Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,137 / Viking

Posted by shuchi on July 24th, 2009


A characteristically challenging, well-crafted offering from Viking.


1 AMBLER [g]AMBLER (better). Ref. to Eric Ambler, English author of spy novels.
4 TWO PIECE CE (church), after (POW)< (internee) in TIE (restraint)
10 BEACHWEAR EACH WE (separately, you and I) in BAR (pub). Liked this clue.
11 ROOST ROT (go off) around OS (huge)
12 RAPT R (right) APT (proper)
15 ACETONE AC (accountant) + (E NOTE)<. Clever play on “solvent”.
16 ENERGY cd. Think Einstein’s formula of mass-energy equivalence: E = mc2. Very inventive!
23 MISCELLANY IS CELL (current source) in MANY (a lot)
25 AFRO A F (fine) + R (Romeo) + O (love)
27 EXERT EX[p]ERT (authority – p)
28 EYEBALLED sounds like “I bawled” :)
29 DEMARKED D.E. (doctor of engineering) MARKED (about to become known). Update: See Gaufrid’s comment#3.
30 ENZYME hidden in ‘frENZY MErits’


1 ARBOREAL BOR[e] (drill) in AREA (space) L (left). A word I knew hazily and it took all the crossings to recall it.
3 ECHT [me]C[ca] in (THE)<. Didn’t know the word but with the wordplay and crossings it couldn’t be anything else.
5 WARLIKE (RAW)< (harsh) LIKE (relish)
6 PARASCENDS PAR (standard) AS C[ar] ENDS (dies). Is this a neologism? Chambers 2000 lists the noun ‘parascending’, not its verb form.
7 EBOLA E (drug) BOL[t] (swallow) A. Apt imagery in the wordplay.
8 ESTEEM [s](EMESTE)*[r]. Simple, elegant clue.
9 REVIVE V (victor) + I, in (EVER)<. “I follow victor” is good for the surface but doesn’t it make the wordplay ungrammatical?
14 BONESETTER ONES in BETTER (improved). Great clue I thought.
17 GAINFULLY (FALL GUY IN)*. Subtle definition: “getting payment”. I was looking for a word meaning “payment” at first.
18 CANOODLE OO (pair – abbrev for spectacles?) in CANDLE (light)
20 RELIEVE REVE[l] around LIE (press). “pen” = c/c indicator, and “lie” as in “These things lie upon my mind.” It took me a while to parse this.
21 MINUET MI (note) (TUNE)*
22 IMPEND I MP (politician) END (ambition)
24 STEAM STEM (stop) around A (article). I like “stocking” as c/c indicator. “using old technology”, as in steam engine.
26 PAWN PAW (handle) on N (new). PAWN = tool, as in someone/something used to further a purpose. The last one entered into the grid after much pondering, I hope I have this right!

16 Responses to “Financial Times 13,137 / Viking”

  1. C. G. Rishikesh says:

    9d: I don’t know what you have in mind but I think the clue as written is fine. Sorry I can’t explain it in grammatical terms.

  2. C. G. Rishikesh says:

    3d is new to me also; it’s actually a German word.

  3. Gaufrid says:

    Hi shuchi
    I think 29a is DEMERGER – EMERGE (become known) in DR (doctor).

  4. C. G. Rishikesh says:

    Re 26d: Of course, your answer is spot on! However, I too had some initial difficulty in parsing it.
    In this down clue, we take N (‘new’) and then put ‘handle’ (PAW) on it.

  5. Eileen says:

    Hi Shuchi

    Thanks for the explanation of RELIEVE. I got the ‘pen’ idea but somehow missed REVE[l]

    Re 9dn: “I follow Rishi in thinking the clue as written is fine”. Does that help?

    Re 24dn: I think ‘steam radio’ is perhaps a more apt illustration.

  6. C. G. Rishikesh says:

    Re 9dn, again.

    I have just figured out what Shuchi means. From what I have read in her blog elsewhere she expects the wordplay, besides the surface reading, to be grammatical.

    Let’s take the clue

    I follow victor in continually backing rally

    No prob about the surface reading.

    The wordplay is RE(V I)VE<-

    Here I is after V. I think Shuchi expects I follows V.

    But, if I have understood Shuchi’s import (purport?) correctly, that is a requirement that is not necessary at all.

    Is the surface reading grammatical? Is the subsidiary indication fine? For me these are the prime considerations.

  7. shuchi says:

    Thanks for all your comments.

    Re: 9dn, it is probably a pedantic point – I was coming from the distinction between the personal pronoun “I” and the letter “I”. On the surface, “I follow victor” is fine, in the wordplay “I follow V” doesn’t seem right. I recall Ximenes suggests “I must follow …” or “One follows …” as a way out of this situation.

  8. Anax says:

    Unfortunately no, the surface reading isn’t grammatical. Only “I follows victor” would be right (and it should be Victor anyway). The setter could have used “I will follow… / I should follow…” etc, but in the clue as it stands we might as well have the dreaded “I am following…”.

    HOWEVER – for me the question is whether this admittedly very minor slip spoils the enjoyment. A resounding “Nah” at this end.

  9. Eileen says:

    Ah, the penny drops! Thanks, Rishi.

    I’d had reservations about 28ac, too, until I realised that ‘one’ = ‘I’.

  10. C. G. Rishikesh says:

    Anax parenthetically comments: “and it should be Victor anyway”.


    I suppose I can follow a victor just as I can follow a loser, though in rallies we go after only winners who take all.

  11. C. G. Rishikesh says:

    Sorry, Anax. I realise that while ‘victor’ can yield V only as a mere substitution of the initial letter of a given word (a trick that some clue-writers adopt), Victor yields V as the initial of a proper name (as in monograms).

    Some message boards allow us to delete comments that we make hastily but here we can only write a face (and other parts)-saving follow-up.

  12. Anax says:

    Hello there C G!

    My apologies. I’ve always believed that Victor (for V) in the international phonetic alphabet was based on the proper noun; a further check in Chambers reveals that the lower case version (or should that be Version) is also Valid. very much so, in fact.

  13. Andrew says:

    Hi all – glad to see the FT blogs are livening up!

    I think the “pair” in 18dn is the cricketing meaning – a duck (0) in both innings.

  14. Viking says:

    I apologise for the fault in 9dn, which was an oversight. Had I noticed it, I would have used “I will”. This is the sort of thing that can get overlooked when one has spent ages fine-tuning the surface reading, then suddenly a change of order makes the idea gel, but the grammar is no longer consistent.

  15. shuchi says:

    Hello Viking, Thank you for your comment and the very entertaining crossword today. No prob. about 9dn, it is in otherwise flawless puzzles that such trivial matters even catch the eye.

  16. Paul B says:

    You would not be the first to have allowed an error to creep into his or her puzzle, Viking, so don’t lose too much sleep over it. On the other hand, it’s nice to have people around who not only spot such things, but know WHY they’re wrong.

    FWIW I’m a big fan of the idea that the surface is utterly arbitrary: that is to say it’s always a product of the SI and never the other way about. ‘Crafting one’s surface’ therefore isn’t crafting the surface at all – it’s just making sure the thing reads as misleadingly as possible whilst retaining, above all, the grammatical maths.

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