Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,105 / Monk

Posted by Gaufrid on June 17th, 2009


A good assortment of clue types today in a moderately challenging puzzle. As usual with Monk, all clues were scrupulously fair but so far I have been unable to understand the wordplay in 21a. 

1 HEELED  cd – well-heeled = rich
4 ACIDIC  CID (policemen) in A1 (main road) C (caught)
8 ATTEMPT  TA (volunteers) reversed TEMPT (invite)
9 BRUSH-UP  RUSH (dart) in PUB (bar) reversed
11 PLAID CYMRU  PLACID (calm) with the C moved to the end Y (unknown) MR (chap) U (universal)
12 AGHA  AGHA[st] (horrified losing way)
13 DOGMA  DOG (follow) MA (master)
16 ISOMETRY  SOME (a little) in I TRY (I attempt)
18 LOOSE  LOO (toilet) S[itting] E[ffortlessly]
20 NAVY  d&cd
21 TWENTY-FIVE ??? – 25 is 5² (a square) and a 5×5 grid is the smallest square that can have every cell visited by a knight (chess piece) using normal moves but, apart from that, this clue has defeated me. Edit: Rishi has the answer, see comment #1
23 KARAJAN  RAJA (Indian prince) in KAN (state) – Herbert von Karajan, conductor
24 DESPAIR  ESP (strange feeling) in [sa]D AIR (song)
25 ERRANT  hidden in ‘speakER RANTed’
26 PENNON  NN (news) in PEON (labourer)

1 HOTEL  HOT (passionate) [coupl]E [unfaithfu]L
3 EXPECTANT  EXPECT (trust) ANT (worker)
5 CORFU  COR (my) FU[n] (pleasure curtailed)
6 DISEASE  SEA (water) S[alt] (hint of salt) in DIE (choke)
7 CLUBHOUSE  CLUB (stick) HOUSE (domestic) – the definition is ’19 on course’ referring to golfers using the term ’19th hole’ for ‘clubhouse’
13 DISPARATE  I (one) SPAR (box) in DATE (fruit)
15 POLYTHENE  L[a]Y (lay regularly) in *(THE OPEN)
17 MAYFAIR  cd – reference to the board game Monopoly
19 OFF SPIN  OFF (postponed) SPIN (revolution) – ‘over’ as in cricket
21 TWAIN  dd – Mark Twain, author
22 V-SIGN  hidden reversal in ‘slaNG IS Viewed’

8 Responses to “Financial Times 13,105 / Monk”

  1. C. G. Rishikesh says:


    Re 21ac:

    The solution at 25 is ERRANT and we have the term knight-errant. I think there is some connection there!

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks Rishi, that explains it. So, nothing to do with 5², simply the number of a relevant square in the grid.

  3. Testy says:

    Mark Twain was just his pen name and was simply a pun on a river sailors’ phrase for water that is two fathoms deep (i.e. the water comes up to the second mark or “mark twain”). Given this, I think that the clue is a little weak as both parts are effectively ultimately referring to the same definition (i.e. two).

    I’d say that 21 is still referring to the fact that 25 is a “square” (i.e. a square number) as well as being some kind of vague (and to my mind too vague) reference to a knight-errant.

  4. smiffy says:

    The first puzzle I’ve done in a couple of weeks (couldn’t resist a Monk offering, plus I need to get “back on the horse” tomorrow anyway, after last week’s blogging AWOL), so a little rusty here.

    My only quibble was the punning definition in 19D. Don’t off-spinners typically bowl complete overs of the stuff, rather than divvying it up with a mix of, say, medium pace?

    Also thought it worth acknowledging the Nina in the outside columns (A PINK PAPER).

  5. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Smiffy
    Re 19d. I don’t know much about cricket but don’t spinners mix up their deliveries with googlies, leg breaks etc so the over may not all be off spin?

    Thanks for pointing out the Nina. I never think to look for one in the FT as they are so rare in this paper.

  6. nmsindy says:

    When the setter is Monk, wherever the puzzle appears, it’s worth looking out for a Nina or other theme.

  7. Dreadnought says:

    damn, I had 3d as dependant, kept me back for ages…well actually I gave up and came here

    I like 21a – now that someone has pointed out to me why it is 25. thanks Rishi.

    btw I’ve bowled several overs of what I call off-spin with absolutely no evidence that the ball was spinning at all, before it got clubbed to the boundary…

    I get the concept, but could someone pls etymologise/de-acronym-ise NINA for me? thanks!

  8. nmsindy says:

    Not an acronym – a Nina is a feature in the grid that is independent of the clues.

    The derivation is from the American artist Al Hirschfield who always liked to incorporate the name of his daughter Nina into his sketches.

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