Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic N° 693 by Hectence

Posted by PeterO on February 25th, 2013


The puzzle may be found at or

Hectence produces Quiptics at the more difficult end of the spectrum, and I think this is no exception; there have been definitely more straightforward Cryptics. With some lovely surfaces and cunning deception, I found this a very satisfying solve.

7. Woman with degree from commercial university’s got into great career (8)
GRADUATE An envelope (‘got into’) of AD (‘commercial’) plus U (‘university’) in GRATE, an anagram (‘career’) of ‘great’. Hectence seems to be showing solidarity with Arachne in using a feminine definition where the answer is androgynous.
9. Lure of revolutionary lover tailed off (6)
ENTRAP A reversal (‘revolutionary’) of PARTNE[r] (‘lover’) with its last letter removed (‘tailed off’).
10. Gape at own goal by the French (4)
OGLE A charade of OG (‘own goal’) plus LE (‘the French’).
11. Can be excused for housing four in part of roof (10)
FORGIVABLE A charade of ‘for’ plus an envelope (‘housing … in’) of IV (‘four’, Roman numeral) in GABLE (‘part of roof’).
12. One bumped into by man with butty? (6)
BARGEE Double cryptic definition: if a BARGER is one who bumps into someone, the latter is a BARGEE. Kinda. And a BARGEE, a man with a barge, might well have a butty, an unpowered boat, in tandem. The second definition directs one astray in suggesting ‘butty’ as a sandwich.
14. Close deal in return for final drink (8)
NIGHTCAP A charade of NIGH (‘close’) plus TCAP, a reversal (‘in return’) of PACT (‘deal’).
15. Way to take on extreme speech impediment (7)
STUTTER A charade of ST (street, ‘way’) plus UTTER (‘extreme’).
17. Speciality food shop has extremely short supply (7)
DELIVER A charade of DELI (‘specialty food shop’) plus VER[y] (‘extremely’) with its end removed (‘short’).
20. Flower border described by piece of writing (8)
PRIMROSE An envelope (‘described by’) of RIM (‘border’) in PROSE (‘piece of writing’).
22. Most timid model pursues quiet approval (6)
SHYEST A charade of SH (‘quiet’) plus YES (‘approval’) plus T (‘model’), with ‘pursues’ indicating the order of the particles.
23. AC/DC lead, for example? (5,5)
HEAVY METAL Double definition (Wikipedia says that the band is “sometimes classified as such”).
24. Joke heard from Cockney: “Where do h’acorns come from?” (4)
HOAX For once, the Cockney adds an aitch, rather than dropping it. An ‘omophone of OAKS.
25. Cancel rugby union match (3,3)
RUB OUT A charade of RU (‘rugby union’) plus BOUT (‘match’).
26. Grumble about order given without any fuss (8)
COMPLAIN A charade of C (‘about’) plus OM (‘Order’ of Merit) plus PLAIN (‘without any fuss’).
1. Show off horse in Arab style with even trot (8)
BRAGGART An envelope (‘in’) of GG (‘horse’) in BRAA, an anagram (‘style’) of ‘Arab’ plus RT, ‘even’ letters of ‘tRoT‘. As a noun, the definition should really be hyphenated.
2. Carefully move hands off accounts book (4)
EDGE [l]EGDE[r] (‘accounts book’) with L and R (left and right, ‘hands’) removed (‘off’).
3. Fox comes to grief at last in tortuous fable (6)
BAFFLE An envelope (‘in’) of F (‘grieF at last’) in BAFLE, an anagram (‘tortuous’) of ‘fable’.
4. Sweet cake discovered during summer in Guernsey (8)
MERINGUE A hidden answer (‘discovered during’) in ‘sumMER IN GUErnsey’.
5. Nick subtly hit on lady taking away her heart by cunning (10)
STEALTHILY A charade of STEAL (‘nick’) plus THI, an anagram (‘subtly’) of ‘hit’ plus ‘L[ad]Y‘ ‘taking away her heart’.
6. Friend eats the Spanish top class dish (6)
PAELLA An envelope (‘eats’) of EL (‘the Spanish’) in PAL (‘friend’); plus A (‘top class’).
8. Cock up with business trip (6)
ERRAND A charade of ERR (‘cock up’) plus AND (‘with’).
13. Hurry up vote on mega-redevelopment (3,1,4,2)
GET A MOVE ON An anagram (‘redevelopment’) of ‘vote on mega’.
16. Hugeness of God doesn’t begin to comprehend usual way of things (8)
ENORMITY An envelope (‘to comprehend’) of NORM (‘usual way of things’) in [d]EITY (‘God’) without its first letter (‘doesn’t begin’). ENORMITY generally means a great crime or sin, but plain ‘hugeness’ is an antique definition.
18. Very happy to mention review about Wicked cast (8)
ECSTATIC An envelope (‘about’) of CSTA, an anagram (‘Wicked'; the reference to the musical suggested by the capital is misleading. Wicked, isn’t it?) of ‘cast’ (which might well have been the anagrind, rather than the fodder) in ETIC, a reversal (‘review’) of CITE (‘mention’).
19. Northern side of church’s poorly lit by candles, primarily (6)
CELTIC A charade of CE (‘Church’ of England) plus LTI, an anagram (‘poorly’) of ‘lit’ plus C (‘Candles primarily’). The second soccer reference in the puzzle; Hectence’s team is Manchester City.
21. Sorry about constant time taken off with awful flu (6)
RUEFUL A charade of [t]RUE (‘constant’) with the T removed (‘time taken off’) plus FUL, an anagram (‘awful’) of ‘flu’.
22. Only one by heartless man’s grave (6)
SOLEMN A charade of SOLE (‘only one’) plus MN (‘heartless MaN‘).
24. Most of orchestra’s in concert room (4)
HALL HALL[é] (‘orchestra'; Manchester again) cut short (‘most of’).

9 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic N° 693 by Hectence”

  1. michelle says:

    This was an elegant, enjoyable and clearly clued puzzle. I think it was a perfect Quiptic.

    There were so many clues that I liked, especially HOAX, RUB OUT, BRAGGART, STEALTHILY, NIGHTCAP & ERRAND.

    I couldn’t fully parse 12a BARGEE which I understood as “one bumped/barged into” but I could not parse the “by man with butty” bit. (Yes, I was led astray by thinking ‘butty’ = ‘sandwich’).

    Thanks for the blog, PeterO.

  2. michelle says:

    I like your parsing of 26a

    I had parsed it as definition = ‘grumble about’. COM (order = command = ‘com’ abbreviation as found on computer keyboard) + PLAIN (without any fuss)

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Definitely solved easier cryptics than this one. I always enjoy having a go at the Quiptic, but without being condescending, I would normally expect to knock it off in a lot less time than this one took me.

    There was some clever clueing – GRADUATE and HEAVY METAL, for example – but there was some elaborate wordplay elsewhere which might have proved tricky for some solvers (this one, for example).

    I’m afraid I gave up and cheated on BARGEE. Not a great clue in my opinion. And ERRAND for ‘business trip’ is not great either, I don’t think. When I was little, I would often run an errand for our mam, but I can’t ever remember there being a business element to it.

    Thanks to Peter for the blog and to Hectence for the puzzle. I’m sure the latter will get over her attachment to Man City if she just gives it enough time …

  4. Robi says:

    Nice puzzle but maybe a bit complicated for a Quiptic.

    Thanks PeterO for a good blog. KD @3; I think the business trip is in the sense of a trip to a business (i.e. a shop) Yes, you and me running errands for our mums. I also thought BARGEE was fair enough, although I didn’t know the butty=barge meaning. Michelle @2; good to see you trying a different parsing. You are right that ‘com’ can be an abbreviation for command as here. In this strange crosswordland some abbreviations are more equal than others – if it doesn’t appear in Collins or Chambers, it’s often not used. :)

    I particularly liked BRAGGART, HOAX and RUEFUL.

  5. PeterO says:

    Robi & K’s D
    I took ‘business’ in 8D to mean that an ERRAND has a purpose, rather than just being out for a stroll; however, now that I look it up, one of Chambers’ definitions of business is:

    A task or errand incumbent or undertaken

    which seems fairly conclusive.

    I had a vague feeling that ‘butty’ had something to do with barges, but I am not sure if I had come across this meaning somewhere before or it was a good guess. Of course, I looked it up before committing myself to the blog, along with AC/DC (pop music is not one of my strong points), but those were the only references that I needed.

  6. michelle says:


    thanks for your comment. I have noticed in the past that there were some “strange” (in my opinion) parsings referring to computer keyboard layouts that I would never have thought of. That’s why I even dared to think that COM = command/order.

    Anyway, as I have read here, the important thing is to solve the clue!

  7. Robi says:

    PeterO @5; thanks for that, not that it really matters but what then is ‘trip’ doing in the clue? Chambers gives for errand: ‘a commission to say or do something usually involving a short journey.’ Maybe that is why ‘trip’ is there, although not really needed if you take your definition of ‘business’ at face value.

  8. PeterO says:

    Robi @5

    I think that the ‘trip’ is justified to nail down the definition – as I think you are suggesting.

    Michelle @5

    It is remarkable how often there is more than one way to parse an answer. Sometimes one is so clearly preferable that one can put it down as the setter’s intention (even if I tend to come up with the other), sometimes there is not much to choose between them.

  9. Rodger says:

    Managed most of it by Thursday before I had to read the blog. 12, “bargee,” eluded me completely. I solved several clues without full understanding, such as 24d, 26, 19,and 9. Much laughter in the surface readings, esp 16.

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