Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,107 / Aardvark

Posted by shuchi on June 19th, 2009

shuchi.

I enjoyed this puzzle overall, except that I thought there was an overload of ‘select nth letter’ type of wordplay. The clues are a little wordy but have entertaining surfaces, notably 8A, 27A, 6D.

Some unusual indicators too, like ‘adversely’ for reversal and ‘meets’ for container.

Getting the 13-letter answers to 1D and 10D quickly helped with the rest. The bottom-half held me up longer with EPOCHAL being the last to go in. The wordplay for 3D and 14D elude me at the moment.

Across

1 WITNESS (WINS + SET)*
5 L-PLATE LP (disk) LATE (defunct)
8 NUT CUTLET NUT (head) C (first letter of ‘chef’) (-o)UTLET (retail business – old). I didn’t help myself by assuming the second word had to be MILLET.
9 CHOIR sounds like QUIRE (paper). Just learnt that ‘quire’ is also a variant/archaic spelling of ‘choir’.
11 SHIRE Anagram of SHIRE+C gives RICHES. Interesting wordplay.
12 SUFFRAGAN SUFF(-e)R (tolerate, without energy) (-p)AGAN (heathen without top)
13 RESERVED RESERVE (substitute) D (6th letter of ‘united’)
15 EMOTED DE (‘some’ in French) TO ME (in my opinion), all reversed, ‘adversely’ i.e. ‘placed opposite’ being the reversal indicator.
17 AVENGE AVE (greeting) N (first letter of ‘nod’) GE (e.g. reversed). Liked this clue.
19 SOULLESS Sounds like SOLE-LESS. ‘callous’ is meant to be a noun in the surface I suppose. Is it an alternate spelling of ‘callus’ i.e. hardened skin? From online dictionaries, I don’t find confirmation of this. ‘callous’ is ‘emotionless’ (adjective) or ‘having calluses’ (adjective again), but the surface becomes ungrammatical if so.
22 TROSSACHS OS (ordinary seaman) S (first letter of ‘search’) in (CHARTS)*. The Trossachs is an area in Scotland. Got this from the wordplay and verified with Wikipedia.
23 PARMA PARA (soldier) around M (maiden). Parma is a city in north Italy.
24 ETHER hidden in ‘crickET HERoes’. 1979 song by Gang of Four?
25 LAMPLIGHT MAL rev. PLIGHT (difficult situation)
26 CLARET CLARINET (musical instrument) – IN
27 EMPRESS E (first letter of ‘edge’) M (last letter of ‘Beckham’) PRESS (paparazzi)

Down

1 WINDSOR CASTLE WINDSOR (a type of chair) CAST (thrown out) LE (‘the’ French)
2 TATTIES TAT (rubbish) (SITE)*, and I learn through Google that ‘mince and tatties’ is a popular Scottish dish.
3 EDUCE E (last letter of ‘garage’) DUCE (homophone of a word that means ‘petrol’?)
4 SALESMEN (NAMELESS)*
5 LET OFF LE (last letters of ‘likeable’) TOFF (aristocrat)
6 LACHRYMAL H in (LYCRA)* first letters of ‘make amusing line’
7 THOUGHT H (first letter of ‘Holland’) in TOUGH (hard) T (time)
10 RENE DESCARTES (TREES)* around (NEEDS* CAR)
14 REGISTRAR I knew of ‘registrar’ as one who maintains official records, ‘doctor’ is a new meaning for me.
16 CONSOMME CON (against) SOMME (from Battle of the Somme). Took a while to spot that the definition was ‘clear course’.
18 EPOCHAL COPE (deal) reversed, HAL (diminutive of the name ‘Harry’)
20 EN REGLE ENLE (Henley contracted) around reg (first 3 letters of ‘regatta’)
21 SCULPT (CUPS)* T, around L. I like ‘plastic’ as anagram indicator and the pun on ‘mould’.
23 PAL UP AL in PUP. I haven’t seen ‘meets’ used as container indicator before, was expecting a charade here. At first I didn’t think it was fair, but as I blog I realize ‘meet’ can also mean ‘intersect’.

8 Responses to “Financial Times 13,107 / Aardvark”

  1. Eileen says:

    Hi Shuchi

    I didn’t actually do this puzzle – because I couldn’t read it! – but in 3dn the homophone [?] is ‘juice’.

  2. C. G. Rishikesh says:

    I too tried to do this but the clues in the image file were so illegible that I just could not persist. After solving a couple of them desultorily, I gave up!

    Usually, I set up the grid in a crossword software, and for clues I save the image file to my disk, open it in a photo app. where I can enlarge it to be able to view better. I enter the answers in the grid in one window while looking at clues in another.

    Of late, the clues in the FT crossword file are not clear even when the image as a whole is enlarged.

  3. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Shuchi
    14d is GIST (heart) R (right) in REAR (nurse)

    If anyone wants to follow my example and contact the FT to request an improvement in the legibility of the puzzle clues they can do so here:

    http://specials.ft.com/cgi-bin/Specials/Common/nph-SubmitForm.cgi?Form=ContactUs

  4. shuchi says:

    Thanks for the comments. It’s a relief to know that I’m not alone in finding the text blurry, I was growing alarmed about my eyesight.

    Writing out 14D here, for which the annotation is pending:
    Nurse keeps right, under heart doctor (9)

    The answer looks like REGISTRAR, but I can’t see how.

  5. shuchi says:

    Hi Gaufrid

    I posted before seeing your comment#3. Thanks for clearing up 14D, and for the link – I’ll contact FT rightaway!

  6. C. G. Rishikesh says:

    Is “registrar” in a UK hospital a qualified doctor, as the clue seems to suggest?

    A reason why we in India are not able to get the clue quickly.

  7. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Rishi
    Simple answer, yes. A registrar is a doctor in a hospital below the level of consultant but above the newly qualified staff, or as Chambers puts it “a hospital doctor in one of the intermediate grades”.

  8. Richard says:

    Shuchi
    In 24A I assumed “number” to mean something that numbs, like an anaesthetic, rather than a song.

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