Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,227 / Hamilton

Posted by shuchi on November 6th, 2009


Hamilton’s second puzzle in FT, I believe. More adventurous in wordplay than the debut puzzle a few weeks ago.

I had a good time solving it. One or two words (18a,14d) that needed to be looked up, had helpfully easy clues to balance out the difficulty.

A few questions are indicated along with the clues.


12 TRIPE dd
13 KEY STAGE KEY (vital) STAGE (phase). ‘Key stage’ is a term used for the education system in England. Another new thing learnt today.
15 RED ADMIRAL RED (Soviet) ADMIRAL (officer). ‘red admiral’ is, in fact, a species of butterfly, cryptically defined in the clue as “…skipper? No, another!”
16 ODER alternate letters of ‘fOnD hEaRt’. Nowadays, it takes me my surprise when ‘flower’ turns out to be an actual flower and not a river.
18 OFFA Wikipedia lists not one but 3 kings called Offa, here. The wordplay is a bit dodgy, I think, if this parsing is right: OFFA comes from ‘of fear’, minus ER (the Queen). Placing ‘(not the Queen)’ away from the fodder, and E and R not being together in the fodder, will raise eyebrows.
20 ASTERISKED (DARK SIDE SET)* – D (large amount? D=500, but that can’t be it). It’s a nicely deceptive surface, with ‘starred’ making you think of films.
22 ARRESTED AR (six months i.e. half of ‘yeAR’) RESTED (relaxed). Very clever, and another smooth surface.
24 ALPHA dd. Alpha is Bayer’s designation for the brightest star in a constellation, although this piece states this may not always be true!
26 TOMBOLA T.O. (Tax Officer) around OMB (?) + LA (‘the’ in French)
27 EVIL EYE dd
28 NURSERY NURSE R[osemar]Y in between NURSE and NURSE, one each for Florence (Nightingale) and Edith (Cavell).


2 UNTRIED If this is an anagram of T (for model) + RUINED, then which is the anagrind?
3 INNUENDO (UNION)* around [ag]END[a]
4 EMMA dd. Old hands will get this on sight.
5 SHAMEFACED (CHASED FAME)* Another fine anagram.
6 AVOWS cd
7 DISBAND DI’s (girl’s) BAND (group)
9 FREE TRADE AREA FREE (rescue) TRADE (business) AREA (sector)
14 KISS ME KATE A musical comedy by Cole Porter, which I had to look up, though the KATE connection with Ms. Winslet was obvious.
17 TIRAMISU I in TRAM (vehicle) IS U[nrecognisable]
19 FOREMAN FOR (sympathetic towards) (NAME)*
21 KIPPERS ‘s’ of SKIPPER moved to the end. The word ‘skipper’ also makes an appearance in 15a.
23 SPOOR S (second) POOR (third-rate)
25 LEVY cd

5 Responses to “Financial Times 13,227 / Hamilton”

  1. C. G. Rishikesh says:

    26 is TO MBO LA, where MBO is management buyout (takeover)

  2. C. G. Rishikesh says:

    Clue 20ac reads well but I agree with you that D can stand only for ‘large number’, not ‘large amount’.
    Besides, the anagram fodder has two Ds, whereas we have to discard only one (I had great difficulty in deciding which one I should give up).

  3. C. G. Rishikesh says:

    The surface reading of 2d is smooth but the wordplay leaves me a little dissatisfied.
    The substitution of T for ‘model’ to get part of the anagram fodder does not bother me anymore but I am unable to reconcile myself with the absence of an anagrind.
    I believe that the question mark at the end of the clue does not redeem the situation.
    I would be interested to know the reactions of others.

  4. verbose says:

    Thanks Shuchi. Pretty easy, but I found many of the clues problematic. E.g.:

    6D: I didn’t read it as cd. I thought it was AS (since) taking VOW (profession). Not entirely satisfying, as VOW and AVOWS are water from the same well.

    10A: Chalk and cheese aren’t technically antonyms

    25D: I thought this was intended to be a dd, but again, both meanings are water from the same well.

    19A, 20A, and 2D are also questionable for the reasons mentioned earlier in the thread, so that’s a high number of clues that don’t work quite right.

    I seem to recall having seen Hamilton more than once before, but that might just be memory playing tricks.

  5. shuchi says:

    Thanks for your comments. 6d, 25d actually read more like straight clues than dd/cd to me.

    Coincidentally, today’s Guardian crossword seems to have the same problems with dds as this one. There are very interesting comments on the blog (link), especially Uncle Yap’s #13 in which he suggests a new clue type called ‘dud’ for ‘duplicated definition’!

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