Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 12748 / The Crux of the Matter

Posted by C G Rishikesh on April 22nd, 2008

C G Rishikesh.


1 JERRY BUILDER – jerry, ? – Gerald gives ‘jerry’ but I don’t know how Bob yields ‘builder’. The phrase itself is new to me but the second word can be easily got from the crossings B, I, D, R – all from sure answers.

12 EXIST – (-s)exist

13 HEAD MISS – I know that Mrs Thatcher had the tag “Iron Lady’ and a head miss is likely to be tough. But beyond that I don’t see how this clue works. Revised to HEAD GIRL. See comment below.

15 BONESHAKER – b(one s h)aker

24 RENEW – Rene, w – Ref. to French philospher and mathematician.

16 STEW – anag. of ‘swet’ after deleting ‘a’ (“one” ) from ‘sweat’

18 EROS – string in ‘FathER O’Shaunessy’s’

20 DIRTY LINEN – cryptic def.

22 SAFE SEAT – cryptic def. Of course the MP would need this only when he or she stands for re-election.

26 NUANCES – The wordplay defeats me.

27 GLUTTON – glut, ton

28 POST MERIDIAN – anag. of ‘promised time’ but one could solve it just from PM. Revised to POST MERIDIEM. Came back to fix this careless mistake in typing when the fifth comment below was just posted.


3 ROAD TEST – cryptic def. – “Heaps’ here are old, dilapidated cars.

4 BEEF – two defs.

5 INCREMENTS – anag. of ‘mn in secret’ after deleting ‘e’ from ‘men’

7 REALIST – anag. of ‘is later’

8 MIXED BLESSING – when ‘blessing’ is ‘mixed’, it gives ‘glibness’. What is this type of clue called? Reverse anagram?

9 GOOSEWING WIND – cryptic def. – the last entry for this landlubber but I am proud that I got it (assuming it to be right). At some moment I guessed the -ing termination and then I could guess the compound from the crossings. As it was new to me, I looked up Chambers (1998) which has ‘goosewing’ though not this answer as a whole.   Revised to FOLLOWING WIND. See comment below.

14 CAPITAL SUM – capitals, (-col)um(-bia)

17 ALL-ROUND – Cryptic def. But I would think that even ‘all round’ is a shape!

19 OFF-RAMP – During my U.S. visits I too have escaped the same way!

21 NANETTE – I guessed the name even before I got all the crossings but the anno. did not occur to me until this very moment of writing. Anag. of ‘entertain’ after deleting ‘Ir.’ Seamless surface reading.

23 SECTS – homophone of ‘sex’, I think.

25 AGAR – Aga,r – This kitchen stove is not known in India. An inveterate page-turner of dictionaries that I am, I happened to notice ‘Aga saga’ the other day; its etymological note mentions this appliance. (It’s quite another matter that I forgot the word that I wanted to look up originally.)


6 Responses to “Financial Times 12748 / The Crux of the Matter”

  1. Testy says:

    1A “Bob The Builder” is a children’s TV programme wich is well known in the UK but probably not that well known elsewhere so this is an unusual bit of parochialness from the FT.

  2. Testy says:

    I think that 9D is more likely to be FOLLOWING WIND which would make 13A HEAD GIRL.

    28A is NU(-is)ANCES

  3. C G Rishikesh says:

    Thanks, Testy. I wonder why we have Troubles, with the capital T.

  4. Testy says:

    I think that this is a bit of misdirection and to help the surface which I assumed refers to the historic conflicts in Northern Ireland (generally referred to as “the Troubles”). Another bit of parochialness perhaps.

  5. smiffy says:

    The Troubles (with a capital) was used to describe the sectarian unrest and violence in Northern Ireland – hence it fits neatly with the clue’s surface.
    I always thought the phrase a great example of British understatement; makes it all sound like a minor inconvenience. Especially if you compare and contrast with the US approach (“War on Terror”, “Shock and Awe”)

    28A is POST MERIDIEM (not MERIDIAN). Apparently, one can’t always solve is just from the abbreviation! :>

  6. C G Rishikesh says:

    Thanks, Smiffy, for the notes.

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