Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 652/Nutmeg

Posted by Pierre on May 14th, 2012


A pleasing Quiptic from Nutmeg, but she has included a number of cryptic definitions, which I found slightly tricky.  Overall though, a well-constructed puzzle, with just one clue that I can’t quite get my head round.




cd  cryptic definition
dd  double definition
(xxxx)*  anagram
anagrind = anagram indicator
[x]  letter(s) removed


1 Partially opaque ductile waterway
Hidden in opAQUE DUCTile.  What did the Romans ever do for us, eh?

5 Preserve exotic meal doctor’s tucking into
An insertion of MB for ‘doctor’ in (MEAL)* with ‘exotic’ as the anagrind.

9 He guides Home Secretary crossing wood on island
An insertion of ELM in HS followed by the Isle of MAN.  Not sure I’ve seen HS as an abbreviation for ‘Home Secretary’ before, but I’m sure it’s in a dictionary somewhere.

10 Plug opening at sea
A charade of AD for advertisement or ‘plug’ and RIFT for ‘opening’.

12 Suitable place husband’s found in Ulster church
An insertion of H for ‘husband’ in NI for ‘Ulster’ and CE for ‘church’.  Northern Ireland and Ulster are of course not the same thing, but that doesn’t stop setters presuming that they are.

13 Bush able to act cunningly
Nice surface, although I fancy George Dubya didn’t have sufficient intelligence to do cunning.  A charade of BOX for the bush or shrub, and CLEVER for ‘able’.

14 Skilled workers coping with cuts?
A cd.

18 Consequence of queen backing action of strikers
A reversal of ER for ‘queen’ and PERCUSSION, which is the action of drummers, or ‘strikers’.

21 Little inclination to select suitable candidates
Another pleasing surface.  A charade of SHORT and LIST, in its sense of ’tilt’ or ‘lean over'; hence ‘inclination’.

23 Agree to cutting revolutionary engine component
An insertion of OK for ‘agree to’ in Señor Guevara, CHE, the setters’ favourite revolutionary.  I don’t think modern cars have chokes , do they?

24 Flash Gordon’s third jacket
Took me a while to see this one.  It’s a charade of BLAZE for ‘flash’ and R for the third letter of Gordon.  What some solvers refer to as a ‘lift and separate’ clue, I think.

25 Amateur team includes a reserve
AN insertion of A in LAY for ‘amateur’ and SIDE for ‘team’.  This sense of LAY is probably most often heard in ‘lay preacher’.

26 Ruins King’s broadcast
I liked this one.  It’s a homophone (‘broadcast’) of Rex, the Latin word for ‘King’.

27 Precisely where the telegraphist may be concentrating?
A cd, referencing the Morse Code.


1 Dying CO leaves instruction

2 Free from a French embrace
A charade of UN for the French ‘a’ and LOCK for ‘embrace’.

3 Rapid rise produces state of collapse
(RAPID RISE)* with ‘produces’ as the anagrind.

4 Scores of small groups of players?
A cd, with ‘scores’ in the musical sense.

6 Ideal student overcome by rage
A charade of MODE and L for ‘learner’ or ‘student’.  Hot pants were ‘all the rage’ in the 1970s.  I think they merit a comeback, personally, although obviously not worn by the same women who sported them back then.

7 What spectators may take if bad light stops play?
Another cd, which took me a good while to see.

8 Driver’s vehicle test stopped by wild riots
A charade of MOT, the vehicle test, and (RIOTS)*  ‘Wild’ is the anagrind.

11 Rail transport for state retinue
A charade of EXPRESS for ‘state’ and TRAIN for ‘retinue’.

15 WC a school ordered, not a high-speed type
(WC A SCHOOL)*  ‘Ordered’ is the anagrind.

16 Weapon for shooting Spooner’s top bird?
Not my favourite type of clue, but Nutmeg’s made this one work well: the ‘top bird’ would be a BOSS CROW.

17 Capable of meeting with it
The definition is ‘with it’, and I presume that the setter is suggesting that if you are UP TO DATE, you are capable of meeting a deadline, but I am happy for someone to disabuse me of this line of thought.

Edit: Brian with an eye explains this at comment no 2, for which thanks.

19 Managed to secure one, not the original
An insertion of I in COPED.

20 Dismiss extremely regressive juvenile court
The first and last letters (‘extremely’) of RegressivE JuvenilE CourT.

22 Plot’s last feeble twist
A charade of the last letter of ploT and WEAK.

Many thanks to Nutmeg for this week’s Quiptic offering.

8 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 652/Nutmeg”

  1. KeithW says:

    17d – could “meeting with it” describe a date? A date is a meeting and “it” might follow?

  2. Brian with an eye says:

    17d: “capable of” = “up to” & “meeting” = “date”.

  3. Pierre says:

    Thanks, Keith and Brian. I want to go with Keith’s idea, because it’s slightly risqué, but I think Brian has nailed it. How could I not see that? It’s really strange how sometimes you just get fixated on one way of parsing a clue and then your brain somehow won’t let you see the obvious explanation.

  4. noddybankie says:

    Found this tougher than the cryptic today.

  5. Pierre says:

    As Pommers has just pointed out on the Guardian blog, this puzzle is a pangram. For newer solvers, that’s a puzzle that contains all 26 letters of the alphabet, and is usually an incidental part of the solving process, though if you spot that it might be, it can help you with your last few answers. I never thought to look, frankly, because the Quiptic is almost invariably theme-free. Well done to Nutmeg for incorporating it without making the puzzle too tricky or including obscure words.

  6. Bratford says:

    I can’t work out if this explains 10ac better, but a drift is tool, described in wikipedia as “drift pin punch, or simply drift, is the name for a tool used for enlarging holes, or aligning holes prior to bolting or riveting metal parts together.”

  7. Pierre says:

    Hi Bratford

    I don’t recognise your name, so if this is your first contribution, welcome! Your take on ADRIFT is interesting (I didn’t know that definition), but I don’t think it quite fits the surface, because it doesn’t take account of where the ‘opening’ part of the clue comes in.

    Anyway, thanks for contributing and keep the comments coming.

  8. Bratford says:

    Thanks for the welcome, yes it my first contribution. I started on a crossword last summer, the first for a long time, at least this century, possibly longer. I’ve never found them easy, but I do prefer to attempt them online rather than faffing round with pencils and rubbers.

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