Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 692/Nutmeg

Posted by Pierre on February 18th, 2013


A challenging puzzle for a Quiptic today in my opinion.  Some remote synonyms, unusual definitions, and a surfeit of insertion type clues.

I wouldn’t normally expect to have my head stuck in the dictionary for a Quiptic, but there were a couple of times here where I had to verify what Nutmeg was intending with her definitions.  Anyway, interested to hear what others thought.



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

definitions are underlined


1 Current prototype docked by Royal Navy
A charade of MODE[L] and RN.

4 Very bright graduate contrarily idle
A charade of AB for ‘graduate’ reversed (‘contrarily’) and LAZE for ‘idle’.

9 Infection of ear passed quickly
A homophone (‘of ear’) of ‘flu’.

10 Second favourites retiring after nimble dances
A charade of QUICK plus a reversal (‘retiring’) of S PETS.  ‘Favourite’ as in ‘teacher’s pet’.

11 Sublime new non-British breakfast food?
Actually among the health-conscious, this is standard British breakfast fare these days.  It’s (SU[B]LIME)* with ‘new’ as the anagrind and Nutmeg is telling you to take the B out with ‘non-British’.

12 High and mighty go back, breaking rank
An insertion of a reversal of GO in ARRANT.  ‘That is arrant/rank nonsense.’

13 Professors‘ accounts cut by about a half
An insertion of C for ‘circa’ or ‘about’, A and DEMI for ‘half’ in ACS for ‘accounts’.  DEMI is nicked from French and occurs in (admittedly not very common) words like DEMIGOD, DEMITASSE AND DEMISEMIQUAVER.

15 Hack ornamental stone
‘Jade: inferior or worn-out horse; a nag’ says the SOED.  But it also says ‘now rare’, so perhaps not ideal for a Quiptic.  I’d certainly never heard of it.  It’s a dd, with the other definition being JADE as the pale-green gemstone.

16 Cattle innards freed from gas
OX[YG]EN with the setter hinting that you should remove the middle letters, or ‘innards’ from the gas that is one of the components of the air that you’re breathing right now.

17 Reportedly no female marksmen — publicity needed!
A homophone (‘reportedly’) of ‘male’ and SHOTS for ‘marksmen’.

21 European mother abandons motherhood for ever
A charade of E and [MA]TERNITY

22 Rule = “n under g”?
Nutmeg is whimsically suggesting that if the rule is ‘n under g’ then logically it should also be G OVER N.

24 What the musketeers swore finally when catching cold is unrepeatable
‘All for one and one for all’ was the musketeers’ cry.  If you put C for ‘cold’ in the second part you’ve got your answer, although I personally would always say ONCE AND FOR ALL, so I’m not rightly sure what’s cracking off here.

25 It conveys characteristic style right away
‘Style’ is GENRE; if you remove the R (‘right away’) then you’ve got the unit of heredity which does indeed convey characteristics from one generation to the next.  This requires sex, which makes it even more fun.

26 Take in order, including books in price
An insertion of OT for Old Testament or ‘books’ in RATE for ‘price’.  ‘Cook and Bell are rotating the strike well this morning.’

27 Resilient son apparently unwashed?
S plus PONGY, although I’m not sure SPONGY and ‘resilient’ are the best synonyms to choose for a Quiptic.


1 Shellfish from lake fed to nervous locums
An insertion (‘fed to’) of L in (LOCUMS)* with ‘nervous’ as the anagrind.

2 Tosses off such clues as this
A dd.  ‘Toss off: drink with gusto’ (SOED).

3 Insist upon right to leave mass for memorial service
REQUI[R]E plus M for ‘mass’.  The second time Nutmeg has used the R removal device.

5 By adopting new rake bloomers could be raised here
The surface takes you to the garden, but you need to think of ‘bloomers’ in the bread sense.  An insertion of (RAKE)* in BY with ‘new’ as the anagrind.

6 Put one’s name to plot to support car
Since this is a down clue, it’s GRAPH under (‘supporting’) AUTO.

7 Sweep vessels into river
Another insertion of PANS in the River EXE.

8 Elaborate lie — any African accounts are based on it
(LIE ANY AFRICAN)* with ‘elaborate’ as the anagrind.

14 Dullest listener interrupts with fewest tears
An insertion of EAR for ‘listener’ in DRIEST.

16 Exeter’s starter for ten bungled more and more
This would appear to be (E FOR TEN)* with ‘bungled’ as the anagrind, but I’m not convinced this is a word.  If it is, then you’d have to have OFTENEST, which is ugly by anyone’s standards.

18 Supporters kiss cricketer in field
A charade of LEGS for ‘supporters’ and LIP for ‘kiss’ for the fielder who waits just behind the batsman on the leg side to snaffle a catch.  LIP for ‘kiss’ is in my SOED, but it’s marked as ‘poetic'; so again, perhaps not an ideal definition for a Quiptic.  The surface is engaging, if slightly homoerotic.

19 Radio covering end of lengthy dictatorship
Yet another insertion: of Y for the last letter of ‘lengthy’ in TRANNY for (transistor) ‘radio’.

20 Tackling university, sadly I won’t succeed
And another: of U in (I WON’T) with ‘sadly’ as the anagrind.

23 Iron Age villagers stocking up, animal products excluded
Hidden reversed (‘up’) in IroN AGE Villagers.

Many thanks to Nutmeg for this morning’s Quiptic.

15 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 692/Nutmeg”

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks Pierre. I agree this was quite tricky for a Quiptic, especially 15a. The pattern ?A?E has so many possibilities (128 in my Chambers iPhone app) that, particularly at Quiptic level, the answer needs to be very clearly clued.

    (I hope I’m the only person who considered STURDY as a possibility for 27a…)

  2. Pierre says:

    Your mind is clearly a cesspit, Andrew …

  3. michelle says:

    Plenty to enjoy in this Quiptic, although it took me quite a while to get onto Nutmeg’s wavelength.

    I liked 13a, 14d, 21a, 3d and 24a the best.

    22a was an interesting and clever clue but I think it would have been even better if it was a down clue.

    New words for me were ‘arrant’ in 12a, ‘bloomer’ = ‘loaf of bread’ for 5d, and MAILSHOTS.

    I wasn’t sure how to parse 15a so thanks for this blog, Pierre

  4. michelle says:

    hahaha…..of course I too considered ‘sturdy’ as a possibility for 27a – it parsed okay! (slightly risque though) but it just didn’t fit once I had solved 18d and 19.

  5. michelle says:

    Pierre, regarding 27a I thought the “jump” was fair enough from resilient = springy = spongy (Collins online dictionary).

    Regarding 24a, yes I agree that I am more used to “once and for all” but in this case it worked as we were thinking of ‘all for one and one for all’ (with insertion of ‘C’).

    Regarding 16d and 18d: I agree with you – I didn’t much like 16d but I can imagine saying something like “I went there oftener than I should have” (but would probably NEVER use ‘oftenest’) and 18d was gettable as a clue but I found it to be very inelegant.

  6. Pierre says:

    Perhaps the reason for the extra difficulty has been revealed by those clever folk over on the Guardian thread (well spotted, chaps!) It’s a pangram. For those that don’t know, this is a crossword where all the 26 letters of the alphabet appear, and can sometimes means that the setter has to insert one or two unusual words to get all the letters in.

    Mea maxima culpa for not spotting this, but with a Quiptic I don’t go looking for themes or pangrams or ninas once I’ve solved it. He said, making excuses …

  7. Robi says:

    A good crossword but a bit difficult for a Quiptic. (Yes, the JADE=hack was pretty obscure although it is given as the second meaning in Chambers without any obsolete tag)….. and I missed the pangram.

    Thanks Pierre; according to my online Thesaurus OFTENER was used in ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra.’ gives: ‘once and for all, decisively; finally: Let’s settle this problem once and for all. Also, once for all,’ although as you said I would always use the former. I liked your ‘sturdy’ alternative although SPONGY was pretty good (I kept trying to put BO into the answer!) For those with a delicate constitution, I wouldn’t look up TOSS OFF in Chambers! 😉

  8. Michael says:

    I’m wondering if there’s a Nina in this crossword. The unchecked letters on row 8 are “RIP”, and that is followed on row 10 by “Fawley”. Has there been a passing in the family?

  9. Derek Lazenby says:

    Took me twice as long as Rufus, for the reasons above. Even had to cheat a few. Pangrams are all well and good, but not for one of these, again for reasons given above. Tricksy clues like 22 are also probably a step too far for one of these, amusing as it was.

  10. una says:

    I am afraid I didn’t make much progress.This crossword was recommended as suitable for beginners, which I am.More humiliation !

  11. Derek Lazenby says:

    Una, no, no no. That was hard for a Quiptic so you mustn’t take it too much to heart. We’ve all been there.

  12. Pierre says:

    Indeed, una, Derek is right. This was a tricky one. And Michael, I’m sure the message is intentional, though what it is about we may never know.

  13. Michael says:

    I’m guessing it’s the setter. Fawley produced a tribute to other setters as number 22,000 in the Guardian Cryptic series.

  14. Nutmeg says:

    Well spotted – it’s a couple of years since I compiled the grid (though not the clues), just after the early death of Mike Laws (Fawley) who as editor of the Inquisitor had been very kind to me. Usually when I include a Nina nobody remarks on it, so I had expected this one, being not immediately apposite and quite well hidden, to go unnoticed…

  15. Libellule says:

    I don’t always find time to do the Quiptic, but I do like to do it when I can, as its usually a very enjoyable and entertaining exercise. For those who struggled with this, I can only agree with Pierre, this seemed more like a DT daily cryptic in places rather than a Quiptic. I had to stare long and hard in places before it came together. Fun though.

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