Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 688/Pan

Posted by Pierre on January 21st, 2013


A bit tricky for a Quiptic, I thought, but perhaps you think differently.





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


8 Paul finally given day off to silence a pop star
A knowledge of popular culture needed here.  It’s a charade of L for the last letter of PauL, (DAY)* GAG and A.

9 Pestilence in city that’s changed hands
PRAGUE is the city; if you swap R for L (left and right hands) then you’ve got a synonym for ‘pestilence’.

10 Polish sweetheart who’s not all there!
It’s clever, but is it Quiptic?  I saw that it was the verbal rather than the adjectival form of ‘polish'; but it still took me a long time to see what was going on.  It’s HONE[Y].  HONEY for ‘sweetheart’ is more American than British English, I fancy.

11 Type of fracture in broken tiger’s neck
Hmmm.  I wouldn’t normally expect to come across a word I’d never heard of in a Quiptic, but to be fair to Pan, it’s a clearly signposted anagram.  (TIGER’S NECK)*  ‘Designating a type of bone fracture, especially in children, in which one side of the bone is broken and only one bent’ (SOED).

12 The broadcast featured Iranian city
A charade of (THE)* and RAN.

14 Struggles with gross fruit
Another charade, of GR for ‘gross’ and APPLES.

15 Formidable expert exhibits look of disgust
I suppose GRIM is a synonym for ‘formidable’, although perhaps not in the phrase ‘it’s grim up north’.  Whatever, it’s a charade of GRIM and ACE.  The GRIM REAPER, perhaps.

17 Hostile commercial against Gaelic
A charade of AD for ‘commercial’, V for versus or ‘against’, and ERSE for ‘Gaelic’, or in a more general sense, ‘Irish’.

20 Measured ham fed to cuckoo
(HAM FED TO)* with ‘cuckoo’ as the anagrind.  ‘Measure the depth of water with a sounding line’ (SOED).

22 Gathers second part of harvest in valleys
An insertion of A for the second letter of ‘harvest’ in GLENS.

23 China cares about sweet stuff
(CHINA CARES)* with ‘about’ as the anagrind.

24 Go out without heart condition
Pan is asking you to take the middle, or ‘heart’ out of GO[O]UT to give you the condition where your big toe hurts like hell because of uric acid build-up.

25 Judge became unwell, locked up
A charade of J and AILED.

26 Sailor with spots chooses not to vote
Another charade of AB for ‘sailor’ and STAINS.


1 Wrecker cast boat user adrift
(BOAT USER)* with ‘cast adrift’, separated, as the anagrind.

2 Part of vehicle to wear out, we hear
A homophone of TIRE.

3 Comic almost dead in cart
A charade of WAG and GON[E].

4 Great queen, say, backing Russian goldsmith
A charade of FAB for ‘great’, ER for Elizabeth Regina or ‘queen’ and GE for a reversal of ‘eg’ or ‘say’.  Think eggs.

5 European bridge raid organised
A charade of SPAN for ‘bridge’ and (RAID)*

6 Special performance of group work
A charade of PARTY for ‘group’ and PIECE for ‘work’.

7 Endless fast before he finds something to eat
QUIC[K] plus HE.

13 Animal overcoming restraining device that’s badly constructed

16 Soldier in company with married man at party
A four-part charade: CO plus M plus MAN plus DO.

18 South Australia and New Guinea endlessly optimistic
Another four-part charade: S plus A plus N plus GUINE[A].

19 Maria, heartless damsel, mistreated sailor
An anagram (‘mistreated’) of MARIA and DL for ‘damsel’ with its heart (middle letters) taken out.

21 A rector’s article on rodent found on Turkish mountain
A charade of A, R for ‘rector’, A for ‘article’ on RAT gives you the mountain.

22 Oily Greek’s sexually available
Please.  This is a family newspaper.  A charade of GR and EASY.

24 Aim of lass to capture boy’s heart
An insertion of O for the central letter of bOy in GAL.

Many thanks to Pan for this morning’s Quiptic.

17 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 688/Pan”

  1. michelle says:

    hello paul and all,
    I’m new to this site and wish to express my thanks to Paul and all other bloggers for the fabulous explanations of how to understand and do cryptic crosswords. I have learnt a lot from fifteensquared blogs. I always loved cryptics but did not really understand how to parse the answers that I often got through sheer instinct and inspired guesswork.
    I managed to finish this Quiptic, with the help of dictionary sometimes and the “check” button (my lack of confidence). Only one I got wrong was 9across – I got the city right but had read the clue wrong so I put in the city rather than the pestilence!
    Anyway, I feel that although I am still a beginner, I have made some improvement.
    Again, many thanks to Paul and all of the other bloggers.

    regards from michelle

  2. michelle says:

    sorry, i meant to say hello to PIERRE and all. Thanks so much for your blogs, Pierre


  3. Pierre says:

    Welcome, Michelle, and thanks for your comment. It’s nice to know that improving solvers find the blogs helpful. And don’t worry, I answer to most names when a compliment’s involved …

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Pierre, for the blog, and Pan for the puzzle.

    I didn’t get HONE, largely because I’d never think of it as meaning to polish. I was quite prepared to find that Chambers had it but no: ‘n. a smooth stone used for sharpening instruments; vt to sharpen on or as if on a hone’. However, Collins has ‘to sharpen or polish with or as if with a hone’.

    I still think it’s a bit tough on beginners, who may have just learned enough to know that, in crosswords, ‘sweetheart’ usually indicates E! 😉

    Apart from that, I thought it was a good Quiptic, with some really nice surfaces [8, 9, 12ac, and 7, 18, 22, 24dn] – perhaps a bit tougher than usual.

    [Welcome, Michelle. I hope we hear more from you.]

  5. michelle says:

    hi Pierre – as a beginner who is in the process of improving (thanks to you and all the other bloggers) I find your blogs immensely helpful and informative

    hi Eileen – it proves that I am a beginner if I tell you that I did not know that ‘sweetheart’ usually indicates E! But I have picked up that ‘illegal drug’ often indicates E.

  6. crypticsue says:

    I thought it tricky for a Quiptic and I didn’t get HONE either. I did get the fracture because my brother had one aged 7!

    Thanks to Pan and Pierre.

    Welcome from me too to Michelle – cryptics are a life long learning process – even after 40 odd years there is still new stuff to learn, well I find so anyway.

  7. michelle says:

    hi all

    strangely, although I am not an American, I did get HONE but had help from dictionary/thesaurus, and I think that honey = sweetheart has turned up in a few Guardian crosswords.

    It was my misreading of the clue for 9 across that did me in. I read the clue “the wrong way round” it seems and put in my answer as ‘the city’ not ‘the pestilence’.

    I think that all round I found this puzzle a little easier today than other quiptics as there were fewer (or no) Brit-centric geographical clues which I usually have trouble with, eg British rivers, counties, towns etc and I usually need the help of Google or Wikipedia for those types of clues/answers). But I’m usually fine with clues that are tied in with British culture, history, art, literature etc and even cricket as I hail from a cricket-loving nation.

    Thanks for the warm welcomes from all of you – I have been lurking for a while but I am glad that I have now joined the discussion.

    These blogs deserve MUCH wider exposure – I am so happy that I discovered fifteensquared by a very luck chance, via Guardian website. All the bloggers put in so much work and time – I wish that more people will join in and discover fifteensquared in the future.

  8. crosser says:

    Thanks, Pierre.
    Eileen, I thought of hone as to hone/polish one’s skills.

  9. Eileen says:

    I see what you mean, crosser, but I would still think of that as meaning ‘sharpen’! Anyway, since Collins surprisingly has it, I’m not arguing. 😉

  10. Robi says:

    Thanks Pan & Pierre. Yes, a bit trickier than some – HONE was my last in, as there were so many possibilities and I fell into the ‘e’ sweetheart trick. Although Chambers does not give hone=polish in the main dictionary, it does in the Chambers Xword dictionary as a synonym!

    Welcome Michelle; there is a picture of you at the bottom of the blog for the Guardian Rufus puzzle. 😉

    I sometimes look for constructions that are too clever in these clues – I did not expect to see ‘man’ in both clue and answer for COMMANDO.

  11. michelle says:

    hi robi

    hahaha…. no that’s not me in the picture at bottom of today’s Rufus which I tried by the way and could barely get half of it done.

    I am also still struggling on yesterday’s Everyman.

    At least I did 99% of the Quiptic – it was obviously well-designed for beginners like me this week

  12. Robi says:

    Michelle @11; you probably know that there is also an Everyman blog a week after the puzzle publication, so if you get stuck you can refer to that on Sunday.

  13. Pierre says:

    On which Sunday, Paul aka Pierre will be doing the blog, so if you’re still stuck, drop in.

  14. Otherstuff says:

    a friend of mine had a greenstick fracture when we were young so the word has stayed with me. Had a little moan on the Guardian website about the re-appearance (yet again) of lady gaga – makes me wish only dead people would appear as in the Times. I found it more difficult than the prize or everyman over the weekend

  15. michelle says:

    Robi@12 and Pierre@13 – yes, I have also enjoyed the Everyman blogs. I have been going back through the old Everyman puzzles (and the regular Cryptics as well as the Quiptics) on Guardian website, then referring to the respective blogs on fifteensquared as part of my “cracking cryptic crosswords crash course”. It is fabulous that both Guardian and fifteensquared have archived all the old puzzles and blogs so that someone like me can really learn a lot.

  16. michelle says:

    Robi@12 and Pierre@13
    somehow with your encouragement and support I have persevered and have just finished the Everyman #3459. I really thought I would not be able to finish that one. Pierre, I look forward to your blog next Sunday, to see if I got it right!

  17. Rodger says:

    Must disagree that “honey” is an Americanism. Did Ringo Starr not sing “Honey, Don’t?” Did Mick, inquiring whether the Boston Strangler were familiar, not provide reassurance, saying “Honey, it’s not one of those?”

    “Hone,” on the other hand, is a tight fit on “polish.”

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