Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 616 / Moley

Posted by Pierre on September 5th, 2011


Apologies, a bit late on parade today.  I don’t recall having had a Moley to blog for a while, but I always enjoy her Quiptics, and this was no exception.  I’ve got a couple of niggles, but see what you think.

The other thing I noticed (more while writing the blog than solving the puzzle, to be fair) was that there was a surfeit of anagrams today.  But I’m not going to be critical about that, because I think in an entry-level crossword, a few Easy Annies allow you to get a foothold in the puzzle, which then encourages you to crack on with the rest.


cd  cryptic definition
dd  double definition
(xxxx)*  anagram
anagrind = anagram indicator
[x]  letter(s) removed


1 One last doctor in a political dynasty
A charade of I for ‘one’ after MEDIC for ‘doctor’ gives you the Italian dynasty.  They founded the Medici Bank, which was responsible for introducing double-entry bookkeeping, I discovered this morning.  You don’t learn that kind of stuff doing sudokos, do you?

5 Pundit’s malty hop compound
(MALTY HOP)*  ‘Compound’ is the anagrind, but for me a POLYMATH is someone who has wide-ranging knowledge, whereas a ‘pundit’ is someone who chunters on about football on Match of the Day, demonstrating a complete lack of wide-ranging knowledge.

9 Neckwear to top, on reflection, chef’s basic requirement
A charade of STOCK and TOP reversed.  I couldn’t see the STOCK bit for a while, but it’s referring (I think) to what most people would call STOCKS, the old punishment where the frame was clamped around your neck.  The SOED gives the singular, but marks it as ‘rare’.

10 More obedient, displaced marketeer’s lost art
(MKEEER)*  Moley’s asking you to take the ART out of MARKETEER and then use that as the anagram fodder.  ‘Displaced’ is the anagrind.

11 Plays music to back son, wife and former student
A reversal (‘back’) of S, W and OB for ‘old boy’, a former student.

12 Posed at university to share the maximum concentration
A charade of SAT, U and RATION.

13 Nasty burn that is recalled somewhere on Borneo
The sovereign state on the island of Borneo is a charade of (BURN)* and IE (id est, ‘that is’) reversed.  ‘Nasty’ is the anagrind.

14 Security items pack sold irregularly
(PACK SOLD)*  ‘Irregularly’ is the anagrind.

16 Epicure in rough sea takes the test? No way!
Probably the toughest clue.  A word for someone who enjoys the finer things in life is a charade of (SEA)*, THE and TE[ST].  The ‘No way!’ part of the clue is inviting you to take ST for ‘street’ or ‘way’ out of TEST.

19 All join in exclamation of surprise and revel in it!
An insertion of ALL in WOW!

20 First-class porridge cooked for animal
You need to supply AI for ‘first class’ and then make the anagram fodder with ‘porridge’.  ‘Cooked’ is the anagrind.  The little critter is too cute for his own good.

22 Five lie in assembly — that’s abominable!
(V LIE)*  I hope I’m not the only one who messed up here by first entering EVIL.  ‘In assembly’ is the anagrind.

23 Firm gets her point — stick together!
A charade of CO, HER and E for East, a point of the compass.

24 Romantic music in shop yard, perhaps
(SHOP YARD)*  ‘Perhaps’ is the anagrind.

25 States split by Utah’s laws
An insertion of UT, the abbreviation for Utah, in STATES.

26 Paint handle held by the Spanish
An insertion of NAME in EL, one of the definite articles in Spanish.  ‘Handle’ is an informal word for ‘name': the setter’s handle here is Moley.


2 Get jealous: feed on second person’s courage until it’s gone
A charade to start us on the down clues: EAT for ‘feed’ (are these synonyms?); YOUR for the grammatical term ‘second person'; HEART for ‘courage'; and OUT for ‘gone’.

3 Ancient people imprisoned in Dublin Castle
My favourite surface today.  The solution is hidden in DublIN CAStle.

4 I’m tense and motionless

A charade of IM and PASSIVE, but I’m afraid the clue is faulty.  When referring to verbs, PASSIVE is not a ‘tense'; together with ‘active’ it’s a voice.  ‘The dog bit the man’ (active voice).  ‘The man was bitten by the dog’ (passive voice).  Tense refers to when the action of the verb occurred.  ‘The dog bites the man’ (present).  ‘The dog bit the man’ (past).  Here endeth the grammar lesson.

5 Mines surface where vehicles park
Another one I especially liked.  It’s a dd, with PIT’S TOP for ‘mine’s surface’.

6 Comparatively disabled, poor earl married
(EARL M)*  ‘Poor’ is the anagrind.

7 Master nothing new, yet become a virtuoso
Come to think of it, I liked this one as well.  It’s (MASTER O)* and ‘new’ is the anagrind.

8 Growth of learning in the Bible
A cd.  The answer comes from Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament, and refers to the tree from which Eve took the forbidden fruit and then encouraged Adam to do the same, resulting in God banishing them both from the Garden of Eden.  And we all know what happened afterwards.  That’s women for you …

15 Relegate dog warden, perhaps
(DOG WARDEN)*  ‘Perhaps’ is the anagrind.

17 Make effort, say, to damage a weapon
A charade of TRI (a homophone of TRY) and DENT for ‘damage’.  ‘Say’ is the homophone indicator.

18 Tolerates the final ruse, after a fashion
Another charade of END for ‘final’ and (RUSE)*  ‘After a fashion’ is the anagrind.

21 Incompetent at home with ill-treated pet
Put IN for ‘at home’ in front of (PET)* to get a synonym for ‘incompetent’.  ‘Ill-treated’ is the anagrind.

22 Very interesting: soft texture initially a prospect
The first letters (‘initially’) of Very interesting soft texture, and A.

A good Quiptic from Moley in my opinion, which I think newer solvers could grapple with and enjoy finishing.

6 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 616 / Moley”

  1. Pelham Barton says:

    Pierre: I don’t normally do the Guardian crosswords any more, but was tempted to read your blog by the preamble.

    9 ac: among the meanings of stock is “a stiff band worn as a cravat, often fastened with a buckle at the back” (Chambers 1998, p. 1626). Possibly a bit obscure, but I think more plausible than the old form of punishment.

  2. Otherstuff says:

    That is a much more satisfactory stock Pelham Barton, in Collins Concise 1999 “a long usually white neckcloth wrapped around the neck, worn in the 18th century and as part of modern riding dress”

  3. Jan says:

    Thank you, Pierre, especially for the grammar lesson (active/passive). Despite attending a Grammar School the only grammar we learned was in French lessons!

    I like your interpretation of stock but I immediately thought of riding outfits …

    … “A band of white material tied like a cravat and worn as a part of formal horse-riding dress.” (Wiki)

    … as Pelham Barton says.

  4. Pierre says:

    Thanks, all.

    Your definition of ‘stock’ makes much more sense. Bit obscure for a Quiptic? Although the answer couldn’t be much else, I suppose.

  5. Derek Lazenby says:

    Stock is not an obsolete term and would be familiar to anyone with who knows about formal riding attire. That could come from literary sources as well as being a rider, so show jumping, eventing, hunting, racing or any of the myriad works which reference them. Never wore one myself, despite being a rider, as I never did anything formal.

  6. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks to all for the various explanations of “stock”, to Pierre for his insightful blog, and to Moley for an enjoyable puzzle.

    Jan’s comment amused me, as I was in the same situation. I know French, German and Spanish grammar, from which I was able to extrapolate what I needed to teach English as a foreign language :)

    So, I balked at 4d. just as you did, but decided that most English-educated people don’t know what “voice” is, grammatically speaking, any more than they would know “mood”, but rather consider anything describing verb forms as “tense”, which is very useful for the crossword setter 😀

    I also agree with your doubts about “polymath” – but 7d is a great clue!

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