Never knowingly undersolved.

FT 12,949/Mudd

Posted by smiffy on December 12th, 2008


A healthy assortment of subject matter and chicanery today, with nothing being too obscure (although 22A may have perplexed those who have never dared to cross the threshold of a betting shop).

1 PRO,SIT – the Oktoberfest version of “Cheers”.
5 ME,DIC(IN)E – The indicator for dice (“those with spotty faces”) made me chuckle.
11 T,ERROR – I don’t tend to associate “fluff” with error (I would use “muff”, but maybe that’s a result of living in the US for too long).
12 B(ANAL)IT,Y – Anal as in (…ly retentive), “Yankee” as in the radio call sign.
14 CONSERVATIVE – double def’n
18 LITTLE HITLER – Also the title of a song, by the rakish crooner Nick Lowe.
22 GOING,SON – “Standard” is a type of going on all-weather/equitrack racecourses.  The equivalent of “good’ or “good to soft” on regular turf courses.
25 [-f]EASTER
26 KI,TTEN – (nett,I,K) rev. Another sighting of the rapidly emerging, and much-debated, “thousand”=K device.
27 BR(ASIL,I)A – (I,Lisa) rev in bra.  But why wasn’t she wearing it in the first place?
29 E,L,EVEN – an original treatment, although I’m not sure how germane the exclamation mark is.

3 SQUARE CUT – where power meets precision at the popping crease.
4 T(OLE)RANCE – An ultra vague indicator for Ole (“Word from Spaniard”).
5 MA(CAB)RE – a very tidy surface/cryptic tie-in.
6 DROW,N – Again, perhaps I’ve become too American-by-proxy, because “N-word” has only one (very delicate) connotation to me.
8 NEGATIVE – Literal/photographic double def’n.
13 AGA – Do people still write/read Aga Sagas?
15VOLTE FACE (Fact: love)* +E.  Come to think of it, this clue rather reads like the synopsis of an Aga Saga.
17 N(I,COT)INE – Our second “single”=I of the day. And a very libertarian definition; I doubt that many smokers (even if hooked) would enjoy being referred to as a “hooker”.
19 LEG
20 IGNOBLE – (being low)* – W. Probably the most ingenious clue of the day here.  Good stuff.
24 SIN,AI – the surface reading strikes me as ungrammatical.

6 Responses to “FT 12,949/Mudd”

  1. Geoff Moss says:

    Hi Smiffy
    I’m glad you were able to explain ‘standard’ = ‘going’ in 22a as it’s a term I have never heard previously. Are there any all-weather racetracks in the UK?

    I was very unhappy with the definition in 26a. A kitten may be described as being ‘cute’ but it does not mean ‘cute’. The definition is an adjective, the answer a noun.

    ‘k’ = thousand is fine here. It’s when ‘k’ is clued as ‘grand’ that the debate begins.

    28a How did you manage to equate ‘line’ with ‘job’. I can find no support for this. After all, one can have a job on an assembly line but it does not mean that ‘line’ = ‘job’.

    17d An obscure and unsatisfactory definition in my opinion.

  2. smiffy says:

    Hi Geoff,

    It’s been a few years since I’ve idled away a couple of hours in a bookies shop, but I seem to recall Southwell and Lingfield Park were the original all-weather tracks. I think they’ve proliferated further in recent years.

    Re: 28A. How about the TV “What’s My Line?”.

    On 26A, I was indulgent on the basis that I’ve encountered the phrase “as cute as kitten” on several occasion in the past. Apols for unintentionally muddying the “K” debate.

  3. Geoff Moss says:

    Armed with my newfound knowledge, and with the help of Google, I can now answer my own question. The ‘going’ has been described as ‘standard’ at Kempton, Lingfield, Southwell and Wolverhampton. Probably elsewhere as well but I didn’t go more than a few hits down the page.

    It is a pity that this meaning of ‘standard’ is not given in any of the usual references since it means that only racing fans are likely to know it.

  4. Geoff Moss says:

    26a surely the phrase is ‘as cute as a kitten’.

    28a I withdraw my reservation. I should have put my reading glasses on when consulting Chambers this morning then I would have seen ‘occupation’ hiding in the middle of the long list of definitions.

  5. Paul B says:

    ‘Mount, where bad thing perfect’ seems all right to me.

    Paul/ Mudd/ Punk deploys ‘where’ (presumably in Collins’ sense 2) frequently, and I can’t see a grammatical fault this time. I suppose we might read it ‘X in which Y (and) Z’.

    Nicotine (and perhaps not smokers themselves, as suggested) = ‘hooker’? Why not! That what it does: it hooks (addicts) you.

    Kitten I’d say is a *bit* loose, but the definition, to be fair to Mudd, is ‘that’s cute’ AFAICS. This sort of freedom is allowed in the Grauniad (and, obviously, the FT): for other papers such as The Times you’d have to check.

  6. Eileen says:

    I’m no horse-racing fan but had no problem with ‘going’, thinking, I suppose, of ‘going rate’, which I’ve now looked up: it’s defined as the ‘current prevailing [which for me works as ‘standard’] price’, [Chambers].

    As I wrote that, this occurred to me:
    Geoff Moss: “A kitten may be described as being ‘cute’ but it does not mean ‘cute’. The definition is an adjective, the answer a noun.”

    The going may be described as being standard but it does not mean ‘standard’. The definition is an adjective, the answer a noun.

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