Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 646 / Arachne

Posted by Big Dave on April 2nd, 2012

Big Dave.

I must remember to do the lottery on Saturday, as this must be my lucky week – my second Arachne Quiptic in succession!  Perhaps a little harder than some Quiptics, but the smile count is high.

Most of the definitions given are from Chambers 12th Edition. Most of the standard abbreviations used in the wordplay are shown with the unused letters in brackets e.g. A(merican).


1a           American rogue in iron mask (6)
FAÇADE – put A(merican) and a rogue inside the chemical symbol for iron to get this mask

4a           Assist Dicky to achieve state of inactivity (6)
STASIS – an anagram (dicky) of ASSIST gives a state of inactivity

9a           Man, perhaps misled, stripped (4)
ISLE – the land mass of which Man is an example (perhaps) is derived by stripping the outside letters from (m)ISLE(d)

10a         Billion are short of food and school equipment (10)
BLACKBOARD – a charade of B(illion), a shortage and food, often followed by “and lodging”, gives this equipment used in schools

11a         Punch alien in port (6)
SOCKET – a charade of a verb meaning to punch and Steven Spielberg’s alien gives a port into which a device might be plugged

12a         One intense, revolutionary decade (8)
NINETIES – n anagram (revolutionary) of I (one) and INTENSE gives a decade

13a         Sausage and ginger beer from Italy (9)
PEPPERONI – this Italian sausage is a charade of ginger or energy and an Italian beer

15a         Not about to repair track (4)
PATH – drop the single-letter abbreviation of C(irca), the Latin for about, from a verb meaning to repair to get this track

16a         Tree regularly seen in the Backs (4)
TEAK – this tree comes from the odd letters (regularly seen) of the last two words in the clue

17a         Brilliant hacker, a young writer, is in hiding (9)
THACKERAY – hidden inside the first four words of the clue is the author of Vanity Fair

21a         Article the Scotsman’s written about Pole and Greek (8)
ATHENIAN – put an indefinite article, THE from the clue and a Scottish first name around a pole to get a Greek

22a         Reservation without doubt proves to be incorrect (6)
REBUTS – put RES(ervation) around (without) a doubt to get a verb meaning proves to be incorrect

24a         Presents misguided US doctrine (10)
INTRODUCES – this verb meaning presents is an anagram (misguided) of US DOCTRINE

25a         Take care of money (not sovereign) (4)
TEND – to get a verb meaning to take care of start with some money and drop the ER (Elizabeth Regina / sovereign)

26a         Your health bucks up (6)
CHEERS – a double definition

27a         Sanctuary proved by a Yankee in ghetto (6)
ASYLUM – this sanctuary comes from the A from the clue followed by the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by Yankee inside a ghetto


1d           Immovable and undivided, it’s crooked when pulled (4,3)
FAST ONE – a charade of words meaning immovable and undivided gives something which is crooked preceded by “to pull a”

2d           Arrest Charlie? I’m surprised! (5)
CHECK – this word meaning arrest is a charade of the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by Charlie and an exclamation of surprise

3d           Berated poor performer in Parliament (7)
DEBATER – an anagram (poor) of BERATED gives a performer in Parliament

5d           Conveying thanks to monarch (6)
TAKING – this verb meaning conveying is a charade of a short word of thanks and a monarch

6d           Biscuit, not eclair (9)
SHORTCAKE – split this type of biscuit as (5,4) and you get a description that does not apply to an éclair

7d           Shriek as stones cover church (7)
SCREECH – to get this shriek put some loose stones over CH(urch)

8d           Penance, I think, could be a bore (4,2,3,4)
PAIN IN THE NECK – an anagram (could be) of PENANCE I THINK gives a bore

14d         Mercury, perhaps, starts to rise, enervating and exhausting one seen on the streets of London? (5,4)
PLANE TREE – the type of heavenly body of which Mercury is an example (perhaps) is followed by the initial letters of (starts to) three words in the clue to get a plant that can be seen on the streets of London

16d         “Drat it — an iceberg!”: ship is engulfed (7)
TITANIC – hidden inside (engulfed) the clue is this famous ship which sunk after hitting an iceberg

18d         Bodies are reportedly buried in woods (7)
CORPSES – to get these bodies put the letter that sounds like (reportedly) are inside (buried in) some woods

19d         Married man? The opposite! (7)
ANTONYM – take M(arried) and a man’s name and reverse the order of them to get a word opposite in meaning to another – “the opposite” is doing double duty here, but if you smile when you solve it then it’s a good clue!

20d         She likes to tease nanny? (6)
KIDDER – Someone who teases a nanny goat, perhaps

23d         Insect said to be mild stimulant when chewed (5)
BETEL – what sounds like (said) an insect is actually a leaf which is a mild stimulant when chewed

8 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 646 / Arachne”

  1. crypticsue says:

    I usually give the Quiptic a miss, mainly because I am not really part of its intended audience. Having solved everything else, I had a look and was delighted to find an Arachne – I always make the exception and solve her Quiptics because as BD says they are such fun. Thanks to him and her for their part in my enjoyable morning.

  2. StanXYZ says:

    A very enjoyable puzzle from Arachne with a nice mix of clues. I particularly liked the “hidden” clues.

    I wonder if those who solve the Quiptic each week know about this Blog? The paucity of comments would suggest not. Thanks to Big Dave – your words of wisdom have not fallen on deaf ears completely .

  3. stiofain says:

    Another great Arachne its worth mentioning that is was 100 years ago today that the Titanic left Belfast on her maiden voyage.

  4. Robi says:

    Thanks Arachne for an entertaining puzzle.

    Thanks also to Big Dave. I thought there was a convention not to use tradenames like Peroni (?) Antonym did make me smile, so the double duty was overlooked. I thought the nanny in 20 referred to the person who looks after kids. PATH was the last in, which I didn’t parse properly.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Dave.

    I’m not sure I’m in the intended audience for the Quiptic either, but there’s always some fun in solving an Arachne puzzle and there were many I liked today (although ANTONYM requires a bit of indulgence …)

    As for the lack of comments, it was ever thus since 225 started blogging the Quiptic. I’m sure bloggers can be encouraged by the fact that newer solvers will lurk and learn, so their efforts are appreciated. That said, the Guardian crossword website, where the Quiptic will be found, has started to flag up in its right-hand column the various blogs that are available, so that might send some puzzlers here where they might be encouraged to contribute.

  6. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Nothing too easy about many of the Quiptics, in my opinion, and certainly not when Arachne’s at the helm.
    They can hold their own against [m]any Monday or Tuesday Guardian crossword[s].

    A fine puzzle with an overdose of good surfaces.
    I liked both hiddens (16d and 17), and thought 18d (CORPSES) to be particularly nice.
    The latter was part of the SE which caused me some trouble.
    Didn’t get REBUTS, because I was focused on a word for ‘reservation’ minus ‘er’ or ‘um’, perhaps leading to a word for ‘incorrect’. Therefore no BETEL for me (a clue that might also lead to BEETLE, although that is one letter too many of course).
    I suspected 19d to be ANTONYM, but couldn’t see why.
    So many thanks BD for enlightening me (and probably others).

    And now for today’s Arachne ….

  7. crosser says:

    Thank you, BD, for your very pedagogical approach!

    Robi @4 : “Antonym did make me smile, so the double duty was overlooked.” Where’s the double duty? I can’t see it.

  8. Big Dave says:

    Crosser @7

    19d Married man? The opposite! (7)
    The wordplay leads to M(arried) and ANTONY. When the order is reversed (the opposite) the result is ANTONY M. The definition is “the opposite”. It can’t be &Lit as the whole clue doesn’t give the definition.

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