Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 660/Arachne

Posted by Pierre on July 9th, 2012


A fine Quiptic from Arachne – everything clearly clued, a good range of devices, no obscurities, and some wit thrown in for good measure.  I’m sure others will have enjoyed this as much as I did.  Apologies for the slightly late blog, but I had to redo the whole thing after Microsoft Windows had a hissy fit and sent my first version into cyberspace heaven.  Any suggestions for revenge tactics welcome.




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


7 Iron Lady in retirement pursuing scaled down campaign for women’s rights
An insertion of MINI for ‘scaled down’ in FE for ‘iron’ and a reversal (‘in retirement’) of MS for ‘lady’.  Not sure that ‘pursuing’ is a suitable containment indicator, but happen I’m missing something.  ‘Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher’ was of course the Iron Lady.

9 Gently persuaded female student to accept a kiss
Another insertion (‘to accept’) of A X in CO-ED.

10 Doctor heartlessly unprescribing medicine
A charade of DR for ‘doctor’ and UG for the outside letters (‘heartlessly’) of UnprescribinG.

11 Excesses of posh girl stirring up a hue and cry
A charade of DEB, debutante, or ‘posh girl’ and (A HUE CRY)* with ‘stirring up’ as the anagrind.  DRUGS and DEBAUCHERY in two consecutive clues?  What was going on in Spider Towers when Arachne was putting this one together?

12 Fruit which could give person energy
A charade of MAN and GO.  Unlike this setter to clue ‘person’ as MAN.

14 King’s boring tendency to show knowledge
An insertion (‘boring’) of R for ‘king’ or ‘Rex’ in LEANING for ‘tendency’.

15 Reportedly deal with composer
A homophone of ‘handle’.

17 Queer Street for me
Well, let’s hope not.  Arachne is indeed a SETTER: (STREET)* with ‘queer’ as the anagrind.

20 Watched terribly verbose daughter
(VERBOSE)* plus D for ‘daughter’ with ‘terribly’ as the anagrind.

22 It’s found in forge in Indian village
Hidden in IndiAN VILlage.

24 Stew of scarce tuna and lobster?
Sounds tasty.  (SCARCE TUNA)* with ‘stew’ as the anagrind.

25 Children heading away from slides

26 About to pursue sale of goods to the consumer
A charade of RE for ‘about’ and TAIL for ‘pursue’.

27 Couple get grant to make piece of jewellery
A charade of BRACE for ‘couple’ and LET for ‘grant’.


1 A church covered with faux antique carpet
REPRO for ‘faux antique’ is covering A CH for ‘a church’, and it’s ‘carpet’ in its verbal sense.

2 Time to leave pop star to warble
S[T]ING, referencing Mr Sumner, singer-songwriter, son of the North and now environmental champion.

3 Chicken suffering from flatulence
A dd.  Not a pleasant image, although the suggested emission would no doubt have a hint of rotten eggs …

4 Precise answer to conservative clergyman
A charade of A for ‘answer’, C for ‘conservative’ and CURATE for ‘clergyman’.

5 Saw nothing wrong in US state

6 Cell in which you are in element
I didn’t get this STR8 away.  RUOK with clues like this?  Text-speak … naughty, naughty.  The retired colonels in Bexhill-on-Sea will be foaming at the mouth at such new-fangled devices.  UR in NEON.

8 Cell for American of no fixed address
A dd.  Americans call mobile phones cell phones.

13 Sandy has to take the biscuit!
A charade of GINGER and SNAP.  If I may have a niggle, as a ginger-haired person myself (although with a generous amount of grey these days) I wouldn’t describe someone with ‘sandy’ hair as GINGER.

16 Brief demise by way of bullet oddly to be desired
A charade of EN[D] for ‘brief demise’, VIA and the odd letters of BuLlEt.

18 Rudolf, for example, lifting thinner partner in embrace
Well, once you’ve got R for the first letter, it can’t be much else, so fair enough.  But I found it tricky to parse: it’s an insertion of N for a ‘partner’ in bridge in REEDIER for ‘thinner’, with ‘lifting’ as the reversal indicator in a down clue.

19 Five bared bust shamelessly, perhaps
(V BARED)* with ‘bust’ as the anagrind.  ‘Shamelessly’ is an example of an ADVERB.  Makes me think Enid Blyton should have included this in her Famous Five series, although Timmy the dog might have been alarmed.

21 Pub employees exclude males
A charade of BAR and MEN.

23 Imprisoned old Peruvian
A dd.  If you are IN CAN, you are ‘imprisoned’.

25 Quick look round part of castle
Brilliant surface.  It’s a reversal (’round’) of PEEK, which is a ‘quick look’.

Many thanks to Arachne for an enjoyable puzzle.

8 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 660/Arachne”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Pierre, for the blog – and my sympathies: that’s happened to me more than once! :-(

    Re 7ac: I’m not sure what you mean by ‘containment indicator': ‘pursuing’ surely indicates that MS [in retirement] follows ‘scaled down’.

    I always thought that ‘sandy’ was a more polite description of ‘ginger’. 😉

    I thought this was a gem of a quiptic: what a delight for beginners to find such wit and ingenuity in such an accessible puzzle!

    Favourites: 7, 11 [HUE and CRY – brilliant!] 24ac and 19dn.

    Many thanks, Arachne, for a fun start to the day.

  2. crypticsue says:

    A lovely Quiptic thank you Arachne. Thank you Pierre too.

  3. Robi says:

    A brilliant Quiptic; no obscure words, good constructions and lovely surfaces.

    Thanks Pierre; like Eileen @1, I thought ‘pusuing’ just meant after. I missed the A=answer in ACCURATE and just assumed there was a Grauniad typo. :(

    So many good clues, it is difficult to pick out favourites, but the simple INCAN gave me a chuckle. 😆

    ADVERB, MANGO, REPROACH etc were also noteworthy.

  4. Derek Lazenby says:

    Trying hard not to give a spoiler, but it’s a shame the editor had this crossword so close to another one.

    Just for once the Quiptic was actually easier than the Rufus, but not by much as that was pretty simple too today. So good job Spider Lady.

  5. Pierre says:

    Thanks Eileen and Robi. You’re quite right about 7ac, it works perfectly well. My brain was focusing on thrashing the operating system to within an inch of its life rather than parsing a perfectly straightforward clue.

  6. Arachne says:

    Chapeau, Pierre, and merci beaucoup! Greetings from Spider Towers, and many thanks to everyone for kind comments. I’ve really been working hard on getting the Quiptic standard right, and as No2 Daughter has started solving them I am getting particularly ruthless critiques but also lots of helpful suggestions (especially when she wants to borrow a fiver).

    I should perhaps add that this nearly proved to be my last ever crossword as Pierre’s Enid Blyton comment at 19dn made me choke on my potted shrimps, catastrophe only being averted by Mr A’s suspiciously enthusiastic Heimlich manoeuvre.

    Love & hugs,
    Arachne x

  7. Sil van den Hoek says:

    A brilliant Quiptic? Not sure, more a very good Cryptic.
    There’s perhaps not that much trickiness going on as on an average weekday, but, dare I say, are you sure?

    In today’s Rufus blog, eimi started a discussion on grids. In this context, I have to say that this Quiptic was one clearly consisting of four separate puzzles, the NE giving me the most trouble. But as I said at that place, I cannot be bothered.
    I only care for the quality of cluing.

    “En dat zat wel snor” as the Dutch would say.
    Particular favourites: 7ac (FEMINISM), 11ac (DEBAUCHERY) and the anagram of 5d (which perhaps is an old chestnut, and if not, full credits to our beloved setter).
    BTW, was it Everyman who had Queer Street just recently?
    Ah well, it doesn’t make any difference when the quality is so consistlently high.

    Many thanks, Pierre.
    And Arachne, well, “het viel bepaald niet tegen” ….. :):)

  8. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Consistlently? What’s that? The L’s not even next to T or E ….
    Also, that “:)” at the end should be one more :)!
    Deservedly so.

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