Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,268 / Cinephile

Posted by smiffy on January 7th, 2010


Christmas Prize Puzzle on 24 December.
“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the grid.  Geographic isometry the Reverend had hid.”

Thematic clues are denoted below as “grid entry {correspondingly-clued city/country}”.
Of the two “unused” countries that fit the criterion, I managed to come up with  Greece {Athens} and New Zealand {Wellington}.  However, a quick web-trawl suggested that Algeria {Algiers}, and Suva {Fiji} are also candidates. Anyone have a definitive list or number?

1 TBILISI {GEORGIA} – Ge or G[a]ia.
5 ILL HUMOUR – I’ll + hum + our.
14 TRAINER – double def’n.
15 FLUMMOX – lummy[y] in fox.
16 SEDAN – hidden.
17 AROMATHERAPY – (hear a Tory MP + a)*
18 GEORGIA {TBILISI} – TB (tuberculosis) + il[lness] + is + i[t].
19 A-BOMB – AB + omb[udsman].
21 BETTERMENT – be + (term in tent).
26 SHEET – She-ET (i.e. a female alien).  I think the definition is based on @white as a sheet”.
27/41 KWAZULU NATAL – I somehow dredged this one up from the recesses of my mind, once I had nearly all the checking letters. Brace yourself for the wordplay (which took me a while): zu (homophone of “zoo”) + lunat[ics] ( a lot of fools) in kwaal (the South African word kraal, spoken in an Elmer Fudd voice; hence the intentional misprinted container word “pwotected”)!!
29 EN SUITE – (in use)* + te[rm].
31 ROME WAS NOT BUILT IN A DAY – (Bret, down + out in Malaysia)*. Phew!. A thematically tangential phrase to help pull the whole thing together.  Impressive…
33 ARMENIA {YEREVAN} – Rev in (Ye + an).
34 TALLINN {ESTONIA} – s in Eton + I,A (=”two firsts”).
35 INAPT – nap in it.
37 PERU {LIMA} – climate – (etc)<.
38 HYPOPLASIA – “High” + pop + l + Asia.
44 LEAGUER– (age rule)*.  A lesser-spotted form of beleguer.
45 HALLUCINOSIS – Hal + “Lucy” + (no sis).  The defintion “seeing pink elephants” is a beautifully whimsical one that I’d never encountered before.
51 VIVIDER – VI (twice) + red<.
52 ICE RINK – i/c + Erin (Ireland) + K. I get the components, but don’t quite follow the syntax here.
53 STRAINING – rain in sting.
54 ACRONYM – crony in A.M.

2 BANDA – re: Hastings Banda (the first of our two African leaders). Band “A” being a council tax tranche.
3 LARCH – l + arch.
4 SO FAR – sofa + r.
6 LOME {TOGO} – to go.
7 HEXAGON – hex + a + go + n.
8 MOSCOW {RUSSIA} – “rusher”.
9 UNDIGNIFIED – (dig + N) in unified.
10 OTTAWA {CANADA} – can + ad + a.
11 GABORONE {BOTSWANA} – swan in (boat)*.
12 PURPLE – pl in pure.
13 ANKARA {TURKEY} – punning.
20 BOTSWANA {GABORONE} – gab (gift of the…) + or one.
21 BOKASSA – (OK + ass) in BA. Time to delve into the realms of African leaders again (far less savoury than 2D).
22 TEA FOR TWO – (at Tower of)*.  The irresistibility of the anagram fodder more than excuses/justifies the associated anagrind, in my opinion.
23 MAURITIUS {PORT LOUIS} – port + (soul I)*.
25 ASUNCION {PARAGUAY} – (R + a + (Aug)<) in pay.
26 SYRIA – Airy’s<
28 UMBEL – hidden.
29 ESTONIA {TALLINN} – tall inn.
30 EGYPT {CAIRO} – I in Caro (Anthony).
32 MEMORIALIST – ([i]mmoralities)*.
36 ARTISTIC – (distraction)* – don.
37 POLAND {WARSAW} – war + saw.
39 YEREVAN {ARMENIA} – men in aria.
40 LUANDA {ANGOLA} – [t]ango + LA.
42 LUSAKA {ZAMBIA} – Gambia with G as Z.
43 RUSSIA {MOSCOW} – MOs (Medical Officers) cow.
46 LYRIC – hidden.
47 CAIRO {EGYPT} – [th]e + gyp + [i]t.  I’m fairly certain that the word gyp derives ultimately from Egypt (via gypsy).
48 NEEDY – Ed in (General) Ney; one of Napoleon’s higher profile sidekicks.
49 OVEN – [c]oven.

9 Responses to “Financial Times 13,268 / Cinephile”

  1. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thank you, Smiffy, for your fine blog.
    Another one of The Rev’s Capital Crosswords, but this one was even more challenging then the previous ones (in the FT and The Guardian), I thought.
    I was a bit confused by the information at the start. Just like you, I thought there must be more than 15 countries in the world like that (you mentioned some already, but there’s also Serbia/Zagreb, Ghana/Accra, Tibet/Llasa, to name a few).
    In THIS crossword there were 8 pairs, 6 just capitals (in the grid) and 1 lonely country (Poland) – which makes it 15 altogether. That’s what Cinephile meant.
    While solving I wasn’t sure either whether there were 9 countries in the clues or in the grid. The same for the capitals.
    Anyway, I got there in the end.
    Splendid puzzle.

    I can’t help you with 52ac: the K seems to be in the wrong place. Maybe we have to read it as the ‘in charge of Ireland’-king, like a kind of adjective.
    I am not convinced that ‘white’ is enough as a definition for SHEET in 26ac.

    In 1d there is, of course, also the reference to council tax Band A.
    And in 30d you forgot the explanation of CAIRO, which is: the sculptor Anthony CARO around I.

    There are too many good clues to mention (too many clues anyway), but I especially liked the r/w naughtiness of 27,41.

    Satisfying crossword.

  2. smiffy says:

    Hi Sil,

    Thanks for clarifying the rubric – and confirming that the sample set is pretty large.
    While solving, I couldn’t help but notice that there are several American states that also fit the bill. Perhaps fodder for a regular grid-sized thematic in the future?

    Apols for the omissions at 1 & 30, which I’ll correct pronto.

  3. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Well, maybe an idea for Mr Graham.
    BTW, a bit sneaky of him to put SYRIA in the grid as well (26d).
    First I thought that’s one too, perhaps Amman being the capital – but then I got it all wrong: Syria and Damascus make a perfect pair as do Jordan and Amman.
    Of course, Cinephile was absolutely fair: the definition (‘Land’) was in the clue, so it couldn’t be one of ‘them’. But even so.

  4. Pete Maclean says:

    It took me several days to finish this puzzle — just what the doctor ordered for the Christmas break.

    I agree that 52ac looks faulty. I missed 10dn — suspected it was Ottawa but could not convince myself. And I also had to look up “seeing pink elephants”.

  5. Sylvia says:

    A few more for the sake of completing a list? –
    Rangoon – Myanmar; St.John’s – Antigua/Barbuda; Nouakchott – Mauritania; Tokyo – Japan; Ouagadougou – Burkina Faso; Koror – Palau; Sana’a – Yemen; Banjul – Zambia; Kigali – Rwanda; Lusaka – Zambia; Taipei – Taiwan.
    And thanks to Sil for introducing me to FT!

  6. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Sylvia, re #5, if you are new to the FT, be aware that:

    Cinephile = Araucaria
    Dante = Rufus
    Mudd = Paul
    IO = Enigmatist
    Bradman = Pasquale
    Dogberry = Shed
    Armonie = Chifonie

    and please, give a warm welcome to the friendly Neo and the brilliant Alberich !!
    See also:

  7. Sylvia says:

    Many thanks for the information – I am hooked! Now completed the last 6 Cinephiles and Mudds, and love the Alberich site. His articles are a joy to read. Look forward to a Neo.

  8. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Yes, that Alberich site is a joy, indeed.
    I think, he is such a nice person.

    In my list of setters I forgot an important one; Cincinnus = Orlando.
    Sylvia, you are hooked? So, will you marry me?

  9. Sylvia says:

    Ha ha! I AM available! Our names seem intertwined at least! But with all these crosswords wouldn’t have time.

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