Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,071 / Alberich

Posted by shuchi on May 8th, 2009


What a fine puzzle. A balanced mix of easy and tough clues. Bumpy ride, but a most enjoyable one.


11 BATTALION TA (group of soldiers) in BAT (club) LION (hero)
12 BLUE MOVIE M (millions) O (old) VIE (half of capital Vienna), need help explaining the BLUE! [Update: ‘to blue’ means ‘to squander’.  Thanks Gaufrid.]
14 EDICT CT after E D I
16 LOOK BACK IN ANGER AIR reversed in FURY. I didn’t know the play but it was simple to work out from the fodder.
23 AMARYLLIS A, SILLY RAM (foolish memory) reversed


1 HYPERBOLIC (POLIC + BY + HER)* cosh = the mathematical function
2 JUNEAU capital of Alaska. Homophone of JUNO, Roman queen of Heaven
3 RENT-A-MOB (MEANT)* in ROB. Nicely deceptive and smooth surface. Pertinent phrase in the current times, web search throws up alarming results for it!
5 SMATTERING S MATTERING For a long time I was looking for a synonym of ‘relevant’. Nice!
7 DESIRING (INSIDER + G)* Well-concealed anagram.
8 PEON O in PEN (compound, as in enclosure). The definition is slightly vague I think, a peon is not necessarily a hard worker. The past tense seems to be there for no specific reason either. [Update: Anax points out that Chambers supports the idea of “hard” (peon being a farm labourer / one working in bondage to pay off a debt), and the clue works when read as “one (who is) worked hard”. See comments below for more.]
15 TURPENTINE TURN (spell) around PE (exercise), TIN (can) E (point)
17 OUTWARDS OUT (unfashionable) WARDS (parts of city)
18 ARTIFICE I F (one fellow) in ARTIC (lorry) E (Spain)
20 SAYERS S (star’s heading) AYERS (The Rock from Australia). Nice touch to evoke The Wizard Of Oz in the clue’s surface.
22 LIGNIN (-a)LIGNIN(-g)
23 AGUE (-pl)AGUE
24 SIDE homophone of ‘sighed’

8 Responses to “Financial Times 13,071 / Alberich”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Shuchi
    12a ‘to blue’ means ‘to squander’ according to Chambers.

  2. Anax says:

    Another excellent Alberich offering. I don’t usually bother with the FT but check here to see if an Alberich has been blogged, in which case I go and get the puzzle.

    First class as usual, with a couple of tricky moments – JUNEAU held me up, took me ages to spot FIGHT and I didn’t know LIGNIN.

    8D PEON. Chambers supports the idea of “hard” (peon being a farm labourer / one working in bondage to pay off a debt) but the clue wording cleverly misleads into thinking of the past tense. Instead, read it as “one (who is) worked hard”.

  3. shuchi says:

    Thanks Gaufrid. I was guessing as much about 12a ‘blue’ but didn’t have Chambers to check with.

    Thanks for your comment Anax. Fully agree with your commendation of the puzzle.

    PEON makes me picture someone comfortably napping outside a bureaucrat’s office looking for a bribe, from that perspective it takes a leap of imagination to reconcile the word with hard labour! The clue makes perfect sense with your explanation, thanks.

  4. Alberich says:

    Thank you for the kind words. In honesty Anax gives me too much credit for the PEON clue – as he says, Chambers supports the idea of one working hard, but I used the past tense simply as I was under the impression that peons no longer exist. If I was mistaken, then this clue still works thanks to his interpretation, which is far better than my original one!

  5. nmsindy says:

    Some great clues here. Another excellent puzzle from Alberich.

  6. shuchi says:

    Hello Alberich, It’s great to hear from you. In India a PEON is an office-attendant; the position is attractively advertised on online job portals! I didn’t know that another meaning existed for the word. My learning-of-the-day.

    Thanks again for the splendid puzzle.

  7. seeword says:

    Peon is Spanish meaning day laborer or farm worker. It is also the word for a chess pawn. In the USA it’s use as slang to mean “the poor guys who does all the work while the bosses go out for long lunches”. Much the way “slave” is often used.

    Juneau also gave me a problem as Alaska wasn’t a state back when I had to memorize all the capitals.

  8. C. G. Rishikesh says:

    Whatever peons were in olden days, they are just office-attendants today. But even the term ‘peon’ is vanishing; if it is still in use, it must be by older people and in reference to the attendant in Government offices where he sits on a stool outside the officer’s door doing little work except carrying messages from one person to another. In no private office would the word ‘peon’ be used.

    One of the dictionary meanings for peon is ‘foot-soldier’. As mentioned above there is also the chess piece ‘pawn’ (is this a spelling variant?) Anyway, in Tamil the word for the chess piece ‘pawn’ is a term that is equivalent to foot-soldier.

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