Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 12,979 / Jason

Posted by C G Rishikesh on January 20th, 2009

C G Rishikesh.

A minor theme relating to bugs runs through this crossword.
These clues are


1 HORNET – H, OR, net
15 LOCUST – lo(Cu)st
21 MANTIS – man, rev. of ‘sit’
31 CICADA - CI(cad)A


8 SPIDER – two def : a rest for a cue in billiards; a computer program that prowls the internet looking for publicly accessible resources that can be added to a database;
22 SAW-FLY - saw, fly

Note that all these six-letter lights are in symmetric positions.



4 INITIALS – I didn’t like this clue. Toilet clues are avoidable and more so names of great leaders in them.
10 ARCHIVE – arch, i’ve
11 CHAPATI – chap, a, T, i – How is head = T?(On edit) T is from “head to take” See comment below
12 EWER – E(we)R
13 FACT OF LIFE – I thought that the real phrase was “facts of life”; If singular form is to be used, as in the situation described in the clue, perhaps we must have A FACT OF LIFE
16 PEACOCK – pe(ACO)ck
20 GENERAL – two def
24 ADAM’S APPLE – a dam’s, apple
26 CLUB – two def
28 FIGMENT – fi(G men)t
29 FLANNEL – two def
30 YULETIDE – anag. of ‘yet I duel’


1 HEAVENLY – another two def, not quite satisfying
2 RECHERCHÉ – anag. of ‘Cheer Cher’
3 Not solved (On edit) See Comment below for the answer and the justification.
5 NECKTIES – anag. of kit in anag. of scene
9 CEDAR – hidden in ‘plaCE DARkens’
14 ASSESSMENT – asses, s(men)t
17 CATALONIA – anag. of ‘a cola tin’. (On edit) anag. of ‘a cola tin’, a (see comment below).
18 CARPETED – two def
19 ISABELLA – cha. of is, a, bell, a – “Bet” is a typo for Beth – Isabella is a Sp. form of Elizabeth
(On edit) I understand that Bet is also a diminutive of Elizabeth. See comment below
23 BLUFF – three defs.
25 ANGEL – two def.
27 SARI – hidden in ‘outrageouS ARIstocrat’

4 Responses to “Financial Times 12,979 / Jason”

  1. Shuchi says:

    3D is EPIC (e-pic)

  2. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    Thanks, Shuchi.

    I did have that word in mind but did not see the anno, e-pic. And, as you know, I don’t put a word in the grid unless I have the justification for it.

  3. Geoff Moss says:

    Hi Rishi
    11a ‘T’ is ‘head to take’
    18a You’ve missed the final ‘A’
    19d No typo. Bet as a diminutive of Elizabeth is confirmed in Chambers

  4. smutchin says:

    Hi CG, thanks for the blog.

    8d – I hadn’t considered the type of spider that crawls over the internet and thought the clue was simply a cryptic definition for a creature that designs webs – I’ve seen similar before elsewhere.

    4a – Are you perhaps being oversensitive? Obviously different papers will have different attitudes to this sort of clue but the FT’s crossword ed seems to have had no problem with it, and I quite like it myself. For me, if there’s a fault it’s that it doesn’t make grammatical sense – it should be “Churchill’s are WC” but then that wouldn’t be much of a cryptic clue.

    13a – “facts of life” in the plural tends to mean “the birds and the bees”, while “fact of life” singular is one of those unavoidable things you have to put up with, as in “taxes are a fact of life”. I don’t think the article is required here any more than it is with any other noun-phrase solution.

    Overall, I thought this was an uncomplicated but well-formed puzzle.

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