Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 700/Hectence

Posted by Pierre on April 15th, 2013


‘For beginners and those in a hurry’, says the puff on the Guardian crossword website.  I’m not a beginner, but it’s a good job I wasn’t in a hurry this morning.

Please tell me that it’s not just me – I just found this really tricky for a Quiptic.  The definitions were clear enough, I suppose, but I struggled to parse quite a lot of clues.  And there’s one that still escapes me.



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

definitions are underlined


1 Lead story on poor diving result?
A dd.  A SPLASH is what you don’t want if you’re Tom Daley entering the water.

5 Arrived, taking parking place by tent area
An insertion of P for ‘parking’ and SIT for ‘place’ in CAME.

9 Key to study in evil gets proof
A charade of the key with four sharps in its key signature, followed by an insertion of DEN for ‘study’ in VICE for ‘evil’.

10 Thai starter with pork quarters is a capital course
A charade of T for the first letter of ‘Thai’, HAM and ES for two ‘quarters’, East and South.

11 Poet’s going round with loose woman
‘A prostitute’, says my SOED, but it marks it as ‘archaic’.  Whatevs, it’s a reversal of BARD.

12 Potential difficulties with fishing kit?
A cd cum dd.

13 Half army runs away having lost heart, coming back for me
A charade of MY for half of arMY and a reversal (‘coming back’) of FL[E]ES.  Have we wandered away from Quiptic territory here?

14 Plant, say, about 1,000 new carrots
An insertion of K for ‘1,000’ in (CARROTS)* with ‘new’ as the anagrind.  Referring to Robert PLANT, the lead vocalist of Led Zeppelin.

16 Level and prepare surroundings for play area
A charade of STAGE for ‘level’ and SET for ‘prepare’.

19 Prepared me to come in for a cure
Hectence is asking you to substitute ME for A in READY.

21 Drink for red-headed porter?
A cd.

23 Being in A Chorus Line on stage is a gas
Hidden in A Chorus LiNE ON stage.

24 TV company’s party used to be good place to see stars
A charade of SKY for Mr Murdoch’s TV channel and LAB for Mr Miliband’s party.  The NASA space station that orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979.

25 Finished first scene with leading character as a teacher
A charade of DID for ‘finished’, ACT 1 and C for the first character of ‘character’.

26 Posh new sweetheart’s daughter on silly diet, not yet checked
A charade of U for ‘posh’, N for ‘new’, E for the middle letter (‘heart’) of swEet, D for ‘daughter’ and ITED for an anagram (‘silly’) of (DIET)*

27 Number for cab? No thanks!
I have no idea how this works, so help appreciated.  Edit: Prolixic and Mr A Writinghawk have kindly explained this one in the first two comments.


2 Poor young son caught in obvious scam, held in compound
There’s a bit of parsing going on here.  An insertion of Y for ‘young’ and S for ‘son’ in OVERT for ‘obvious’ and TRICK for ‘scam’, all inserted into PEN for ‘compound’.  Alles klar?

3 “German car’s crap!” — said loud enough to be heard
AUDI is the German car and the BLE bit is a homophone, ish,  of BULL, for BULLSHIT or ‘crap’.

4 Worker on strike finally submits to police restraint
A charade of HAND for ‘worker’, CUFF for ‘strike’ and S for the last letter of submitS.

5 Charlady showing tolerance not to work
([TO]LERANCE)* with ‘work’ as the anagrind.

6 Farah suit’s about design
The gold medal winner is becoming the setters’ new best friend.  MO plus a reversal of FIT.

7 Jack’s best friends?
Since DOGS are – allegedly – man’s best friend, then SEA DOGS would be a sailor’s or Jack’s best friend.

8 Unusually, Ian Holm’s due late for film

15 Snip article from new cigar trade magazine
Take the A for ‘article’ out of ‘cigar trade’ and then make an anagram to get your answer.

17 Soldier, with horse that was winning, laughed nervously
A charade of GI for ‘soldier’, GG for ‘horse’ and LED for ‘was winning’.

18 Look! Miliband was a hot topic on Twitter
Another charade of TREND for ‘look’ and ED for the leader of the Labour Party.  If something is popular on Twitter, it TRENDS.

20 Cool men sport an eyeglass!
(COOL MEN)* with ‘sport’ as an unlikely anagrind.

22 Automaton runs rings round second-rate model
Good job the definition is obvious.  A charade of R for ‘runs’, B for ‘second-rate’ in OO for ‘rings’, and T for ‘model’, as in Model-T Ford.

Thanks to Hectence for today’s Quiptic.

12 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 700/Hectence”

  1. Prolixic says:

    27a TAXI without the TA gives the Roman numerals for 11

  2. Mr A Writinghawk says:

    It wasn’t just you! I came here for help with ELEVEN too, though I now think it’s (ta)XI = 11. More than tortuous, and I thought quite a few clues were out of the Quiptic range.

  3. Pierre says:

    Thanks, both. I agree: if you’ve got your Quiptic head on, then you’re probably not looking for something as complicated as XI for ELEVEN.

  4. michelle says:

    I agree with Pierre that this was not really a puzzle “for beginners and those in a hurry”. In any case, this Quiptic was quite enjoyable although I did not complete it as quickly as I had hoped.

    For 6d, I never thought of Mo Farah. It took me a while to work out what a ‘Farah suit’ is as I have never heard of this brand before, but it seems that the suits all have an “added piece of decoration, such as a symbol or name” (= motif = design) on them. That was good enough for me!

    I was unable to parse 27a, and I also did not see why there was the word ‘Look!’ in the clue for 18d.


    Thanks for the blog, Pierre.

  5. Andy B says:

    I agree that it was definitely harder than most Quiptics, and there were a few tricks used by Hectence that I wouldn’t have expected to see in a Quiptic. I enjoyed the puzzle a lot but I’m not sure a novice would have done, and isn’t that the category of solver the Quiptic is supposed to be aimed at?

  6. Muriel says:

    Eleven was actually my cod – I thought it quite elegant.

  7. Jeff Cumberbatch says:

    @Michelle @4 -“LOOK” = TREND; “ED” =MILLIBAND

  8. Robi says:

    Yes, definitely a bit tricky for a Quiptic – I didn’t manage to parse eleven, although it looks obvious in hindsight.

    Thanks Pierre; I didn’t know drab as a whore. There were a number of nice constructions I thought for THAMES, MYSELF, REMEDY, DIDACTIC and cleaner.

  9. Flashling says:

    Thanks Pierre, took me no longer than quixote this morning but some tricks and devices out of the novice level for sure.

  10. Derek Lazenby says:

    Harder than the Rufus. Tush tish!

  11. DocCrispy says:

    It took me a week, but my first completed Cryptic (even if it was only Quiptic)! The only one I still don’t fully understand is 23a – What is the significance of the word ‘Chorus’? I could see the hidden word Neon, but was reluctant to accept it with the seemingly excess word floating around. Is it normal in this sort of clue to have unused words? – I thought that was considered un-Ximenean. But thoroughly enjoyed it (in particular when the Led Zeppelin reference finally dawned).

  12. Kathleen says:

    As a novice I thought my brain had ceased working! I usually only need to use cheat once or twice, but I either had no clue and used only the definition or I simply had no clue! Glad to hear that it was in fact quite a difficult one after all.

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