Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,178 / Phssthpok

Posted by Gaufrid on September 10th, 2009


Apologies for the tardiness of this post. It would seem that Smiffy’s holiday has gone on longer than he originally intended, or something else has prevented him from posting a blog, so here is one I prepared earlier.

I can’t say I particularly enjoyed this puzzle because there seemed to be a degree of looseness in some of the definitions and/or wordplay and I had a few question marks left at the end (particularly against 15d) as indicated below.

10 PILAF  A in FLIP (toss) reversed
11 BAFFLED  FAB (marvellous) reversed FLED (abandoned)
13 SKI  SKI[n] (pelt nameless)
14 RIB-TICKLING  RIB (bone) TICKLING (stimulating) – the second ‘funny bone’ is presumably only there to improve the surface. The clue could easily have been shortened to ‘funny bone stimulation’.
17 BAGEL  BAG (capture) EL (train) – ‘el’ is more properly an elevated railroad rather than a train.
18 P T A  T (time) in PA (father)
19 CARET  CARE (vigilance) T (junction)
23 BOW  dd
25 ISRAELI  IS (one’s) RA (god) ELI (priest)
28 ESTER  [h]ESTER or EST[h]ER- esters are present in many things, not just perfume, and perfume has other ingredients besides esters, so rather a loose definition IMO.
29 ATTENUATE  homophone of ‘at ten you ate’

1 SCUBAS  CUBA (Caribbean country) in SS (ship) – Chambers, Collins and COED do not give ‘scuba’ as a verb and only list it as a modifier in scuba diver or scuba diving.
3 TITLE ROLES  TITLE (championship) ROLE (position) S (second)
4 FEND  F (fine) END (finale)
5 ILLUMINATI  ILLUMINATI[on] (light not on)
6 SPAS  SAPS (drains) reversed
7 ALKALI  AL[tar] KALI (goddess)
8 AFFRIGHT  FF (very loud) replaces L (left) in ALRIGHT (OK) – ‘alright’ is in Chambers but should the clue not have read ‘….. very loud – not left in OK’.
15 BIPARTISAN  BI (homophone of ‘buy’, corrupt) PARTISAN (soldier)
BI (homophone of ‘by’?) PART (corrupt soldier?) IS AN (on) – the definition is presumably simply ‘both sides’ but I fail to see the wordplay though a homophone could be indicated (‘according to’ = by?) and ‘corrupt soldier’ could be PARA with a letter changed. I sincerely hope I am wrong and that someone can offer a better explanation. Full clue: “According to reporter, corrupt soldier is on both sides (10)”.
Edit: Thanks Agentzero for the correction but it now seems that the definition may be wrong. See comments #1 & 2.
16 KICK AROUND  KICK (how to end addiction) A ROUND (a variety of drinks) – but a round of drinks could be five pints of bitter so no variety there.
20 RUBAIYAT  *(ART I BUY A) – ‘first-class’ = A
22 RARITY  RIT (slowing down) in RAY (streak) – streak = ray???
24 WORMED  ME in WORD (undertaking)
26 ECRU  hidden in ‘cluE CRUciverbalist’
27 SETT  SET (fixed) T (time)

3 Responses to “Financial Times 13,178 / Phssthpok”

  1. Agentzero says:


    Thanks for the blog. In 15 down, I think “bi” is a homophone of “buy”–if you buy a government official you are corrupting him. “Soldier” is then simply “partisan.”

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks Agentzero. I knew there had to be a simpler explanation for 15d. I had considered partisan, but didn’t see (hear) the buy/bi homophone, but that means the definition must be ‘on both sides’ which is not the meaning of ‘bipartisan’. This was why I was looking for a way of accounting for the ‘on’.

  3. Agentzero says:

    Yes, it seemed a stretch. I suppose you could justify it on the basis of “the support for the bill was bipartisan” = “the support for the bill was on both sides [of the aisle]”

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

four + 8 =