Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,052/Aardvark

Posted by smiffy on April 16th, 2009


I found a few of the clues in this either flirted with verbosity and/or led to quite clunky wordplay. By way of redemption, we do have a couple of laudable clues (e.g. 12 & 14A) and the coincidental appearance of Clanger and Ivor (which allowed me to wax briefly nostalgic about Oliver Postgate).

1 SPARTACUS – par in (cast)* + US
6 FASTS – F + t in ass
10 CURVATURE – Cu[lprits]+r+VAT+[s]ure. This was one of the clues that gave me mild indigestion, not least with the “almost” indicator needing to be used to decapitate (rather than curtail) a word.
11 CHIMPANZEE – Chi +M+pan+zee
12 SWIM – [wave]S + homophone of “whim”.
14 DOUBLET – literally, the middle of “cotton”.
15 TROUSER – t+rouser. “Appropriate” in the verbal sense.
17 STERNUM – (terminus)* – i
19 CAKE TIN – (I take)* in C,n.  I have no idea what purpose is served by the “as” floating around in the middle
20 OILY – 10(rev)+l+[takeawa]y
22 OSCAR WILDE – Academy Award + “wild”
25 IMPENDING – IM+pen+ding[o]
27 MANSE – hidden reversal. Another “hmmm” from me for “selected”.
28 FARENHEIT – cryptic definition.

1  SUMAC – (campus)* – P
2 AT LEISURE – (a tile)*+sure.
3 TRAMPOLINE – (op)rev in tramline (doubles’ tennis marking).
4 COCONUT – Co+Con+u[pbea]t.
5 SERPENT – P in (enters)*
6 FLAX – f+lax.
7 SQUAW – squa[d]+w
8 STEAM IRON – (main store)*
13VOLKSWAGEN – [I]vo[r]+ (walks)*+gen.  A strange surface reading, but it’s not a very setter-friendly word (I can come up with a workable anagram, but it’d would only pass muster in a Cyclops/Private Eye arena).
14 DESPOTISM – spot in deism
16 SATELLITE – (little)* in SAE.  Can “satellite” be used as a transitive verb?
18 CLANGER – clan+Ger[man]
19 LUPIN – A flower that’s inextricably linked to Dennis Moore in  my mind.
21 EJECT – E+ c in jet.
23 ANNE – manner -(m and r)

11 Responses to “Financial Times 13,052/Aardvark”

  1. Geoff Moss says:

    Hi Smiffy
    I agree with your opening sentence. There were parts of this puzzle that I didn’t enjoy at all (particularly 28a).

    12a could also be SWAM with mouth=maw and ‘fancy’ as an anagram indicator but I like your parsing better.

    19a If ‘given’ is the insertion indicator then both ‘as’ and ‘in’ are superfluous and misleading.

    16d Chambers confirms that ‘satellite’ can be a transitive verb meaning ‘to transmit by satellite’.

  2. smiffy says:

    Hi Geoff.

    I held fire on 28A, as it seems to have been mangled slightly by some typos in my copy. But it did feel clumsy to me.

    Thanks for confirming satellite(vb). I suspected that it was allowable, even though I don’t care for it much. It’s akin to one of my pet peeves – namely the phrase “I’ll pdf it over to you” in lieu of “I’ll email/send you the docs”. The meaning is clear, but it’s still an ugly usage of a noun as a verb.

  3. Eileen says:

    Hi Smiffy

    Thanks for clearing up most of my queries. I won’t even start on ‘wim’ sounds like whim’. And if satellite can be / is a transitive verb, or, if it can, means to transmit rather than ‘to revolve around’, well…

    However, thanks a million for the Dennis Moore – just as hilarious now as 30+ years ago. Do watch it, folks, if you haven’t already!

  4. Rene Pogel says:

    I’m a Celsius man, but it’s Fahrenheit, isn’t it?

  5. Agentzero says:

    Thanks for the blog, Smiffy. (Looks like 18 dn, MASTIFF, accidentally got left out of your posting.)

    Rene, I had the same question as you. I don’t see FARENHEIT as an alternative spelling in Chambers or any other dictionary.

    Can anyone help me with the connection between 999 (the emergency number, I assume) and IM (instant messaging?)

  6. Geoff Moss says:

    You are indeed correct which makes this clue even worse than I thought originally.

  7. Geoff Moss says:

    Roman numerals. IM is one less than M (1000) so 999.

  8. Agentzero says:

    Of course! Thanks Geoff.

  9. John in USA says:

    So nobody got 24D? The only common words that fit are ANTE, KNEE and ONCE. also offers SNYE, UNBE and UNDE. And wouldn’t you know it, I’ve thrown away Friday’s FT with the solution!

  10. John in USA says:

    But now I get it: (m)ANNE(r)

  11. Gaufrid says:

    Smiffy did cover that in his blog, it’s just that he missed out the answer to 18d (mastiff) and the following four answers shifted up so that they were next to the preceding clue number.

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