Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 642 / Arachne

Posted by Big Dave on March 5th, 2012

Big Dave.

I always look forward to Quiptics by Arachne (and Orlando), so today is a lucky day. This is an excellent puzzle with many of those clues that make you smile.

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. C(old).


1a Spam gets overlooked, initially, in feasts (7)
JUNKETS – some spam or unwanted emails followed by (G)ETS without the initial G (overlooked initially) gives these feasts

5a Sailor’s drunk, with red cheeks (6)
ABLUSH – the usual two-letter sailor is followed by a slang word for a drunk to get an adjective meaning with red cheeks

9a Coach saying you must ultimately make a strenuous effort (4,1,3)
BUST A GUT – a coach is followed by a saying or quotation and the final letters (ultimately) of yoU musT to get a phrase meaning to make a strenuous effort

10a Listen to bug or insect (6)
EARWIG – a double definition – to listen to a bug or hidden microphone and an insect

12a Summary inaccurately revised by international bridge partners (5,3,4)
BIRD’S EYE VIEW – this summary is derived from an anagram (inaccurately) of REVISED BY followed by I(nternational) and two bridge partners (the other pair being NS)

15a Asking anew about moments when realisation dawns (10)
AWAKENINGS – an anagram (about) of ASKING ANEW gives those moments when realisation dawns

17a Important economist is half-cut (3)
KEY – this adjective meaning important is half of the surname of famous economist John Maynard Keynes

19a Completely boring instrument is heard (3)
ALL – this adverb meaning completely sounds like (is heard) an awl (boring instrument)

20a Nana and silly pirate providing central characters in musical entertainment (5,5)
GRAND OPERA – start with another name for an elderly female relative, add a word meaning a silly person and the middle letters (providing central characters) of piRAte to get this musical entertainment

22a Spectacular lack of restraint as Anglicans leave South Africa (12)
EXTRAVAGANZA – here spectacular is a noun meaning a large-scale elaborate theatrical show – take a word meaning lack of restraint, drop the final CE (as Anglicans / Church of England leave) and add ZA, the IVR code for South Africa / Zuid Afrika

26a Place one finds cold to walk around (3,3)
ICE CAP – I (one), C(old) and the reversal (around) of a verb meaning to walk give somewhere defined by the whole clue

27a Impressive SUV I used to get round volcano (8)
VESUVIUS – this volcano is hidden inside (to get round) impressiVE SUV I USed

28a The French excursion makes us cast off restraints! (3,3)
LET RIP – the French definite article is followed by an excursion to get a phrasal verb meaning to cast off restraints

29a Little girl heading off from Belgian port in balloon (7)
DISTEND – the shortened form of a girl’s name (little girl) is followed by a Belgian port without its initial O (heading off) to get a verb meaning to balloon


1d Steve, whose patience was tried by Windows, ultimately (4)
JOBS – the surname of the recently deceased chief executive officer of Apple Inc. is built up from the biblical character whose patience was tried followed by the final letter (ultimately) of WindowS

2d Regularly enjoys the food (4)
NOSH – the even letters (regularly) of eNjOyS tHe gives a slang word for food

3d I name Rex Duff as moderator (8)
EXAMINER – an anagram (duff) of I NAME REX gives a moderator

4d Quarter-pound cephalopod (5)
SQUID – a quarter of the compass followed by a slang word for a pound in money gives this cephalopod

Which reminds me of a joke I first heard about twenty years ago:

An elderly squid was laying on the seabed nearing the end of his life when a shark, looking for dinner, swam over to him. “Please don’t eat me”, said the squid, “I’ve been sick for weeks now, and haven’t got long to go”. So the shark said, “Ok, as you’re so sick, climb onto my back and I’ll take you for a little ride”. So the squid climbed on and the shark swam across the seabed until they came to some rocks where another shark was lurking. “Hello”, said the second shark, “What brings you over here?”. “Hello mate”, said the first shark. “Here’s that sick squid I owe you”.

6d Supported motorists who were retired? (6)
BRACED – a verb meaning supported is created by putting a club for motorists inside a place to sleep (in bed / retired)

7d Smooth single containing ice and slice of lemon (10)
UNWRINKLED – to get this adjective meaning smooth put a word meaning single or not married around (containing) a piece of ice prepared for skating and L (a slice of Lemon)

8d Bandit king perhaps buried beneath road (10)
HIGHWAYMAN – this bandit is derived by putting a chess piece (king perhaps) after (buried beneath in a down clue) a road

11d Where a gang is holding US president (6)
REAGAN –hidden inside (holding) wheRE A GANg is a former US president

13d Administrative bully rang Amelia (10)
MANAGERIAL – an adjective meaning administrative comes from an anagram (bully) of RANG AMELIA

14d US financial interests large and small may, perhaps, get into Disney (4,6)
WALL STREET – these US financial interests are derived by putting L(arge) and S(mall) together with the type of plant of which may is an example (perhaps) inside the first name of cartoonist Disney

16d Surrounded by Dotty, Dora and Sally (6)
INROAD – if you ignore the gratuitous capitalisation then a two-letter word meaning surrounded by followed by an anagram (dotty) of DORA gives a sally or incursion

18d Reportedly shows disapproval over son having drinking sessions (5-3)
BOOZE-UPS – a charade of what sounds like (reportedly) a verb meaning shows disapproval, a two-letter word meaning over and S(on) gives these drinking sessions

21d Is about to tackle a remote expedition (6)
SAFARI – reverse (about) IS around (to tackle) A from the clue and a word meaning remote to get this expedition to observe or hunt animals in their natural habitat

23d Winning American poll (5)
AHEAD – a word meaning winning or in front is created by running together A(merican) and a poll

24d Fellow has got one’s number (4)
FIVE – F(ellow) is followed by an abbreviated form of “has got one” to get a number

25d Newspaper boss supports you and me being exploited (4)
USED – put the abbreviation for a head journalist after a word meaning you and me to get a verb meaning being exploited

14 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 642 / Arachne”

  1. crypticsue says:

    I don’t do many of the Quiptics but like BD I always keep an eye out for an Arachne. Very enjoyable, thank you Arachne, and BD too.

  2. Robi says:

    Nice puzzle, but a bit tough, I thought, for a Quiptic.

    Thanks, Big Dave; I couldn’t parse EXTRAVAGANZA. Sally seems to have almost opposite meanings, as in outrush and INROAD. In 6d, I don’t think I understand how the ‘inside’ is indicated, or does ‘supported’ do double-duty? My COD was WALL STREET.

  3. Eileen says:

    Thanks, BD, for the blog – and Arachne, as always, for a very nice puzzle.

    Clues like 6dn [Robi, retired = ‘in bed’, as BD says but, of course, often means ‘reversed’ in crosswords!] and 14dn [‘may’ nearly caught me out] seem to be leading novices gently [and rightly] on to the Intermediate stage.

    My favourites were BUST A GUT, JOBS, WALL STREET and GRAND OPERA – since Nana and a [silly] pirate are characters in ‘Peter Pan’, of which there is a musical version.

  4. PeterO says:

    Robi – as Big Dave points out, the “inside” comes from retired = in bed.

    Obvious, perhaps, but it is worth pointing out that there is a little more to 1D than the blog indicates: Apple came up with the idea of windows, and sued Microsoft unsuccessfully when they ripped it off with a capital W.

    In 10A, I cannot pin down WIG as a hidden microphone; I thought the old sense of “to tell off” was closer to ‘bug’, though not the best fit.

    Another satisfying crossword from Arachne.

  5. Robi says:

    Doh! OK, I get the ‘in bed’ now!

  6. Robi says:

    PeterO @4; I think it is the other sense of the whole word EARWIG, viz Chambers: ‘to eavesdrop, to gain the ear of.’

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Big Dave.

    Always a pleasing Quiptic from this setter, and the level of this was well-judged, with just a couple of more complicated constructions. BRACED and SQUID (apart from the joke, which is so rubbish it’s verging on good …) were my favourites this morning.

    Thanks to Arachne too.

  8. pommers says:

    Definitely on the tricky side for a Quiptic but, as you say BD, Arachne is always enjoyabe.
    Not keen on “I’ve” for “has got one” but it was fairly obvious.
    Thanks Arachne & BD

  9. Arachne says:

    Evening all!

    Warm and heartfelt thanks to Big Dave for an amazing blog (as ever) and an even more amazing joke: I hadn’t heard it before but it’s about to go round my ‘hood like the measles…Thanks for all the comments too.

    The difficulty level for Quiptics is a tricky thing to judge, and it does tend to creep up imperceptibly over the months. Since submitting this one I’ve tried to recalibrate, so either the next one or the one after that should get back to basics. To add to my worries No2 Daughter has just started solving the Quiptics so I am now in dire fear of knee-wobblingly outspoken criticism in future (gulp). Perhaps a few squid will sort her out…

    Love and hugs,

  10. Derek Lazenby says:

    A slog and got stuck with 5 to go. Given that someone is too thin skinned to allow dissent I shall fail to make to make the obvious inference too.

    Before any of these Johnny Come Lateleys got into Windows, the whole idea of such a graphical interface was invented at the Parc Laboratories of Rank Xerox. So Apple suing Microsoft was just a tad on the rich side.

  11. Jan says:

    Dave, I’m way after the main event – I love Arachne’s puzzles and your blogs are always a delight with their refusal to spell it out but with suggestions of how the solvers can get there.

    I have a question which I meant to ask when we met but forgot – maybe I was overawed? :)

    Knowing that this will get to you via e-mail and ducking under Gaufrid’s radar what is that thingie called which you use for your sig picture?

    I’ve seen a real one and watched it calculating but I’m, b******d if I can remember what the thingummygig is called

  12. Jan says:

    BTW – I love the squid joke.

  13. Big Dave says:


    I remember meeting you in Derby.

    The picture is of a Curta calculator. This one is a Type II, but I also own a Type I which is smaller and has a smaller range.

  14. Jan says:

    Curta! – That’s the word I couldn’t remember. Thank you so much, big fella. I look forward to seeing you next time. xxx

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