Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,021 / Dante

Posted by Agentzero on March 10th, 2009


I was afraid that for my first blog I would draw a puzzle that left me stumped. No worries: this was a very straightforward offering from Dante. There were a couple of pleasing clues, but some others that I thought didn’t quite work.

1 ANGLER cd Clever, and easily my favorite clue in the puzzle.
4 PLACIDLY CID (detectives) + L in PLAY (drama)
10 WELL, WELL Each well is a source
12 DOGGY-BAG dd, I suppose, but hardly cryptic at all
13 AMORAL AM (morning) + ORAL (viva voce)
15 EDIT TIDE reversed; to edit is to “prepare to put out” a book or paper
19 CHEW THE FAT dd Does this really mean to “keep arguing”? So far as I know, it means to talk or chat idly
20 STAB dd
23 LAID IN DIAL reversed (face to back) + IN I’m not persuaded that “In the end” can be used to mean “with IN at the end”
25 NEAR MISS The parsing of this clue eludes me. Is there a sense in which MEAN = NEAR?
27 STICKERS TICKER in S.S. I would have said “stay on,” rather than “keep on”
28 GEMINI hidden in oranGE MINI-skirts
29 INSANITY *(It’s in any)
1 ARIADNE ARIA (song) + END reversed (uplifting finale)
2 GELIGNITE GEL (set) + IGNITE (light) Had to Google this one; it’s a high explosive made from a gel of nitroglycerine and nitrocellulose in a base of wood pulp and sodium or potassium nitrate
3 EPONYM PONY (horse) in ME rising (“mounting”) The race at Epsom bears the name of its founder, the 12th Earl of Derby
5 LEER REEL (stagger) reversed
6 CALAMITY A LAM (strike) in CITY (UK’s financial centre)
14 DELAYED LAY (set down) in DEED (the act)
18 STRICKEN TRICK (swindle) in SEN (currency)
19 COLOSSI CO (business) + LOSS (deficit) + I Wouldn’t the clue be better without the word “with” (i.e., “I closed business deficit…”)? It is hard for me to read “X closed with…” as meaning “X follows…”  If anything, it would seem to mean “X precedes…”
21 BASTION *(in boats)
22 ORDERS dd
24 IVIES VIE (compete) in IS
28 FRET dd

7 Responses to “Financial Times 13,021 / Dante”

  1. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    Re 25a: Yes, “near” does have the meaning “mean”. Noted in COD as archaic.
    Chambers too has it but the meanings given are “thriftily, parsimoniously” (marked archaic).

  2. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    Re 19a: Chambers, “the crossword addict’s favourite tool” as proclaimed in the preface to an edition, has
    chew the fat to keep on arguing the point

  3. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    27a: I would think “keep on” is OK. Only, we would say “keep on watching” not “keep on watch”. Your suggestion ‘stay on’ seems to fix this prob.
    Come to think of it, “keep on watch” itself is OK if we understand that “keep on” means “to continue to remind someone to do something” and take ‘watch’ as a noun meaning “watchman”.

  4. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    … take ‘watch’ as a noun meaning “watchman” – in the surface reading, of course. In wordplay it gives ‘ticker’.

  5. Eileen says:

    Congratulations on your first blog, Agentzero!

    As you say, very straightforward, though I share your reservations about 23ac and 19dn. Like you, I really liked 1ac and I thought the surface of 3dn was very clever.

    I learned ‘mean = near’ from crosswords – and, interestingly, ‘close’ means the same.

    I wouldn’t say 17dn was a double definition, although I’m sure it’s meant to be – I’m not questioning your interpretation! None of my dictionaries gives two distinct meanings; I think ‘spontaneous’ is inferred from ‘received or known by simple inspection and direct apprehension’ [Chambers] or ‘that consists in immediate apprehension, without the intervention of any reasoning process’ [SOED]

  6. Agentzero says:

    Rishi, thanks for your gentle hint! I have secured the use of a Chambers for future blogging.

    I should have been clearer in my comment on 27a. I had no problem with the surface reading. My comment had to do with the cryptic reading: I would have defined a STICKER as something that “stays on,” rather than something that “keeps on” — and, as you note, that would have worked with the surface sense as well.

  7. Agentzero says:

    Thank you, Eileen. I liked 3dn as well. I forgot to mention that I thought 22dn, while fairly easy, was also a good clue, aided by the fact that in a reference to nuns, “superior” could mean, specifically, a Mother Superior.

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