Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 626 / Nutmeg

Posted by Big Dave on November 14th, 2011

Big Dave.

I found this to be a considerable improvement on the last puzzle that I reviewed from this setter, although some of the constructs appeared to be a tad difficult for the newer solver.

I look forward to your comments.

Most of the 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. T(enor).


1a North African soldier’s run away twice (6,3)
DESERT RAT – this North African soldier, a member of the 7th Armoured Division, is a charade of two verbs meaning to run away

6a Immoral city doctors in recession hosting party (5)
SODOM – this immoral biblical city is created by reversing (in recession) an abbreviation for doctors around (hosting) the usual two-letter word for a party

9a He hopes for more from his overseas post (8,7)
ECONOMIC MIGRANT – a cryptic definition of someone who moves to another country in order to earn more money

10a Small child finally broke betting system (4)
TOTE – a charade of a small child and the final letter of brokE gives this betting system

11a Journalists entering teashop regularly for coffee (8)
ESPRESSO – put a collective word for journalists inside (entering) the even letters of tEa ShOp to get a type of coffee

14a Contents of avant-garde flat in Greenwich far from inspiring (9)
DEFLATING – hidden inside (contents of) the clue is a word meaning far from inspiring

15a Better party rejected initially (5)
OUTDO – this verb meaning to better or surpass is derived by putting a party (yes the same one that was used in 6 across!) after an adjective meaning rejected

16a Not so many sheep in France (5)
FEWER – an adjective meaning not so many is created by putting a female sheep inside an abbreviation of off France

18a A cover, we hear, fitted on tap (9)
AVAILABLE – run together A from the clue, what sounds like a veil (cover) and an adjective meaning fitted or suited to get a word meaning on tap or accessible

20a One omitted from stopgap eleven brought back to join in … (8)
INTERMIX – Drop (omitted) the second I (one in Roman numerals) from a word meaning stopgap and then add the Roman numerals for eleven reversed (brought back) to get a verb meaning to join in

21a … aims to retire, avoiding a strenuous spell of work (4)
SLOG – reverse a noun meaning aims or ambitions and then drop (avoiding) the A to get a strenuous spell of work

25a Immortal doctor altering Triple Alliance (7,8)
ETERNAL TRIANGLE – a word meaning immortal is followed by an anagram (doctor) of ALTERING to get this Triple Alliance or relationship involving three people

26a Tenor seeks work (5)
TASKS – a charade of T(enor) and a word meaning seeks or requests gives this pieces of work

27a Pursued by dog, team head off (9)
SIDETRACK – a team is followed (pursued) by a verb meaning to dog or stalk to get a verb meaning to head off


1d Abode we left in outskirts of district (5)
DWELT – to get this past tense of to abide put WE and L(eft) inside the outside letters of DistricT

2d Husband comes in, somewhat lacking (5,2)
SHORT OF – put H(usband) inside (comes in) a phrase meaning somewhat to get one meaning lacking

3d Go off clutching old turnip, perhaps (4)
ROOT – a verb meaning to go off or decay is placed around (clutching) O(ld) to get the kind of vegetable of which turnip is an example (indicated by perhaps)

4d Storyteller raised bar (4)
RAIL – this storyteller or fibber is reversed (raised) to get a bar

5d Travelling magi listen for temporal proclamation (4,6)
TIME SIGNAL – an anagram (travelling) of MAGI LISTEN gives a temporal proclamation given by radio or otherwise from an observatory

6d Sweet dishes often full of lumps? (5,5)
SUGAR BOWLS – a cryptic definition of dishes containing lumps of a sweet substance

7d Very determined group joining late (4,3)
DEAD SET – this adjective meaning very determined is creted by putting a group after (joining) a word meaning late or deceased

8d On the Paris underground Zurich financier reported speed regulator (9)
METRONOME – combine the Paris underground with what sounds like (reported) a Zurich financier to get this musical speed regulator

12d Elf uses mobile patterns in grass (5,5)
FAIRY RINGS – a charade of an elf and a verb meaning uses a mobile phone gives these patterns in grass

13d Social girl unfortunately smokes (10)
CIGARILLOS – an anagram (unfortunately) of SOCIAL GIRL gives some small rolls of tobacco leaves for smoking

14d Hesitant fellows standing in for protester’s two sons (9)
DIFFIDENT – to get an adjective meaning hesitant put F F (fellows) inside a protestor or objector in place of (standing in for) S S (two sons)

17d New recipe for stews in Observer (7)
WITNESS – an anagram (new recipe for) of STEWS IN gives an observer

19d Nasty pong drifting along Italian town (7)
BOLOGNA – combine a pong from someone with a personal hygiene problem and an anagram (drifting) of ALONG to get this Italian town

22d Nerd getting to grips with right language (5)
GREEK – start with a nerd and insert (getting to grips with) R(ight) to get a foreign language

23d Dry tart chef originally rejected (4)
ARID – an adjective meaning dry is derived from an adjective meaning tart or pungent by dropping (rejected) the intial letter (originally) of Chef

24d Sailor’s season (4)
SALT – a double definition – a slang word for a sailor and a compound used to season food

3 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 626 / Nutmeg”

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks Big Dave. I thought most this was pretty well placed for a Quiptic, but I wondered about 8d: I think it’s been a long time since “the Gnomes of Zurich” has been a phrase in common use, so younger solvers (who surely must be a large part of the Quiptic’s target audience) might be baffled by the clue.

  2. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Big Dave and Nutmeg.

    I found this simply enjoyable, though I agree with Andrew re 8d., as I didn’t know the phrase either, and I’m not exactly young :)

    Perhaps you’d like to proof-read 😉

  3. Blaise says:

    Big Dave, I love the way you’ve not spelt out the wordplay too explicitly, thus leaving the reader some sense of achievement.
    By the way, I read 6d as a charade of an alternative term of endearment (sugar = sweet) with a synonym of dishes, followed by the cryptic definition.

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