Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 654 / Pan

Posted by Big Dave on May 28th, 2012

Big Dave.

Not a puzzle that I can say I enjoyed, and it wasn’t helped by a couple of errors and a typo.

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. IS(land).


1a One handing out punishment is more decent going round island (9)
CHASTISER – someone who hands out punishment is derived by putting an adjective meaning more decent around the two-letter abbreviation of IS(land)

6a To start with, try on girlfriend’s sexy clothes! (4)
TOGS – the initial letters (to start with) of four words in the clue gives some clothes

10a Author Kate taking supermodel to Europe (5)
MOSSE – to get the surname of the author of Labyrinth start with the surname of supermodel Kate and add E(urope) – I had to look this one up as I have zero interest in modern fiction

11a Settled comfortably in newly built den, consuming calorie-laden cake (9)
ENSCONCED – a verb meaning settled comfortably is derived by putting an anagram (newly built) of DEN around (consuming) a cake made from flour, fat, and milk itself around (laden) C(alorie)

12a Corrupt, so plead for removal from high office (7)
DEPOSAL – an anagram (corrupt) of SO PLEAD gives removal from high office

13a Fellows getting close to harem by remains of fire (7)
MEMBERS – to get these fellows start with the final letter of (close to) hareM and then add the remains of a fire

14a Ruin tuna stew and retch, serving vegetable! (5,8)
WATER CHESTNUT – an anagram (Ruin) of TUNA STEW and RETCH gives this vegetable

17a Hectic bankers jostled over a piece of meat (7,6)
CHICKEN BREAST – an anagram (jostled) of HECTIC BANKERS gives a piece of meat

21a German replacing head of KGB in Russian government structure is a source of trouble (7)
GREMLIN – put a G(erman) in place of the initial letter (head) of KGB in the citadel that houses the Russian government and the result is a source of trouble

22a Hook used to secure good, rare fruit (7)
GRAPPLE – this hook which is used to secure something is derived from G(ood), R(are) and a fruit – I can find no provenance for the use of R as an abbreviation for Rare

24a Decoration of alternative road taken by chaps in books (9)
ADORNMENT – this decoration is built up from an anagram (alternative) of ROAD followed by some chaps inside a collection of books from the Bible

25a Rushes game (5)
DARTS – a double definition – a verb meaning rushes and a pub game

26a Drugs scored from sweet member of the upper classes (4)
TOFF – drop two occurrences of E(cstasy) from a sticky sweet to get a slang word for a member of the upper classes

27a Official welcoming in sailors going ahead? On the contrary (9)
STERNWARD – put an official around (welcoming in) the Royal Navy to get a word meaning the opposite (on the contrary) of going ahead


1d Amusing play without denouement pertaining to oneself is a source of disappointment (8)
COMEDOWN – start with an amusing play, drop the final Y (without denouement / outcome) and add an adjective meaning pertaining to oneself to get a source of disappointment

2d A model upset fabulist (5)
AESOP – start with the A from the clue and then add the reversal (upset in a down clue) of a verb meaning to model to get this writer of fables

3d Novel arrangement of undersea trials? (8,6)
TREASURE ISLAND – this novel is an anagram (arrangement) of UNDERSEA TRIALS

4d Cunning saint brewed ale at primarily teetotal house (7)
STEALTH – to get this cunning or furtiveness start with the usual two-letter abbreviation of saint, add an anagram (brewed) of ALE and end with the initial letters (primarily) of Teetotal and House

5d Starts again with amount of money secured by fortune-teller from the east (7)
RESUMES to get a verb meaning starts again put an amount of money inside (secured by) the reversal (from the east??) of a fortune-teller – poor editing here as this construct only works for an across clue

7d Players with gold casket presented to ancient sun god (9)
ORCHESTRA – this group of players come from a charade of the heraldic term for gold, a casket and the ancient Egyptian sun god

8d Day during which police officer, head of surveillance, finds one gratified by inflicting pain on others (6)
SADIST – put the abbreviation of a day of the week around a plain-clothes police officer and the initial letter (head) of Surveillance to get someone gratified by inflicting pain on others

9d Ordinary places where grass might grow (6,2,6)
COMMON OR GARDEN – a phrase which mean ordinary is made up of two places where grass might grow

15d Reprimanded and marked as having been done (6,3)
TICKED OFF – a double definition – reprimanded and marked as having been done correctly

16d Worried by puddings rising (8)
STRESSED – to get this word meaning worried reverse (rising in a down clue) some puddings

18d Place to keep dogs heartens heartbroken Nelson (7)
KENNELS – this place where dogs are kept is hidden (heartens) inside the clue

19d Close thing used to fasten garment (7)
NIGHTIE – an adverb meaning near is followed by something used to fasten to get a garment

20d Scared stiff by a disfigured hag with serpent’s extremities (6)
AGHAST – to get this adjective meaning scared stiff start with the A from the clue and add an anagram (disfigured) of HAG and the outside letters (extremities) of SerpenT

23d Deposit on a coat (5)
PARKA – a verb meaning to deposit is followed by the A from the clue to get a windproof coat with a hood

8 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 654 / Pan”

  1. PeterO says:

    Thanks for the blog. 5D is a rather startling slip, particularly as ‘from the east’ does not contribute much to the clue’s surface. R for rare (22A) has come up before, and it seems that the likely provenance is a waiter’s chit on the way to the kitchen, or the little flag stuck in the steak in the way back

  2. Robi says:

    Thanks Dave; I didn’t think this was too bad and about the right level for a Quiptic. Obviously, the East in RESUMES is incorrect. No doubt it was a clue written before shoehorning into a down space by mistake. I liked your NIGHTIE picture. 😉

    As PeterO says, r=rare has been used quite a lot in Guardian clues; here are a couple of web references:
    here; or here. The consensus did seem to be the reference to steaks, but I think it is also applied to coins, which I think is a better provenance [e.g. see here.]

    I liked GREMLIN and TOFF.

  3. Robi says:

    Sorry, wrong link for ‘or here’ above; it defaults to the wrong ‘R’ – you have to put R. [R{dot}] into the search window in the link!

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks Dave and Pan.

    I too put in R for ‘rare’ without really thinking about it, having assumed (it turns out rightly) that I’d come across it before. Agree about RESUMES. But not a bad Quiptic, I thought, with ENSCONCED my favourite clue today.

  5. Big Dave says:

    I personally would not accept “It’s been in the Guardian crossword before” as provenance for R = Rare. Nor would I accept someone somewhere using it on their website.

    It’s not in Chambers XWD – a Dictionary of Crossword Abbreviations, Chambers Dictionary – 12th Edition, the Oxford Dictionary of English or the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.

  6. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Big Dave
    “It’s not in Chambers XWD – a Dictionary of Crossword Abbreviations, Chambers Dictionary – 12th Edition, the Oxford Dictionary of English or the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.”

    That may well be the case but r. = rare is in Collins, one of the recognised crossword references.

  7. Big Dave says:

    Not a dictionary that I ever use, but thanks for the info.

  8. David Travis says:

    I enjoyed this and thought it was just the right level for a quiptic (ie I could just about finish it without needing to come here). Thanks for the blog which explained the one I couldn’t get (27a).

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