Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 691 Arachne

Posted by scchua on February 11th, 2013


A straightforward enjoyable Quiptic from Arachne (who can turn up or down the difficulty level, as required).  Thank you to Arachne.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.   [[The pictures at the bottom have unidentified links to the puzzle.]]

1 Small London gardens smell awry (4-5)

SKEW-WHIFF : S(abbrev. for “small”) + KEW(the famous gardens in London) + WHIFF(to have an unpleasant smell;to stink).

Answer: Turned or twisted to one side.

6 Bishop gets into car in state of uncertainty (5)

LIMBO : B(abbrev. for “bishop”, as in chess notation) contained in(into) LIMO(short for “limousine”;a car).

Answer: An unknown intermediate place or condition between two extremes; figuratively, a state of non-resolution/uncertainty.

9 Horrify a quiet chum (5)

APPAL : A + P(abbrev. for “piano”;musical instruction to play softly;quietly) + PAL(a chum;a friend).

10 Toss Sappho the salt (9)

PHOSPHATE : Anagram of(Toss) SAPPHO THE.

Answer: Any of the salts derived from phosphoric acid.

11 Genius regularly sacrificed quadruped (3)

GNU : “genius” minus its 2nd, 4th, and 6th letters(regularly sacrificed).

12 A sad, panting tussle for unenthusiastic mates (5,6)

GIANT PANDAS : Anagram of(tussle) A SAD, PANTING. Nice surface, reminding one of those (Victorian) melodramas, with a sad heroine and a panting villain.

Answer: Those creatures notoriously known for not successfully mating in captivity. Has anyone tried champagne, soft music and even softer lights?

Do they look unenthusiastic to you?  Incompetent maybe.

14 Art deco building, one of Butlin’s finest! (7)

REDCOAT : Anagram of(building) ART DECO.

Answer: One of the frontline staff in Butlin’s holiday camps. This same answer appeared in the DT Cryptic last Wednesday – coincidence or crossword editors giving solvers a leg up?

15 Shame about Dexter’s character (7)

REMORSE : RE(about;with reference to) + MORSE(Inspector Endeavour, character in Colin Dexter’s series of detective novels).

16 Best choose one’s mother (7)

OPTIMUM : OPT(to choose;to pick an option) + I(Roman numeral for “one”) + MUM(what you might informally call your mother).

19 Shake Sarah’s empty milk container (7)

SHUDDER : “Sarah” minus its inner letters(…’s empty) + UDDER(a milk container, not Sarah’s but more likely Daisy’s).

22 Secret family’s meant to be ignored, ultimately (11)

CLANDESTINE : CLAN(a group of people of common descent;family) + “destined”(meant to be;pre-ordained) minus its last letter(ignored, ultimately, or ultimately ignored).

23 We hear totally boring instrument (3)

AWL : Homophone of(We hear) “all”(totally).

24 Getting up when epic finally comes to conclusion (9)

ASCENDING : AS(when, as in “as and when”) + last letter of(finally) “epic” plus(comes to) ENDING(the conclusion).

26 Runs away from body in wood (5)

COPSE : “corpse”(a dead body) minus(… away from) “r”(abbrev. for “runs” in cricket).

27 Fear about to enter father (5)

DREAD : RE(about;with reference to) contained in(to enter) DAD(what you might informally call your father).

28 Enrage ref, misbehaving and running around (4-5)

FREE-RANGE : Anagram of(misbehaving) ENRAGE REF.  In addition to running around, probably said a few choice words to enrage the ref.

1 In Reichstag Germans make unsteady progress (7)

STAGGER : Hidden in(In) “Reichstag Germans “.

2 Elaborate former English currency (7)

EXPOUND : EX-(prefix denoting former;once) + POUND(unit of English currency).

3 Trim, healthy Miliband making case for coach (4-7)

WELL-GROOMED : [WELL(healthy;fit) ED(Miliband, currently leader of the Labour Opposition in Britain)] containing(making case for, as in making a container for) GROOM(a coach;a trainer, especially one teaching the ins and outs of dressing, etiquette, etc.).

4 Fix Lily’s confession? (7)

IMPLANT : Cryptic defn: Contraction of “I am plant”, as a lily might own up to – if it could talk.

5 Damage to feral vagrant (7)

FLOATER : Anagram of(Damage) TO FERAL.

Answer: A person who continually changes his or her place of abode, employment, etc.

6 Slips clothing off, revealing cheek (3)

LIP : “slips” minus its 2 outer letters(clothing off).

Answer: Not that cheek exposed when you take off your clothes, as the surface suggests, but that part of your anatomy associated with impudent talk;cheek.

7 Cockney woman and I amble aimlessly (7)

MEANDER : ME(the objective case for “I”) AND ‘ER(as a Cockney might call a woman, dropping the aitch) – or even “I and Cockney woman”.

8 Manage to find lines in Old English (7)

OVERSEE : VERSE(poetic lines) contained in(in) OE(abbrev. for Old English language).

Answer: What managers do.

13 Wacky road race with rum bulletproof vehicle (8,3)

ARMOURED CAR : Anagram of(Wacky) [ROAD RACE +(with) RUM].

16 Men finding beet variety in fruit garden (7)

ORCHARD : OR(abbrev. for other ranks;non-commissioned military personnel;men) plus(finding) CHARD(a variety of beet with large succulent leaves and thick stalks).

17 Share of money put husband in dazed state (7)

TRANCHE : H(abbrev. for “husband”) contained in(put … in) TRANCE(a dazed;zonked out state).

Answer: In finance, a portion of a sum of money.

18 Mother’s dead dog (7)

MASTIFF : MA(Mother) plus( …’s, contraction of “… has”) STIFF(slang for a dead body).

More like massif or massive.

19 English resort’s pebbly beach (7)

SHINGLE : Anagram of(resort, as in “rearrange”) ENGLISH.

20 Expressionless and lifeless, sitting on toilet bowl (7)

DEADPAN : DEAD(lifeless) placed above( sitting on, in a down clue) PAN(a lavatory pan;a toilet bowl)

21 First halves of real life events are dull (7)

RELIEVE : First halves of the letters in the respective words “real live events”.

Answer: I think the sense in which “dull” is used here is as in “to relieve/dull the pain”. I may be wrong, as usually “dull” would be to make something monotonous and uninteresting, not exactly a relief.

25 Accept academic’s retirement (3)

NOD : Reversal of(retirement) DON(an academic in a university, say).

Answer: To accept by giving a nod, literally or figuratively.



Part of answer to Pic#1, please click here.

21 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 691 Arachne”

  1. crypticsue says:

    A lovely quiptic thank you Arachne. My particular favourite in a lot of lovely clues was 12a although I didn’t quite ‘see’ it as scchua obviously did 😀 Thanks to him too for the explanations.

  2. Robi says:

    Thanks Arachne; typically cheeky – I liked MEANDER and IMPLANT.

    Thanks scchua; nice blog as always.

    [[Sly Stallone had a MASTIFF called Butkus in Rocky
    Rubens’ Cain & Able – can’t see the connection at the moment
    Jo Ratzinger who rides around in a bulletproof car – is that it?]]

  3. Robi says:

    [[Ahhhh, ‘So Cain left the LORD’s presence and settled in the land of NOD, east of Eden’]]

  4. Andrew says:

    Thanks scchua for the blog, and Arachne for a typically well-crafted Quiptic. Much more satisfying to me than today’s cd-heavy Rufus.

    [[The curse of fifteensquared strikes! (Is Riechstag another connection?) ]]

  5. Robi says:

    [[Andrew @4; yes, the Pope did address the Reichstag in 2011.]]

  6. scchua says:

    Hi crypticsue, it would be QI to know how you did see 12ac. :-)
    [[Hi Robi@2 & 3, you’re right about the Pope and Cain. The link between Stallone and the puzzle requires an intermediate step, quite familiar to cryptic solvers.]]

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, scchua. I’m with Andrew on this versus the cryptic today. Lovely Quiptic, with GIANT PANDAS my favourite. I think due to the bags under their eyes, they always look unenthusiastic.

    I liked MASTIFF too. You have a tiny typo in your parsing, scchua: it’s MA plus STIFF with the ‘mother’s’ indicating ‘mother has’.

    The curse of fifteensquared indeed … do they still do that white smoke out the chimney thing?

  8. crypticsue says:

    sccua@6 – I never thought of melodramas just of those poor pandas who can’t enjoy an amorous moment in peace!

  9. michelle says:

    I gave up a little too quickly on this and went off to do the RUFUS. After completing that I came back to the Quiptic and the answers flowed much better!

    I found the NW corner hardest, and need help via google to understand what “Butlin’s” is as I had never heard of these holiday camps.

    Many clues that I liked, including 1a, 3d, 4d, 22a, 18d.

    New words for me were REDCOAT and in 16d OR = men/other ranks (as opposed to commissioned officers).

    Thanks, Arachne for an elegant and well-designed Quiptic. As a beginner, I always enjoy being able to solve and parse all the answers as part of the learning experience. This puzzle was just right for beginners.

    Thanks for the blog, scchua.

  10. michelle says:

    By the way, regarding 12a GIANT PANDAS are very hopeless at mating in the wild. If there were not so many pandas in captivity, this species would be extinct as they are truly hopeless at mating with each other. And they ought to be extinct for other reasons as well (eg their diet of bamboo leaves).

  11. Derek Lazenby says:

    Yes. I think we need to add Arachne to Orlando when using the phrase, seems to have got the hang of these.

    Michelle, REDCOAT, is also an old term for British soldiers when that is what they wore.

  12. scchua says:

    Thanks K’sDad, that was careless of me, blog now corrected.

  13. una says:

    I enjoyed this ,mostly, but I never heard of the phrase “skew-whiff”, “relieve” also left me baffled.I think 15a was the best clue. Thanks to Arachne and Scchua.

  14. scchua says:

    [[Hi Robi and Andrew, in case you’d like to check it, the Stallone answer is given in the link I’ve posted beneath the pictures, and it’s a homophone.]]

  15. Robi says:

    [[OK, but I think my MASTIFF link was just as good! :) ]]

  16. Arachne says:

    Thanks for kind comments, and apologies for “doubly” late response (I’m getting married a week on Saturday!).

    After many wonderful years setting Quiptics my conscience tells me it’s time to let a youngster have this slot, so this will be my last.

    Love and hugs,

    Arachne x

  17. Arachne says:

    Oh my goodness- *huge* thanks to Scchua for the brilliant blog, and pardon my manners for not mentioning it before everything else.

    Scchua: you, and all the other bloggers on this site, are *beyond* wonderful. Having spoken to lots of new and would-be solvers over the last few years, I now know just how important you brilliant people are in securing the future of our shared pastime. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

    Arachne x

  18. Robi says:

    Thanks Arachne and congratulations on your forthcoming marriage.

    Hope to see lots of you in the daily Grauniad puzzles.

  19. nesciolatine says:

    Thank-you Arachne (and scchua)

    Best wishes to you and Nick, hope the wedding goes swimmingly.

    I’ll be thinking of you both x

  20. Derek Lazenby says:

    The last one? I think a day of national mourning is in order! Still, maybe the younger generation will have been properly trained.

    Enjoy the big day and thanks for all the fun.

  21. scchua says:

    Congratulations, Arachne.
    On behalf of all bloggers, thank you for the compliment, though the larger share of the credit goes to setters such as you. We will miss you, and I was lucky to have blogged your landmark last Quiptic. And I hope we’ll “meet” again in a Guardian cryptic.

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