Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 678 / Hectence

Posted by Big Dave on November 12th, 2012

Big Dave.

I found this Hectence puzzle a little disappointing.  Some of the constructs were on the tough side for a crossord targetted at beginners and I have previously expressed my dislike for wordplay that uses the same root as the answer (as in 8 and 17 down).

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. C(our)T.  Definitions are underlined in the clue and only included in explanations where further information is given.


1a Someone being pernickety gets us into fine mess (7)
FUSSPOT – US between F(ine) and a mess, as “in a spot”

5a Inspires and puts new life briefly into (7)
UPLIFTS – an anagram (new) of PUTS with LIF (life briefly) inside (into)

9a Queen’s dressmaker reportedly was a star (9,6)
ELIZABETH TAYLOR – our sovereigns first name followed by a word that sounds like (reportedly) a dressmaker

10a Voucher intended for Mr Livingstone? (5)
TOKEN – split as (2,3) this could mean intended for the former Mayor of London

11a Light railway includes points for change (9)
TRANSFORM – a light railway around (includes) two compass points and FOR

12a Don’t close building that’s lacking heat (5,4)
STONE COLD – an anagram (building) of DON’T CLOSE

14a Hear again about rugby score? (5)
RETRY – a word meaning about followed by a rugby score

15a Distinctive spirit found in Great Ormond Street Hospital (5)
ETHOS – hidden (found) in the clue

16a Scrub face in river outside, dispersing nasty fat and oil (9)
EXFOLIATE – a river in southwest England outside an anagram (nasty) of FAT and OIL

18a Extremely detailed note on bear’s injured spine (9)
VERTEBRAE – a word meaning extremely without its final letter (de-tailed) followed by the seventh note of the scale in sol-fa notation and an anagram (injured) of BEAR

21a Heard to pick sticky sweets (5)
CHEWS – sounds like (heard) to choose (pick)

22a Bloomer made by girl from the bottom of the hill (4,2,3,6)
LILY OF THE VALLEY – cryptic definition

23a Bills mailbox users? (7)
POSTERS – double definition

24a Taught jockey Dettori no end about upper class (7)
TUTORED – an anagram (jockey) of DETTOR(I) without his final letter (no end) around the single letter used to indicate upper class


1d Fun times in cars? (7)
FIESTAS – a double definition – fun times and old Ford cars

2d Follow instructions from Bond to lure criminal into the bus terminal (5,2,3,5)
STICK TO THE RULES – a verb meaning to bond followed by TO and then an anagram (criminal) of LURE inside THE and the final letter (terminus) of buS

3d Lack of beauty found by bare loch in Scotland (9)
PLAINNESS – an adjective meaning bare followed by a famous Scottish loch

4d Cutesy model makes comment on Twitter (5)
TWEET – an adjective meaning cutesy followed by another model of Ford car, this one a bit older than those in 1 down

5d Murray’s second forehand smash is extraordinary (7,2)
UNHEARD OF – the second letter of Murray followed by an anagram (smash) of FOREHAND

6d Field thousands of unauthorised press releases (5)
LEAKS – a three-letter word for a field followed by metric thousands

7d Chap with time to party’s getting heartily mullered with touring companion (6,9)
FELLOW TRAVELLER – a chap followed by T(ime), a wild party and the inner four letters of muLLERed

8d Steal fruit before the end of July to make cider (7)
SCRUMPY – a verb meaning to steal fruit followed by the final letter (end) of JulY – wordplay and answer come from the same root – a dialect term for a withered apple

13d Attaches too much importance to bowling speeds (9)
OVERRATES – split as (4,5) this could be bowling speeds in cricket

14d Unwilling for house payment to swallow most of fortune and reserves (9)
RELUCTANT – a payment for housing around LUC(k) (most of fortune and some army reserves

15d Cover of old record includes novel design (7)
ENVELOP – an old vinyl record, usually with two tracks each side, around an anagram (design) of NOVEL

17d Student’s piece of work on energy would shortly be tried (7)
ESSAYED – a piece of work written by a student followed by E(nergy) and ‘D (would shortly, as in she’d) – as with 8 down, the wordplay and answer come from the same Latin/French root

19d Wear down English staff by end of course (5)
ERODE – E(nglish) followed by a staff and the final letter (end) of coursE

20d Put up before court (5)
ERECT – a poetic word for before followed by the abbreviation of C(our)T

One Response to “Guardian Quiptic 678 / Hectence”

  1. Derek Lazenby says:

    Yes, some of the wordplay was a tad tricksy for one of these, but crossing letters and definitions sufficed thankfully.

    Ta all.

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