Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 647 Orlando

Posted by scchua on April 9th, 2012


This was one of the very much easier Quiptics.  Thanks Orlando, for the double and cryptic definitions and anagrams, and for the absence of obscure words, whether dialect, slang, English or foreign. Definitions are underlined in the clues.


1 Volcanic rock turned up by little creatures (6)

PUMICEReversal of(turned) UP plus(by) MICE(little creatures)

Answer:  Type of volcanic rock that floats in water.

4 As discs they are unsurpassed (7)

RECORDS :  Cryptic defn: Results of competitive events that are unsurpassed – for the time being, at least.  And gramophone records are also shellac and later vinyl discs that were once THE medium for sound reproduction.  I suppose I could also call this a double defn. clue, but I thought a better construction for a double defn. would have been “They are unsurpassed discs.”

9 End woeful prayer in Irish county (9)

TIPPERARY :  TIP(end, say, of a stick or something sticking out, say, a tongue) + anagram of(woeful) PRAYER

10 Nine-to-five, say, when allowance is curtailed (5)

RATIO :  “ration”(an allowance measured and handed out) minus its last letter(is curtailed). 

Answer: A proportion like,say, of 9 parts to 5 parts.

11 Source of berries for community leader (5)

ELDER :  Double defn: 1st: Plant bearing berries.

12 Old genius transformed pest control treatment (9)

DELOUSINGAnagram of(transformed) OLD GENIUS

13 Dash back with German article for part-exchange (5-2)

TRADE-INReversal of(back) DART(dash,move swiftly) plus(with) EIN(in German, the article “a”).

15 Obsequious subordinates close to tears in Arab country (3-3)

YES-MEN :  S(last letter of,close totears”) contained in(in) YEMEN(Arab country that is the only republic in the Arabian peninsula).

17 Good landlords providing spirits (6)

GHOSTS :  G(good) HOSTS(landlords who have paying guests, ie. customers, in the hospitality industry).  Nice surface.

19 Barbara Castle? (7)

WINDSOR :  Double defn: 1st: Barbara, actress’s stage name, in the Carry On… series of films in the 60s and 70s and later in the TV soap opera EastEnders; and 2nd: English royal residence,castle.  The question mark denotes the ambiguity with Barbara Castle, late Baroness, former Labour Party politician and Cabinet Minister.

22 Cocky prisoner in the chair, so to speak (9)

CONCEITEDHidden in(so to speak) “con”(short for convict,prisoner) + “seated”(in the chair).

24 Farewell from police officer in a multinational group (5)

ADIEU :  DI(abbrev. for detective inspector,police officer) contained in(in) [A + EU(European Union,multinational group).

26 Network’s first to plug old tune that’s being broadcast (2,3)

ON AIR :  N(“network’s first letter) contained in(to plug) [O(old) + AIR(a tune)].

27 Desperate jockey’s final obstacle? (4-5)

LAST-DITCH :  In the steeplechase (the term originating from a race across country, going from church steeple to church steeple), a jockey’s (and his horse’s) final,last obstacle might well be a ditch. 

Answer: Adjective for a last-chance desperate attempt, such as a last-ditch negotiation.


28 Section of étude Sir Edward wanted (7)

DESIREDHidden in(section of) etuDE SIR Edward.

29 Doctor gets Conservative backing to reveal decay (3,3)

DRY ROT :  DR(abbrev. for doctor) plus(gets) reversal of(backing) TORY(member of the Conservative Party).


1 One requiring treatment and prepared to wait (7)

PATIENT :  Double defn.

2 Was blue bike seen here? (5)

MOPED :  Double defn.  2nd:  Originally a sort of motorised bicycle; the word being derived from motor + pedal.   As with 4 Across, I thought the clue could be shorter still.  “Bike was blue.” might have been a better construction?


3 Old TV series about Les? Miserable! (9)

CHEERLESS :  CHEERS(old American TV series) containing(about) LES.  A deliberately incomplete reference to Les Miserables.  Something to bring back the memories –


4 Payment to author from people in palaces? (7)

ROYALTY :  Double defn.

5 Popular holiday destination caught four out (5)

CORFU :  C(abbrev. for “caught” in cricket notation) + anagram of(out) FOUR

Answer: Historic Greek island getting lots of tourists.

6 Those who keep servants (9)

RETAINERS :  Double defn.

7 Clean cake (6)

SPONGE :  Double defn: 1st: To clean,wash with a sponge; and 2nd: Type of cake with a porous texture, ie. like a sponge.

8 Such a flight would be the first for Virgin (6)

MAIDEN :  Double defn.  The surface refers to Virgin Atlantic, airline founded by Sir Richard Branson.

14 The inn, as a resort for Greeks (9)

ATHENIANSAnagram of(resort) THE INN AS A.

16 Stand near helter-skelter in Spanish city (9)

SANTANDERAnagram of(helter-skelter,in a haphazard manner) STAND NEAR.

18 Weather forecast no longer an issue? (7)

SETTLED :  Double defn: 1st: Descriptive of calm weather conditions.

19 View, finally, that is most extensive (6)

WIDEST :  W(last letter,finally of “view”) + ID EST(Latin for “that is”, usually abbreviated to “i.e.”)

20 Take no comfort in organised riot — ugh! (5,2)

ROUGH ITAnagram of(organised) RIOT UGH

Answer: Not to avail oneself of,take no comfort, eg. when going camping in the wild.

21 A group of notes, we hear, producing harmony (6)

ACCORDHomophone of(we hear) A CHORD(a group of notes played simultaneously to produce a composite harmonious sound; the word “chord” being derived from “accord”,harmony)

23 Panic, losing head? There’s something wrong there (5)

ERROR :  “terror”(panic) minus(losing) “t”,its initial letter,head.

25 Bury artist after pop’s popped off (5)

INTER :  “painter”(artist) minus(popped off) “pa”(father,pop derived from “poppa”, in turn a variant of “papa”).



4 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 647 Orlando”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, scchua. A bit like Mary Poppins, this was practically perfect. Clear definitions, no obscurities, a nice variety in the clueing; so the Quiptic brief well fulfilled. My favourites today were LAST-DITCH and CHEERLESS.

    Thanks to Orlando.

  2. Robi says:

    I agree with K’s Dad; the right level for a Quiptic, but still entertaining.

    Thanks scchua for a nice pictorial blog. I thought RATIO was a nicely misleading clue, and I clumsily put in ADIos at first before changing to ADIEU.

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Scchua & Orlando

    This was perfect for the Quiptic slot.

    My COD was WINDSOR.

  4. Derek Lazenby says:

    Yes all very jolly, but something is nagging me that I’ve seen 19ac somewhere else recently.

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