Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 12,968 / Aardvark

Posted by Gaufrid on January 7th, 2009

Gaufrid.

A mixed bunch today, some sports related clues, some misleading surfaces and some unusual indicators (eg ‘skin’ as an enclosure indicator in 29a). I thought this was a little more difficult than the usual FT and was held up deciphering one or two clues due to the aforementioned surfaces and indicators. Having said that, and to put my comments below into context, I welcome any attempt to get away from the ‘standard’ indicators (though others may not agree) and Aardvark has succeeded in doing so in many places.

Across
9 SPOONBILL  OOPS (admission of error) reversed N (new) BILL (account)
10 CREEP  C[hat] PEER (aristocrat) reversed – ‘facing’ as a reversal indicator, surely it should be ‘about facing’?
11 BLIGHTY  LIGHT (illumination) in BY (past) – ‘home’ or ‘home country’ (military slang)
12 MANHOLE  [pl]AN H (hydrant) in MOLE (spy)
13 RYE  alternate letters in ‘dRaYmEn’
14 WAR AND PEACE  P (parking) in *(A NEW ARCADE) – strictly speaking, ‘confuses’ should be ‘confused’ but this is just another attempt to mislead
17 DITTO  DITT[y] (simple song) O (love) – if ‘late’ can mean ‘nearly at the end’ then I suppose the superlative ‘latest’ can equate to ‘the end’ or ‘last’
18 CHI  C (clubs) HI (welcome) – Greek letter
19 TAMPA  AMP (electronic equipment, amplifier) in TA (army) – a place in Florida
21 CHINESE LEAF  *(CAFE IS HELEN) – altenatively this could be *(IS HELEN) in *(CAFE) since there are two anagram indicators. It all depends how you read the initial ‘in’
23 IVY  IV (fourth) Y (year) – ‘IV’ is ‘four’ but can it also mean ‘fourth’?
25 DISTAFF  hidden reversal in ‘stiFF AT SIDe’ – a stick that holds the bunch of flax, tow or wool in spinning
27 JANITOR  *(INTO) in JAR (clash) – ‘bumping’, another unusual anagram indicator
28 NOT ON  NOT[i]ON (concept)
29 ERNIE WISE  WIEN (wine, in German) reversed in [c]ERISE (cherry-red) – of Morecambe and Wise fame. The last one to go in because, though the answer was obvious, I had a little difficulty parsing the clue.

Down
1 ISOBAR  IS (one’s) O (round) BAR (pub)
2 LORIKEET  [m]IKE (Michael) in LORE (learning) T[alking] – I wonder about the ‘spends months’ to indicate remove ‘M’
3 ON THE WHOLE  homophone of ‘on the hole’
4 WILY  WI (group of women) L[aundr]Y
5 CLEMENTINE  *(TEN MILE) in C[ommo]N E (bearing)
6 SCAN  CANS (tins) with S relocated
7 FEDORA  ED (journalist) in FOR A (one)
8 EPHEMERA  HEM (edge) ER (hesitating) in APE (mirror) reversed
15 ROCKET FUEL  F (female) in (LECTURE OK) – ‘to brandish’ as an anagram indicator’?
16 PATHFINDER  *(FAITH) in P[latoo]N DER (the, in German)
17 DECADENT  CAD (rogue) in DEE (English flower, river) NT (books)
20 MAINTAIN  MAIN (sea) TA (volunteers) IN (at home)
22 IN SITU  I (one) *(UNITS)
24 YORKER  YORK (house) E[xtol] R[hetorical]
26 ARNO  ARNO[ld] – Arnold Palmer the famous golfer – ‘ball finally’  and ‘ending in hazard’ gave the two letters to be removed
27 JUNE  JUNE[au] – Juneau, the state capital of Alaska

8 Responses to “Financial Times 12,968 / Aardvark”

  1. Eileen says:

    Hi Gaufrid

    23ac: in regnal numbers, ‘IV’ = ‘fourth’.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks, Eileen. I obviously didn’t have my brain in gear this morning!

  3. Eileen says:

    I thought it wasn’t like you! :-)

  4. Agentzero says:

    I was all set to criticise 17d on the ground that the River Dee lies in Scotland, but Wikipedia tells me there is an English River Dee in Cumbria (in addition to a second Dee in Scotland and one in Wales).

    8d: isn’t “ephemera” a plural noun? So says the OED (I don’t have a Chambers here). If so, “it doesn’t last long” is flawed as a definition.

  5. Eileen says:

    Agentzero: I had exactly the same doubts as you about this word the last time it came up. ‘Ephemera’ is a Greek neuter plural meaning ‘[things] lasting for a short time’ [literally, for a day – you see the word in connection with antique-collecting but the Latinised ‘ephemera’ [plural ephemerae] is an insect that lasts for only one day.

  6. Gaufrid says:

    8d Ephemera – COED does indeed give this as a plural noun (though it does also say that it was originally used in the singular) but, ignoring the insect references, Chambers gives ‘something that lasts a short time’ and Collins ‘something transitory or short-lived’. Both give the plural as -eras or -erae.

    Chambers and Collins also give ephemera as a plural of ephemeron.

  7. Smutchin says:

    Gaufrid, I agree with your point about spicing up indicator words but ‘confuses’ is just wrong – it should be ‘confused’. But I rather like ‘facing’ for a reversal and ‘spend’ for a removal.

    Thanks for the explanation of 29a – I got the solution but had no idea why!

    I think I shall look at the FT crossword more often if this is typical.

  8. Smutchin says:

    Eileen, thanks for the explanation of ephemera – I too was unsure about it being used as a singular until I read that.

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