Never knowingly undersolved.

FT 12,512/Quark

Posted by smiffy on July 17th, 2007


An unusual balance of clue types here, I thought.  Not often that you see double definitions and homophones (x6 and x2 respectively, by my tally) account for over a quarter of the clues in a single puzzle. Of course, the real trick for the setter is to make these quite simple mechanisms read like completely different constructions; 24a and 19d being good examples of such.

1 LAW COURT (cryptic def’n) – a decent twist on the misdirection available from “trying”.
10 FILLIP – “Philip”
11 EMIGRANT (term gain)* – School here is a verb, not a noun.
14 PLAT DU JOUR – Presumably, the cryptic element here is just trying to point us in the direction of a French phrase?
18 CON,VERSANT – Convincing myself that versant equated to “slope of a region” meant this was my last solved.
22 STAT in E(astbourn)E – From the few occasions that I’ve had the misfortune to endure a hospital-based TV drama show, I’ve deduced that the request “Stat!” is Med-speak for “…otherwise this patient’s about to die!”.
23 SIMULATE (suit,meal)* – The anagram mechanism here seems a little stretched for the purposes of the surface.
27 ORIENTAL (ant)* in Oriel

2 WIN,GIT – “Winging it” has always struck me as one of those slang terms that probably originated in the armed services (I haven’t checked though).  “Fool” for git is a lot more mild-mannered than my standard interpretation/usage!
4 RE,LENT LESS – a tidy clue with a plausible surface.
13 STAND IN FOR (finds tar on)* – a tidy clue with a highly implausible surface.
15 CREW in STOP (pots) rev
17 SENTIENT – The anagram fodder here “most of tennis set” could work two ways – either dropping the first s, or the final t. Take your pick…
19 CURATE – Another double definition, resisting the temptation of a sit-up-and-beg (pun intended) play on dogs/food.
21 KERNEL – “Colonel”

4 Responses to “FT 12,512/Quark”

  1. Paul B says:

    17dn ‘most of tennis set’ would at first glance seem most plausibly to be TENNI/SET*: but, since anag fodder is organised into ‘words’ and ‘gaps between words’ on the surface only in some arbitrary way, there is no technical reason (for dedicated ‘cryptic readers’ at least) why plumping for TENNIS/SE* is any less plump.

    And with ‘what to do’ advertised so overtly in this clue, it is hard to call it ‘unfair’ even where Afrit’s Injunction – for absolute sticklers – has been lifted.

    Nice blog, Smiff.

  2. petebiddlecombe says:

    ‘ang on, ‘ang on. The reason for plumping for TENNI/SET rather than TENNIS/SE is that one is an anagram of SENTIENT and the other one isn’t!

  3. Paul B says:

    Yes, yes, I know!! But I wasn’t going to say “if word and gap groupings are indeed arbitrary, then the clue’s wrong” (as the clue wording would then lead only to tennis/se*), was I?

    You know me Pete – I’m far too nice, and Quark could be a great big psychotic Hell’s Angel for all I know.

  4. petebiddlecombe says:

    Fair enough. I guess my take is that ‘most of tennis set’ could be ‘{Most of tennis}, set’ or ‘most of {tennis set}’ and that it’s up to the solver to decide. For me, this is just an example of what Afrit called “a form of words which can be taken in more than one way”.

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