Never knowingly undersolved.

FT 12,488 by Neo

Posted by smiffy on June 19th, 2007


This turned out to be more of a challenge than I anticpated at first; plain sailing initially, but then got becalmed on the last few clues. At the time of solving, I wasn’t 100% certain about a couple of answers (1a, 22a, 21d), but subsequent searching seems to confirm them. Also, I still haven’t fathomed the wordplay element of 9a/20d, so please feel free  to offer enlightenment.

1 BERTH A – The final one I solved (after several minutes). I doubted whether there was a St Bertha, but it turns out that there is. However, given the punning nature of the wordplay “first job?”, perhaps “Woman” would have been a fairer definition than “Saint”?
5 BROOD HEN (on bed or h)* – nounal anagram indicators seem to perturb some people. But sparing usage, such as “contraption” here, seems reasonable to me.
9,20d SLEEPING PARTNER – I’m not sure what the “out east, perhaps” part of the clue is alluding to…
11, 7d STAR OF DAVID – (daft advisor)*
18 PARALYMPIANS (army pal in spa)* –  A bit of a clunky clue, both in terms of anagrind (“rallied”) and surface reading. I’m ashamed to admit that it was only several years ago that I learned that this portmanteau word is derived from Parallel Olympics and not Paralysed Olympics.
22 FLETCHER – double def. I figured the oblique reference to arrow-making, but was blissfully unaware of the playright.
28 SKETCHER – K, H in (secret)*. A seamless segue between wordplay and definition. I assume that “letter in” is the anagrind.
29 DRY+DEN – A familiar construction, but I’ve just found out that the reference to “Mac Flecknoe” makes this an &lit! (I must bone up on C17th literary feuds)

2 O+LIT in HE(rev) – I slogged my way through this one. The ambassadorial part came readily enough, but “upkeep” as a reversed container and an inability to get past OT for “old writings” kept me guessing.
8 EASTWARD (trade was)* – simple but effective, and a silky-smooth surface.
16 SET(rev)+TIMON+Y(ears)
17 BALL PARK – ref “ball park figure”= estimate (in cliched business jargon). Liked the misleading reference to a “soccer stadium” rather than a baseball one, which is presumably a dig at Wembley (Version 2.0) too.
21 JE+ROME – Another toughie. I had to seek confirmation that “Hieronymus” alone was the definition.
24 HUTCH – ref Starsky & …

4 Responses to “FT 12,488 by Neo”

  1. says:

    SLEEPING = out PARTNER (bridge) = East, I think

    Super puzzle, very challenging and very satisfying to finish. JEROME was my last.

  2. says:

    SKETCHER Ain’t got the paper now, but thought the idea was to use the letters of “secret”. There was also a v clever disguised join in “secret drawer”

  3. says:

    Thanks for the clarification on SLEEPING PARTNER. Obviously too subtle and elegant for me!

    Revisiting 28a (“Kilo – heroin – found among letters in secret drawer”): I’m starting to suspect that the intention was for the word “found” to be treated as a verb, not an adjective. If so, then that’s another inspired touch of deviousness.

  4. says:

    I felt so bad about being credited for an alleged extra ‘touch of deviousness’ that I left Smiffy’s remarks at 3 up all day.

    But I’m afraid his original parsing in the blog along with NMS’ @ 2 are right: it’s just the K and H ‘found among’ (although in the right order) the ‘letters in’ SECRET.

    If anyone’s interested, I found that indication – which seems to me to imply a new ordering – in Ruth Crisp’s Teach Yourself Crosswords book. A richer source of information about the Arses Magna of compiling & solving would be be quite hard to find.

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