Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,101 / Alberich

Posted by shuchi on June 12th, 2009


Many clues raised a smile (14A, 22A, 27A to name a few). There are a couple of mythological references (Oleander, Atalanta), which have been clued inventively. Alberich is topnotch as ever.


1 MYOPIC MY (fancy!) O (Oscar) PIC (short film). Mr. Magoo is famously nearsighted. My confident first answer here was BIOPIC, with ‘fancy’ as the definition and the slang term ‘BI’ from magoo. Redid this only when nothing would fit into 2D.
5 SMIDGEON SON (a little boy) around MIDGE (insect)
9 UMBRELLA UM (hesitation) R (first of ‘roles’) in BELLA (girl)
10 SLOPPY LOP (cut) in SPY (agent)
11 SEAMER S(-t)EAMER For the cricket novices, ‘seamer’ is a type of fast bowler. (Is this an obscure word? I notice while posting that WordPress does not recognize it!) ‘steamer’ for ‘mugger’ was unfamiliar to me, Wikipedia describes one as a robber on trains/buses.
12 DATELESS D ATE LESS Smooth surface, though not exactly PC!
14 UNDERSCORING a lazy composer may be ‘under scoring’.
18 BATTLEGROUND is where people fight, and tablet = ‘BATTLE, ground’
22 GATEPOST GATE (spectators) POST (mail). The expression ‘between you, me, and the gatepost’ was new to me. I didn’t quite get the ‘shares secrets’ bit at first, a web search for ‘gatepost + secret’ helped.
25 DALLAS (LHOSWALDA – WHO)* Dallas is where the shooting happened. Ingenious to use the name as anagram fodder.
26 TATTOO dd. The military performance, and the decorative art on skin.
27 OLEANDER O LEANDER (Hero’s lover). ‘oleander’ is a poisonous evergreen shrub.
28 PEERLESS PEERESS (noble woman) around L (student)
29 TETHER TET (the famous Tet Offensive) HER (woman)


2 YAMMER Y (say, why) EMMA reversed, R (right)
3 PARAMOUNT PARA (serviceman) MOUNT (stage)
4 COLERIDGE (DOGGEREL – G + I C)* &lit. I liked the reverse style of definition.
5 SLANDER (-i)SLANDER, where ‘islander’ is a native (son) of Isle of Man.
6 INSET IN (fashionable) SET (group)
7 GHOUL ? I get the ‘macabre sort’ but not the Yorkshire reference. I’m sure the comments section will provide help.
8 OPPOSING OP PO (works, back to back) SING (perform)
13 EGO E.G. (say) O (love)
15 CRUDDIEST Take away DI and you get CRUDEST. Very nice.
16 RED PLANET R (‘bar’ finally) (EATEN + PLOD)* – O
17 CARAPACE CAR (vehicle) APACE (fast). It took me a long time to solve this one, I was trying hard to find a 9-letter word for ‘fast’.
19 LAP dd. Circuit, and what a breaker (wave) does
20 RATIONS RATIOS (relations) around N (first letter of ‘nepotism’)
21 RACEME RACE ME. Atalanta promised to marry the man who could win a foot race against her.
23 EATEN hidden in ‘oeuvrEATERrine’
24 OZONE OZ (Australia) ONE (you?). OZONE is, informally, ‘fresh bracing air’

12 Responses to “Financial Times 13,101 / Alberich”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    7d homophone of ‘Goole’ a town in the East Riding of Yorkshire

  2. C. G. Rishikesh says:

    In 24dn, perhaps the intention is you = individual = one.

  3. nmsindy says:

    Another excellent puzzle from Alberich. Esp liked SLOPPY, DATELESS, OPPOSING, RATIONS.

  4. Anax says:

    As usual I wait for a blog on an Alberich puzzle then go and print it from the FT site and, as usual, a delightful offering.

    Loads of inventiveness and hard work has gone into the clue-writing. 25A DALLAS will have been mulled over for some time, 13D EGO is a great find which I haven’t seen before, and some serious research has gone into 21D RACEME.

    I found this harder than previous Alberich puzzles (perhaps double the solving time) but very rewarding.

  5. Eileen says:

    Re 13dn [obliquely]: I recommend Sandy Balfour’s ‘I say nothing [3]’ – and all his other books – a delight for crossword lovers, if you haven’t already discovered them.

  6. shuchi says:

    Thanks for all the comments.

    I’ve read ‘Pretty Girl in Crimson Rose (8)’, Eileen, and enjoyed it thoroughly.

  7. Eileen says:

    Hi Shuchi

    I came late to this puzzle, because my printer wasn’t functioning, so all the enthusiastic things had been said – 25ac was a superb near &lit! Thanks for the blog, anyway.

    I’m glad you appreciate Sandy Balfour’s work – he’s a Fairtrade champion, so that makes hin [at least] doubly good value!

  8. Anax says:

    “I say nothing”

    There’s my ignorance then. Honestly, though, this reading by Alberich was new to me. And – I truly believe I deserve a slap for this – I haven’t read any of Sandy’s books. When I first heard about “Pretty Girl…” I promised I’d buy myself a copy but never got round to it.

    Really need to stay in more.

  9. Eileen says:


    No – you misunderstand: this was a great clue, too. It’s just that I never miss an opportunity to plug Sandy’s books!

  10. nmsindy says:

    Yes, when I saw that clue, I said I’d seen it (or something like it) before somewhere, without remembering where.

    If it’s a good idea though, there’s no reason why it should not be repeated.

    The book is worth reading not least as it’s an example of a fairly thin genre, books about crosswords. I found it quite entertaining. Though like some even more famous books, I did wonder at times about its literal truth… But that did not spoil the enjoyment.

  11. John in USA says:

    19D I solved this, but was left feeling unsatisfied with the clue. A breaker may be a wave, and a wave may lap, but a breaker doesn’t lap, it breaks!

    With that sole reservation, it was a fun puzzle overall with some clever clues. I’ve dropped my subscription to FT so this may be my last comment. I’ve enjoyed the puzzles and the blog very much. Thank you everyone!

  12. Gaufrid says:

    Don’t give up. The FT puzzles are available daily, on-line, here:

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