Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 12,974 / Cinephile

Posted by Gaufrid on January 14th, 2009


A colourful puzzle with some delightful clues which were instrumental in providing a great deal of enjoyment.

I thought 8d was rather weak and spent a little time trying to determine an alternative answer but this was more than made up for by many others, particularly 10a, 28a, 6d and 20d.

1 RAVISH  VI (half a dozen) in RASH (spots)
9 DROWSY  SWORD (weapon) reversed Y[our]
10 GREENHAM  GREEN (colour) HAM (meat) – Greenham Common, a home of the Cruise missile. A clever clue which initially had me looking for a London common used by some for ‘cruising’.
11 CLEVER  C (number) LEVER (means of exerting pressure)
14 ORCHIS  OR (alternative) CH (church) IS (islands) – a genus of orchids
17 CONCORD  CON (trick) CORD (rope)
21, 25 YELLOW SUN  YELLOW (colour) SUN (tabloid) – ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, a novel by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie which takes place during the Biafran War of the 1960s.
26 SPECTRUM SPEC (gamble) TRUM[pet] (instrument losing ‘pet’)
28 INITIATE  IN IT I ATE (it was my dining room)
29 THRONG  THRON[e] (monarchy) G (good)
30 ORANGERY  ORANGE (colour) RY (line)
31 SPINET  PIN (own number) in SET (group)

1 REDACTOR  RED (colour) ACTOR (player)
5 NEREUS  ERE (before) in NUS (national union of seamen) – in Greek mythology, a sea god who was the son of Pontus and Gaea and who lived in the depths of the sea with his wife Doris and their daughters the Nereids.
6 ICEMAN  *(cinema) – ‘The Iceman Cometh’, a play written by American playwright Eugene O’Neill which premiered on Broadway in 1946. It was adapted as a film in 1973 so &lit.
7 ETHNIC  N (name) in ETHIC (code)
8 TIMING  MIN (little time) in TIG (child’s play)
12 MITCHUM  ITCH (craving) in MUM (keeping silent) – Robert Mitchum, an actor
15, 13, 16 SOPHISTRY  SOP (concession) HIS (man’s) TRY (attempt)
19 BLUE MOON  BLUE (colour) MOON (satellite)
20 TWILIGHT  *(WIT) LIGHT (luminary) – ‘outwit’ for ‘twi’ is a nice touch
22 ESKIMO [on]E SKIM (type of milk) O[ne]
23 MEDINA  EDIN (abbreviation for Edinburgh) in MA (mum)
24 STRING  dd
25 SUITOR  SUIT (product of cloth) OR (gold)

9 Responses to “Financial Times 12,974 / Cinephile”

  1. Octofem says:

    Agreed, Gaufrid. A fun puzzle to work. I was stuck on Greenham for a while too until I remembered Cruise missiles. I had been thinking of commonality rather than the London commons!

  2. Eileen says:

    Hi Gaufrid

    Thanks for 8dn – I couldn’t get further than ‘mo’ for ‘little time’ and then had to go out. Apart from that, this was a very good example of a perfectly straightforward puzzle which was nonetheless very satisfying. I admired all the clues that you quote and I particularly liked SOPHISTRY, too.

    I knew NUS was the Seamen’s Union but both Collins and Chambers gave only National Union of Students, with which I’m more familiar. [‘With his wife Doris’ sounds very endearing. :-) ]

  3. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Eileen

    NUS for National Union of Seamen is in Collins (at least it is in the on-line 5th Ed. that I consulted) but not in Chambers or COED.

    Correction, NUS is confirmed in Chambers (1998) but not in Chambers (2008). Its removal is presumably due to the fact that in 1990 the NUS amalgamated with the National Union of Railwaymen to form the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT).

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid: that makes sense. Sorry the smiley turned out wrong!

  5. smiffy says:

    G’day all. My only slight criticism of this puzzle is that – with the aforementioned Greenham, NUS and tig – it does have a faint whiff of fustiness about it. Otherwise, ideal fare for a Wednesday.

    I wasn’t quite so enraptured with ‘outwit’ in 20D. Probably a divisive topic, but my main concern is with such portmanteaux constructions is where does one draw the line on these things? If we turn a blind eye to ‘outwit’, can we logically feel indignant at more tenuous equivalents: e.g. ‘mangetout’ (=magnet) or ‘unfrocked’ (=fun)?

  6. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Smiffy
    I quite enjoy the ‘outwit’ type cluing provided it is kept within reason, ie indicating an anagram of part of the word or something equally straightforward such as ‘overtime’ for ‘emit’.

    The first puzzle I blogged here (also a Cinephile) used ‘inside’ to indicate the insertion of a letter into ‘wing’ which defeated me, but fortunately not Rishi who subsequently explained it to me. Perhaps using part of a word to define another word is going a little too far though I have mixed views on this.

  7. Eileen says:

    Did you make those examples up, Smiffy, or have they appeared? I think they’re brilliant: I really like that kind of clue – once I’ve got it!

  8. smiffy says:

    I’m not aginst the likes of ‘inside’ either, per se. Everything in moderation.
    I think Eileen alludes to one practical constraint. I imagine that experienced solvers, would soon get familiar with, and be on the lookout for, such devices. But a proliferation of them may strike newbie solvers as unduly obtuse or impenetrable, and serve as a turn-off.

    The examples I used were purely theoretical, but the permutations are abundant (probably excessively so, hence what are the limits?).
    As a sillier, more ego-centric example: if we allow ‘outwit’ to indicate twi, then why not Smiffy (= ms)? That would allow….Smiffy gets so upset with, for example, Gaufrid (4)!!

  9. Eileen says:

    Smiffy: excellent, though rather more esoteric!

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