Never knowingly undersolved.

FT 12,482/Quark – chaussez les étriers

Posted by neildubya on June 12th, 2007


Solving time : 21 mins approx

Solving this crossword at 6pm here in San Francisco was interrupted by, of all things, a Scottish pipe and drum band playing outside my window.

1,4 COMMON ENTRANCE probably a hard one for international solvers who weren’t brought up in the UK, being the exam that public schools use to screen applicants for academic ability
10 PROP=shore in MIRE*
13 OLD (16d is AGE). I put this in as “old age” based on ancient, but doing this blog I realize that it has to be “age old” really. This=16d=AGE 13=OLD is ancient
14 A PAY in PA (which must be an abbreviation of Panama)
17 CO in SURGE. If we want to be pedantic, carbon monoxide isn’t strictly poisonous, it just binds to haemoglobin more tightly than oxygen so eventually asphixiates
21 ENJOy I N
25 BAG, presumably, 2 mngs. But neither meaning seems precise. Book in the sense of “I bag the seat by the window”?
27 CADDIE “caddy” (for tea)
28 RUTHLESS hustlers* although “hard” seems a bit imprecise as a definition
30,31 CONTRACT BRIDGE, a bridge being a kind of rest in snooker apparently
1 COWS=jerseys LIP=put on S=small
2 MEA CULPA (cup a meal)*
3 OUTPLAYS cryptic def
6 NIMROD nim is a game with some interesting binary arithmetic properties. Nimrod was a skilful hunter, grandson of Noah
8 ETRIER. I eventually guessed this since I know that étrier means stirrup in French. It is a short climbers ladder.
12 CLAUSAL defn is “of less than a sentence”
15 pACT
18 END ANGER=needle (v.t.)
19 WOOD WIND. There is indeed no brass in the woodwind section of an orchestra
20 INVEIGLE (leg vein i)* I’m not sure how the “varicose” in the clue is meant to fit unless it is a second anagram indicator. But there is a “?” so we should be gentle, I suppose
23 poST AT INfirmary
24 BOWLER being a type of hat and also the person in cricket who can get a hat-trick (getting three batsmen out on three consecutive balls)

2 Responses to “FT 12,482/Quark – chaussez les étriers”

  1. says:

    n any substance which, taken into or formed in the body, destroys life or impairs health;

    I’d say CO would pretty much fall into that category.

    I thought that the “varicose” in 20d was probably the anagram indicator (presumably with its “knotty” connotation) and that “to manipulate” was the definition.

    I also found the 13 16 OLD AGE thing a bit unclear, confusing and too circular for my taste, maybe it’s signs of 13 16 setting in!

    I guess my vocab must be more limited than it ought to be as a lot of words here were pretty new to me:


    I was also briefly perplexed by the typo at 12A.

    I think that the FT has a tendency to allow some pretty nasty grids. Sometimes this can be forgiven for the sake of a good theme for example. However, I’m not a great fan of grids which are effectively 4 barely connected mini crosswords.

  2. says:

    Re grid, maybe, even where the paper now offers compilers more of a range (with some really excellent examples) to select from.

    Nonetheless, I thought my colleague Quark managed the situation extremely well: 1,4 & 30,31 seemed designed to offer solvers fair access at both ends of the W & E areas, while 12dn, 15, 17 and even 16 were hardly a bar to progress twixt N & S.

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