Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,295 / Styx

Posted by smiffy on January 28th, 2010


A new(ish?) setter –  Styx seems to be very fastidious about the surface reading of the clues, as these are universally “natural” and concise.  However, this flawlessness is almost to a fault in places, where the wordplay  (e.g. 18A, 22A) or difficulty (11A, 23A, 6D) ends up slightly compromised as a result.  So (with an eye to the Winter Olympics just around the corner) I’d score this as 5.9 for  Style and 5.4 for Technical Merit.

1 SOFTENING – often in sing.
6 ABASE – a base.
9 EXTRA – (taxpayer)* – pay.
10 THE STICKS – thes{e} + ticks.  As in the phrase “Out in the sticks”.  Our setter resisted the temptation to go with an egotistical homophone here.
11 OVERTURN – overt + urn.
12 FRAMER – cryptic/punning def’n.  I was originally plumping for PRIMER here, before realising that goes on “underneath” rather than “outside”.  Never was a dab hand at decorating.
14 CONFINED – con + fined.
15 PLAN – plan{t}.
18 PART – trap<.  A sand trap, aka a bunker, in golf.
19 TEACHERS – ache in ters{e}.
22 INSERT – {pres}s in inert.
23 INFORMER – in + former.
25 TOMBSTONE – to + MB’s + tone.
26 DUNCE – dun + CE.  A fantastically harvested and processed definition!
27 RISEN – hidden.  The definition “above the horizon” needs to be taken in a solar context.
28 NOTARISED – no + (trade is)*.

1 STEP ON – pet< in son.
2 FATHER CHRISTMAS – (This charmer’s fat)*.  An &lit, although “Unnaturally” does seem to imply some sort of “Santa on Steroids”tabloid  scandal.
3 EXACTING – ex + acting.
4 INTERMIXED – (term + I) in (index)*.
5 GOES – double def’n.
6 ASTERN – a + stern.
7 ACCOMPLISHMENTS – a C + (sh) in compliments.
8 ENSHRINE – (the sinner)* -t.
13 DESCENDENT – (esc + end) in dent.
16 SPRINTER – S[mall] + printer.   Unfortunately, most of the racecourse sprinters that I’ve thrown money at over the years have been anything but “fast to finish”!
17 SECONDER – (censored)*.
20 ORISON – {f}O{u}R + is on.
21 FRIEND – r in fiend.
24 HORN – (rhino)* – i.  &lit.  A clever and economical note on which to finish.

6 Responses to “Financial Times 13,295 / Styx”

  1. Mike04 says:

    Thanks for the blog, smiffy.

    This is the kind of crossword puzzle that really appeals to me.
    At first it felt as though it was going to be a difficult one.
    However, with a little help from letters entered, it all seemed
    to get easier and easier towards the end!

    I agree with your comments, but overall I thought the clues were
    fair and well-constructed. In my opinion (ignoring the rather sad picture painted)
    24dn was clue of the day!

  2. Raoul says:

    I’m a bit of an &lit. fan.
    FATHER CHRISTMAS & RHINO are two classic clues.
    I’ll have to start some sort of “&lit Hall of Fame” – There’s two nominations straight way…

  3. Macca says:

    ‘fastidious’, ‘concise’, ‘economical’ and ‘flawless’ sound like a pretty good puzzle to me.
    No need to scratch the head and wonder what the setter may have been thinking.

    I enjoyed all this puzzle, particularly 25ac and 24dn.

  4. flex says:

    usual disclaimer – new to this game.

    In 7D, where is the definition for “accomplishments”? It’s hardly the same as “tributes”. Or am I missing something?

  5. Tom_I says:

    Flex, the definition in 7d is “exploits”. Exploits and accomplishments can both mean achievements.

  6. verbose says:

    @Flex: in 7d “Exploits” is the defn for “accomplishments”

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