Never knowingly undersolved.


Posted by Gaufrid on September 18th, 2008


I don’t think I have ever completed an FT quite so quickly, the answers just seemed to enter themselves. Some of the clues felt so familiar that I began to wonder if an old crossword had been reprinted in error. The blog will take far longer to write than it took to complete the puzzle even if very little is required by way of explanation apart from possibly 23d which I thought was neatly disguised clue.


1 KEEP YOUR HAIR ON  dd – even the hyphen was in the right place in ‘don’t get dis-tressed’

10 EASEL  EASE (relax) L (learner, or student)

11 TIGHT SPOT  TIGHT (mean) P (penny) in SOT (drunk)

12 EVERTON  – one of Liverpool’s football teams (a Mersey side)

13 TENDRIL  cd

14 LADLE  LAD (boy) L[ak]E

16 ORPHANAGE  *(HARP ON) AGE (a long time)

19 CARPENTER  CARP (fish) ENTER (come in)

20 TACIT  I (one) in TACT (diplomacy)

22 ROOSTER  O (duck) in ROSTER (roll)


27 MALFORMED  *(FROM) in MALE (man) D (daughter)

28 NAIVE  I in [k]NAVE (rogue first off)



2 EAST ENDER  Cockney homophone of ‘he’s to tender’

3 PILOT  PI (good) LOT (fortune)


5 RIGHT  dd


7 RIPER  RIP (epitaph) ER (monarch)


9 REVEAL  LA (American city) EVER (always) reversed

15 ELECTRODE  ELECT (choose) homophone of ‘road’ (route)


18 ACCORDION  homophone of ‘a chord’ I (one) ON (playing)

19 CERAMIC  E (Ethiopia’s capital) in *(CIRCA M)

21 TASTER  S (sulphur) in TATER (murphy, or potato)

23 OGLER  *(G[a]LORE) – ‘lech’ (a contraction of lecher) is the definition, ‘Walesa’s last to leave dancing’ indicating remove ‘a’ from an anagram of ‘galore’

24 REMIT  dd

26 TANGO  TAN (beat) GO (energy)

8 Responses to “FINANCIAL TIMES 12,876 by ALBERICH”

  1. Octofem says:

    Agreed – boringly easy. I did like 23d too, and of course we had a football clue as usual! Oh, and a cricket one.

  2. nmsindy says:

    I thought this puzzle was perhaps a little easier than the normal FT but never boring. OGLER, EVERTON and ROOSTER I thought were particularly good but the clues in general had good surface readings and were well constructed. And maybe it’s a day FT readers have a lot on their minds…

  3. smiffy says:

    …as somebody who works in equity investments, I can wholeheartedly endorse Nmsindy’s observation.
    Indeed, in that particular context, 1A seems particularly apposite and piquant!

    Am I right in thinking that this is Alberich’s debut in the FT?

  4. Gaufrid says:

    “….. but the clues in general had good surface readings and were well constructed.”

    I’ve not said otherwise. Perhaps too well constructed because I’m not keen on crosswords where 90% of the answers can be entered during the first pass without the need for any checking letters.

    Perhaps I have been doing too many crosswords this year, but a significant number of clues (including Merseyside) have appeared elsewhere in a very similar form in recent months. ‘Distressed’ in the sense intended here has been seen at least four times to my knowledge.

    I have also noticed that the same grid entries, sometimes rather obscure words, have had a tendency to crop up in different crosswords, sometimes within a day or two of each other (eg tittup which I have seen three times in as many months). This has been occurring too regularly to be pure coincidence and so I have been wondering whether it has been due to the use, by different setters, of the same automated grid filling software.

  5. Gaufrid says:

    “Am I right in thinking that this is Alberich’s debut in the FT?”

    I don’t know. I only keep the last three months crosswords and he hasn’t appeared during that time. I don’t recall his name prior to this but there again my memory is not what it used to be.

  6. Anax says:

    This is indeed Alberich’s debut and I’m gutted I missed it (is there an online version I can access?) – Alberich himself only found out it had appeared after the event!

    He’s an excellent setter (check his website to see what he can do when unrestrained). Individual xwd eds know what they want in terms of balance and C.I. must, I assume, have felt that easier puzzles were in short supply.

    There’s nowt wrong with easy ones and they can (often are) every bit as entertaining as the toughies. Failings of accuracy and technique are of more concern than difficulty level.

    Congrats on your debut Alberich. May you go from strength to strength.

  7. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Anax

    “is there an online version I can access?”

  8. Anax says:

    Favouritism is easy – thankfully it’s not one of my traits.

    With absolute impartiality I rate this puzzle very highly indeed. Not that it matters much here, but my solving time was just over 12 minutes, which pretty much matches my performance on moderate Times puzzles. I wouldn’t call this an entry-level crossword. Rather, it’s perfect for solvers who are starting to get the hang of things and want to be presented with just that extra bit of challenge.

    There are a goodly number of give-aways which I suspect led many to believe it was, all told, a simple puzzle. But it isn’t. 22A is great and held me up for some time; similarly the glorious imagery at 27A, linked to 22A by the very cleverly observed def at 23D – this little trio made the SW corner pretty tough to complete. 18D is also worth a mention – very smoothly constructed with not a syllable wasted; great technique.

    I’m not a regular FT solver so I can’t balance this puzzle alongside others, but I can view it through the eyes of both solver and setter and, as a puzzle on the easier side, it ticks all the right boxes for me.

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