Never knowingly undersolved.

FT 12,857/Dogberry

Posted by smiffy on August 27th, 2008


A liberal smattering of general knowledge items (operas, chess players, Roman poets), of the type that one is either likely to know readily or have never heard of. I started off at a fair clip , but progress slowed to a crawl on the last two or three clues (particularly 17D).
PS: Belated apologies for absence from blogging last Friday. I carelessly forgot to remove myself from the roster before heading off on holiday.

1 BECOME – double def’n
4 KARPOV – Reversal of [-D]vorak around p(enny) . Anatoly was world champion in the late 70s/early 80s and the Kremlin-favoured arch enemy of Gary Kasparov.
8 ENGORGE – (go green)*. A neat and cohesive clue.
9 MAN, DELA – “Island” instead of “Isle” to indicate Man caused me more trouble that it really should have.
12 G[-r]EEK
13 PILES – double def’n (these two being about as poles apart as I’ve ever encountered)
14 RE(P)LAYED – I briefly had REPEATED here before realising that I couldn’t justify it from the wordplay.
18 LE(M)ON – M in Noel(Rev).
20 INCA – hidden alternate letters.
21 SLU(GP,ELLE)T – I have a grammatical quibble here; being under the impression that Elle in French equates to “she” rather than “her”.
23 FIDELIO – (Oiled, if)rev. I struggled to pinpoint a synonym for “squiffy” that was both short enough for the clue and polite enough for use in the FT!
25 FE[-a]STER
26 CYGNET – “signet”

1 BAN,TU[-tu] – An appearance from Desmond Tutu, to complement the earlier one by Nelson Mandela. These days his claim to fame seems increasingly to be as a slang term for university degree classifications (2:2).
3MOG(A,DISH)U[-l] – capital of Somalia. Synomymous with Black Hawk Down in the US.
6 POD,AGRA – I had to deduce this one from wordplay alone. It’s a specific form of gout (hence a “complaint”).
7 VEL(VET)EEN- Vet in (eleven)*. A bit tricksy in that here the number in the clue is refers to the anagram fodder itself, whereas in 18A it referred to another clue.
10 LUCRE,TIUS – (suit)rev
15 POLYP,HO(N)Y – the surface reading here is a little thin, but probably not surprising given the disparity of the basic ingredients.
17 A(MADE)US – this alone took me several minutes to crack. “Produced down under” indicating Made in Aus(tralia). Probably better deserving of an exclamation mark than a question mark…
19 MUL,LION – “Chimney”=Lum, as in the Scottish phrase “Lang may your lum reek”.
21 SWIPE – double def’n.

3 Responses to “FT 12,857/Dogberry”

  1. Geoff Moss says:


    2d the answer is ‘cloacal’ not ‘cloical’

  2. Octofem says:

    Smiffy,21A, ‘Elle’ could be ‘her’ after a preposition – pour elle, avec elle, for her, with her, etc.

  3. smiffy says:

    Thanks Geoff – I have corrected my brainfart in the main section.

    Octofem – I stand doubly corrected. I should have known not to trust my increasingly rusty memory of French syntax before pontificating on the matter!

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