Never knowingly undersolved.


Posted by Gaufrid on August 28th, 2008


A crossword from Monk is always a challenge and this was no exception. One or two clues did appear to be recycled, however this was offset by some fine, and sometimes misleading, cluing elsewhere. It took me a little while to determine the wordplay in places (25a and 20d in particular) but I like to be stretched and Monk invariably provides this mental stimulation.


1 GARAGE  cd – ‘estate’ as in ‘estate car’ – a nicely misleading clue for those that haven’t met it before

5 CONTESSA  CON (teach) TESS (literary heroine) A – there are many books in which the heroine is called Tessa but I assume Monk is referring to Macbeth’s niece

Edit – the literary heroine is Thomas Hardy’s Tess (of the D’Urbervilles). Thanks Smiffy for pointing out my error (see comments)

9 FIT OUT  OUTFIT (clothes) with the two halves swapped around – this clue reads as if it was originally intended to be a ‘down’ rather than an ‘across’

10 LYNCH MOB  CH (companion) in *(NOBLY M) – back to cricket again, ‘M’ being the abbreviation for a maiden over


12 PARSEC  ARSE (fool) in PC (copper, policeman) – a ‘parsec’ is about 19 billion miles so it could be said to be ‘a long way’!

13 MAYO  dd – Virginia Mayo, the American actress who starred in many films during the middle part of the last century, and County Mayo, a county in the province of Connacht on the west coast of Ireland (in Irish, Contae Mhaigh Eo)

15 DEATH-BED  dd – ‘choke’ is slang for ‘die’ but ‘hay’ isn’t defined as ‘bed’ in any of the recognised dictionaries other than in the context ‘hit the hay’ meaning ‘to go to bed’

18 JOB SHARE  JOB (prod) S (small) HARE (animal) – I can see the ‘split post’ but cannot determine the reason why ‘tied’ has been included

19 ROSE  [p]ROSE

21 STAGEY  EG (say) reversed in STAY (guy, as in guy-rope)

23 APERITIF  homophone for Cockney ‘a pair of teeth’

25 FAREWELL  EWE (Cheviot female) in FAR L (communist, far left) L (long?) – a Cheviot is a hardy breed of short-wooled sheep reared on the Cheviot Hills. I cannot find ‘L’ as an abbreviation for ‘long’ in any of the recognised dictionaries

26 EGGNOG  EG (say, again!) GONG (medal) reversed

27 TESTATOR  TEST (check) ROTA (back list) reversed

28 THRUSH  TH (the short) RUSH (grass)


2 ADIEU  DIE (peter) in AU (gold) – ‘peter’ in this sense means ‘to dwindle away to nothing’. The definition is ’25’

3 AMORPHOUS  PRO (for) MA (master) reversed HOUS[e] (most of property) – ‘MA’ is an abbreviation for ‘Master of Arts’


5 COLERIDGE-TAYLOR  RIDGE (rib) in *(CLEARLY TOO) – Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912), an English composer

6 NENUPHAR  *(UNHAPERN) – anagram of ‘unchaperoned’ with ‘coed’ removed – apparently a nenuphar is common water lily, not that I knew this before today

7 ETHER  hidden word in nETHERlands – I liked the inclusion of ‘neighbours’ which made for a smooth surface and was also apt in that the answer letters were adjoining

8 SMOKELESS  dd – I’ll keep my thoughts about the ‘nanny state’ to myself and just light another cigar

14 ABOUT-FACE  cd – ‘about-face’ being a military order or command

16 HARBINGER  H (bottom of Triumph) *(BEARING) R (runs, more cricket!)

17 EASY MEAT  EASY (piece of cake) A in MET (satisfied)

20 RECENT  CENTRE (moderate party) with RE (about) moved to the front (put forward)

22 GWENT  G (end of gerrymandering) WENT (left) – a county in Wales

24 IRONS  dd – that old favourite ‘de-creases’ and a type of golf club – another one that was easy if you have met it before

7 Responses to “FINANCIAL TIMES 12,858 by MONK”

  1. C G Rishikesh says:

    It was suggested recently in some other forum that L (for ‘long’) is from real life. It is used in clothes tags (e.g. 32W,32L).

    I did notice it when I went shopping in California, but I read it as 32 width and 32 length, not 32 wide and 32 long.

  2. Octofem says:

    Thought this was a difficult puzzle – thank you for explanations.
    Still trying to understand ‘job’ for ‘prod’ unless it is meant as abbreviation of production?
    Small typo in 4 across : ‘entirely’ for ‘entirety’?

  3. Gaufrid says:


    In garment sizing, so far as I am aware, L has always meant length or large, at least here in the UK. If L=long has been accepted as an abbreviation I would have expected it to be in one of the recognised dictionaries but it is not listed in Chambers (2008), COED (2008) or the latest Collins (at least I assume the on-line version to which I have access is a replica of the latest edition).


    The second definition for ‘job’ in Chambers is ‘n, a sudden thrust with anything pointed, such as a beak’ and ‘v, to prod or peck suddenly’

    Thanks for pointing out the typo which has now been corrected. No matter how many times I read the blog before making it public I sometimes do not see the obvious mistakes.

    And yes, it was quite hard today but that’s Monk for you!

  4. Testy says:

    I think that if a label said 34W 32L the L here does not mean Long but in fact Leg. But often trousers or jeans do not give specific leg measurements and instead have sizes like 32L, 32R or 32S meaning that the waist size is 32 inches and that the leg is either long, regular or short. Similarly jacket sizes are often given as 40L, 40R and 40S and I think that there can be no doubt that the L in such circumstances definitely means Long. gives it as an abbreviation for long too.

  5. Gaufrid says:


    Thanks for your comment and I accept everything you say. It has been a long time since I bought a suit (and I have never bought a pair of jeans) so I had forgotten the 34L type reference to ‘long’.

    However, even in this electronic era, I’m not sure that can be classed as a standard reference for crossword setters and solvers.

  6. smiffy says:

    5A needs to be read as; wordplay = ” teach literary heroine, a”, def’n = simply “lady”
    (It’s referencing to Tess of the Durbevilles)

    What a humdinger of a puzzle! I noticed that the unchecked squares running down the right flank spell ABCDEFGH, but have no idea s to the significance (the left flank contains FT, but may just be coincidental).

  7. Gaufrid says:


    I agree with your interpretation of 5a. My immediate reaction was Hardy’s Tess then I forgot to remove the comma from the clue and associate the ‘a’. A case of tunnel vision I’m afraid.

    I hadn’t noticed the right hand unches, but not being an Indie solver I don’t tend to look for Ninas.

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