Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 638 / Nutmeg

Posted by Big Dave on February 6th, 2012

Big Dave.

Today’s puzzle from Nutmeg is just right for the Quiptic genre.  An agreeable mix of clues which provide a good grounding 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. G(overnment).


9a Bond’s modish teeth? (9)
INDENTURE – this bond is a charade of a word meaning modish or fashionable and a set of artificial teeth – the latter definition is more usually seen in the plural, but it’s in the Oxford Dictionary of English

10a Second opinion cut short film (5)
MOVIE – a second or brief period of time is followed by an opinion without (cut short) the final W gives a motion picture

11a Agree to proceed (3,2)
GET ON – a double definition

12a Government followed advice and shone (9)
GLISTENED – a charade of G(overnment) and a verb meaning followed advice gives a different verb meaning shone

13a,14a Latest statement of money in bank? (7,7)
CURRENT ACCOUNT – synonyms for latest and statement give money in the bank which may be withdrawn by cheque

14a See 13 across

17a Loose but formal neckwear for peacekeepers (5)
UNTIE – a verb meaning to loose or release could be, if split (2,3), some neckwear for the World’s peacekeepers

19a Hostility that’s round about (3)
ICE – this hostility or frostiness is created by putting the abbreviated Latin for “that is” around the abbreviated Latin for about

20a Canny London houses stocking material (5)
NYLON – this stocking material is hidden inside the first two words of the clue

21a Home ground partly in Derby, perhaps (7)
HABITAT – to get this home ground put a synonym for partly inside the item of apparel of which a derby is an example – coincidentally a similar clue appeared in another recent puzzle – “Environment’s not much in Derby perhaps”

22a Quick meal to excite youngsters (4-3)
STIR-FRY – this quick meal is a charade of to excite and some youngsters, usually young fishes

24a No help yet decomposing bag material (9)
POLYTHENE – an anagram (decomposing) of NO HELP YET gives a material from which bags can be made

26a Group work for 10, one shortly going west (5)
NONET – a composition for nine performers (not ten!) is composed by reversing (going west in an across clue) TEN ON(E) without the final E (shortly)

28a See 22 down

29a Drill sergeant’s command regarding performance (5,4)
ABOUT TURN – one of the commands used by a drill sergeant is a charade of synonyms for regarding and a performance on stage


1d Item of jewellery that’s sound as a bell (4)
RING – this item of jewellery sounds like the noise made by a bell

2d Journalist took transport northward, carrying it (6)
EDITOR – this chief journalist is derived by reversing (northward in a down clue) a verb meaning took transport and inserting (carrying) it

3d Thus all-rounders may compete, whatever happens (2,3,5)
IN ANY EVENT – a description of the contests in which an all-rounder may compete is also a phrase meaning whatever happens

4d Raising arm to find small lump (6)
NUGGET – reverse (raising in a down clue) a firearm and add a verb meaning to find or discover gives a small lump of gold or other precious metal

5d Dainty present devotedly left for daughter (8)
DELICATE – to get this adjective meaning dainty, start with a verb meaning to present devotedly and then insert L(eft) instead of the second D(aughter)

6d Let out, sentence being up (4)
EMIT – a verb meaning to let out is created by reversing (being up in a down clue) a prison sentence

7d Oddly unable to support tournament final (8)
EVENTUAL – place the odd letters of UnAbLe under (to support) a tournament to get an adjective meaning final

8d Fashion leader shed tear (4)
REND – Drop the initial T (leader shed) from a fashion or craze to get a verb meaning to tear or separate

13d Club’s sudden demand for fruit juice (5)
CRUSH – a charade of C(lubs) and a sudden demand gives some fruit juice

15d Ohio’s city C-in-C in National Guards (10)
CINCINNATI – this  industrial city in Ohio is hidden inside (Guards) the clue

16d Unknown fly’s back with a bite (5)
TANGY – take a mathematical unknown and a fly which is similar to the mosquito and reverse the lot (back) to get an adjective meaning with a bite

18d List that’s forbidden after hours (8)
TABULATE – this verb meaning to list comes from a charade of an alternative spelling of an adjective meaning forbidden and a word meaning after hours

19d Floppy hat being pretty well secured (2,3,3)
IN THE BAG – an anagram (floppy) of HAT BEING gives a phrase meaning pretty well secured

22d,28a No final farewell? Aye, resolute for settlement (3,3,5)
SEE YOU LATER – a farewell greeting that suggests meeting again is an anagram (for settlement) of AYE RESOLUTE

23d Limited capital to administer charity race (3,3)
FUN RUN – drop the final D (limited) from some capital and add a verb meaning to administer to get a charity race

24d Cheap fiction — it’s removed from speaker’s platform (4)
PULP – this cheap fiction is derived by dropping IT (it’s removed) from a speaker’s platform

25d In two minds towards the navy (4)
TORN – an adjective meaning in two minds is built up from a word meaning towards and the abbreviation of our navy

27d Yellow flower when cut turns brown (4)
TANS – take a flower with small heads of tubular yellow flowers and drop the final Y (cut) to get a verb meaning turns brown in the sun

20 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 638 / Nutmeg”

  1. scchua says:

    Thanks Big Dave, and Nutmeg for an enjoyable puzzle.

    There’s REINDEER in the top (north) row and PENGUINS in the bottom (south) row, and there’s ICE in the middle row. Perhaps there is more?

  2. Big Dave says:

    Well spotted – I didn’t look for a Nina in there.

    See here:

    and here:

    for an explanation of a Nina.

  3. scchua says:

    PS. Forget to add that reindeer, in addition to being found in the north, are also above the ice, whilst the southern penguins can be found under the ice.

  4. Robi says:

    Nice variety of clues for a Quiptic. However, Derby=HAT is a N. American usage, so perhaps should be indicated thus (?)

    Thanks, Big Dave and scchua – as usual, I did not notice the NINA (also defined on this site under ‘FAQ.’) I did not know TANSy, although the clue was fair enough. The clue for DELICATE was good, in my opinion.

  5. Big Dave says:

    @ Robi

    On the subject of fairness, didn’t the clue for DELICATE ought to indicate that only the second D(aughter) is being replaced? Some setters do this and others don’t.

  6. Robi says:

    Big Dave@5; I don’t think it is really necessary as ‘ledicate’ is not a word that I know.

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Big Dave.

    Agree, a lovely Quiptic from Nutmeg, with a few trickier clues, but generally pretty accessible. I thought FUN RUN and UNTIE had nice surfaces, but it was all clearly clued. I just never even stop to look for ninas in the Quiptic, so I shall join you in admitting to having it pass me by! Well done scchua for the spot and Nutmeg for working it in without making the puzzle too tricky. And given the current climatic conditions, how clever of the editor to make sure it appeared today …

  8. Derek Lazenby says:

    No, sorry, just because you experts think it’s easy doesn’t make it a Quiptic. This was absolutely horrible as a Quiptic. Rufus was much easier today. This was a real struggle.

    I don’t know why, but “cuttings short” can be difficult to see. This crossword was plagued with them.

    Tabu? Never seen this spelling. Utterly obscure alternative spellings have noo place in these.

    17 reads as though the answer should be TIE-UN, unless you’ve been doing these things long enough to expect such devices.

    Both my late parents were obsessive gardeners. Neither ever uttered the word Tansy in my hearing. Ergo another obscurity that shouldn’t have been used here.

    Who ever refers to Derby hats nowadays? It’s the sort of thing you might have heard about, but only if you are old enough, and recognise once you are reminded, but hardly at the front of the brain. Men, in general, haven’t worn hats for decades.

  9. Big Dave says:


    I disagree with you on all counts.

    It would be nice to hear the views of a real novice solver. I suspect that they are more able than you give them credit.

    You sound as if you are old enough to remember this by Alex Welsh!!

  10. Derek Lazenby says:

    Pleasant link. I vaguely remember the artist’s name, but not that tune. That was what Dad listened to and therefore what I religously avoided. Large firey spheroids were more my cup of tea!

    I would be disappointed if you agreed with me. That would be so boring.

    I do actually know a complete beginner. It’s my fault she started. We were discussing the limitations of on-line poker room’s attempts to police their chat facilities (she works on the helpdesk of one such). She is not English, she is multilingual but English is not her native tongue. I can vouch for her English being very good due to reading the e-mails we have exchanged as I can’t tell that English is not her first language. We are 3 months in and she doesn’t abuse her work e-mails by asking for help on cryptics, but she has told me she still comes no where near completing any cryptic. I shan’t write to her now, but next time I have a valid (i.e. her poker site related) occassion to write to her, I’ll try to remember to ask her if she wouldn’t mind popping in here to indicate what she finds difficult.

    Umm? Do you always presume that just because you have a particular talent then everyone else must have it? Why else would you want to disagree about one clue type being generally difficult?

  11. Derek Lazenby says:

    Er one more thing. If you disagree with everything I said, presumably you include my statement that I never heard my parents use that word, or even that they were obsessive gardeners. Could we discuss that outside with our coats off please?

  12. sidey says:

    Good grief, what is happening round here? Offers to fight over a flower name?

    And people revealing a Nina on another thread?

    Is it the weather?

    Anyway, a nicely blogged puzzle with an excellent range of clue types.

  13. vynbos says:

    What an odd blog, Big Dave, I’m used to getting solutions and clear explanations on 225, not just hints. TANS was one good example, here’s another:
    “to get this home ground put a synonym for partly inside the item od apparel of which a derby is an example” Huh? This is how it is done on 225:
    “H[ABIT]AT: Ins of A BIT [synonym for partly] in HAT [the Derby is a type of hat]”

    Perhaps there is a reason why you feel a need to hint at rather than give the answers, but it alludes me. Perhaps you are a frustrated setter?

  14. vynbos says:

    eludes, rather. Freudian slip, I must have been thinking of your style of giving solutions when typing ‘alludes’.

  15. Big Dave says:

    @ vynbos

    “This is how it is done on 225″

    Not by me it isn’t. I like to explain how the answers are derived without using (abc)*, inserticator and similar gobbledegook.

  16. David Travis says:

    Isn’t 12ac the wrong way round? Doesn’t “Government followed advice and shone” suggest that the G should come at the end of the word? A fairer clue (though meaningless, admittedly) would be “Government preceded advice and shone”.

  17. Big Dave says:

    @David Travis

    You need to read it as G(overnment) + followed advice. Advice on its own doesn’t lead to listened.

    P.S. It’s nice to be able to reply to a sensible comment!

  18. una says:

    I am as near to a real novice as you will ever get and some of this was not easy and in fact obscure.I am also interested in gardening and I never heard of a tansy.Anyway you are never going to read this so why am I bothering ?

  19. Big Dave says:

    Oh yes I have read it Una!

    I’m not a gardener and I have heard of a tansy, but I couldn’t have told you what it looks like without looking it up. It was also the title of a 1961 single by the Alex Welsh Jazz Band, which I still have tucked away in a cupboard somewhere.

  20. Derek Lazenby says:

    Because some of us use the RSS feed (see top right of this page) to monitor this site, so we see every new post! The bloggers also get e-mails for each new post so they see late posts too. In essence you are right, it’s best to post on current threads. I’ve already said all I wanted to say about this one, see above. As you can see, the arguments can get to be fun sometimes! Anyway, hello and welcome, keep posting.

    If you want to know how to use RSS, click on my name here, that takes you to my web site, there is a Feedback link you can use to e-mail me.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

9 − four =