Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,058/Viking

Posted by smiffy on April 23rd, 2009


A few clues in here where the wordplay or structure seem to be a bit too forced, in order to make the idea work (e.g. 19A, 2D).  However, the impressive device at 3D is a first-of-a-kind sighting for me; is it unprecedented?

1 HOSTESS – sets in soh (all rev). Fortunately the typo in the definition part of the clue (a rogue hyphen) is blatant enough not to confuse.
5  BIG SHOT – Sh in bigot.
9 REPRO – rep + r.o.
10 PETULANCE – (planet cue)*. I’ll second that emotion; I get really ticked off when those planets become misaligned.
11 EARTHWORK – E + (throw)* in ark.
12 MAYBE – a+y(Yankee = radio sign) in MBE.
13 TIFFS – [-s]tiffs
15 TURNDOWNS – down in turns. “Feeling(s) of distaste” = down(s) is new to me.
18 VICEVERSA – v + (service)* + a
19 LINKS – I think this should be “Couple” rather than “Couples”, to avoid a duplicate “s”.  But I imagine the opportunity to allude to Freddie C. was too strong to resist?
21 NEVER – revenue (rev) – EU. I defy you not to have at least smirked at this one.
23 PRINTABLE – prin[-k] + table
25 GALLIVANT – villag[-e] rev + ANT (Aussie Nat’l Theatre).  Does the latter full under Sir Les Patterson’s auspices?
26 BREAM – BoRdEr ArMy
27 ROMANCE – ANC in Rome.
28 CRACKER – double def’n. But why the interjecting exclamation mark?

1 HARVEST – (saver)* in h + t
2 SOPORIFIC – so[-a]p + orific[-e]. The definition here seems to be nounal rather than adjectival.
3 EPOCH – cop in he (all rev). “Quite the reverse” here is (intentionally) doing triple duty, by my reckoning (i.e. the container/contents, the direction AND the definition)! These “on the contrary” type devices are, in my opinion, the one sphere where double duty is more than acceptable. So this is especially astute.
5  BATIK – BA(once the world’s favourite airline) + kit(rev)
6  GOLD MEDAL – double def’n (/allusion)
7  HANDY – double def’n
8 TEETERS – tee + ters[-e]
14  SOVEREIGN – [-m]isgoverne[-d]*. This clue put me in mind of Merlin’s excellent Listener puzzle (Royal Flush) from a few years back.  One of my all-time favourite puzzles.
16 REALISTIC – (article is)*
18  VINEGAR – vin + rage (rev)
20 STEAMER – a.m. in steer
22 VELUM – rather than vellum.
23 PHASE – has in PE
24 TIBIA – A1 + bit (all rev)

12 Responses to “Financial Times 13,058/Viking”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Smiffy, especially for those parts of the right-hand side that I couldn’t do.

    There was lots to admire here. I thought 3dn was superb!

    I don’t share your doubts about 2dn. I thought the surface was good and Chambers has SOPORIFIC as ‘a sleep-inducing agent’.

    Like you, I so wanted 19ac to work! – and I’ve stared at it long enough to think that it does: ‘couples’ [verb] = ‘link[s]’. [Or have I stared at it too long?]

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Smiffy
    3d I read this as ‘sent down’ being the reversal indicator otherwise these words are redundant.

    There is no problem with 19a, it is a definition and wordplay followed by another definition:
    couples = LINKS
    LINK (to join) S (second)
    golf course = LINKS

  3. smiffy says:

    Thanks guys. Will I ever learn to stop querying whether certain adjectives can also be used as nouns (I seem to be wrong >90% of the time)? I also didn’t consider the possibility of 19A being a tripartite clue.

    On 3D, “sent down” IS the direction indicator, but we must of course do “quite the reverse” (i.e. sent it upwards). That’s kind of the point – and part of what makes it a triple duty instruction/definition.

  4. Agentzero says:

    Hi Smiffy and Gaufrid

    I think you are both right about 3d. “Quite the reverse” is doing triple duty. In particular, the reversal indicator is “sent down … quite the reverse,” i.e., “sent up.”

  5. Agentzero says:

    Oops! Sorry, Smiffy, if I had hit “refresh” I would have seen your reply before posting.

  6. Anon says:

    I am a novice solver and usually get about 12 clues out in a typical Guardian & Times crossword. I do sometimes get the Saturday FT out as I’ve got more time to do it. I only managed 19a,26a & 16d -I am really impressed with anyone who completed this one. Even with the answers, I’m still puzzled by some ! I thought this was the hardest I’d seen in some time.
    The misprint in 1a did fox me. I should have got 10a.
    11a never in a month of Sundays would I have got that the ship had to be an ark.
    12a ditto in that the honour had to be an MBE
    23a I don’t understand prin -k
    6d How does MC =gold medal , please?
    8d Why do we lose e from terse-what has terse got to do with anything, please?
    14d How do we know to take m & d from misgoverned, please?
    18d How can you know that drink =vin and violence is rage?
    22d rightly or wrongly I have never heard of velum or vellum

  7. Agentzero says:


    I’ll take a stab at some of your questions.

    23a This was a new word for me, as well. To “prink” is to dress up or dress carefully in an effort to be attractive. So “smarten up” = “prink” and “smarten up abbreviated” = “prin,” which together with TABLE makes PRINTABLE.

    6d I think what is meant is that an MC, meaning a rapper, may wear ostentatious jewelry, including gold medallions.

    8d A phrase that is compact can be said to be terse. If terse “comes to an early end” you get TERS.

    14d Because the “essence” of something may be its inner part, “essentially” is often used to mean the inner part of a word, here mISGOVERNEd.

    I hope that’s helpful. Keep solving! After a while you will more easily recognise what are more or less “conventional” signals in the wordplay.

  8. smiffy says:

    Hi, and thanks for piping up (even if it is behind a veil of anonymity). One of the most rewarding things about this site is being able to help newer solvers find their feet, as it were.

    23A: “Prink” means to titivate ones appearance (a little obscure, and I have encountered the equivalent “primp” on far more occasion in reality). “Abbreviated” entails removing the last letter.
    6D MC stands for the Military Cross, which (I assume) is made of gold.
    8D Ters[e] = “compact” (coming to an early end)
    14D This one is not too user-friendly to solvers on the steep part of the learning curve. The idea here is that “essentially” points you to central string of characters. It’s the sort of recognition that comes with experience, so despair not!

    The FT is home to a very broad churches of setters (see the “Setters” page elsewhere on this site for full details). Therefore the degree of difficulty and (at least vs The Times) “style” can fluctuate quite a lot from day to day.

  9. smiffy says:

    Agentzero – I appear to have suffered karmic retribution from our early overlapping posts!

  10. Agentzero says:

    No worries!

    I am not sure of my interpretation of “MC,” but if Viking meant the Military Cross, he was mistaken about its composition. From a Google search it appears that the British Military Cross is silver.

  11. Viking says:

    6D: The clue parses as “or” [gold] + “MC?” [medal]. I reckoned that the heraldic name for gold is one of those crossword conventions that have become established due to the useful letter combination. I apologise if this is too obscure.

    Apologies, too, for the typo in 1A.


  12. Agentzero says:

    Thanks, Viking, and thanks for visiting our site.
    OR is not at all too obscure; it’s just that you successfully misled us!

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