Here lies the second part of my Guardian quiptic walk-through solve. For those of you who have just arrived, the first part of the guide can be found here - for those who have already read the first part, click read more ...
The reason the clue is tough? The setter uses 'American writer' as a definition misdirection to make solver think they are looking for an, er, American writer.
26a - American writer died after second stay (7)
S _ S _ E _ _
The crossers are a massive help with this clue because the clue is tough. The reason for the toughness? The setter uses 'American writer' as a definition misdirection to make solver think they are looking for an, er, American writer.
Now all I have to do it see if the wordplay matches.
I note 'American' will indicate US, 'writer' will indicate PEN, 'died' has the dictionary abbreviation of D, and 'after' is a positional indicator which puts US PEN D 'after' 'second' which has the abbreviation S.
All this comes together to give me SUSPEND as my answer and, after hanging around a while, I write the answer in the grid and move on to the next clue.
14a - Leading alpinist regularly sick at finish of climb (6)
_ S _ E _ _
So, what have we got here then?
'Leading' is the word which catches my eye. In Guardian crosswords, leading is often used to indicate the first letter of the word next to it. If this is correct, 'leading alpinist' will give me an A at the start of the clue.
A S _ E _ _
So, what have we got here then? 'Leading' is the word which catches my eye. In cryptic crosswords, leading is often used to indicate the first letter of the word next to it. If this is correct, 'leading alpinist' will give me an A at the start of the clue.
A S C E _ _
With these crossers, I see the answer will be ASCEND. It matches the definition 'climb' and that leaves 'finish' to account for END with 'at' being a positional link.
NOTE: In this clue 'of' would seem to be unaccounted for. Some setters do include superfluous words in their clues, but doing so is considered unfair by some. In this case, it is more likely a definition link, however, the use of 'of' as a link to definition is considered inaccurate by some. Whichever school of thought you adhere to, it's good to know there is more than one way to write a crossword clue.
And so, with my answer in place, my workings in order, and having hopefully side-stepped the minefield of superfluous words and definition links, I write the answer in the grid with a sigh of relief.
The parse still eludes me, and, when that happens, I head over to the excellent website Fifteen Squared which give the answers and parsings to almost all the UK broadsheet papers.
4d - Communists secretly plot to support unrest here arranged with two Democrats (4,5,3,3)
_ _ D _ / U _ D _ R / _ H _ / _ E _
I guessed this clue early on, but couldn't parse it (work out the wordplay) so wanted to wait until I had more crossers to confirm the answer: REDS UNDER THE BED
My visit there provides me with the following parse (courtesy of blogger Pierre):
"The ‘plot’ is BED, as in the garden. That is ‘supporting’ (UNREST HERE DD)* with ‘arranged’ as the anagrind."
Two things to note here for the newer solver: 'anagrind' is an abbreviation of anagram indicator (the indicator which tells us the letters of the fodder must be shuffled about) and the DD comes from 'Democrats' of which there are two with the abbreviation D.
Satisfied all is tickety-boo, and with a tip of the hat to Fifteen Squared and Pierre, I whack the answer in the grid - but only after shooing Trotsky out of my bedroom.
3d - Content to draw a youth out (4)
_ _ A _
This is a hidden clue. The give away is the hidden indicator 'content to'.
I quickly see AWAY hidden in the fodder. The word fits the crossing letter I already have, means 'out' and so without further ado I stick the answer in the grid.
No crossers for this one, but the clue is straightforward.
23d - Sympathetic relative takes on daughter (4)
_ _ _ _
With a tear in my eye for the poor daughter who's lost her folks, I write the answer in the grid and move on before I start a full-on blub fest.
27a - Stop welcoming horribly rude bore (7)
E _ D _ R _ _
Happy that I've not cracked in the face of the clue, I stoically write the answer in the grid.
END can be accounted for by 'stop', which leave 'horribly' as an anagram indicator for the fodder 'rude'. The letters of 'rude' can be rearranged to make URED and putting the two parts together and I get (END)(URED*) which confirms my answer.
Happy that I've not cracked in the face of the clue, I stoically write the answer in the grid and skeddadle.
My first thought is I have a funny collection of crossers here and can't see the answer easily.
25a - Unable to stand being ordered to accept European doctor (9)
B _ D _ I _ D _ _
'To accept' sounds like a containment indicator to me. So it would, if I am on the right lines, mean an anagram of 'being' will contain whatever the wordplay for 'European doctor' is.
I've been somewhat disingenuous here as I know 'European' and 'doctor' have the abbreviations E and DR respectively. Put those in an anagram solver with 'being' and BEDRIDDEN will pop out. Does it match the rest of the clue that's unaccounted for? 'Unable to stand' - yup, I do believe it does.
Brian Wilson style, I slorm the answer in the grid and wonder if Cleaves Home for Inveterate Drug Takers does room service.
21a - Start showing doubt held by magistrate (4)
_ U _ _
Remember that in most crossword clues the definition is either at the beginning or end of a clue?
Hmmm ... as it's only four letters, it's likely to be a pair of abbreviations or, aha! what about UM for doubt? It fits with my crossers to give me:
_ U M _
And, with that in, the answer must be JUMP (definition 'start') which leaves magistrate as JP (abbreviation for justice of the peace).
Happy with my, workings, but wanting to get as far away from a magistrate as possible, I stick the answer in the grid and leg it.
I see the definition 'abandon hope' and the answer DESPAIR quickly on this one ...
1a - Abandon hope of the French match (7)
_ _ S _ A _ R
After enrolling in a 'French for dummies' course, I splat the answer in the grid and sashay my way to the next clue.
1d Obliterate retrograde N-word (5)
D _ O _ N
I kick myself because the answer's been staring me in the face. Can you see it?
The definition is 'obliterate', the reversal indicator 'retrograde' and the fodder 'N-word'. So, all I need to do is reverse NWORD and get the answer DROWN.
With a tip of my hat to the setter for making the obvious not so obvious, I scrawl the answer in the grid and move on to the fourth-to-last clue.
So I've been looking at this clue on and off and thinking it must be NOTATES.
8d - Turn on old volunteers with incomplete exam marks (7)
_ _ T _ T _ S
So why didn't I put the answer in the grid?
I couldn't match NOTATES to the definition MARKS. However, a quick look in the dictionary confirms things and, guess what? I make a few marks in the grid which look to one skilled in English as NOTATES and move onward!
5a - Strong action I took over a lie (7)
F _ _ _ _ _ N
This clue finally falls when I see the definition in 'lie' which gives the answer FICTION.
The wordplay is interesting: strong is F (the musical notation) - so far so straight forward. The interesting bit is 'action I took over a'. This is an instruction for the word 'action' to have its A replaced with an I. The reason it's interesting? Usually crosswords keep to the present tense, and when they use past tense like 'took', it can often sound very odd.
Still, I'm happy with my answer, and, after a bite of a pork pie, splurge the answer in the grid and head to the penultimate clue.
It's taken a while, but finally this clue drops when I see through the definition deception.
7d - Entrance French artist at opening of show (7)
I _ G _ E _ S
In the surface, 'entrance' means 'to charm'. In the cryptic reading, it means INGRESS. It's no wonder I didn't get the wordplay because I have to go to Google to find the French artist, a chap called INGRES. The rest is simple. First letter indicator 'opening of' tells the solver to use the first letter of the word 'show'. Sticking INGRES together with S gives me my 'entrance' INGRESS.
With all the excitement of a kid who's been locked overnight in a sweet shop, I bang the answer in the grid and move on to the last clue.
6d - Scruples against knowledge based on experiments (10)
C _ N _ C _ E _ C _
My way in is not, as you would think, the crossers
My way in is not, as you would think, the crossers - but the word 'against'. In a crossword, this often means CON (as in the opposite of pro). It fits with my crossers so I pencil that it and get:
C O N _ C _ E _ C _
And that's when the light bulb goes on and CONSCIENCE pings into my poor and booze addled brain. It fits 'scruples' as a definition and 'against', as we've seen, gives CON. All that's left is 'knowledge based on experiments' which clues SCIENCE.
With a whoop of excitement, I take out my trusty four-colour Bic one more time and write the answer in the grid. After that, it's off to the cold beer department because the crossword is complete and the Guardian quiptic guide is over!
In the meantime, feel free to post a comment to tell me what you thought about this post, take a look at the site's solving guide, or have a go at my crosswords.
So, there it is. A walk-through of the second half of the clues found in Guardian quiptic crossword by Provis. Hopefully, going through the clues this way has provided an insight into basic solving methods, and also into a few tricks that crossword setters employ.
Next month, I'll provide a two-part 'walk-through solve' of the cryptic crossword found in The Guardian, and will continue to make it a regular feature until I've covered each of the cryptics in the UK broadsheets. In the meantime, feel free to post a comment to tell me what you thought about this post, take a look at the site's solving guide, or have a go at my crosswords.
Thanks for listening and I hope to see you around the site soon.