Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,012 / Sleuth

Posted by Gaufrid on February 27th, 2009

Gaufrid.

A relatively gentle end to the working week. Nothing obscure apart from, possibly, the Spanish poet and dramatist at 24a and the Italian frothy custard at 14d. There was a strong temptation to enter ‘gesticulating’ for 8d but then 26a would have been impossible to solve. I liked the misdirection in 19d because ‘pink’ originally had me thinking about carnations but I’m not sure I’m too happy with the use of ‘obscured’ as an anagram indicator in 15a.

Across
1 CANTANKEROUS  *(CRANK NO USE AT)
10 EMBARGO  MBA (business student) R (little right) in EGO (one)
11 SKITTLE  cd
12 TAMPA  hidden reversal in ‘cheAP MATerial’
13 ASSESSOR  ASSESS (Jenny) OR (ranks)
15 CANDELABRA  *(CLEAR BAND) A
16 TYRO  TYRO[lean] (from part of Austria, not half)
18 LOPE  [s]LOPE (inclination to avoid sun)
20 SALES PITCH  SALE (northern town) S (second) PITCH (station)
22 TANGIBLE  B (British) L (lecturer) in TANGIE[r] (port with no end)
24 LORCA  ORC (monster) in LA (US city)
26 OTHELLO  OT (books) HELLO (magazine)
27 OCULIST  cd
28 RIO DE JANEIRO  E (European) in *(REJOIN RADIO)

Down
2 ALBUMEN  BU[g] (illness nearly) in *(MALE) [recuperatio]N
3 THREATEN  *(EARTH) TEN (number)
4 NOOK  NO OK (contrary responses)
5 EASY STREET  E[xpect] *(TREATS YES)
6 ON ICE  I (India) in ONCE (previously)
7 SATISFY  S (son) *(FIT SAY)
8 GESTICULATION  cd
9 HEART OF HEARTS  cd
14 ZABAGLIONE  A BAG (a carrier) L (left) I (one) in ZONE (area)
17 APPLAUSE  PL (place) in A PAUSE (a break)
19 PANTHER  P (soft) ANTHER (part of flower)
21 TERRIER  ERR (stray) in TIER (row)
23 IGLOO  I (one) GLOO[m] (endless darkness)
25 SOFA  SO FA (two notes)

5 Responses to “Financial Times 13,012 / Sleuth”

  1. Eileen says:

    Hi Gaufrid

    Thanks for the blog, especially the explanation of EMBARGO: I just didn’t associate ‘ego’ with ‘one’.

    Apart from that and taking far too long to get 11ac, there was no great challenge here, though I did think some of the clues were rather odd. I agree with your doubts about ‘obscured by’ in 15ac: ‘confused with’ would have served better – and surely candelabra are more than ‘a set of ornaments’?

    13ac: OR for ‘other ranks’ is commonplace – but R by itself?

    9dn: ‘heart’ = ‘midfielder’?

    I’ve come across Lorca [and orc!] several times in crosswords – and I don’t think zabaglione is particularly exotic!

    I did like 22 and 26ac.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Eileen
    13a does use the full ‘OR’ so I’m sorry but I don’t understand your comment.

    5d Well, a ‘midfielder’ does mainly play in the middle, or ‘heart’, of the pitch so I thought this was OK.

  3. Eileen says:

    Sorry Gaufrid – you’re quite right: it was your not putting in ‘other’ that confused me. I didn’t read it properly.

    But, sorry, ‘heart of a pitch’ just doesn’t work for me – but then I’m no football fan [not that shaped ball, anyway]. It just seems to me there must be a much better clue for ‘heart of hearts’.

  4. agentzero says:

    Hello again Gaufrid and Eileen. FT solvers are a small select company it seems!

    I think it’s not unusual for football commentators to refer to the midfielder as being the heart of a team. Playing in the center of the field, distributing the ball to others, etc. So on that basis I thought it worked and was quite clever.

    Here’s a sample from a Google search (footballtalentspotters.com): “The heart of any football team, central midfield is probably the most physically-demanding, intelligence-requiring role on the field, requiring both the greatest variation of attributes and the fiercest ball-winning drive.”

  5. Gaufrid says:

    Thank you for that Agentzero. As I never watch (if I can possibly avoid it), and have never played, football you explained it far more clearly than I would have been able to do.

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