Never knowingly undersolved.

FT 12,549/Io – A relatively 27A solve

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.
26 S,QUA,D

4 Responses to “FT 12,549/Io – A relatively 27A solve”

  1. John H says:

    Re 19dn: Start of examination = QU(estion) 1

  2. smiffy says:

    Thanks for the correction. Personally I do recall having seen Q1 used in exams, but not QU1. Then again (as befits my Bash Street alias) it was also pretty unusual for me to actually start with Question 1 anyway! Cheers.

  3. John says:

    And 6 dn POST BOXES — buy why, are these disappearing in the UK?

  4. smiffy says:

    Yes, the “fast-fading” element of the definition gave me slight pause for thought too; but I enjoyed the attempt to toy cryptically with “pillars of the community”.

    I suppose the very fact that we are discussing this on a bulletin board – rather than via postal correspondence – offers tentative support to Io’s implication that snail-mail faces terminal decline. (I wonder if anyone still particpates in games of correspondence chess these days?!)

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