Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 610 / Nutmeg

Posted by Big Dave on July 25th, 2011

Big Dave.

I have managed to avoid reviewing earlier Quiptics by Nutmeg.  This was far too difficult for a supposedly easy puzzle and I derived very little pleasure from solving it.

I’m sure that some of you will disagree and look forward to your comments.

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(egina).


1a Drink delivered to prison almost enough to get by (6)
QUORUM – put an alcoholic drink after most of QUO(D), a 17th century word for a prison, to get enough people to make the proceedings of a meeting valid

5a Began being snooty about queen (6,2)
STRUCK UP – to get a phrasal verb meaning began, as in “struck up the band”, put a word meaning being snooty around the abbreviation of R(egina) / Queen

9a Ceremonial wedding vow socially acceptable in centre of Paris (8)
POMPIDOU – a charade of ceremonial, as a noun, a wedding vow and the one-letter term for socially acceptable so beloved of crossword setters gives a centre in Paris

10a Disk jockey touring former province returned under spell (6)
JINXED – put the abbreviation of disk jockey around (touring) a former partner and a province of the UK then reverse the lot (returned) to get a word meaning under a spell

11a, 21d Ruin of Italy offering best maxim for the more mature (4,6,2,5)
LIFE BEGINS AT FORTY – an anagram (ruin) of ITALY OFFERING BEST gives this maxim for the more mature

13a Vehicle reversing at side (4)
TAXI – this vehicle is created by reversing AT and then adding the Roman numerals for the number of players in a football / cricket side or team – the same device is used in 19 down

14a What happens when I bump car, family’s last one (8)
IDENTITY – a charade of “what happens when I bump car” (1,4,2) and the last letter of family gives a word meaning individuality or ego

17a Gift of iron band (8)
OFFERING – this gift is a charade – OF, from the clue, the chemical symbol for iron and a band worn on the finger

18a Spots walking stick Conservative misplaced (4)
ACNE – this skin condition characterized by red spots is created by starting with a stick and moving (misplaced) the C(onservative) along one position

20a More than one trial ends with reportedly dodgy sect in custody (12)
DIFFICULTIES – to get these trials or problems start with a verb meaning ends or lapses and then insert (in custody) IFFI, a dodgy homophone of iffy / dodgy and a sect

23a Disturb pedants backing without direction (4,2)
STIR UP – to get this phrasal verb meaning to disturb reverse (backing) some pedants and then remove one of the S(outh)s (without direction) – pedants would point out that there is no indication as to which of the two “S”s is to be removed!

24a Finding fault with grave (8)
CRITICAL – a double definition

25a Horses bearing angels oddly shed appearance of age (8)
GREYNESS – put some horses around (bearing) ANGELS without the odd letters (oddly shed) to get an appearance of age

26a Horse bearing wife is bathed in sweat (6)
STEWED – put this horse around (bearing, for the second time in two clues) W(ife) to get an adjective meaning bathed in sweat


2d In contact with peacekeepers holding up work (4)
UPON – a word meaning in contact with is created by putting the United Nations (peacekeepers) around a short word for a musical work reversed (holding up)

3d Super-vile, possibly (9)
REPULSIVE – to get the definition for this anagram (possibly) of SUPER-VILE, read the whole clue again – this type of clue is known in crossword circles as an &lit / and literally so

4d I’m sent back to remove man in field (3-3)
MID-OFF – reverse (sent back) I’M and add a word meaning to remove, one’s cap for example, to get a man in the cricket field

5d Sun going down stops many a trip here (9,6)
STUMBLING BLOCKS – a charade of S(un), going down or falling and stops or prevents gives these obstacles

6d Danced again, provided with fresh gear (8)
REJIGGED – what could mean danced again actually means provided with fresh gear or re-equipped

7d Clergyman with tin leg (5)
CANON – this clergyman is a charade of a tin and the leg side in cricket

8d Simple force put into tuning when time’s lacking (10)
UNEXACTING – an adjective meaning simple is created by putting a verb meaning to force inside (T)UNING without the T (Time’s lacking)

12d Leah’s first unorthodox family member (4-6)
HALF-SISTER – an anagram (unorthodox) of LEAH’S FIRST gives a family member

15d Come to light part of church after one leaves guide (9)
TRANSPIRE – a verb meaning to come to light is created by putting a part of a church after a word meaning to guide or teach from which the Roman numeral for one has been dropped (one leaves)

16d Devotee of self-restraint dropping in (8)
DISCIPLE – to get this devotee, perhaps one that followed Jesus, start with a word meaning self-restraint and then drop the IN

19d Team tucking into food that’s baked for little people (6)
PIXIES – put this numeriacal representation of a team or side inside Desperate Dan’s favourite food to get these little people

21d See 11a

22d Stagger times for listeners (4)
DAZE – a word meaning to stagger sounds like (for listeners) DAYS / times

12 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 610 / Nutmeg”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Dave this was rather tough for a Quiptic.

    Like today’s Cryptic by Brendan.

    It’s been a very bad day altogether because I’ve just received the renewal notice for my car insurance.

    Why do bad things always come in threes?

  2. Prolixic says:

    I think that Nutmeg overestimated the difficulty for this puzzle: I found it harder than Brendan’s crossword today. I liked 14a and 3d. Thanks to the setter and to BD for the review.

  3. Stella says:

    Thanks BD. I agree this was a tough one, though not as much as today’s Brendan.

    Hi Prolixic, don’t you mean “underestimated”?

  4. Judy says:

    Thanks for the solutions – I too thought it was a bit hard for beginners, but noticed it’s a pangram – perhaps the problems of getting all the letters has made some of the clues a bit awkward. I’m never sure what’s the point of pangrams etc – unless you are nudged in that direction, you don’t notice them. I think I missed all such devices for many years until I started visiting this site.

  5. crypticsue says:

    I am pleased to learn that others found this tough too Definitely not Quiptic level.

  6. Robi says:

    Thanks Nutmeg; yes, a bit difficult for a Quiptic, but much easier than Brendan’s offering today, I thought.

    Thanks Big Dave; last one in was DAZE, which I suppose is used in the sense that “I was dazed/staggered to find out that…..” I liked the PIXIES.

  7. Big Dave says:

    Having seen the comments about Brendan’s puzzle I had a go at it and didn’t find it to be as difficult as some have suggested.

  8. Stella says:

    No, Dave, but not what’s expected for a Monday :)

  9. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Nutmeg and Big Dave. Agree that this one was harder than today’s Brendan but enjoyed it nonetheless. Tried to make MID-LEG work at 4dn for a while. Made a hash of 25ac. Didn’t know that GREYS were horses and tried to shed the odd numbered letters of ANGELS for a while although I knew the answer had to be GREYNESS.


  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Dave. Agree with most of what’s been said – tough for an entry-level puzzle. I enjoyed it though.

    Shouldn’t 10ac be Disc Jockey in the clue? I thought the current convention was to use DISC for records that are placed on the turntable and other round things; but DISK for things that spin in your computer?

  11. Derek Lazenby says:

    I did Brendan first. Pretty tough for me. But at least I had a few in the grid after reading all the clues once. With this one I still had an empty grid! Breaking for a few pints helped! Definitely not a Quiptic.

  12. otter says:

    I’m glad others found this tough. I’m usually attempting (and sometimes succeeding) to solve the cryptics, and come to the quiptic for a bit of light relief, especially if I’ve been beaten by the cryptic. I found this a lot tougher than many recent cryptics.

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