Never knowingly undersolved.

FT 12,575/Adamant – “Somewhat” Inappropriate?

Posted by smiffy on September 28th, 2007


The only real stumbling block today for me was 18A, which took me several minutes of plodding through the alphabet until I could find an answer that justified the clue.  10A doesn’t work, in my opinion, but I’ll gladly stand corrected.

1 P(ai)R,ECIN,CT – “over exact?” indicating the reversal of nice.
6 BOWSER – (rows be)*; I recall this word cropping up only a couple of months ago.  It’s a petrol pump Down Under.
10 THO,ROUGH – Interesting anagrind comparison between this clue and 17D. Here we have “Somewhat” which seems flaky to me (doesn’t it mean partially?), whereas in 17D we have “Somehow”, which doesn’t bother me. Are the two equally (in)valid?
11 SETA (hidden)
18 VISA – As mentioned, I had to take a trial and error approach to this one, being confronted with _I_A. The preposition here certainly helps the  ambiguity, as “get one in a state” rather than “…into a state” certainly had me foxed.
26 PORT,I,A – The only Portia I recall is from The Merchant of Venice.  I suppose she was acting as a “lawyer” with that whole “Quality of mercy is not strained…” spiel.
27 C(Y)P,HER – First time I’ve encountered CP as an abbreviation (for “Communist Party”).
28 ENSILAGE (gleans ie)*

2 RE(E)VE – Unusual to see a foreign language element of the wordplay clued so directly (“French dream” = reve).
5 TOTAL ABSTINENCE – a succinct and effective cryptic treatment.
6 B,L,OTTO – Only when writing this, did I remember which Emperor was called Otto (Bismarck).
8 EIGHT,SOME – Not sure how to classify this type of clue. It’s along the lines of “take the wordplay elements and switch them”.
17 EXCERPTS (R in expects)*
25 NO,H – a useful three-letter word to bear in mind, as it can occasionally be seen as a sub-component in its own right
(e.g. “play”) in barred puzzles.

6 Responses to “FT 12,575/Adamant – “Somewhat” Inappropriate?”

  1. Paul B says:

    26ac PORTIA

    A name shared by two female heroines, one a daughter of nobility in Julius Caesar, the other, umm, a wealthy heiress in Merchant. The lawyer reference is from the latter play, wherein Portia appears in drag as Balthasar, a young ‘doctor of the law’.

  2. Paul B says:

    EIGHT/ SOME: the ‘on the contrary’ device is used frequently in container & contents clues, but this usage – with ‘any number’ becoming ‘number any’ – seems very good.

  3. Paul B says:

    Re 10ac

    Could it be THO is a hidden element? As in
    ‘some whaT HOt’?

  4. smiffy says:

    Your theory about 10A seems plausible enough, although I’d still be pretty niggardly about awarding it many style points!

    “On the contrary” is certainly one of more versatile tools available to setters. As well as the two usages you cite, I’ve also seen it used in &lit clues as a kind of antonym-rejection device. (e.g. “Have obscenely pessimistic expectations initially? On the contrary”). Kinda like the old Wayne’s World trick of adding “………NOT!” disclaimers to the end of statements.

  5. Pete Maclean says:

    I share your reservations about 10A and 18A. I left 18A unfinished.

  6. Visa Merchant says:

    Great post about FT 12,575/Adamant – “Somewhat” Inappropriate?!

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