Posted by smiffy on August 29th, 2007
This was a tough nut to crack, at least by FT standards. I don’t have regular access to other daily puzzles that are blogged on this site, but I suspect that the difficulty level here is not dissimilar from those seen under the setter’s other guises (Enigmatist/Nimrod). A lot more imagination and lateral thinking today than you would typically encounter in the
pink ‘un, and – unusually for the FT – I felt the need to confirm a couple of answers post-solving.
1 SHRINK WRAPPING – double def: i.e. a psychiatrist (shrink) could prescribe use of a straitjacket. No easy intro to the puzzle here.
10 (champ)AGNES – took me longer than it should have.
11 LAZY SUSAN – A rotating table centrepiece, favoured by dinner party hosts of a certain ilk. I’m the proud co-owner of one myself (unused, random wedding present). Yours for a tenner…
16 ESSEX GIRL (er, six legs)* – An epic definition! And good to see the word “loadsamoney” make a rare appearance in the FT. For US readers, I think it’d be fair to say that Essex Girls and (New) Jersey Girls are sociological approximates.
20 SEIZE – the reference to “16” in the clue had me fearing that we’d be in search of the French equivalent of an Essex Girl. Rather, it’s just a literal translation.
22 N(ON DR)IP – One of those clues where the definition (“Thixotropic”!) meant nothing to me, but the wordplay was much more benign.
27 ULTRA SLOW (Allow rust)* – Again the definition (“over many years”) ain’t much help, but mainly due to its unspecific nature.
28 UKASE (hidden) – a perennially useful word for grid constructors everywhere.
29 LOLLIPOP LADIES – clever, but not a classic penny-dropping moment, in my book.
2 H AND C, RAFT – “Taps”= H(ot) AND C(old) is cute. I wasn’t familiar with the “US actor” of yesteryear (George) Raft.
3 IBSEN – NESBI(-t) rev. E. Nesbit is forever imprinted on my subconscious, due to the innumerable airings of “The Railway Children” by the BBC during my youth.
4 KELLY’S EYE – Bingo-lingo for #1.
8 GE,NITAL – (Latin,e.g.) rev.
15 WATER,TAX,I – move the “i” from Waiter.
17 SEMIVOWEL – tricksy if you don’t spot that the first and last letters of “Why” are the definition/exemplars.
18 I,DI(OT,TAP)E – an word unknown me, but confirmed online.
19 J,ON,QUI,L – “start of examination”=Qui(z). A major bone of contention for those who would argue that three-quarters of the way through something is pretty far from the starting point. (Oops: the idea is in fact QU(estion)1 – see comments)
23 NATAL – double def. Although, I tend to think of the place as a province rather than a “nation”.
24 POL(I)O – The word “condition” seems superfluous, other than for purposes of the surface reading. The reference to Polo mints could well have left non-Brits bamboozled.