Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 628 / Arachne

Posted by Eileen on November 28th, 2011


This is the first Quiptic I have blogged – as a one-off stand-in for Pierre today — and I was delighted to discover it was an Arachne.

This puzzle is exactly what a Quiptic should be, having a nice variety of clue types, straightforwardly clued, and with enough of Arachne’s wit and ingenuity to whet the appetite of newer solvers and lead them on to the delights of her cryptics. Many thanks, Arachne, for kicking off the week with a smile or two.


8   IN CAMERA: anagram [indicated by ‘is treated’] of AMERICAN
  SEESAW: charade of SEE [watch] + SAW [tool]: definition: ‘going up and down’ [adjective]
10  STATUS: STATS [statistics] around [‘about’] U[niversity]: definition: standing
11  GUERILLA: cleverly hidden in intriGUER ILL-Advisedly: [I keep forgetting that this word can be spelt with one R] – definition: fighter
12  TUMS: reversal [turning] of SMUT [filth]: I find these clues among the most annoying of all, because, so often, the reversal is ambiguous and I invariably go for the wrong one, as I did here, initially: it’s ‘filth turning’, rather than ‘turning children’s stomachs’ but the crossing letters soon sort it out.
13  REPUBLICAN: anagram [indicated by ‘poor’] of CALIBRE PUN: Mitt Romney is a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination.
15  CERAMIC: CE [Church of England – ‘Anglicans’] + RAM [‘sheepish fellow’!] + IC [in charge]: the definition is ‘potty’ – this lovely clue made me laugh out loud.
16  WAGERER: charade of W[ith] [it’s easy to be caught out by that little word – one to watch out for!] + AG [chemical symbol for silver] + ER [queen] twice, for ‘sovereigns’
18  STUTTERERS: charade of S T [initial letters of ‘shy’ and ‘timid’] + UTTERERS [they say]
19  RITE: sounds like [pronounced] RIGHT [correctly]
20  ALL RIGHT: i.e. none left – definition: OK
22  ÉMIGRÉ: anagram [appallingly] of GRIM inside [part of] E[astern] E[urope]
23  USENET: USE [enjoy] NET [ultimate, as in ‘net result’]: [initially, I took NET as being the last [ultimate] part of ‘internet’ and thought it was rather weak. I should know Arachne better! ‘Internet service’ is the definition.
24  FREELOAD: charade of FREE [casual] + LOAD [lot]


1   INSTRUMENTALIST: clever anagram, with a very nice surface, of LETS TINNITUS MAR
2   EARTH-SHATTERING: charade of EARTH [dust] + SHATTERING [busting]
4   HANG-UPS: HANG UP [stop talking, as on the [old-fashioned] telephone] + S[urmount]
  ISLE: anagram [upset] of ELSIE [minus the last letter – ‘baselessly’] – definition: ‘Man possibly’ – often found in crosswords
  DEFINITE ARTICLE: double definition, one of them being ‘the’
7   PARLIAMENTARIAN: PAR [average] + anagram [‘could be’] of MAN INTER ALIA
14  BRASSIERES: amusing cryptic reference to the urban myth that feminists burned their bras in the 1960s [but Arachne doesn’t say they did!]
17  LEFT OFF: LEFT [socialists] OF F[rance]
21  GOTH: GOT [bought] + H[eroin]

17 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 628 / Arachne”

  1. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks Eileen
    What is a quiptic?

  2. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Eileen. We’re spoilt today, with Orlando in the daily and Arachne in the quiptie :)

    To RCW, it’s a weekly online Guardian puzzle designed for beginners to whet their teeth on. You’ll find it in the bar above the puzzles on Guardian Crosswords page, and a new one is published every Monday.

  3. Eileen says:

    Thanks for dropping in, folks – I didn’t realise quite how lonely it was over here! 😉

    It’s rather disappointing for Arachne to have fulfilled her brief so successfully and to have received so little response: there are no comments on the Guardian website, either, compared with 90 for the Orlando on the cryptic thread [although they do tend to digress there!]

    I wasn’t aware of the Quiptic myself until it began to be blogged here – and RCW apparently hadn’t heard of it – because I do my cryptic puzzle in the paper. I wonder why the Quiptic is only online? It seems a waste of a really valuable introduction to cryptics. I’ve noticed that those who comment here are, by and large, the usual cryptic suspects – no offence meant! 😉

  4. RCWhiting says:

    I do not partake of crosswords on line so Eileen’s suggestion to print it sounds good.
    Does it in any way answer the constant complaints about what beginners can do?

  5. Eileen says:


    I said ‘*in* the’, not ‘on’ paper. I said nothing about printing. I buy and read the Guardian and I wonder why the Quiptic is not available in it.

  6. Arachne says:

    Many thanks, Eileen, for a great blog (as ever). I suppose it’s only to be expected that tyro cruciverbalists don’t blog, and I’m well used to the Quiptic room echoing to the sound of just one or two lonely voices as a desultory tumbleweed blows through. Or even not echoing at all. I know from talking to a lot of people over the years that the Quiptic is actually quite popular with Guardianistas and it still appears to be fulfilling its brief as an educational tool. A dear friend of mine loves to do the Quiptic when too ill to manage cryptics, so it perhaps has a more general role as a cryptic-lite too. Don’t know why it’s still only online – perhaps I should raise the issue with Hugh S.
    RCW@4 – I hope the Quiptic (“quick cryptic”) goes a little way to solving the problem of beginners. Trouble is, it’s only available online, and it’s only once a week.
    Arachne x

  7. RCWhiting says:

    Sorry,Eileen,but once again I am misunderstood.
    My post @4 is in complete agreement with you.
    “Eileen’s suggestion to print it” referred to it appearing in the daily newspaper which we both buy.

  8. Pierre says:

    Thank you, Eileen, for coming off the bench. This is a puzzle I wouldn’t at all have minded blogging. Just right for a Quiptic. REPUBLICAN and CERAMIC were ones I particularly enjoyed. USENET I put in just because nothing else would fit – is it not a trademark?

    As you’ve discovered, this blog is a quiet place, but in the hope that there are some lurkers out there who are dropping in to find out how this curious world of cryptics works, we soldier on …

    Thanks also to Arachne.

  9. Derek Lazenby says:

    People should be more patient. It’s only Monday, the crossword is up all week so there is no rush to do it or post here. I only started doing it on Monday’s specifically to help with providing traffic here. I used to do it on Saturday’s as I had nothing to do on Saturdays. Nowadays I can make some progress and occassionally finish the prize puzzle, so keeping this back is less of a requirement. None the less, I wouldn’t mind betting there are plenty out there who also do this puzzle after Monday and think perhaps it’s too late to post. Nope! Please post, however late. Some of us have this thing on our News Aggregators via the RSS subscription, so late posts will get read. No reply probably just means “agreed”!

    Eileen, I have the remembering how many Rs in geurilla problem even more extremely than you do as I can never forget Pamela Stevenson’s pronunciation on “Not The Nine O’clock News” which sounded like 4 or 5 of the things!

  10. Eileen says:

    Good point, Derek – thanks.

    It is, in fact, *never* too late to post, as the blogger gets an email of every comment on their blog, so, if it’s just a query that needs clearing up, there’s no problem. I’ve had posts weeks later.

    And I nearly did mention Pamela – and Angela Rippon, too! 😉

  11. Derek Lazenby says:

    For those not familiar with the technology, anybody can get e-mails about new posts (but sadly not thread specific as Bloggers can) by subscribing to the RSS feed for posts. HOWEVER, that is a nighmare overhead. It is far better to inform a news aggregator of the RSS feed and leave it to that program to record the occurance of new posts instead of getting e-mails.

  12. Bertandjoyce says:

    I (‘joyce’) completed this at lunchtime and really enjoyed the surface reading of all the clues. A real delight. It’ll have to be printed out again so that ‘Bert’ can have a go tomorrow!

    Thanks Arachne – I’m sorry that I didn’t say hello on Saturday. Thanks also to Eileen.

  13. Arachne says:

    joyce@12 – thanks for your kind comment. Really sorry to have missed you on Saturday – we must chat next time :) x

  14. Eileen says:

    Hi joyce

    It was great to meet you and ‘Bert’. I’m glad to see you’re already keeping your promise of ‘lurking’ less often! 😉

  15. Thomas99 says:

    I think the quiptics do a great job (this was an excellent example). I suspect the reason they’re online only is all to do with saving money/space on the page. The only problem I had with them, when I first came across them, was thinking it was “quip”-tic. I kept saying to myself that they weren’t really that funny… There is now a very clear explanation of what they are somewhere on the Guardian webpage I think.

  16. David Travis says:

    The clue for 15a had the definition (‘potty’) in inverted commas. Was this just a diversion or does this mean something in cryptics?

  17. Eileen says:

    Hi David

    I think the inverted commas indicate that Arachne’s tongue is firmly in her cheek with her ‘potty’ definition of CERAMIC – you won’t find it in a dictionary! 😉

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