Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic Nº 605 by Arachne

Posted by PeterO on June 20th, 2011


Another Arachne quiptic for me to blog, which suits me very well; her clues are elegant and smoothly surfaced. There are a few general knowledge references which may not be so general, but that’s what Wikipedia is for.

5. Tristram’s bashful and reserved (6)
SHANDY Envelope (‘reserved’) of ‘and’ in SHY (‘bashful’). The definition refers to Laurence Sterne’s novel, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman.
6. English student rejected clumsy embrace (6)
CARESS CAR[el]ESS (‘clumsy’) without (‘rejected’) E L ( ‘English’ ‘student’).
9. Insects devouring chap’s fruit (6)
LICHEE Envelope (‘devouring’) of HE (‘chap’) in LICE (‘insects’). The fruit has various spellings, with lychee perhaps being the most common.


10. China needs Middle Eastern money for stuff (8)
MATERIAL Charade of MATE (‘China’, rhyming slang) + RIAL (‘Middle Eastern currency’, the Iranian rial, for example).
11. Small child’s slide (4)
SKID Charade of S (‘small’) + KID (‘child’).
12. Where you might find Figaro singing American-style? (10)
BARBERSHOP Figaro, in the plays by Beaumarchais, was the Barber of Seville. Barbershop singing is a primarily American style of close harmony.
13. Request hard work (11)
APPLICATION Double definition.
18. Subordinate breathes heavily, seeing knickers (10)
UNDERPANTS Charade of UNDER (‘subordinate’) + PANTS (‘breathes heavily’). Knickers is a word of American origin, deriving from the stories of Washington Irving, who is perhaps best known for Rip van Winkle. He wrote mainly about Dutch immigrants in the Hudson Valley, and one of his characters had the name Knickerbocker, a real family name if the area. Knickerbockers, or knickers, came to mean a Dutchman’s knee-breeches, a usage which is still the primary meaning of the word in the US. The English English meaning of underpants comes from a style of women’s underwear similarly gathered at the knee.
21. Can fade, we hear (4)
PAIL Homophone (‘we hear’) of PALE (‘fade’).
22. Co-ed’s bra displayed black and white stripes (8)
BARCODES Anagram (‘displayed’?) of ‘coeds bra’. I spent a few moments wondering whether brocades have black and white stripes.
23. Uses a metal container for seeds (6)
SESAME Answer hidden (‘container’) in ‘uSES A MEtal’.
24. A queen wearing pink beads (6)
ROSARY Envelope (‘wearing’) of A R (‘a’ ‘queen'; for once not ER) in ROSY (‘pink’).
25. Sport initially tried by Jessica? (6)
TENNIS Charade of T (‘initially Tried’) + ENNIS (‘Jessica’ Ennis, the British track and field athlete; I do not think she ever considered tennis seriously, but I imagine she could have done).
1. Devoid of energy on the beach? (6-2)
WASHED-UP Definition and cryptic definition, or double definition or whatever; something found on the beach may well be washed up by the tide.
2. Braved storms fearlessly, perhaps (6)
ADVERB Anagram (‘storms’) of ‘braved’. ‘Fearlessly’ sure is an example of an adverb.
3. Scottish potatoes finally rot, being of poorest quality (8)
TATTIEST Charade of TATTIES (‘Scottish potatoes’) + T (‘finally roT‘).
4. Mr O’Connor’s nice house? (3,3)
DES RES A reference to Des O’Connor, the British television personality and singer; and the estate agents’ abbreviation for desirable residence.
5. Viscous disgusting stuff in pigpen (6)
STICKY Envelope of ICK (‘disgusting stuff’) in STY (‘pigpen’) . I would not dwell too long on the surface of this clue, if I were you.
7. Time to add spice (6)
SEASON Double definition.
8. Abroad I misname car “automobile”, for example (11)
AMERICANISM Anagram (‘abroad’) of ‘I misname car’, and a neat &lit definition, even if  ‘misname’ might be a little opinionated.
14. Beautifully clear, fresh April day (8)
LAPIDARY Anagram (‘fresh’) of ‘April day’.
15. Being against work, putting on airs (8)
OPPOSING Charade of OP (‘work’) + POSING (‘putting on airs’).
16. Plain dishonest? (6)
UNFAIR Definition Double definition, with FAIR in the sense of comely as well as equitable.
17. In general it must be a kind of test (6)
LITMUS Hidden answer in ‘generaL IT MUSt’.
19. Get rid of tax (6)
EXCISE Double definition.
20. US Congress supporting end to unfairness in old English county (6)
SUSSEX Charade of S (‘end to urfairnesS‘) + (‘supporting’) ‘US’ + SEX (‘congress'; misleading upper case). ‘Old’ because the county is now divided administratively into East Sussex and West Sussex.

10 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic Nº 605 by Arachne”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, Peter.

    Arachne’s Quiptic offerings are usually enjoyable, and this was no exception. Just got held up on a couple: I too was trying to make BROCADES work, and I struggled with CARESS. The latter is slightly flawed, I think, since there’s no real indicator that you have to remove the EL from CARELESS. Would ‘Clumsy English student rejected embrace’ have worked better?

    I liked the nicely hidden SESAME and ADVERB today.

  2. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks PeterO, though I’m afraid you might like to edit, as you have a few slips – not just typos. No doubt you were in a hurry to post the blog :)

    I plumped for “brocades” at first, too, and annoyingly gave up on the NE corner. For some reason, I was unable to see the well-known dd in 7d, and I’m not familiar with the expression DES-RES – in fact, I find it quite obnoxious; it doesn’t sound in the least desirable IMO. I read 6ac wrongly, expecting to find ‘el’ reversed in the answer, rather than excluded :(

    Maybe it’s Monday morning syndrome, or the fact that I have things to do today. It was an enjoyable puzzle, with a few smiles, as usual with the Spider Woman, my thanks to her.

    Just one quibble – I wouldn’t quite equate UNFAIR and ‘dishonest’

  3. PeterO says:

    K’s D

    I agree with you about 6A – the parts are all there, but your organisation points up the wordplay more clearly, and offers at least a good surface. However, I do think Arachne’s version works, read as “(With) English student rejected, clumsy (is) embrace”.


    Looking back over the blog, I only spot a couple of typos, which is about par for the course. Anyway, in 16D, what is a “definition definition” but a double definition? It’s just that I cannot claim that was quite what I intended to write (or, at least, I can, but you might feel a touch of scepticism). I understand what you mean about unfair/dishonest, but Chambers, for example, does define UNFAIR as:

    inequitable, unjust; involving deception or fraud and leading to undue advantage over business rivals; not fair, ugly.

    That would seem to make unfair business practices definitely dishonest.

  4. PeterO says:

    Make that “at least as good a surface”.

  5. Robi says:

    Thanks PeterO; marginally more difficult than today’s Rufus.

    I’m not sure about LAPIDARY=beautifully clear; Chambers gives polished. Am I missing something?

  6. crosser says:

    I was a bit doubtful about LAPIDARY but decided it was OK because it means “concise”, which I suppose could mean “clearly expresed”.

  7. PeterO says:

    I had not looked up LAPIDARY before Robi brought up the question, and then I could not find a really definitive answer. The word originally referred to gem cutting, which is a good start for “beautifully clear”; but I assume the meaning is the metaphorical one, describing writing style. There seem to be a variety of opinions as to just what style it describes – suitable for engraving, concise, stylish, crisp, accurate, lucid… “Beautifully clear” would thus be in the right general area, but I could not locate a source which nailed this definition. Perhaps the nearest is, in the section Secondary Meanings.

  8. Ethel says:

    I have no idea what china could rhyme with that means mate or am I misunderstanding? I don’t really know what a charade is in a cryptic.
    While I’ve got your attention,what is this dickey that comes into so many clues?

  9. PeterO says:

    Hello Ethel

    In rhyming slang, the word that actually rhymes is frequently dropped; in this case it is china plate/mate. See, for example,
    A charade is a type of cryptic clue in which the answer is divided into parts, with each part being indicated in the clue by a definition. Thus in 10A the answer MATERIAL id divided into MATE and RIAL. The part definitions are often strung together, just as the parts are strung together to form the answer, but in this case there is included the indication that MATE ‘needs’ RIAL to form MATERIAL.
    Dickey, or more commonly dicky, does not come up in this crossword, but as it means in poor condition or defective, it is often used to indicate an anagram. Sometimes the surface of the clue – that is, the meaning you would take it if you did not treat it as cryptic – suggests the childish name for a bird. Dicky-bird, incidentally, is rhyming slang for word.

  10. Ethel says:

    Thanks so much, Peter. I’ll copy your post and leave it on my desktop so I can remember all its parts, which you strung together to form the answer to my question.

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