Never knowingly undersolved.


Posted by Gaufrid on October 8th, 2008


It’s been a few weeks since we’ve seen Monk in the FT (just under six to be precise) so this came as a pleasant change. Some easy clues, some harder ones and some that were pleasingly misleading. A couple of minor quibbles as indicated below but overall quite enjoyable.



1 ABU DHABI  BUD (new flower) in A HABI[t] (a timeless custom)

5 POLICE  I C (one caught) in POLE (foreigner)

8 BIG  GIB (Rock of Gibraltar) reversed – interesting definition that could lead to some confusion

9 ALTERNATOR  ALTER (reform) NATO (alliance) R (right) – a pleasantly misleading clue with ‘reform’ making you initially look for an anagram, but I’m not sure I like the definition ‘it may shock’

10 LLANELLI  ILL (poor) ENA (girl) L L (left heart in Wales) reversed

11 ACUMEN  A CU (a copper) MEN (workmates)

12 NOES  homophone of ‘nose’ (beak)

14 PASSIONATE  *(PASTIES ON A) – a well constructed clue with the anagram indicator ‘pie’ cleverly concealed. ‘Hot’ could also indicate an anagram so you could be unsure which end of the clue was the definition

17 ELDERBERRY  ELDER (not-so-fresh) BERRY (Chuck Berry) – Chuck Berry, R&R artist from the ’50s and ’60s who had a ‘ding-a-ling’

20 AFRO ‘pAy FoR tOp’

23 OCELOT hidden reversal in ‘sTOLE COming’

24 AMPHORAE  [c]AMPHORA[t]E[d] – two-handled Greek or Roman jugs. I’m happy with ‘evaporated’ indicating the removal of the first and last letters but less so with regard to the ‘t’ in the middle


26 MAO  M[i]AO[w] (abridged queen’s speech) – ‘queen’ in this case being a female cat

27 PRETTY  dd

28 AFGHANIS  *(FAGAN HAS) – the currency in, surprisingly, Afghanistan equal to 100 puls


1 AMBULANCE  MB (doctor) *(ULNA) in ACE (one)

2 UPGRADE  UP (on horse) GRADE (form)

3 HEAVEN  E (ultimate in peace) in HAVEN (retreat)

4 BATTLE-AXE  A X (a cross) in B (British) ATTLEE (Prime Minister)

5 PUNJABI  PUN (play) JAB (strike)  I (one) – strictly speaking a ‘pun’ is a ‘play on words’ and I can find no reference to it being reduced to simply ‘play’

6 LITHUANIA  HU[n] (German shortly) in *(ITALIAN)

7 CURRENT  dd – another nicely misleading clue. ‘I will briefly reveal this’ coming from the fact that ‘I’ is the electrical symbol for ‘current’

13 SMELL A RAT  LARA (girl) in SMELT (fish)

15 SCRUM-HALF  C (caught) in *(FULHAM R[eserve]S) – No 9 in Rugby Union

16 EXOGENOUS *(EXEUN[t] GOOS[e]) – growing by successive additions to the outside; developing externally; having an external origin

18 LUCIFER  dd – ‘deuce’ is ‘the devil’ and ‘lucifer’ is ‘a match of wood tipped with a combustible substance to be ignited by friction’ or another name for Satan

19 BUTTERY  T[albo]T E[ge]R in BUY (purchase)

21 FIREMEN  FIR (tree) E MEN (English people)

22 THRESH  THRESH[old] – as in ‘on the verge of …..’ and ‘on the threshold of …..’

5 Responses to “FINANCIAL TIMES 12,893 by MONK”

  1. Octofem says:

    Thank you, Gaufrid, for explanation of ‘current’ which I could not explain, not being of a scientific turn of mind. I was misled into trying ‘ill’ at the beginning, as short for ‘I will’,until the other letters gave me the answer. Quite a mixture of easy and tricky.

  2. smiffy says:

    Good old Monk – always a fiendish pleasure, never a chore.

    I notice that the central row of unchecked cells give CM XC IX, which could be construed as 900+90+9. Perhaps a Nina indicating that Monk is on the verge of a setting milestone? Then again, probably mere coincidence.

  3. Gaufrid says:


    Thanks for your observation, I hadn’t noticed the central row. You are right about it being a Nina but not for the reason indicated.

    There is a minor theme to this crossword, emergency services (firemen, police and ambulance) and, in the UK, the number to ring is 999 (or CMXCIX).

    Perhaps Monk thought that this one might end up in the Indy.

  4. Monk says:

    Emergency services and 999 was intended, and this puzzle
    was set with the FT, and not the Indy, in mind! The idea
    resulted from a recent 15-squared debate about a Grauniad
    clue in which IMM was incorrectly used to mean 1999.

  5. smiffy says:

    Glad to hear that my Nina-fishing didn’t hook a complete red herring.

    But a tad embarrassed that I failed to put two and two together to get the correct 999 (if you’ll pardon the mixed mathematical metaphor)!

    [Exeunt goose, stage left…]

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