Never knowingly undersolved.

FT12,975 Set by FLIMSY Jan 15 2009

Posted by Octofem on January 15th, 2009


Not as entertaining as yesterday’s gem, with rather a lot of anagrams, and little to challenge.  One unusual word in 27a and I was not happy with 10a, but straight-forward on the whole.


1.    RED FACED – ( re-d-face-d)
5 .   BOO BOO – (booB booB.  A blunder and therefore presumably ‘a miss’)
10.   DEAD SET – (dd.  I feel this clue should be ‘absolutely determined’.  I cannot reconcile the adverb with the phrase given.)
11.   IRON AGE – ( I rage about ON)
12..   CREED – ( Cree [Indian tribe]-IGNOREd)
13.   ABHORRERS – ( * arab horse when rUN subsituted for aMATEUR)
14.   BODY LANGUAGE – cd
18..   DRESSING DOWN – ( cd.  A ‘dressing down’ is a chastisement or ‘sermon’)
21.   UNSETTLED – dd
23.   IRATE  – (* fire at without the fORCE)
24.   AMOROUS – ( a – moro-u-s. ( MorosE)
25.   ENEMIES – ( * seem ni-C-e)
26.   TALENT  – ( tale-nEW-tESTAMENT) 
27.   ISOSTACY  – ( * so stay is. The equilibrium of the earth’s crust.)


1.     REDUCE – (dd.  You thicken a liquid when you reduce it, but ‘thin’ a person)
2.     DRAWER – (< reward.  The person who writes a cheque)
3.     ASSIDUOUS – ( ass-i-duo-uPRIGHT-s)
4.     ESTUARY ENGLISH – ( cd.  The speech which has become common in the SE of England, and is often adopted by politicians and royals who wish to appear trendy)                                      
6.     ODOUR – ( homonym of Oder)
7.     BRAKE PAD – ( This would stop taxis among most other vehicles)
8.     OVERSEES – dd
9.     HIGH HANDEDNESS -( high- handed-ness)
15.   GAWKINESS – ( * wages sink)
16.   ADJUTANT – ( cd.  The adjutant is a type of stork, and  a Flying Officer in the RAF might well serve as adjutant)
17.   CESS POOL  – ( * cope loss)
19.   FARINA – ( *far-in-a.  A kind of flour)
20.   FEISTY – ( f-*is yet.  ‘Excitable’ is one definition but is often used to mean spirited and gutsy)
22.   THORN – ( *roth-n)

12 Responses to “FT12,975 Set by FLIMSY Jan 15 2009”

  1. Eileen says:

    Hi Octofem

    Just to say I agree with you re 10ac. Otherwise, an unremarkable puzzle, as you say.

  2. Paul B says:

    I don’t agree with you re 10ac.

    Definition is ‘absolutely’, with ‘dull series of dance movements’ equating to ‘dead set’. All definitions in Collins.

  3. Eileen says:

    Paul B: I’m not sure this is really worth arguing about – but here goes, anyway! Collins is the only dictionary I can find which gives ‘dead set’ as an adverb. All the others have ‘adj. absolutely determined’ [Chambers] or similar. In the expression ‘to be [or have one’s heart] set on something, ‘set’ is a perfect participle [adjective]. ‘Dead’ can be an adverb, meaning ‘absolutely’ [eg ‘dead right’]: ‘dead set’ = ‘absolutely determined’ [adjectival phrase].

  4. Paul B says:

    Come on Eileen (to coin a phrase), it’s always *well* worth tussling over the finer points of grammar in crosswords!

    I see what you’re saying about other dictionaries and the available meanings of the component words. And yet, since Collins (AFAIA the principal work of reference for the FT puzzle) allows for the part of speech concerned, the clue is solidly correct as parsed above.

  5. Eileen says:

    Sorry, Paul [Toora Loo-Rye Aye]: having recently acquired a Chambers, since that’s the ‘Bible’ for the Guardian puzzle [my first loyalty] I forgot I was in FT mode!

  6. Paul B says:

    Most kind of you. And yet …

    Since that definition/ part of speech is supported in a major dictionary, and since definitions supported by major dictionaries are supported by major editors, the clue ought to be valid in any of the dailies, including the Guardian. Would that be fair?

  7. Eileen says:

    Personally, I think it would be good if there were one ‘principal work of reference’ for all the dailies, since discrepancies do crop up. In several cases since acquiring Chambers, I would have rather gone along with Collins but, in this instance, I’d be interested to know how they would parse [grammatically] ‘dead set’ as an adverb. [I think we need to agree to disagree on this: I’ve given my version above and stand by it. :-) ]

  8. Octofem says:

    Sorry, I’m with Eileen on this. I just cannot think of a phrase where ‘dead set’ could take the place of sbsolutely. ‘ He was dead set on getting his own way ‘ – ‘he was absolutely on getting his own way! Just doesn’t work for me.’

  9. JamesM says:

    I bought my first Chambers Dictionary years ago and updated it in the eighties in order to tackle the Sunday Times Mephisto.

    Frankly, what’s good enough for the Mephisto is ……….

  10. 44 says:

    Still a novice, but DeadSet came almost instantly with just the first D, although I see the arguments against it.
    I have more of a gripe with 7D (a taxi is quite specific, and therefore significant) and 15D (the “wrong” order of the anagram indicator and fodder).

  11. Paul B says:

    Whether anyone agrees with me or Eileen is beside the point: the fact is that the clue, cited as dubious in the blog and subsequent comments, is correct according to a recognised and reliable source. And so there is, in that hefty respect, no argument.

    For Octofem, ‘he is dead set against’ = ‘he is absolutely against’ according to Collins.

  12. smutchin says:

    44 – agree with you about 7d (misleading is one thing, inscrutably vague is another) but I don’t see what you mean about 15d, which seems to make perfect sense to me.

    I rather liked 1d – in fact, I’m annoyed I didn’t think of that neat, pithy clue myself when I was setting a puzzle recently that included REDUCE as one of the answers.

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