Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 667 Arachne

Posted by scchua on August 27th, 2012


An enjoyable Arachne, perhaps a shade more difficult than the usual Quiptic. Thanks Arachne – a great job at setting puzzles at both ends of the difficulty spectrum. Definitions are underlined in the clues.  Apologies for the later than usual posting (lunch appointment).  [[The pictures at the bottom of the blog have unidentified links to the puzzle.]]


1 Draw small sailing boat (6)

SKETCH : Double defn.

4 Student is barred from entire contest (7)

COMPETE : “complete”,entire minus(is barred) “l”(abbrev. for Student).

Answer: As a verb

9 To Iran via Barking, for a change (9)

VARIATION : Anagram of(Barking) TO IRAN VIA.

10 Discourage TV serial killer, withholding kiss (5)

DETER : “Dexter”(serial killer in TV serial of the same name) minus(withholding) “x”,symbol for a kiss, with which this setter signs off her comments.

11 Hodgson has a side, which is magnificent! (5)

ROYAL : ROY(Hodgson,England’s football manager) plus(has) L(abbrev. for the left side).

Answer: Befitting of, or appropriate to a sovereign. A WIWD (wordplay intertwined with defin.) clue, with the side being the English team.

12 Sailor undoing a satin bow (9)

BOATSWAIN : Anagram of(undoing) A SATIN BOW.

Answer: Usually shortened to “bosun”, a “coxswain”, another member of a ship’s crew, is also shortened, as in a recent TV presenter’s commentary of a medal ceremony: “Ah, isn’t that nice, the wife of the IOC president is hugging the cox of the British crew.”

13 Permit freedom for poet (7)

LICENCE : Cryptic defn: Reference to “poetic licence”(freedom for poet to take liberties linguistically). If you ignore that the 2 parts of the clue mean basically the same thing, you have a double defn.

15 Sailor returned to invade African nation that is an island (6)

TOBAGO : Reversal of(returned) AB(abbrev. for able-bodied seaman,a Sailor) contained in(to invade) TOGO(an African nation).

Answer:  An island in the Caribbean which with Trinidad form an archipelago state.


17 Concentrating on camping? (6)

INTENT : Cryptic defn: camping is when you temporarily sleep IN a TENT.

19 Shake when stomach is pumped and milk is found in it (7)

SHUDDER : SH,”stomachminus its internal letters(is pumped) plus(and) UDDER(where milk is to be found).

22 Revolutionary Basques steal beer? Fancy! (9)

ELABORATE : Reversal of(Revolutionary) [ETA(abbrev. for an organisation of armed Basques, themselves revolutionary) + ROB(steal) + ALE(beer)].

Answer: Descriptive of something ornate, complex and detailed, in other words, Fancy).

24 Choose to be chubby (5)

PLUMP : Double defn: 1st: To Choose, elect, or support one out of a group, as “the electorate plumped for the Independent candidate”. First of 3 answers in the SE quarter related to weightiness.

26 Doorman skinned cat (5)

OUNCE : “bouncer”(Doorman for a nightclub, say, to keep out undesirable would-be customers) minus its outer letters(skinned). And everyone knows you’ve got to be mean and cruel to be a bouncer.

Answer: The snow leopard, a pet amongst setters.

27 Dessert, alcohol and feasts regularly causing slight corpulence (9)

PUDGINESS : PUD(short for pudding,an English term for the Dessert course, whether or not it’s a pudding) + GIN( ) + ESS[second, fourth and sixth letters(regularly) of “feasts”].

Defn: “slight” might be an understatement here.

28 Rubbish initially bunged in outbuilding (7)

GARBAGE : B[initial letter of(initially) “bunged”] contained in(in) GARAGE(an outbuilding to house your vehicle, or more commonly, stuff you don’t want any more, but yet cannot bear to dispose of, ie. Rubbish). Which makes it another WIWD clue.

29 Section of Liebestod — generally heavy stuff (6)

STODGE : Hidden in(Section of) LiebeSTOD — GEnerally.


1 A few cut? Everyone’s cut! (7)

SEVERAL : SEVER(cut) + AL[“all”(Everyone) minus its last letter(cut)].

Answer: A contradiction of “A few“, hence the “?“.

2 Almost beheaded at dawn? (5)

EARLY : “nearly”(Almost) minus(beheaded) its initial letter(beheaded).

Answer: An example, of which is “at dawn “. Apt surface as executions usually took/take place at dawn?

3 Space shuttle leaving base for difficult task (9)

CHALLENGE : “Challenger”(one of the US Space shuttles) minus(leaving) its last letter(base, in a down clue).

4 Link continued briefly to have an effect (7)

CONTACT : CONT[“continuedabbreviated(briefly)], + ACT(to impact on,to have an effect).

5 Avoiding indecency but ultimately lacking manners (5)

MODES : “modest”(Avoiding indecency) minus its last letter(but ultimately lacking).

Answer: Plural of mode,manner, as in “to do it in this manner”.

6 Genders at variance, no longer friendly (9)

ESTRANGED : Anagram of(variance) GENDERS AT.

7 Wayward queen’s tirade (6)

ERRANT : ER(abbrev. for Elizabeth Regina,current British queen) plus(‘s) RANT(tirade). Nice surface, but the tirade is more likely aimed at the wayward press these days.

8 Quick-thinking doctor jumps into river (6)

NIMBLE : MB(abbrev. for “Bachelor of Medicine”,a doctor) contained in(jumps into) NILE(river).

14 It holds things ancient or new (9)

CONTAINER : Anagram of(new) ANCIENT OR.

16 Rude picture showing model (9)

BLUEPRINT : BLUE(Rude,slightly obscene, off-colour – as if blue wasn’t a colour?) + PRINT(hard copy of a picture,photo). As seen/almost seen in some of the tabloids.

Answer: A representation,model of something to be constructed.

18 Poorly pirates walk wearily (7)

TRAIPSE : Anagram of(Poorly) PIRATES.

19 Agent crossing river flowing backwards fast (6)

SPEEDY : SPY(a secret Agent) containing(crossing) reversal of(flowing backwards) DEE(name of a few rivers in the UK, not to mention Australia).

20 Answer one puts on internet during scripture (7)

RIPOSTE : I(Roman numeral for one) + POST(puts on internet, such as a comment on this blog) contained in(during) RE(abbrev. for “religious education”,learning based on scriptures).

21 Take ages to fit in (6)

BELONG : BE LONG(to Take a long time,ages - as in one telling the spouse: “Don’t be long in dressing/the bathroom/the pub, dear”).

Answer: To have a sense of belonging,to fit in within a group or gang

23 Nixon in China perhaps seeing first half of military manoeuvres (5)

OPERA : First 4 letters(first half) of “operations”,military manoeuvres.

Answer: An example,perhaps of which is “Nixon in China“, based on former US President’s significant visit to China.


25 Dupe and depose leaders and cause huge change (5)

UPEND : “Dupe“,”andminus(depose) their respective initial letters(leaders). Nice surface.


8 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 667 Arachne”

  1. Robi says:

    Usual clever Arachne puzzle; as you say, maybe a bit more difficult than some.

    I particularly liked SHUDDER and ELABORATE. I didn’t know the OPERA and thought of Colin DE(x)TER who wrote the Morse series.

    [[ 1. is, I think, a representation of the nursery rhyme ‘Jack be NIMBLE.’
    2. is, of course, Sophia Loren, who appeared with James Coco (4) in ‘Man of La Mancha’ about Don Quixote, who was a {pretend} knight-ERRANT
    3. is a reference to ping pong diplomacy, which was the exchange of table tennis players between the United States and China in the early 1970s. The event paved the way to a visit to Beijing by President Richard Nixon.
    4. is James Coco {see 2 above} who might also be an example of PUDGINESS and appeared in ‘The Dumplings.’]]

  2. scchua says:

    [[That was fast, Robi. Right on all, and, to boot, an extra link for James Coco which I hadn’t thought of. Well done!]]

  3. crypticsue says:

    Although Arachne sets a slightly tougher Quiptic than some, they are still eminently solveable with all the usual fun one associates with her puzzles. Thanks to her and scchua too.

  4. Arachne says:

    Just a flying visit whilst I’m on my tea break from holiday grandmaternal duties to say a big thank you to Scchua for an excellent and entertaining blog – it made me laugh on a miserable, grey Manchester day. Thanks again x

  5. scchua says:

    Great of you to drop in, Arachne, x and all. Was glad to have had you drawn out of the hat, so to speak, today.

  6. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for the blog. Just “quiptic” enough, I thought, but probably at the harder end of the scale, for some of the clues anyway. I think there is a slight error in the parsing of 20d. I did it your way at the time but wasn’t comfortable with it – “puts on the internet” ends up having to be “post” rather than “posts”. But I actually think it’s “One puts on the internet” as the queen might say it, meaning “I put on the internet”, i.e “I post” – no need for Roman numerals. With that parsing it’s a very good clue, and an introduction for the new solver to Arachne-style wit.

  7. Derek Lazenby says:

    Yes all jolly fine, thank you all.

    Minor point, but I think the A is missing from the explanation of 11.

  8. John Appleton says:

    There’s a nice little misdirection in 27 – “feasts regularly” can also yield “fat”. That one had me wrong-footed for a while.

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