Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 623 Pan

Posted by scchua on October 24th, 2011


A straightforward Quiptic, nicely pitched.  The key to a quick solve are the 4 long answers horizontally and vertically around the centre.  One of them was a new word to me, though the examples of what it stands for are quite familiar.  I liked the surface of 18A, 2D, 16D, 17D, and 18D, the latter 3 with an adult content (as they say).  Thanks Pan.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  There are hidden connections in 2 of the picture sets.


1 Alienate corrupt sergeant (8)

ESTRANGEAnagram of(corrupt) SERGEANT

5 Worship, hoping to drown such music? (3,3)

HIP HOPHidden in(to drown) worsHIP HOPing

Answer:  Aka rap music

9 Primate hard at work catching hard black sailor (8)

BUSHBABY :  BUSY(hard at work) containing(catching) [H(hard) B(black) AB(able-bodied seaman,sailor)] 

Answer:  Nocturnal (which explains their large eyes and ears) arboreal primate found in Africa south of the Sahara


10 Animal claiming a right to be more treasured (6)

DEARER :  DEER(animal) containing(claiming) [A R(right)]

12 That girl meeting the Queen is thin (5)

SHEER :  SHE(pronoun for “that girl”) plus(meeting) ER(Elizabeth Regina,the Queen)

13 Not most knowledgeable, however (9)

LEASTWISE :  LEAST(not most, as an understatement of the littlest) WISE(in the sense of “being wise to”,have knowledge of,knowledgeable, and not necessarily having wisdom)

Answer:  I found it quite difficult to illustrate the sense in which the answer and defn. could be used inter-changeably.  This is the best I can do:  “We have not yet won; however/leastwise, we shall keep on trying.”  The meaning is “at any rate”, “in spite of that”

14 Deal with worrying satanic plant (12)

TRADESCANTIA :  TRADE(deal with,transact) plus(with) anagram of(worrying) SATANIC

Answer:  Given by wordplay/checking letters, a new word for me, meaning the genus of widely cultivated (and familiar) (house)plants with striped variegated leaves, aka spiderworts, and including the “wandering Jew”.


18 Chief to tease Greer struggling with piece of kitchen equipment (6,6)

CHEESE GRATER :  CH(chief) plus(to) anagram of(struggling) TEASE GREERIronic surface of the feminist Germaine in the kitchen, the very place that symbolises the inequality of the sexes.

21 Charge for a water pipe by branch of a river in Australia (9)

BILLABONG :  BILL(noun or verb, of charge,invoice) plus(for) A BONG(a type of water pipe, like a hookah, for smoking drugs, especially marijuana)

Answer:  A stretch of water, like a creek, where you might meet the ghost of a jolly swagman.

Sandy Creek Billabong in Australia.   mermaid bong

23 Journey to get last bit of ungulate’s offal (5)

TRIPE :  TRIP(journey) plus(to get) E(last letter,bit ofungulate”)

24 Novelist, say, taking gold for “God” (6)

AUTHOR :  AU(from Latin, aurum, symbol for the element, gold, in chemistry) plus(for) THOR(hammer-wielding Scandinavian god of thunder – and rain and farming)

25 German government put in control after street fight (8)

STRUGGLE :  {G(German) G(government) contained in(put in) RULE(control,reign)} placed after(after) ST(street)

26 Bash against Director General and setter, reversing in small electric car (6)

DODGEM :  DO(a function like 26 Nov in Derby,party,bash) plus(against) DG(Director General) plus(and) reversal of(reversing) ME(pronoun for the setter of this crossword)

27 Skint and embarrassed, traded in goods for commission (8)

BROKERED :  BROKE(having no money,skint) RED(colour of one’s face when embarrassed)

Answer:  Not strictly trading, but more facilitating trade in goods, by getting together buyers and sellers and receiving a commission for one’s efforts.


1 Proudly raise letter to gaffer (6)

EMBOSS :  EM(the letter “m”) BOSS(the foreman or overseer, especially of a gang of manual labourers refered to as the “gaffer” – the word was originally a contraction of “godfather”, which word is now also synonymous with a “boss” in the underworld)

Answer:   “Proudly” could be here to lend emphasis, as “proud” as an adjective already means projecting or protruding above the surrounding area, ie. raised.  Otherwise, there are two (one too many?) defining words here.


2 Check tip of electrode on top of sperm-producing glands (6)

TESTES :  TEST(check,to confirm or explore) E(first, or last letter,tip ofelectrode) placed before(on) S(first letter,top ofsperm” – the word doing double duty in wordplay and defn).  I don’t know what to make of the surface – some form of sterilisation procedure? :-)

Answer:  The glands in your family jewels.


3 Sperm whales’ innards may contain this novelist pierced by ice floating in sea and river (9)

AMBERGRIS :  AMIS(novelist Kingsley or son Martin) containing(pierced by) [BERG(ice floating in sea) R(river)] 

Answer:  Secretion from the sperm whales’ intestine,innards .  After aging, it becomes hard and marbled grey, hence it name from Latin for grey amber.  It also turns from being foul-smelling to something that is used in perfumery.

4 Go to get bishop, English bloke and god confused by unintelligible jargon (12)

GOBBLEDEGOOKGO plus(to get) B(bishop, as in chess notation) anagram of(confused) [E(English) BLOKE + GOD]

6 Disinclined to act in liner tragedy (5)

INERTHidden in(in) lINER Tragedy

7 Musicians‘ rare piano is covered by tiles (8)

HARPISTS :  [R(abbrev. for rare, what the waiter writes to indicate how your steak is to be done) P(piano, musical instruction) IS] contained in(covered by) HATS(high silk hats,tiles)

8 Man pares freshly made cheese (8)

PARMESANAnagram of(freshly made) MAN PARES

Answer:  Trademarked name for the type of cheese produced in a specified area in Italy (including that around Parma), under the control of an authorised agency.  What you get on your table at Pizza Hut is probably not it.

11 Charge for chap’s expression of amusement? (12)

MANSLAUGHTER :  MAN’S(chap’s) LAUGHTER(expression of amusement)

Answer:  An example,? of the charge that one might face in a court of law.

15 Gobsmacked to get a point before rugby free-for-all (9)

AWESTRUCKA WEST(compass point) plus(before) RUCK(the free-for-all in rugby where players form a scrum over the ball when it is on the ground, each team trying to win it, and pushing back their opponents.

16 Sheath for poet following evidence of the pox? (8)

SCABBARD :  BARD(poet, eg. Shakespeare) placed after(following) SCAB(encrustation over a healing pustule,evidence of having suffered a disease like smallpox or chickenpox, or even worse).  The poet should have been advised that wearing a sheath in the first place would have prevented the pox.

17 Collapsed prostrate during action (8)

DEFLATED :  FLAT(as in flat on the ground,prostrate) contained in(during) DEED(an act, or action).  Is there something here about inflatable dolls and action?

19 Hang about in ladies’ underwear that is not visible (6)

LINGER :  “Lingerie”,ladies’ underwear minus(not visible) “ie”,that is,id est.  Amusing image of a closet cross-dresser.

20 Fed up with death in shelter (6)

DEFENDReversal of(up, in a down clue) FED plus(with) END(the end,death)

22 Make amends an hour after midnight (5)

ATONE :  AT ONE a.m.(the time an hour after midnight).  Better late than never?


9 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 623 Pan”

  1. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks for your amusing commentaries, scchua. I think for once I’ve seen the significance of your photos depicting “testes” – bearing witness or testimony; the Old Testament, perhaps?

    I found this slightly tougher than Rufus today. Contrary to your experience, the long answers held me up a little, but I got there in the end, and even 14ac was vaguely familiar.

    Thanks for the work-out, Pan.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, scchua.

    Mostly straightforward, although struggled to get going. TRADESCANTIA and AMBERGRIS were new to me, but always good to learn some unfamiliar words.

    Like you, smiled at CHEESE GRATER, and also liked DEFEND.

    Thanks to Pan.

  3. Thomas99 says:

    K’s Dad-
    Ambergris (or at least its meaning) was almost new to me, but luckily it was in the Guardian on Saturday – one of those Q&A articles with Heston Blumenthal. Apparently it’s the most expensive ingredient he’s ever used. And the Quiptic is nominally part of the Guardian so fair enough…

  4. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Pan and scchua. To piggyback off Stella’s comments re TESTES: there is Marlene Dietrich from Witness for the Prosecution and Harrison Ford from Witness.
    Enjoyed the puzzle.


  5. grandpuzzler says:

    Back again. Regarding 1d EMBOSS: Peter Lorre from the movie M and Grace Kelly and Ray Milland from the movie Dial M for Murder.


  6. scchua says:

    Hi grandpuzzler, yes, you’ve done it again, and stella, glad you’ve broken your duck :-).

    TESTES: The singular noun is apparently a special usage of the Latin testis, to witness, in this case witness to one’s virility. The Latin is also the root for “testament”, of which a Greek example is shown in the 3rd picture. Language is always fascinating.

    EMBOSS: Two compelling films with “em” in the title, director Fritz Lang’s M and Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder.

  7. Robi says:

    Got to this late; a bit too complicated for a Quiptic, methinks.

    Thanks scchua – nice pictorial appendages. I’ll have my usual moan about abbreviations – CH=chief, when is that used? (I know it’s in Chambers, but that doesn’t help.)

  8. Jan says:

    Thanks for the chuckles, scchua, and for the definition of BONG – I was too lazy to look it up.

    It did seem rather hard for a Quiptic.

    I’m too late to identify the pictures. I knew the M ones but couldn’t see the connection for the ‘witnesses’.

  9. Derek Lazenby says:

    Class dummy verdict? Not a Quiptic. The list of why is too long, especially as typing it would use up V.D.T.

    (That’s Valuable Drinking Time!)

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