Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,331 / Alberich

Posted by Gaufrid on March 11th, 2010


I covered Alberich’s first FT puzzle eighteen months ago and my opening comment was “I don’t think I have ever completed an FT quite so quickly, the answers just seemed to enter themselves”. How things have changed since then! This one took me twice as long as usual and involved a fair degree of head-scratching.

Only a handful of answers were entered during the first pass through the clues. I started at the end and worked backwards and, after getting 28dn and 26dn immediately, I thought this was going to be easier than yesterday’s Io. Not so! Some clever cluing led to misdirection and an inability, for me, to see what was the definition and what was the wordplay in several clues. I thought a number of clues were very good, particularly 17ac, though I was not too keen on 22dn.

A tough but enjoyable challenge, thanks Alberich.

1 ANCHOR  dd
4 LEMONADE  A (one) in LE MONDE (paper)
10 PYRITES  IT in PYRES (heaps of combustible material)
11 ARTICLE  [p]ARTICLE (proton, for example, that’s not positive) &lit
12 OBOE  O (old) B[l]O[k]E[s]
13 DISTRAUGHT  I’D (I would) reversed S[chool] R (reading) in TAUGHT (educated)
16 CRAVEN  C (caught) RAVEN (bird)
17 INVERSE  dd
20 FISSION  homophone of ‘fish ‘n’
21 NUBILE  NU[de] (half naked figure) BILE (humour)
24 KINGFISHER  *(KI[d] IN FRESH G) – def. ‘halcyon’, the kingfisher, once believe to make a floating nest on the sea, which remained calm during hatching
25 CUBE  B (born) in CUE (homophone of Kew, London area) – 64 = 4³
27 EN CLAIR  N (note) in ECLAIR (cake)
29 SAUSAGE  S[chnitzel] AUS (from German) AGE (period)
30 SUNDERED  *(RE[ading] SUDDEN)
31 MODEST  dd – Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Russian composer

1 APPROACH  PROA (boat) in *(CHAP)
2 CORPORATION  PR (public relations) OC (officer) reversed ORATION (speaking)
3 OATH  [l]OATH[e] (unbridled hate)
5 EXACTING  *(C[hor]E TAXING) &lit
6 OUTRAGEOUS  OUT (published) RAG (newspaper) E[xtreme] O[ffence] US (America)
7 ARC  ARC[h] (knowing without hospital)
8 EGESTA  *(GETS) in E (eastern) A (area)
9 ASTIR  S[ix] in RITA reversed
14 GESTICULATE  *(I CUT) in G[o]ES LATE (dead)
15 PERSIFLAGE  I (one) FLAG (standard) in PER SE (as such)
18 CONSTRUE  CONS (politician’s) TRUE (honest)
19 REVERENT  EVER (always) reversed RENT (payment)
22 SKIERS  cd
23 TENSE  dd
26 HUGO  HUG (show affection) O (love) – Victor Hugo, French poet and novelist
28 CAN  quadruple def.

6 Responses to “Financial Times 13,331 / Alberich”

  1. Uncle Yap says:

    Indeed a difficult one today, but fair and in the end, solvable although some new words like en clair, egesta & persiflage had to be looked up. 22D should be in the plural.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks UY. Typo in 22dn corrected.

  3. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, Gaufrid, for helping me to ‘finish’ this! :-) [and Alberich for a very enjoyable puzzle].

    As you say, so many good clues: my favourites, I think, were 13, 20, 25 and 29ac.

    Perhaps you would like 22dn better if you think of it as a double definition: a high-hit ball in cricket and a person on skis?

    I had a slightly different interpretation for 11ac, too: I took A [indefinite article] as the definition.

  4. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Eileen
    I’m glad I could help.

    Regarding 22dn, I didn’t think of ‘skying’ a ball, I just took it that skiers have to go up high before they can start going downhill, but I’m sure your interpretation is correct and that it is a dd. In my defence I would say that I would normally spell the lofted ball as ‘skyer’ but I see that Chambers has ‘skier’ as an alternative.

    Moving on to 11ac, I read this as an &lit due to the first definition of ‘article’ in Chambers, “a separate element, member or part of anything”, which could describe a proton in a nucleus, but I much prefer your definition – ‘could be a’.

  5. shuchi says:

    Thanks for the blog, Gaufrid. I’ve never found Alberich easy but always very satisfying. This was no different.

    I read 11a as Eileen did, and it was one of my favourites along with 17a. I hadn’t heard of Mussorgsky and imagined 31a might have to do with ‘gross’ reversed in ‘musky’, alas that line led me nowhere :) .

  6. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Because I am a great admirer of Alberich’s puzzles, I persuaded my PinC to go for this one today (instead of the Guardian’s Brummie).
    Although had limited time, we came pretty far, but we couldn’t make much of the SW part of the grid, but alas.

    A very challenging crossword.
    High quality, normally related to a Saturday puzzle.

    An important feature in this crossword is Alberich’s ability to link words that shouldn’t be linked from a construction point of view.
    “Could be a / proton” (very good), “In a state / school” (another brilliant one), “Halcyon / days chiefly”, “Wiener / Schnitzel”, “Public relations / officer” and perhaps “Published / newspaper”.

    Nice to see the setter weapon himself, in 20ac, against people who object against the homophone, by saying “Roughly speaking”.

    I agree with Gaufrid (thx, of course, for the blog) that 22d wasn’t a favourite, but then it is a Cryptic Definition ….

    The crossword didn’t contain any Anagrams-as-a-whole.
    Quite remarkable.
    The blog mentioned 24ac and 30ac as full anagrams,
    but they should be read as KI[d]+*INFRESHG and RE inside *SUDDEN, respectively.

    Great crossword!!

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