Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic N° 637, by Hectence

Posted by PeterO on January 30th, 2012


I think this was nearer to the level of a Guardian Cryptic than most Quiptics; perhaps aimed at a neophyte in the process of sharpening his or her solving skills.

Even if this might be a stretch for a complete beginner, I found it a fine crossword; my favourite clue is 21D. Thanks, Hectence.

1. Unnecessary hoo-ha spoils retired friend taking home a trophy (5,2,1,6)
STORM IN A TEACUP A charade of STOR, a reversal (‘retired’) of ROTS (of food, ‘spoils’) + an envelope (‘taking’) of IN (‘home’) in MATE (‘friend’) + CUP (‘trophy’).
9. Heartless deed to entice with crack (7)
ATTEMPT A charade of A[c]T (‘heartless deed’) + TEMPT (‘entice’). ‘Crack’ as in “I really don’t know what I’m doing, but I’ll take a crack at it”.
10. Having eaten nothing, Nigel’s knocked head over heels by home-made liqueur (4,3)
SLOE GIN An envelope (‘having eaten’) of O (‘nothing’) in SLEGIN, a reversal (‘knocked head over heels’) of ‘Nigels’.
11. Utter stress of putting grand on horse (5)
GROAN A charade of G (‘grand’) + ROAN (‘horse’).
12. Bring up to date on investigation into document carrier (9)
BRIEFCASE A charade of BRIEF (‘bring up to date’) + CASE (‘investigation’).
13. Find it’s light after the party? (9)
DISCOVERY A charade of DISCO (‘party’) + VERY (the flare, ‘light’).
14. Put opener on short leg at crease (5)
PLEAT A charade of P (‘Put opener’) + LE[g] (‘short LEg’) + ‘at’.
15. Mocks soldiers having to live in (5)
GIBES An envelope (‘in’) of BE (‘live’) in GIS (‘soldiers’).
17. Couple of pints before getting daughter installed in digs (9)
QUARTERED A charade of QUART (‘couple of pints’) + ERE (‘before’) + D (‘daughter’).
20. Bully of a fly half grabs one after blunder (9)
TERRORISE An envelope (‘grabs’) of ERROR (‘blunder’) + I (‘one’) in TSE[tse] (‘fly half’).
22. CGI’s more than some gadget (5)
GISMO An answer hidden in ‘cGIS MOre’.
23. Plant is focal point in river bar refurbishment (7)
RHUBARB An envelope (‘in’) of HUB (focal point’) in R (‘river’) + an anagram (‘refurbishment’) of ‘bar’.
24. Paddy volunteers to swap funny books (7)
TANTRUM A charade of TA (Territorail Army, ‘volunteers'; a common abbreviation in crosswords, sometimes, as here, indicated in the plural, sometimes, presumably as following a person’s name, as a singular such as ‘volunteer’) + NT (New Testament of the Bible, ‘books'; along with its companion OT, it too makes regular appearances in crossword clues) + RUM (‘funny’), with ‘swap’ indicating the order of the particles.
25. Wide boys were held improperly by auditors getting to grips with large earnings, initially (7-7)
WHEELER-DEALERS A charade of WHEELERD, an anagram (‘improperly’) of ‘were held’ + an envelope (‘getting to grips with’) of L E (‘Large Earnings initially’) in EARS (‘auditors’).
1. Long tale has Scooby Doo, say, following master to gold hidden in farm building (6,3,5)
SHAGGY DOG STORY A charade of SHAGGY (Scooby Doo’s ‘master’ Norville “Shaggy” Rogers. Never having seen the cartoon, that foxed me entirely until I thought to consult Wikipedia) + DOG (‘Scooby Doo, say’) + an envelope (‘hidden in’) of OR (‘gold’) in STY (‘farm building’)
2. Jockey used to collect old caps (7)
OUTDOES An envelope (‘to collect’) of O (‘old’) in OUTDES, an anagram (‘jockey’) of ‘used to’.
3. Very important manuscript holds warning to university (9)
MOMENTOUS An envelope (‘holds’) of OMEN (‘warning’) + ‘to’ + U (‘university’) in MS (‘manuscript’).
4. Can’t be famous (7)
NOTABLE A charade of NOT ABLE (‘cant be’ – or is it just ‘cant’?).
5. Feisty fashion model’s brought in to give evidence (7)
TESTIFY An envelope (‘brought in’) of T (‘model’ T Ford, another chestnut) in TESIFY, an anagram (fashion’) of ‘feisty’.
6. Stuck up a fine outside toilet (5)
ALOOF An envelope (‘outside’) of LOO (‘toilet’) in ‘a’ + F (‘fine’).
7. Argued about small change in improved software (7)
UPGRADE An envelope (‘in’) of P (penny, ‘small change’) in UGRADE, an anagram (‘about’, which would be doing double duty as the envelope indicator unless you accept the convoluted positioning of ‘in’).
8. They hold dialogue with company taking millions as net drive development goes ahead (8,6)
INVERTED COMMAS A charade of INVERTED, an anagram (‘development’) of ‘net drive’ + CO (‘company’) + MM (‘millions’) + ‘as’. I like the cryptic definition.
14. For beating a pinata go to part of South America (9)
PATAGONIA An anagram (‘for beating’) of ‘a pinata go’.
16. Old boy’s upset by seedy part of city (7)
BOROUGH A charade of BO, a reversal (‘upset’ in a down clue) + ROUGH (‘seedy’).
17. Nit-picking question about Bible (7)
QUIBBLE A charade of QU (‘question’) + IBBLE, an anagram (‘about’) of ‘Bible’.
18. Colluded with a boy about wager (7)
ABETTED An envelope (‘about’) of BET (‘wager’) in ‘a’ + TED (‘boy’).
19. Erupt again about doctor not working (7)
RESURGE A charade of RE (‘about’) + SURGE[on] (‘doctor’) without ON (‘working’)
21. Legally grown ordinary cigarette’s drug, too! (2,3)
OF AGE A charade of O (‘ordinary’) + FAG (‘cigarette’) + E (‘drug’). Excellent surface.

6 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic N° 637, by Hectence”

  1. scchua says:

    Thanks PeterO and Hectence. Yes, agree – a nice crossword, pitched for a not-so-beginner.

    COD 8D INVERTED COMMAS, liked the definition – when it dawned on me.
    7D UPGRADE, I think the position of “in” is okay if one reads it as “Argued about {comma or pause} small change in {comma or pause} improved software” – just a bit convoluted, as you say.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Peter. Not so sure I agree about the difficulty level; I thought it was eminently solvable because of the clear definitions in most clues, as well as in some cases with the enumeration. I do agree though that it was a Quiptic where you arrived at the answer through crossing letters and the definition more often than through teasing out the wordplay, which in some clues was tricky. I needed you to explain a couple today, and I didn’t see that SLOE GIN is in fact a reversal and not an anagram.

    I laughed at SHAGGY DOG STORY and also liked INVERTED COMMAS.

  3. Robi says:

    Nice crossword, considerably easier than today’s cryptic. Perhaps next time I should start with the Quiptic to get my brain working.

    Thanks, PeterO; I had some trouble with RESURGE until I gave up on dr, mb etc for doctor in the clue and realised it was SURGEon. I thought the ‘up’ in 6d was nicely misleading.

  4. PeterO says:

    K’sD – Certainly the puzzle was solvable; I just feel that many complete beginners would lack the confidence to go with half-understood answers, and there are enough of them here to make life difficult. Incidentally, the above is the second published version; in the first, I threw up my hands over SHAGGY in 1D. After a break for Downton Abbey, I returned to sort that one out, and noted that I had described the wordplay in 10A as an anagram rather than a reversal. Of course, that is not wrong – a reversal is a particular case of an anagram.

  5. crosser says:

    Thanks, PeterO. I thought this was more difficult than the usual quiptic. I needed your explanation of 13a which I had got but couldn’t parse, mainly because I had never heard of Edward Very.
    I loved 8d.
    Thank you, Hectence.

  6. Derek Lazenby says:

    Yeah, a bit of stretch for a Quiptic, but do-able.

    A couple of decades back The Times used the most succinct clue for 8d, to whit “Sammoc”. A serious groaner!

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