Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 12,917 by Cinephile

Posted by Gaufrid on November 5th, 2008


A pleasant solve today with some enjoyable clues, as we have come to expect from this setter, except perhaps for 8d (as noted below) and 17d (which I can’t yet explain). Why is it that there always seems to be one Cinephile clue that I cannot parse? Edit: I now have an explanation for 17d – see comment #7.

A minor Shakespearean theme and the usual (for Cinephile) cricket term.


1 CLANGOUR  homophone of ‘clanger’ – ‘to drop a brick = ‘to drop a clanger’ = ‘to make a mistake’
5 ICECAP  PACE CI reversed
10 EXPRESS  dd
11 OLIVIER  I in OLIVER – Sir Lawrence Olivier
12 SWAIN  S WAIN (second on wagon) and cd –  ‘authority on boat’ = ‘boatswain’, the foreman of a crew (warrant officer in the navy) 
14 HORSE TRADING cd – there is an annual fair in Appleby, Cumbria where horses are bought and sold
18 FIELD MARSHAL  FIELD MARS HAL – ‘Prince Hal’ in Shakespeare’s Henry V
21 BACKWATER  BACK TE (Lawrence) in WAR
23 ALOOF  A LOO (comfort zone) F[ar]
24 ELEANOR  [th]E LEAN OR – presumably the Duchess of Gloucester in Shakespeare’s Henry VI Part 2 who practiced witchcraft but I don’t know the play well enough (read ‘not at all’) to know how the ‘cross’ comes in.
Edit: Please see Octofem’s comment #2 for the correct interpretation of ‘cross woman’
25 TITANIA  TIT AN I A – more Shakespeare, this time Midsummer Night’s Dream


1 CHEESE  cd – ‘VIP’ = ‘big cheese’ and ‘hard cheese’ = ‘bad luck’
2 APPEAL  homophone of ‘a peal’
6 CRISP  CRISP[in] – the Battle of Agincourt was fought on St Crispin’s Day (25 October) in 1415. Another Shakespeare reference as he wrote Saint Crispin’s Day Speech.
7 CLIMATIC  homophone of ‘climb attic’
8 PARADIGM  PARAD[e] I GM – GM (Grand Master) = ‘top chess player’ but then there is no source for the ‘I’ so perhaps ‘I’ is indicated by ‘top’ (first) and GM is simply ‘chess player’.
15, 20 AS A MATTER OF FACT  AMAT in ASTER OFF ACT – ‘amat’ is the third person singular (he, she or it) for ‘loves’ in Latin
16 OFF BREAK  OFF BREAK – the customary cricket term
17 TEA CHEST  – the definition is ‘leaves container’ but I don’t see the wordplay at the moment. Edit: see comment #7.
19 BORNEO  *(OBERON) – see 25a
22 WINCE  WIN CE – is ‘establishment’ a fair indication for ‘CE’?

19 Responses to “Financial Times 12,917 by Cinephile”

  1. Paul B says:

    No firm idea for 17D, which I gleaned from the (relatively well-used) play on ‘leaves’. A quick trawl through abbreviations for T yielded nowt, but I suspect this has something to do with teaching = instruction, teach + est, teaches + t, or summink.

    That wasn’t much help, I know.

  2. Octofem says:

    Hi Gaufrid. Re: 24a. Eleanor was the wife of Edward 1. He erected crosses at each place where her body lay as it was being transported from Lincoln to London. There were twleve in all, the last being Charing Cross. Can’t help with the tea chest I’m afraid.

  3. Octofem says:

    Or even twelve!

  4. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks Paul. We have obviously both gone through the same process of trying to derive something from ‘teach(es)’ without success.

  5. Jake says:

    I had 5ac as ‘Jersey’. Cover = Jersey, as in clothing, poles = people from Poland, backwards step = pets, as in cows, which are known in Jersey for butter. Channel Islands is in Jersey. ?

  6. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Octofem
    Thanks for the history lesson. Now that you have mentioned it I do recollect reading about the crosses but I was obviously blinkered by the Shakespeare theme when preparing the blog.

  7. Gaufrid says:

    17d ‘Art’ is an archaic word for the second person singular present indicative of the verb ‘to be’ (as in ‘thou art …..’).

    ‘Teachest’ is an archaic second person singular present simple form of teach (according to Wiktionary – I have been unable to confirm this elsewhere).

    So, archaically, ‘art instructor’ becomes ‘teachest’.

    If this is the correct interpretation of the wordplay then it was a bit naughty of Cinephile to use a word that cannot be confirmed in one of the usual references.

  8. Gaufrid says:

    Post Script

    I would like to explain that the ‘usual references’ I alluded to in my last comment were Chambers, COED and Collins.

    I have now determined that ‘teachest’ appears at least twelve times in the Bible (along with ‘teacheth’ etc). Given the setter, the ‘good book’ could well be considered a ‘reference’.

  9. C G Rishikesh says:

    Before I came and saw your Comment 7 I arrived at “teachest” with the -est ending (which I know from reading literature) but was still groping for the exact annotation of Clue 17d.
    I am not fully convinced as yet.
    For how can “art instructor” yield ‘teachest’?
    “instructs or gives instruction in art” might give ‘teachest’.
    Tying myself up in knots.

  10. C G Rishikesh says:

    I meant to say “instructs or gives instruction” might give ‘teachest’.

  11. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Rishi

    ‘(you) are (an) instructor’ = ‘(you) teach’
    ‘(thou) art (an) instructor’ = ‘(thou) teachest’

  12. smiffy says:

    12A: Isn’t “Lover” a extra/bonus definition too?

    Am not the happiest of bunnies about the indirectness at 19D. Surprised that one didn’t trigger your normally well-tuned quibble-o-meter, Gaufrid.

    Finally, (TE) Lawrence references on consecutive days must be something of a record.

  13. C G Rishikesh says:

    Thank you, Geoff!

  14. Gaufrid says:

    Mornin’ Smiffy

    “12A: Isn’t “Lover” a extra/bonus definition too?”

    I parsed this as: definition ‘lover’, wordplay ‘second on wagon’ with ‘authority on boat’ as an additional cryptic indicator.

    19d Perhaps I was in a good mood! I might have quibbled about the indirect anagram fodder had the fairy king in question not been clear from the theme and 25a.

  15. Paul B says:

    (Thou) art right, Gaufrid. Thank you for that.

  16. Andrew says:

    I was sure I’d seen the “art instructor”->”teachest” device fairly recently, but googling only found a (complimentary) reference to the “art master” version of it in the Slip for Azed 714 (Jan 1986!).

  17. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks for the link. If Azed thinks it is a valid clue then who am I to argue! I don’t object to using ‘art’ in the archaic sense (I think you are right and it was used this way in a clue about six months ago but in a different context) but to be fair to solvers I do believe that both ‘tea chest’ and ‘teachest’ should be in at least one of the standard references that I listed above.

  18. Paul B says:

    If the clue were a double definition – and it isn’t, as the word count makes clear – then I’d agree both would need to be in. (Curiously TEA CHEST isn’t in Collins under either ‘tea’ or ‘chest’ (bold lc), but IS used as an example (light grey lc) for the usage of the relevant meaning in the entry for CHEST.)

    That the archaic SI leads to an archaic word is enough for me – I don’t see a need for another indicator (nor does anyone else above, but I thought I’d say it anyway).

  19. John in USA says:

    In 8D, the I comes from the abbreviation for a top chess player, IGM = International Grandmaster. Thanks, guys, for seeing the 17D wordplay Art instructor = Teachest, which I’d missed. Good one.

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