Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 635 Arachne

Posted by scchua on January 16th, 2012


Thanks Arachne for an enjoyable crossword (by no means a walkover) with some clever surfaces.  For some reason, I got slowed down in the NE quarter, but the latter provided my favourite clues for today:  6D, 7D, 8D. 

There are some connecting answers:  HARLEY STREET, PSYCHIATRIST, CONCEIVING, SEDATIVE and ANGINA; RUMPELSTILTSKIN and SNEAKY; CIVETS and COYOTE; CAMPUS, RESEARCH and GENE, but these are probably unintentional.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  Each of the two sets of pictures at the bottom has an unidentified link with the crossword.


1 The academic world quietly skewers French philosopher (6)

CAMPUS :  P(abbrev. for piano, musical instruction to play quietly) contained in(skewers) CAMUS(Albert, 1913-1960, French philosopher-writer and Nobel laureate for literature)

Defn: Literally, the physical space on which an institution of education,academy stands, and figuratively, the world of higher of higher education.

5 Find out about alternative careers and then start to hesitate (8)

RESEARCHAnagram of(alternative) CAREERS plus(and then) H(initial letter of,start tohesitate”). 

Defn: As a verb

9 Quiet time with a partner starts to nark us more each year (3,5)

PER ANNUM :  P(piano,quiet) ERA(a long time period) plus(with a) N(North, the partner to the player South in bridge notation) N,U,M(initial letters of,starts tonark”, “us”, “more” respectively)

10 It causes sudden pain as woman embraces Joe (6)

ANGINA :  ANNA(a woman’s name) containing(embraces) GI(Joe, the American male soldier.  GI itself comes from galvanized iron to indicate in accounts items made from it, then was extended to mean all government issue, then extended to refer to the men, whilst Joe is the personification of a fellow,the common man).  Not sure who or what is causing the pain to whom in the surface reading!

Defn:  In addition to the wellknown chest pains due to momentary lack of adequate supply of blood/oxygen to the heart, it can also refer to any disease of the throat that causes spasmodic,sudden and painful choking.

11 Drastically restyle her at address in W1 (6,6)

HARLEY STREETAnagram of(drastically) RESTYLE HER AT

Defn: Address in Westminster, London W1, noted for the large number of private (read expensive) specialists in medicine and surgery practising there.

13 Lighthouse protecting you in the old days (4)

THOUHidden in(protecting) lighTHOUse

Defn: The word for “youin the English of the old days

14 Almost understand case for drug (8)

SEDATIVE :  SE(understand,see without its last letter,almost) DATIVE(in the grammar of certain languages such as Greek, German or Latin to denote the case of nouns, and adjectives used to express the indirect object, to identify the recipients, and for other purposes – regardless, it’s all Greek to me :-)

17 Burning novel? Irate men of letters! (8)

LITERATI :  LIT(burning,alight) + anagram of(novel) IRATE

Defn: The learned class as a whole.  Lovely surface

18 Information and energy combine to form hereditary unit (4)

GENE :  GEN(information, derived from general information) plus(and) E(energy, famously in E=mc2 )

20 Doctor using typist’s chair (12)


Defn: Doctor who diagnoses and treats or “cures” you of your mental disorders, through listening to, and encouraging you to talk about your inner self, aka a headshrink 

23 Shy, evenly mottled prairie wolf (6)

COYOTE :  COY(shy) + O,T, E(second, fourth and sixth letters,evenly of “mottled”) 

Defn: As exemplified by the sworn enemy of the Road Runner

24 Faint expression of fear about partner (4,4)

KEEL OVERReversal of(about) EEK!(a shriek,expression of fear) LOVER(partner, euphemistically)

25 To throw something from ship or plane is not unusual (8)

JETTISON :  JET(plane powered by generated thrust) + anagram of(unusual) IS NOT

26 Slippery eel’s head found in Serpentine (6)

SNEAKY :  E(initial letter,head of “eel”) contained in(found in) SNAKY(serpentine,coiled like a snake)


2 Country originally banned alcoholic drinks (4)

ALES :  Wales(country) minus its first letter,originally banned

3 Theatre providing entertainment for children? (9)

PLAYHOUSE :  Double defn: 2nd: a small house for children to play in.  Can also be called a Wendy house.

4 He guards small gate, perhaps (6)

SENTRY :  S(small) ENTRY(an example of which,perhaps is a gate).  A wordplay intertwined with the definition (WIWD).

5 Bully kills strumpet, popular and impish creature (15)

RUMPELSTILTSKINAnagram of(bully) [KILLS STRUMPET] + IN(popular, as in “the in-thing, in-crowd”)

6 Flattery finally gets you — and us — in a lather (8)

SOAPSUDS :  SOAP(slang for flattery, especially if it’s soft) + S, U, D, S(last letters,finally of “gets”, “you”, “and”, and “us” respectively).  Another nice surface – agitation caused by obvious flattery.

7 Soothsayer and a swami putting foot over head (5)

AUGURA + UGUR{“guru”(swami,Hindu intellectual or spiritual teacher) with its last letter,foot placed above(putting …  over, in a down clue) its top,head}. 

Defn: Fortune tellers and swamis are likely to practice yoga, as well, at least in India, and be capable of putting their feet over their heads.  Another WIWD clue.

8 Imagining making a baby (10)

CONCEIVING :  Double defn: The surface is so smooth, that it took me some time to separate the 2 meanings.

12 Each monk is embarrassed to have a dirty habit (5-5)

CHAIN-SMOKEAnagram of(embarrassed) EACH MONK IS.  A nice surface – of monks with unwashed robes.

15 It’s hard to negotiate with drunk guy, perhaps (9)

TIGHTROPE :  TIGHT(drunk,plastered) ROPE(what could,perhaps be used as a guy,stay,something to secure with)

16 Woman taking part in battles showing caution (8)

WARINESS :  INES(a woman’s name) contained in(taking part in) WARS(battles)

19 Mammals with just over 100 people who look after them (6)

CIVETS :  CI(Roman numerals for 101,just over 100) + VETS(short for veterinarians, doctors who look after animals including mammals,them)

21 Whack 150, get dismissed (5)

CLOUT :  CL(Roman numerals for 150) OUT(get dismissed, eg. in cricket)

22 24 type of vegetable (4)

LEEKReversal of(“over”,second part of answer to 24 across) KEEL(first part of answer to 24 across)






9 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 635 Arachne”

  1. pommers says:

    A very entertaining puzzle from the spider lady but I thought it a bit tricky for a Quiptic. It could easily hold its own as a regular cryptic.

    Thanks to Arachne for the fun and to Scchua for explaining where the INES comes from in 16d, never come across that one before!

  2. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, scchua.

    The usual classy stuff from Arachne, which I agree would not be out of place in the cryptic slot but the variety and accuracy of the cluing still make it an ideal puzzle for those setting out on the cryptic road.

    My ticks were for HARLEY STREET [considering some of the operations carried out there, it qualifies as an &lit, I think – or WIWD, if you prefer] JETTISON and CHAIN-SMOKE.

  3. stanXYZ says:

    My Monday morning gentle warm-up with the Quiptic, turned today into something of a struggle. I found this far more difficult than Today’s Cryptic.

    However, well worth the effort once my brain had adjusted to the difficulty of the task.

    Thanks to scchua for the blog, especially for explaining 7d and 16d.

  4. PeterO says:

    Thanks to Arachne for an entertaining piece; I agree with Eileen that, while it is of cryptic standard, it does not use any elaborate constructions to daunt beginners. And thanks to scchua for a fine blog; there is a minor typo in 26A.
    The picture puzzles I found easier this time. In the first group the connection is civet coffee; if you really want the details, they may be found in Wikipedia. The theme of the second group is suggested by 20A, and involves madness and mind games: we have Terry Gilliam (you name the film), Ingrid Bergman (Gaslight), Billy Crystal (Analyze this / that/ the other), Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal Lecter), Richard Dreyfuss (What about Bob?). The diva with the cleavage I cannot place; if diva is the right word, it would more likely be Lucia di Lammermoor than Miss Jessel.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks for the blog, schhua, and Arachne for the puzzle.

    I think this sat well as a Quiptic, although as others have said, it wouldn’t be out of place as an ‘easy’ cryptic. There were enough ‘gimmes’ to get you going, and then the slightly harder ones were all clearly clued. I liked RUMPLESTILTSKIN and TIGHTROPE in particular.

  6. scchua says:

    Thanks PeterO for pointing out the typo at 26A, now corrected.

    You’re tantalisingly close with the second picture set. The link is with 20A, but it’s more direct than what you’ve mentioned. Terry Gilliam is incorrect, and the Ingrid Bergman movie I’m looking for is not Gaslight. And btw, it’s not necessarily just movies :-)

  7. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Arachne and scchua. To elaborate on PeterO’s contribution regarding the second set of pictures: The first picture is Kelsey Grammar and the last is Bebe Neuwirth (I think). They played psychiatrists on the TV show Cheers. Ingrid Bergman’s movie was Spellbound and Anthony Hopkins was Silence of the Lambs.


  8. Derek Lazenby says:

    All very reasonable stuff, when you see it explained. Beat me by a long way though. I can finish the easier Araucaria’s, I even finished one that everyone thought was on the tough side (and was duly gobsmacked by that assessment), but only half way with this? Can’t really be a Quiptic then can it?

  9. scchua says:

    Hi grandpuzzler@7. That is Bebe Neuwirth (pictured as Morticia in The Addams Family musical on Broadway) who played the splendidly uptight Lilith, wife of Kelsey Grammar’s Frasier Crane. Each of the actors played doctor (20As) in the respective movies/TV series. (Hannibal Lecter was a psychiatrist turned/cum chianti drinking cannibal)

    Well done to you and PeterO!

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