Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 12,935 by Cinephile

Posted by Gaufrid on November 26th, 2008


I felt slightly underwhelmed having finished this one as, overall, I did not think it was up to Cinephile’s usual high standard. The surface in some clues left something to be desired and, as far as I can determine, one definition was incorrect (4d). The ‘cooler’ (prison) theme may have required a degree of compromise in some of the clues but I felt that a few of them seemed ‘forced’. I needed to google to confirm 25d.

Edited in light of Eileen’s comment #5

1 ROBBEN ISLAND  ROB BEN IS L AND – the prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for many years
10 ARTISAN  [p]ARTISAN (adherent)
11 SLAMMER  dd – an ambitious bridge player would aim to make a small slam (12 tricks) or a grand slam (13 tricks)
15 LONG LARTIN  *(TALLINN ORG) – HM Prison near Evesham
16 ITEM  *(18a) – two definitions, ‘particular’ and ‘couple that are close’
18 TIME  cd
22 DARTMOOR  DART (missile) MOOR (North African) – another HM Prison
24 ARRAS  hidden in ’embARRASsment’ – a hanging screen of tapestry for a wall
26 SANGRIA  SANG AIR reversed
27 STRANGE  with ‘ways’ becomes Strangeways – HM Prison in Manchester (now renamed Manchester Prison)

3 BASTILLE  *(IS BALLET) – that infamous French prison
4 NINE  hidden in ‘sherburN IN Elmet’ – a cat may be said to have nine lives but it only has five appendages (unless it is Manx) See Elieen’s comment #5
6 ALAMO  A LA (in the style of) MO (Medical Officer)
7 DEMERIT  DE MER (‘of’ and ‘sea’ in French) IT (Italian)
9 PRIME MINISTER  PRIM (proper) EMIN (modern artist) *(TRIES)
14 FREE FOR ALL  REEF (scene of coral) OR (gold) in FALL (autumn)
17 ALCATRAZ  A L CAT RAZ[or] – a former American prison
19 MIRANDA  IRAN in MD A – the daughter of Prospero in Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’
21 CORONER  O in CORNER – ‘corner’, an operation by which the whole of a stock or commodity is bought up so that the buyers may resell at their own price, ie a ‘monopoly’
23 MORES  definition ‘customs’ – I think this one is similar to Cinephile’s ‘provide food to go on pillar’ (= cater) in that it is a reference to the saying ‘more’s the pity’
25 ISIT  I SIT – An online dictionary of South African slang gives: “Isit? (Izzit?), this conversational word is used widely and in response to just about anything. Derived perhaps from the English way of saying “Is it really?” “. However, I can find no confirmation in Chambers, COED or Collins.

11 Responses to “Financial Times 12,935 by Cinephile”

  1. Octofem says:

    Hi Gaufrid – I have been out today so am a bit late with this. I tend to agree with you – not as enjoyable as most of Cinephile’s offerings. I really don’t think we can be expectd to know South African slang either. I had checked ‘Isit’ in dictionaries without success. I suppose it is like the estuary slang :’Innit?’
    And who had heard of ‘Long Lartin?’

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Octofem
    I was beginning to wonder where everyone had got to today!

    “I suppose it is like the estuary slang :’Innit?’”

    At least ‘innit’ is in Chambers.

    “And who had heard of ‘Long Lartin?’”

    Former inmates perhaps? I suppose it would be more well known if there had been similar problems to those that caused Strangeways to have a name-change some years ago.

  3. smiffy says:

    Seems like we have a consensus of opinion on the “artistic merit” front today. Some decent touches but nothing to really get the juices flowing.

    I would also question the low profile of Long Lartin; it’s was a new name to me too. And was a tad disappointed that there was no room to include the (grid-friendly) Slade!

  4. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Smiffy
    I have been trying to find a reason why we should be more familiar with Long Lartin. So far as I can ascertain, its only claim to fame is that it held a number of IRA suspects back in the ’80s and more recently has been home to a number of gentlemen being held indefinitely, without charge or trial, under the terrorism laws. There are some references on the web that refer to it as the British Guantanamo Bay.

  5. Eileen says:

    I’ve been out most of the day, too.

    I certainly remember Long Lartin because of its IRA connections.

    I took 4dn as a reference to the cat o’ nine tails, which fits the penal theme.

  6. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Eileen
    Thanks for your comment re 4d. It’s been so long since I last heard that term that I completely overlooked the possibility that ‘nine’ might be correct. My apologies to Cinephile for doubting him.

  7. Eileen says:

    Hi Geoff

    Several times lately I’ve thought Araucaria [as I more usually tend to know him] was slipping, only to find that he was right all the time!

    I was quite taken by the theme of this puzzle and thought the neatest of the related clues was 3dn, which is nice, because 3dn Day is mon anniversaire!

  8. Eileen says:

    A thousand apologies – I got the address wrong!!

  9. Gaufrid says:

    No need to apologise Eileen. You are not the first, it’s been done before, and I’m sure most people know my double identity by now.

  10. Eileen says:

    Hi Gaufrid – what a relief! I’ve been on eggs – I thought I might be drummed out.

    It’s not rocket science though, is it? If I can guess, I’m sure anyone can!

  11. Gaufrid says:

    It’s no secret. When I first started to post here I used the diminutive of my forename, as everyone does apart from my late mother (when she was cross with me) and an elderly next-door neighbour. I soon found that someone else used the same name in Guardian blogs so, to avoid confusion, I changed my identity to include my surname.

    When I started to blog myself the arrangements were done in rather a hurry (within 24 hours) and on being asked by what name I wanted to be known I chose one of the derivations given in Chambers, hence Gaufrid.

    It would all have been a lot easier if there hadn’t been another another ‘Geoff’ posting here and I could simply have used my forename, as you do.

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