Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,308 / Viking

Posted by shuchi on February 12th, 2010


After a series of easy Fridays, a tough one from Viking with some fine clues.

The bottom-right corner was the last to fall, with 21a/21d causing much perplexity before the ‘aha’ moments came. 25a led to confusion too as I had entered LOOM (centre of ‘gloomy’) which also fit the clue but messed up the crossings.


1 ALASKA ASK (request) in A LA (the musical note)
4 TRAILERS RAIL (banter) in TERS[e] (short snappy)
10 TIT FOR TAT TIT[ter] (bit of a laugh) FOR TAT (fray)
11 GRAZE G (good) LEVEL (raze)
12 NEAT First letters of ‘Natty Elegant And Trim’. An easy starter clue.
13 TASKMASTER ASK (require) M (Mike) in TASTER (sample)
15 EPISODE PE (exercises) reversed, I (one) (DOES)*
16 SWITCH C (clubs) in (WHIST)*
19 CLASPS P (power) in CLASS (style)
21 WITHOUT WIT (humour) around THOU (you, formally). Very nice and deceptive.
23 OBLIGATION OBLATION (sacrifice) around GI (soldier), reversed
25 REAR [d]REAR[y] (gloomy at centre)
27 DOGMA DOG (follow) MA (Master)
28 PEPPERONI PEP (go) PERONI (beer. Had to look this up, turns out there’s a Peroni_Brewery)
29 RESIDENT PRESIDENT (Bush, perhaps), with ‘P’ trimmed
30 PENNON PEN (writer) ON (working) around N (new). A new word for me. pennon = standard in the sense of a flag or banner.


2 ACTUARIAL ACTUAL (real) around AIR (publicity), reversed
3 KNOT [jun]K TON (weight), reversed
5 RETAKES SKATER (winter sportsman) reversed, around [pist]E
6 INGRATIATE (ATTIRE AGAIN – A)*. Out of habit I was expecting ‘again’ to bring in ‘RE’ in the answer. Good lesson not to make assumptions.
7 EXALT LT (lieutenant i.e. officer) below EX (former) A (ace)
8 SIERRA cd. in the phonetic alphabet, Sierra (S) is not far from Quebec (Q)
9 STRAFE ST (way) RAF (fliers) E[nemy] &lit. ‘Strafe’ is to attack by airplanes with machine-gun fire.
14 COASTGUARD COAST (cruise) GUARD (control)
17 CLOSE DOWN CLOWN (idiot) around (DOSE)*
18 STAR SIGN STAR (principal) SIGN (symptom)
20 SIT UPON SIT UP (exercise) ON (acceptable)
21 WHOOPS WHO’S (Doctor) around OP (operation). Another lovely clue.
22 FODDER F (fine) ODDER (stranger)
24 LAGOS LAOS (Asian country) around G (government)
26 CEDE sounds like ‘seed’ (top player)

10 Responses to “Financial Times 13,308 / Viking”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Shuchi
    I read 10ac as being: TATTER (fray) becomes TITTER (bit of a laugh) when you have TIT FOR TAT.

  2. Ian says:

    Thanks for the bloig Suchi,

    Agreed, Quite the hardest FT for a while and considerably more challenging than the Gordius and Phi in the Guardian and Indy repsectively today.

    Peroni is ubiquitous in the Italian chain restaurants in the UK.

    21ac, 14dn and 21dn were admirable.

  3. Pogel says:

    Hmm. Putting in “loom” for 25a didn’t help my cause.

  4. Agentzero says:

    Hi Pogel,

    That slowed me down too. I still think [g]LOOM[y] is a valid answer! (But for the crossing letters, of course.) Collins gives as a definition “to dominate or overhang,” which works for me.

    AsSchuchi notes, there were many nicely misleading clues today. I echo others’ comments on 21 ac in particular.

  5. Agentzero says:

    Wait! I need to retract, or at least qualify, my praise of 12 across.

    The clue seems to work so well because of the relationship between “lacking humour” and “formally.” Introducing someone formally is what one lacking humour might do. Unfortunately, “thou” is the informal pronoun (like the German “du”).

  6. Agentzero says:

    Sorry. My preceding comment should refer to 21 across, of course.

  7. Eileen says:

    Agentzero, I wondered if ‘formally’ was an error for ‘formerly’.

  8. Viking says:

    thou: I was relying on The Chambers Dictionary, which qualifies the word as “formal, church, dialect or archaic”. The first of these fits the surface reading best.

  9. verbose says:

    Thanks Shuchi. I have a question about 2d. How is AIR “publicity”? To air something is to publicize it, yes, but there appears to be some sort of noun-verb switch here.

  10. shuchi says:

    Hi verbose

    AIR can be noun too, e.g. to give air to one’s views = to give publicity to one’s views.

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