Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 12,937 by Sleuth

Posted by Gaufrid on November 28th, 2008

Gaufrid.

Smiffy is busy enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday today so you will have to put up with me instead. There was nothing particularly difficult in this offering from Sleuth so I haven’t seen a need to add much explanation to the wordplay but if anyone needs some clarification then please post a comment.

The quibble in 14d was the subject of debate elsewhere a few weeks ago. I cannot remember whether a consensus was reached (advancing years and too much whisky is my excuse for a declining memory :-) but some people were happy with ‘k’ equating to ‘grand’ and others were opposed.

Across
1 RAPIER  R[ecommend] A PIER
4 STUBBORN  BUTS reversed B OR N
10 GARIBALDI  A RIBALD in GI
11 FRAUD  FRAU D
12 ROOT  homophone of ‘route’
13 AGRONOMIST  *(AMONG RIOTS)
15 DON JUAN  JU[mp] A in DONN[e] – John Donne, poet
16 IGNORE  O in *(REIGN)
19 PLACID  C in PLAID
21 EN ROUTE  *(OUR TEEN)
23 MOZAMBIQUE  M OZ MB in AI QUE[st]
25 WHIG  homophone of ‘wig’
27 AMBER  B in A MER
28 EXTROVERT  ROVER in *(TEXT)
29 TEACHING  TEACH-IN G – ‘teach-in'; a long, public debate consisting of a succession of speeches by well-informed persons holding different views on a matter of general importance, usually with discussion, etc. (Chambers)
30 RECKON  [w]RECK ON

Down
1 RAG TRADE  TRAD in RAGE
2 PERSONNEL  PERSON NE L
3 ELBE  hidden in ‘modEL BEd’ – ‘flower’ = river
5 TRIPOLI  TRIP *(OIL)
6 BUFFOONERY  *(FAN ROONEY) BUFF *(ROONEY) – Thanks, Eileen, for pointing out my error
7 OKAPI  OK A PI
8 NUDITY  IT in *([s]TUDY)
9 SLOGAN  SLOG A N
14 QUICK MARCH  C[olonel] K in *(IRAQ MUCH) – a ‘grand’ is £1000 (or 1000$) whereas ‘k’ is the abbreviation for simply 1000, so is it fair to clue ‘k’ with ‘grand’?
17 ROUGHNECK  ROUGH NECK
18 DEIGHTON  homophone of ‘Dayton’ (a place in Ohio) – Len Deighton, author
20 DRIVE-IN  IV in *(DINER)
21 EQUITY  dd – the actor’s union
22 IMPACT  IMP A CT
24 ZEBRA  *(B[l]AZER)
26 SORE  homophone of ‘saw’

14 Responses to “Financial Times 12,937 by Sleuth”

  1. eimi says:

    I’m sure many of us have heard people talking (often very loudly on their mobile phones) about earning 40 or 50k, for example, so I think K and grand are interchangeable in spoken English and I believe crosswords should reflect the living language.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Eimi
    I agree with you about crosswords reflecting language as it is used today but, to be fair to solvers, I do think that it should be possible to confirm all answers, and aspects of wordplay, in one of the recognised standard references.

    For example, in Wednesday’s FT one of the answers was a slang South African word (‘isit’) which is not in any English dictionary and which must surely be unknown (or very little known) outside ZA.

    Returning to the ‘K’ = ‘grand’ question, this is further complicated by the fact that Chambers, COED and Collins all give ‘G’ as the abbreviation for ‘grand (1000 pounds or dollars)’.

  3. Paul B says:

    FT is a special case in some ways, as its audience is strewn far and wide. No ‘Britishisms’ for example are allowed. You’ll have to speak to the police about ‘isit’.

    Back in UK-only crosswords, or those assumed to have a very largely UK-based audience, I should think the odd slang term here and there has to be okay, so long as readers are likely to know it. Plus quotes, titles and what have you, songs even, that have worked their way into the vernacular. As for SI, have you heard of a SURP? I’m trying to get one of them ‘rising’ in a down clue, so watch out.

    The other side of the coin is (as frequently discussed passim) the use of recondite words (they’re flown to offshore CIA safe houses via UK airspace, I’m told) that are indisputably found in all dicks and refs, but that 99% of solvers are very unlikely to know. And unless the piece is Nina’d, themed, and date-specific, well …

  4. Gaufrid says:

    Paul
    Unless my memory is letting me down again, you have used ‘SI’ in a comment twice this week. It is obviously not intended to mean one of the ‘standard’ abbreviations (South Island, Système International d’Unités or Statutory Instrument) therefore would you please explain the abbreviation/acronym so that I can understand what you are saying.

    With regard to a ‘surp’ I assume that you are not referring the Summer Undergraduate Research Programme. In which case I have never heard of the word and have no idea what it could mean, other than perhaps a slang term for surprise.

  5. Paul B says:

    By all means. SI = subsidiary indication, i.e. the bits that make up a word in the cryptic reading of its clue.

    SURP-rising, in a down clue, would (within the outrageous lawlessness that is ‘libertarianism’) produce PRUS as a unit of SI, and wouldn’t be found in any dictionary that I currently possess.

  6. Eileen says:

    I have no problem with K = grand but I do think it’s rather weak to have L for Lecturer twice in one crossword [especially when I wasn't aware of this abbreviation].

    Gaufrid: I thought you had omitted ‘by’ from your anagram [as I, too, had taken it] in 6dn but it doesn’t actually work, does it? It seems that BUFF must = fan – but I can’t find it. Maybe Chambers has it?

  7. nmsindy says:

    Enjoyed this puzzle, which I found on the easy side, and which also contained a pangram (every letter of the alphabet used at least once). There was a long discussion on the Crossword Centre Message Board re K = grand (1000). It was inconclusive really, but in practice, though K = 1000 (the number,) it tends to be used exclusively in a financial context.

  8. Gaufrid says:

    Paul
    Thanks for the explanation. All is now clear!

  9. Gaufrid says:

    Eileen
    Thanks for the correction. The answer to 6d was so obvious that I overlooked the fact that the seemingly obvious anagram fodder contained an extra ‘ny’ and missed out an ‘f’.

    Yes, buff = fan is in Chambers.

  10. Gaufrid says:

    Nmsindy
    “….. it tends to be used exclusively in a financial context.”

    I would dispute this. ‘k’ as an abbreviation for kilo (or the multiplier 1000) is widely used in all fields where units of measurement are involved. Even outside the scientific/engineering realm, you have the likes of kg and km in everyday use.

  11. nmsindy says:

    The Crossword Centre debate was probably focussed in a UK context esp on ‘advanced’ puzzles where answers would normally by justified by Chambers. Chambers gives k = 1000 (number) and grand as 1000 (money – 1000 dollars or pounds) so my personal view is that grand = K is strictly speaking probably not correct.

  12. Sleuth says:

    Thanks to Gaufrid for his blog and others for their comments. Regarding the k=grand debate, I’d argue from a setter’s point of view that having it as an option is very useful, especially as opportunities to use kilos, krone, kwacha and the like in surface readings are somewhat more limited. Crossword language can and
    surely should reflect everyday linguistic usage even if, on occasions, there is not an explicit citation in Chambers. Language is constantly evolving and Chambers is an authoritative but not all encompassing monitor of this evolution.

    In answer to Gaufrid’s point, while Chambers does give g=grand, this surely does not necessarily mean there cannot be other legitimate representations of grand (in the same way as bishop can be b or RR and doctor can be MB, MD, DR, GP or MB).

    Perhaps a delegation of setters should strongly lobby Chambers
    to include k=grand in its next edition to settle the debate!

  13. Nathan Jesurasingham says:

    Hi Sleuth

    Thanks for your comments. It’s always good to hear from the compilers. I have been solving FT puzzles for a few months now and you are one of my three favourite setters (together with Dante and Cincinnus).

    I really enjoyed solving this puzzle.

    I agree with you about lobbying Chambers to include k=grand in its next edition. Chambers has been my dictionary of choice since I was old enough to read and it would be good to see this included.

  14. Sleuth says:

    Hi Nathan

    Thanks for your remarks which are much appreciated. Hope you continue to enjoy solving FT puzzles.

    Sleuth

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