is ‘needs repair’.

13  Disaster when humour backfires
A reversal (‘backfires’) of MOOD.

14  Obscene phone call’s a bloomer
A charade of BLUE and BELL.  ‘Bloomer’ is often used to indicate a flower.

17  Orders staff appointments
A charade of MAN and DATES.

18  Bird showing speed
The stocky wader is also a term for speed at sea.  A dd.

21  Book of star signs?
A cd.

23  Lone chap unexpectedly on line in attempt to communicate
(LONE CHAP L)*  L for line is also common.  The anagrind is ‘unexpectedly’.

24  Grab end of toboggan in winter sports event
An insertion of N (end of toboggaN) in LUGE.  Nice surface, but again for me, LUNGE and GRAB are not the same thing.

25  Deprived City area regularly delays nurse
Hmmm.  Is the East End (of London) still deprived?  I’m a northern lad, so I can’t say.  It’s EAS (the even letters of dElAyS) and TEND for nurse.  The enumeration is given as (7), but it should surely be (3,4).  (4,3 in fact – thanks to Pelham Barton). You need to cross the channel to Belgium to have it as one word: OOSTENDE (from the Dutch OOST, East, and EINDE, end).

26  Vainly crossing motorway after time, wanting spirit
T for time and an insertion of MI for the M1 motorway in IDLY.  ‘Wanting spirit’ is the definition.



European election broadcast
Clever concise cluing.  It’s a homophone clue: POLE and POLL for election sound the same; ‘broadcast’ is the homophone indicator.

Old world meeting for races covering about three miles
The intergovernmental organisation that was created at the end of WW1.  A LEAGUE is around three miles, the distance that a person could walk in one hour, and ‘races’ are NATIONS.  I think the picture that Nutmeg’s trying to paint is lots of different peoples covering a distance of three miles.

Bear with canine appearance?
I don’t see this.  ‘Canine appearance’ is TEETHE, but where’s the definition?  ‘Bear’ doesn’t mean TEETHE.

Awkward situation, but parking’s easy
A charade of P for Parking and LIGHT.

Postpone dance after union’s withdrawn from opening
A charade of MO[U]TH and BALL for dance.  Nutmeg’s asking you to withdraw the U for union from MOUTH, an opening.

Train due for overhaul had a leak
(TRAIN DUE)*  Brilliant.  ‘Overhaul’ is the anagrind.

Strike involving Catholic all-rounder on track
An insertion (‘involving’) of CATH in DELETE, for strike (out).

12  Prominent part of male anatomy’s very soft in water
Puhleese!  What is it with female setters and their obsession with the male body?  We’ve got brains as well you know.  A cracking clue: it’s an insertion of PP for musically very soft, in ADAM’S ALE, a term for water.  Presumably alluding to the fact that although the Garden of Eden was bounteous, breweries hadn’t been invented back then.

15  Frenchman joining crew?  Rot!
A charade of GANG for crew and RENÉ (meaning ‘reborn’) for your typical Frenchman (he’s friends with Scotsman IAN and Irishman PADDY).

16  Ring an upper-class lady up for financial assistance
Terrific surface.  It’s a reversal of DIAL A GEL.  Since it’s a down clue, ‘up’ is the reversal indicator.  GEL is a nod to the fact that people like the Queen would pronounce ‘girl’ as ‘gel’.  Her consort’s just announced that now he’s ninety he’ll be stepping back from public duties.  I for one have not been reaching for tissues to wipe away the lachrymation.

19  Grant supporting tea house in the Alps
A charade of CHA for tea and LET for grant.  Again, the ‘supporting’ part of the clue works because it’s a down clue.

20  High-level bid around middle of slow obstacle race
Another clue I enjoyed.  It’s SLAM around LO: the first part is referring to the bridge term; the second part is the middle two letters of sLOw.

22  Girl band’s drink reduced in volume?
I wasn’t enamoured of this one.  Mrs Google says there is such a thing as a Y-band, but I think it’s referring to the term a BEVY of beauties.  The definition is ‘drink reduced in volume’, referencing the slang word BEVY, as in ‘let’s have a few bevvies tonight’.  My trouble with this is that I’d always spell this word for ‘beverage’ BEVVY.  The SOED supports the alternative spelling; Collins doesn’t.  Edit: Andrew and Eileen have explained this properly in the first two comments.  Merci!

Many thanks to Nutmeg for the puzzle, and especially for making me laugh at 12 down.

13 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 604/Nutmeg”

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks Pierre. I don’t understand your qualms about 22dn – I read it as drink = BEVVY “reduced in volume”, i.e. less one V, giving BEVY = group (=band) of girls.

  2. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for the amusing and entertaining blog, Pierre!

    “My trouble with this is that I’d always spell this word for ‘beverage’ BEVVY.”

    So would I – and I think that’s what ‘reduced in volume’ means. :-)

  3. Eileen says:

    Sorry, Andrew – spent too long typing, as usual!

  4. Pierre says:

    Thanks, both. I was fixated on reducing ‘beverage’ to ‘bevvy’.

  5. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Pierre. I share your qualms about some of the definitions, and actually found this quite a bit harder than today’s Rufus.

    I did laugh a 12d though, and there were some great clues here. IMO a bit tough for a quiptic.

    Thanks Nutmeg.

  6. canalonly says:

    i think bearing with canine appearance is teething so the whole clue is the definition

  7. Pierre says:

    Thanks, canalonly. I had the same thought, but then decided against that because you bare your teeth, not bear them. But on reflection, I think you’re right – it’s an &lit/all-in-one clue. Perhaps a bit tricky for a Quiptic, but I guess if you’re learning, then you’ll need to get used to all the clue types eventually.

  8. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Pierre for this.
    I more or less agree with canalonly @6 that the whole clue at 3dn gives the definition. I cannot see any other reading of it, so would call it a cryptic definition not an “& lit”.
    I think you have a typing error in 25ac: should not the enumeration be (4,3)?
    Finally a minor point about 23ac which to me works more naturally as (LONE CHAP)* plus L.

  9. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks to Nutmeg and Pierre. Much more difficult for me than today’s Rufus but I’m not complaining. Learned a new word – bevvy and a new phrase at 11ac. Still not sure I understand TEETHE but that’s ok. Thought 5d was quite clever.


  10. Robi says:

    Much more difficult than today’s Rufus and not really appropriate for a Quiptic. I had to resort to a word search to get GANGRENE.

    Thanks Pierre; I also failed on the parsing of LEGAL AID – I thought the upper-class young lady was DI again. I also noticed at the end that I had failed to complete BEVY.

    I thought AUTOGRAPH ALBUM was a good clue; I was misled by thinking it must have been astro- something at first.

  11. Thomas99 says:

    9,7 – I think “on course” supplies “unturned”. “Leave no stone” is what the jewel thieves do. I think it’s a rather sophisticated clue for a Quiptic. The definition is a bit remote but the wordplay left no doubt so I didn’t mind

    3d – I agree it’s an &lit – putting up with the experience of one’s teeth appearing

  12. Pierre says:

    Thanks, Thomas, you’re right about LEAVE NO STONE UNTURNED. I still don’t like the definition, though. I’ll amend the blog. My recent Quiptic blogs seem to have been more edit than blog – either my solving’s going downhill or there have been some tougher ones lately.

  13. Derek Lazenby says:

    Yeah, took ages for all the above reasons.

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