Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic N° 685 by Arachne

Posted by PeterO on December 31st, 2012


It is always a pleasure to see Arachne’s name on a crossword that I have to blog.

1. Girl coming out of westbound metro engrossed in Italian poet (9)
DEBUTANTE An envelope (‘engrossed in’) of EBUT a reversal (‘westbound’ in an across light) of TUBE (‘metro’) in DANTE (‘Italian poet’).
6. Malady gets females down (5)
FLUFF A charade of FLU (‘malady’) plus FF (‘females’).
9. Dogs are ultimately a terrible nuisance (5)
CURSE A charade of CURS (‘dogs’) plus E (‘arE ultimately’).
10. Elite gunslinger? (3,6)
TOP DRAWER An ingenious clue that does not quite fall into any of the usual categories: it is a kind of cryptic definition, but it has a straight definition in ‘elite'; it is a kind of double definition, of the kind I dub “definition and literal interpretation”, if you allow that a ‘gunslinger’ by definition has survived previous draws, and thus is a TOP DRAWER, without needing the amplification of ‘elite’. Let us put it down as a clue type all of its own, and all the better for it.
11. Regularly force meerkat to work for capitalist system (4,6)
FREE MARKET A charade of FRE (‘regularly FoRcE‘) plus EMARKET, an anagram (‘to work’) of ‘meerkat’.
12. Prepare to publish review, of course (4)
EDIT Double definition. Thanks t Eileen: this is a reversal (‘review’) of TIDE (‘course’).
14. Franco unselectively imprisoning lawyer (7)
COUNSEL A hidden answer (‘imprisoning’) in ‘FranCO UNSELectively’.
15. Like this West African country, a war-torn state (7)
SOMALIA A charade of SO (‘like’) plus MALI (‘West African country’) plus ‘a’.
17. Excessive bureaucracy generated by socialist gaffer? (3,4)
RED TAPE Definition and literal interpretation, but I am not sure what Arachne had in mind in choosing the word ‘gaffer’. Thanks to Percussor for pointing out  the meaning of gaffer  tape.
19. Randy Conservative’s confession? (7)
AMATORY [I] AM A TORY (‘Conservative’s confession’).
20. Slim, classy girl (4)
LASS [c]LASS[y] trimmed down (‘slim’).
22. Find fault with workers in established bank (10)
ESCARPMENT An envelope (‘in’) of CARP (‘find fault’) plus MEN (‘workers’) in EST (‘established’, abbreviation).
25. Extracts liquid from fish to make a drink (9)
MILKSHAKE A charade of MILKS HAKE (‘extracts liquid from fish’).
26. About to penetrate jaw, for example, or head (5)
BONCE An envelope (‘to penetrate’) of C (‘about’) in BONE (‘jaw, for example’).
27. My field failing at first to produce crop (5)
YIELD [m]Y [f]IELD with initial letters removed (‘failing at first’). An uncommon device, even if Arachne used it in her last Cryptic.
28. Pick me up in the morning? (9)
ELEVENSES Cryptic definition.
1. Confronted revolting coffee (5)
DECAF A reversal (‘revolting’) of FACED (‘confronted’). As often with such clues, checking with intersecting lights is required to determine which way round the answer has to be entered.
2. Wild bear, cubed and grilled (9)
BARBECUED An anagram (‘wild’) of ‘bear cubed’.
3. Regulator‘s resolution of hot matters (10)
THERMOSTAT An anagram (‘resolution’) of ‘hot matters’.
4. Frank Brown’s going up a river in Russia (7)
NATURAL A charade of NAT, a reversal (‘going up’ in a down light) of TAN (‘brown’) plus URAL (‘a river in Russia’).
5. Articulate former journalists (7)
EXPRESS A charade of EX (‘former’) plus PRESS (‘journalists’).
6. In favour of mass manufacture (4)
FORM A charade of FOR (‘in favour of’) plus M (‘mass’).
7. Not a member of any union (5)
UNWED Cryptic definition.
8. English prima donna Michelle (5,4)
FIRST LADY The Italian ‘prima donna’ translates in English to FIRST LADY – namely, Michelle Obama.
13. One MP, extremely antipathetical to a pleb, unfortunately can’t be touched (10)
IMPALPABLE A charade of I(‘one’) plus ‘MP’ plus AL (‘extremely AntipatheticaL‘) plus PABLE, an anagram (‘unfortunately’) of ‘a pleb’.
14. Fancy fruit found in Northants town (3,6)
COR BLIMEY An envelope (‘in’) of LIME (‘fruit’) in CORBY (‘Northants town’). The definition is ‘Fancy!’ as an interjection, although I think it unlikely that anyone would use it interchangeably with COR BLIMEY.
16. Vague conclusions to unfinished business (5,4)
LOOSE ENDS A charade of LOOSE (‘vague’ ) plus ENDS (‘conclusions’); or, if you like, a definition and literal interpretation.
18. Take liberty (7)
ENSLAVE Cryptic definition.
19. Made careers in superb universities (7)
ACADEME An envelope (‘in’) of ADEM, an anagram (‘careers’) of ‘made’, in ACE (‘superb’).
21. Fan loves what you do (5)
SOLVE An anagram (‘fan’) of ‘loves’.
23. Weeping heard in banks (5)
TIERS A homophone (‘heard’) of TEARS (‘weeping’).
24. Employed in enormous edifice (4)
USED A hidden answer (‘in’) in ‘enormoUS EDifice’.

8 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic N° 685 by Arachne”

  1. Percussor says:

    17a “Gaffer Tape” is widely used term in building, electrical and other trades for a tough wide usually silver coloured fabric adhesive tape

  2. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, PeterO, and Arachne for another excellent puzzle, especially the wonderfully witty and topical [&lit?] 13dn!

    I think 12ac is a reversal [review] of TIDE [course].

  3. crypticsue says:

    Thank you to Arachne for cheering up a very raining, windy and grumpy morning. Lots to like – I assume 1d is literally what you think of the coffee!

    Thanks to Peter too for the explanations.

    Happy New Year to all.

  4. PeterO says:

    Thanks to Percussor and Eileen for the corrections – I had not come across gaffer tape before, and failed to spot it in Chambers. I have also added the definition underlines.

  5. Andy B says:

    A pleasant enough solve, although “ensnare” works just as well for 18d.
    Andy B.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Peter.

    Yes, a delightful Quiptic which experienced as well as improving solvers would have enjoyed. I too liked the reference to Plebgate in 13dn, and also liked AMATORY and MILKSHAKE.

    I was another one with ENSNARE – ENSLAVE is a more precise definition, but I think both work.

    Many thanks to Arachne for this and all her other puzzles this year.

  7. Arachne says:

    Thank you so much, Peter0, for your excellent blog, and to all for your comments.

    Abject apologies for the ambiguity at 1dn. How many times have I promised not to do it again grrr. I did notice it before publication but unfortunately there’s a rather long lead-in time on Quiptics and Hugh quite understandably came over all faint at the thought of the technical glitches which a late change might have caused.

    Apologies too for having gone AWOL recently, especially to any bloggers I might not have managed to thank. No excuses, but suffice it to say I’ll be glad to see the back of 2012.

    Warmest wishes to everyone at Fifteensquared. May 2013 bring you health, happiness and many hours of cruciverbal pleasure.

    Love and hugs,
    Arachne x

  8. Robi says:

    Very enjoyable solve, although a bit tricky, I thought, for a Quiptic [I never did parse EDIT properly.]

    Thanks, PeterO for the blog and to Arachne for dropping by. Actually, 1d [DECAF] was one of my favourite clues, which I read the ‘right way round’ at the beginning. I also particularly liked ACADEME – this seems to be replaced by ‘academia’ these days, despite the best efforts of the dictionaries.

    Happy New Year to everyone.

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