Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 656/Hectence

Posted by Pierre on June 11th, 2012


It’s a Quiptic, Jim, but not as we know it …  It might have just been a bad day at the office for me, but this was harder than many a Guardian cryptic that I’ve solved.  Perhaps you’ll tell me otherwise.





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


1 Piece of hip hop’s broadcast round backyard
If you can’t explain a clue, it might as well be 1 across.  All I can come up with is that it’s (HOPS YARD)* and ‘piece’ looks like the definition while ‘broadcast’ looks like the anagrind, but somebody else is going to have to tell me how this works.

Edit: Thomas and Andrew explain this one in the first two comments; thanks to them.

5 Thief taking dresser without key?
Once you’d got some crossing letters, it couldn’t be much else, but it took me a while to see this.  It’s ROBER for ‘dresser’ outside (‘without’) B for the musical key.

9 One son’s in slight hint of trouble
An insertion (‘in’) of IS in NUANCE for ‘slight hint’.

10 Derrick’s putting grease on machinery
A charade of OIL for ‘grease’ and RIG for ‘machinery’.

12 Cut short heavy old slow movement
The musical term for a ‘slow movement’ is LARG[E] plus O for ‘old’.  ‘Heavy’ for ‘large’?

13 Brains and a pretty head?
‘Brains’ for ACUTENESS?  Maybe not in a Quiptic, methinks.  It’s a charade of A, CUTE and NESS for an archaic word for promontory or ‘head’

14 Innate tendency to censure and abuse
(TO CENSURE AND)*  The anagrind is ‘abuse’.

18 Unseasonal warmth brings forth sub-continental adder
A phrase meaning hot weather in late summer is a charade of INDIAN for ‘sub-continental’ and SUMMER for ‘adder’.

21 Cousin Rex organised trip

23 My turn to cut the herb for cooking
Hectence is asking you to reverse (‘turn’) MY and then put it in THE to give you the culinary herb.

24 Reach out to former nurse
A charade of EX for ‘former’ and TEND for ‘nurse’, but I’m not sure what ‘to’ is doing for the cryptic grammar.

25 Holy man’s not returned from ramble
A nice surface and clue.  Another charade: of RABBI for ‘holy man’ and TON for a reversal (‘returned’) of NOT.

26 Dad’s lost bearings, being upset
A charade of (DADS)* and EN for ‘bearings’, East and North.  ‘Lost’ is the anagrind.

27 Respected heads of European states reportedly co-operated
A charade of ES for the first letters of ‘European states’ plus a homophone of ‘teamed’.  I’m not enamoured of ‘teamed’ for ‘co-operated’.  We ‘teamed up’ means ‘we co-operated’ but you can’t ‘co-operate up’.


1 Bug scuttled over large beast
The clue works fine, and perhaps it’s just me, but this is a tricky clue for a puzzle designed for new cryptic fans.  RANKLE and ‘bug’ are synonyms; then it’s RAN for ‘scuttled’ with KLE for a reversal (‘over’) of ELK, which is indeed one of many ‘large beasts’.

2 Secondary navigation by way of train lines gets birds home
If I’ve understood this well, then it’s A for the second letter of nAvigation, followed by VIA for ‘by way of’ and RY for railway or ‘train lines’.  Expecting a beginner to twig that ‘secondary navigation’ means A is a bit of an ask, I think.

3 TV show: very much a quiet time after work
Something like EastEnders is a charade of SO for ‘very much’, A, P for musically ‘quiet’, and ERA for ‘time’ after OP for ‘work’, the abbreviation for ‘opus’.

4 Police rise high in patriots cruel tyranny
A charade of DIC for CID (‘police’) reversed and (IN PATRIOTS)*  ‘High’ is the anagrind.

6 Give thoughts on pie ingredients
(ON PIE)* ‘Ingredients’ is the – not brilliant in my opinion – anagrind.

7 Bear cub disrupted English party cooking food outdoors
(BEAR CUB)* and E for ‘English’ with ‘disrupted’ as the anagrind.

8 Record disheartened Rorke’s Drift soldiers coming back up

‘Record’ is the definition.  The setter’s asking you to ‘dishearten’ Rorke to leave you with RE, then add GIST for ‘drift’ and ER for a reversal (‘coming up’) of RE for Royal Engineers, or ‘soldiers’.

11 Lady pursuing good times has strange slant on principles
A charade of FUN for ‘good times’, DAME for ‘lady’ and (SLANT)*  with ‘strange’ as the anagrind.

15 Prisoner jumping from a soft-top car can be stopped
A ‘prisoner’ is a ‘con’ and if you take that out of A [CON]VERTIBLE, you’ll get a rather obscure word that means ‘can be stopped’.

16 Determined Hebridean island’s to harbour longship
This is a clever clue, so I’m sorry to be critical, but I think it’s way too hard for a Quiptic.  The definition is ‘determined’.  Then you have to put L for ‘long’ in TIREE for the island featured every day in the shipping forecast, and add SS for ‘ship’ at the end.  You have to ‘lift and separate’ ‘longship’, and ‘harbour’ is the insertion indicator.

17 Cultured university guy’s besieged by journalists
An insertion (‘besieged’) of U for ‘university’ and CAT for ‘guy’ in two ‘journalists’ (ED and ED).  ‘He’s a cool cat.’

19 Scheme to get unknowns into rising NY team
Because it’s a down clue, Hectence is telling you to put YS for ‘unknowns’ into the New York METS.  ‘Y’ is one of the mathematically unknown letters X, Y or Z, and its plural is Ys.

20 Drink to Queen’s name in Hull
An insertion of ER for Elizabeth Regina, our current Queen and N for ‘name’ in POD for ‘hull’ in its verbal sense.  But again, what’s the ‘to’ doing in the surface?

22 Wash out some swimwear in sea water
Hidden in swimeaR IN SEa water.

9 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 656/Hectence”

  1. Thomas99 says:

    I enjoyed this but agree it’s hard for a quiptic. Re 1a – I think it’s “Rhaps” (hip-hop’s – “rap’s” broadcast i.e. homophone), “o” (round) “dy” (backyard) = piece

    My last in was 16 – really not very easy!

    Thanks for the blog. Must have been a bit of a shock.

  2. Andrew says:

    Thanks Pierre, I agree this was quite tricky for a Quiptic.

    1ac is RHAPS – homophone of “rap’s” =”piece of hip hop’s-” + O (round) + reverse of YD (“backyard”)

  3. JollySwagman says:

    Great puzzle for the Quiptic slot. Easy enough overall but the last few took as long as the rest of the puzzle. Some good chuckles and (I’m pleased to see) two wordsplits.

    Hip hop without a hyphen I took as a typo – surely there’s no interpretation other than hip-hop.

  4. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Pierre. I found this tougher than today’s Rufus :)

    In 4d, you need “high” to justify the H, so the anagrind is “cruel”.

  5. Robi says:

    Good puzzle, although hard for a Quiptic.

    Thanks Pierre; although I parsed 1a, I failed on 1d getting stuck on l=large (clothing.)

    Maybe EXTEND could be ‘reach out to,’ [as in EXTEND a hand] in any case I think the surface would not make much sense if the ‘to’ was left out.

  6. Pierre says:

    Thanks, Stella, for correctly parsing DICTATORSHIP. Pressure of getting the blog out at a decent hour and all that. Or maybe I should tell the butler not to bring me that glass of Buck’s Fizz with my scrambled egg and smoked salmon for breakfast …

  7. Derek Lazenby says:

    Quite. Agree with all bar post 3 which must be from someone so expert they no longer have any idea what a beginners puzzle should be like.

    Wonder if we’re going to get a Rufus blog today?

  8. flashling says:

    Cor, this was a quiptic? what does that make today’s Quixote?

    Tough, when you’re expecting a gentle ride and not expecting pretty tricky wordplay.

    Cheers Pierre.

  9. JollySwagman says:

    @DL #7 As usual you are setting up straw men. I was just commenting on how I found the puzzle as a solve for myself. I was not commenting on whether or not it was a valid inclusion in a slot which is described as being suitable for beginners.

    In fact many weeks many commenters say that they found the Quiptic harder than the main puzzle, which of course is normally Rufus.

    If it’s any consolation I often find Rufus quite hard to finish, because I am just not very good at DDs and CDs – and what is doubly annoying is that my girlfriend is.

    Myself I’m not sure that I would point a beginner to either Rufus or the Quiptic. I would say that Everyman is the most consistently straightforward solve and, for all its easiness, very elegantly clued. Also backpage Torygraph prolly is a good one but I haven’t been near it for a while.

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