Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 12880 / Neo

Posted by C G Rishikesh on September 23rd, 2008

C G Rishikesh.

An enjoyable crossword with a couple of clues having intricate elements in wordplay. Since I began blogging here, this is the third Neo puzzle that I solved, the other two being 12719 and 12784.


1 CRISES – c, rises
5 SEAFARER – se(afar)er
9 SANCTION – (contains)*, ‘redraft’ is a lovely anagrind. But I am afraid the surface reading of this clue is not smooth
10 AGREED– a, greed (a deadly sin)
11 DECIDE – I think this is the answer, ‘conclude’ being the def. I am yet to see the wordplay in this deletion clue. (On edit: See comments below)
12 Not solved (On edit: PORT ERIN from ‘porter in’)
14 EVEN-TEMPERED – cryptic def.
18 INTERSTELLAR – (r n satellite)*, r – ‘travelling’ is the anagrind for you.
22 MESSMATE – mess, (meat)*
25 CANCAN – can, can
26 CALLER – C, aller (Fr., to go) – I don’t accept the def. ‘salesperson’, even though this might be a door-to-door salesperson.
27 APOLOGIA – a (polo,GI) a
28 BEVERAGE – B, ever,age – Ask Uncle Yap.
29 SISTER – two def.


2 READER – rea(d e)r – How ‘Tower’ gives ‘rear’ I don’t know. is it tow-er? 
3 SACRILEGE – ‘crile’ (anag. of ‘relic’) in ‘sage’
4 SPINELESS – s, pine less – Is ‘no such’ all right? Should it be ‘not much coniferous trees’ giving ‘pine less’?
5 SUNSPOT – sun,spot
6 Not solved (On edit: ADAIR. See comment below)
7 AERIE – (Erie, a)<
8 EYELINER – cryptic def. – an eyeliner accentuates (gives definition to) the eye (looker)
13 TAP – (Pat)<
15 MALICIOUS – malic(Io)us* – Io is a satellite of the planet Jupiter
16 ERRONEOUS – “mistaken” is the def. – Queen gives ER… I am yet to see the rest of the wordplay… one minute, just got it… ‘difficult’ is onerous – when the king rises, it becomes ‘roneous’, which comes after ER. Phew.  
17 UNDERAGE – UN (United Nations), (derage)* – ‘disagree’ is the anagrind, whether you like it or not
19 RAM – R (take, from ‘recipe’ (L)),a, M(from Monsieur), ‘butter’ being crosswordese for one that butts.
20 ELEVATE – two def. (though not a very good example of such a clue)
21 Not solved (On edit: MA(X)INE)
23 SALVE – sal(v)e
24 AORTA – rev. hidden in ‘CraighAT ROAd’, ‘driven north’ being the rev. hidden ind. in this Down light

12 Responses to “Financial Times 12880 / Neo”

  1. Octofem says:

    Is 11a ‘Deo-cide’ with the ‘o’ from ‘one’ removed?

  2. Octofem says:

    Rishi, 12a, I think, is Port Erin from the Isle of Man – ‘porter in’.

  3. Octofem says:

    One more! Red Adair was a famous oil-well fire extinguisher. Therefore ‘Adair’ for 6 down. Off for breakfast now!!!!

  4. Eileen says:

    Rishi, I think 21dn is MA[X]INE

  5. C G Rishikesh says:

    Thanks very much, Octofem and Eileen.

  6. Geoff Moss says:

    11a Sorry, but there is no such word as ‘deocide’. The wordplay is DE[i]CIDE with ‘first one’ indicating that it is the first ‘I’ that is removed.

    2d rear = to rise up = to tower (check Chambers)

    26a I thought that maybe ‘caller’ could equate to auctioneer but I have been unable to find any confirmation of this.

  7. C G Rishikesh says:

    Thanks, Geoff! As ‘Tower’ was capitalised, I didn’t think of it as a verb. With your explanation, it makes perfect sense.

    I know many -cide words but, for god’s sake, I didn’t think of ‘deicide’. Anyway, we must appreciate Neo being very careful in the instruction that only one ‘i’ is to be removed.

  8. Geoff Moss says:


    I have just noticed that you have a query against 4d. I think ‘no such coniferous trees’ to give ‘pineless’ is fine. Just as, say, ‘goalless’ means ‘no goals’ then ‘pineless’ (if it were a real word) would mean ‘no pines’. Just another bit of ‘setter’s license’ (or should that be ‘settic license’ because we don’t have ‘poet’s license’ do we :-)

  9. nmsindy says:

    Pleasing puzzle, esp liked the seamless join in APOLOGIA, also liked TAP. Thought it was going to be quite easy until I ran into heavy weather in the NE corner but got there in the end. I thought the surface of SANCTION was quite OK.

  10. C G Rishikesh says:


    Re 9 ac: Contains in redraft final authorisation (8) SANCTION

    After I saw your comment I went back to the clue.

    Now, I believe the subject of the clue is implicit or understood. It could be, say, order (n.)

    [Order] Contains in redraft final authorisation.

    In the clue as written, the wordplay components (anag. fodder, anagrind, def.) are in right order, but ‘final authorisation’ is far removed from ‘contains’. That is why I said I was uncomfortable with the surface reading.

    I don’t know the grammatical terms that are needed to explain what I am trying to say. I hope what I have written above makes sense.

  11. Neo says:

    Many thanks to Rishi and contributors for the blog.

    The SANCTION clue, like lots of crossword clues, isn’t a proper sentence. The cryptic construction is – or is intended to be! – fodder (contains), indicator (in redraft), answer synonym (final authorisation). It’s a bit annoying having the ind. in the middle (unfairness potential! Aieeee!), but with the answer synonym being so much longer than the required word I let it go.

    The UNDERAGE one uses ‘to disagree’ as the anagrind in the senses (a) to conflict and (b) (the somewhat euphemistic) to quarrel. Further into the mysteries of clueing grammar, I was at the time thinking of the fodder as a string of letters a, g, r, e, e, d: that brings into play plural usage, which seems to make ‘disagreement’ more plausible.

    And now, I think some progressive rock and a cuppa.

  12. nmsindy says:

    Rishi, how Neo has explained it was exactly how I understood the clue i.e. there was nothing implicit. It also rang genuine for those who work in public administration as something that might just happen.

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