Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,354 / Armonie

Posted by smiffy on April 8th, 2010


Not a particularly tricky (or satisfying) puzzle today. My main gripe being the inundation of mundane [Word A] + [Word B] = [Answer] constructions.  I can’t recall ever seeing another puzzle that contained as many.   (Edit: Blogging goof at 26D now corrected).

1 KIRSCH – (risk)* + Ch[inese].
5 HANDSONME- hand +some.
9 BEVERAGE – b + ever +age.
10 GEORGE – E[nglish] in gorge.
11 PALLET – all in pet (= tantrum = “paddy”).
12  OUTBREAK – out + break.
14 INCANDESCENT – Incan descent.
18  FIDDLESTICKS – fiddle + sticks.
22 REBUTTAL – butt (e.g. of a joke) in real.
25 UNISON – S (shilling = “Bob”) in union.
26 GAUCHO – (a cough)*.
27 TRIMARAN – trim + A[merican] + ran.
28 MENTALLY – men + tally.
29 ELEVEN – el + even.

2 ICEMAN – (cinema)*.  I’ve only ever encountered this – in the sense of a clinical agent – in a sporting context before.
3 SPELLBIND – spell + bind.
4 HEARTACHE – hear + (cheat)*.
5 HOEDOWN – hoe (=”till”) + down.  At least the surface misdirects, in the general direction of the limbo.
6 NIGHT – (thing)*.
7 SCOUR – c in sour.
8 MIGRAINE – Mig + rain + e{xplosives}.
13 BUS – B + US.
15 EXCLUSIVE – (x + C) in elusive.  Wasn’t too smitten with “baffling” to indicate elusive.
16 CASTIGATE – cast + I{ndian} + gate.
17 LITERATE – liter + ate.  The only context I’m aware of where American may use the fluid metric system is when purchasing bottles of fizzy drink (e.g. “Grab a two liter bottle of Pepsi”).
19 LOT – L +OT.
20 TOLSTOY – (lost)* + toy.
21 FORAGE – for +Ag +e.
23 UNCUT – UN + cut.
24 TROLL – T{rojan} + roll.

11 Responses to “Financial Times 13,354 / Armonie”

  1. Steve says:

    Hi Smiffy – thanks for the blog and agree with your general comments. Re 17d, I think ‘American’ refers to the spelling of liter (vs. litre). Also, I thought ‘old’ was redundant in 25 across.

  2. Tony Welsh says:

    Re 15d I had more trouble accepting “exclusive” for “expose” rather than “baffling” for “elusive”. This was the last clue I got, btw.

    Re 2d, I don’t understand your comments about clinical agents or sporting context. Iceman was the nickname of a mafia hit man called Richard Kuklinski and is I think also used more generally for a hit man, at least in the US. This was the first clue I got!

  3. Arden says:

    Does 23d ‘unbit’ work with 26 ac ‘gaucho’ (a ‘c’ intersection)or do I have a different frame to everyone else?

  4. Eileen says:

    Hi Arden

    I’ve only just noticed the UNBIT in the blog: I had UNCUT for 23dn.

  5. JamesM says:

    Yes Arden, I’m sure you’re right. I had “uncut” for 23d meaning “complete”.

    At 11a, I’m sure that “pallet” is correct, but “bed”? I’m baffled!

    Thank you, Smiffy, for the blog.

  6. JamesM says:

    Sorry Eileen: crossed wires. Great minds…..

  7. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Hi Smiffy, thx for the blog.

    A well-crafted, though undemanding crossword from Armonie.

    As you said, the problem with it is – just as with Chifonie (his alter ego) last Friday in the Guardian – the predictability of the devices used.
    Every clue, yes, every single clue is
    – either: an anagram
    – or: a charade
    – or: A inside/outside B
    (or a combination of these).

    That said, given these limitations, Armonie is mostly very good at them.
    I am not sure whether in 2d ‘liquidated (the characters of)’ is a proper anagram indicator or not – ‘liquidated’ suggests that something disappears, but not necessarily, um, cut in pieces or so.

    My Clue of the Day would be 8ac (MIGRAINE) with its splendid surface and the clever use of ‘drop’ [with probably 20d (TOLSTOY) as second at some distance].

    Btw, I can’t remember having seen just A for American (27ac), but it is in Collins. So it’s all right, even though it looks rather odd (to me).

  8. Arden says:


    Thanks for the reassurance – I too had ‘uncut’. At least I’m not going crazy…

  9. Gaufrid says:

    Hi JamesM
    Re your comment #5 and 11ac. Under ‘pallet²’ in Chambers you will find: “a mattress, or couch, properly a mattress of straw; a small or poorly furnished bed”.

  10. smiffy says:

    Hello all.

    Apologies for the mistake at 23D. No idea how that crept in; must have been down to undue haste while trying to finish off the post as quickly as possible. Duly corrected.

    Thanks Tony W, for the illumination re: Iceman. I was unfamiliar with Mr Kuklinski handiwork or notoriety. I am, however, now kicking myself for overlooking the opportunity to make a reference to the character in the film Top Gun!

  11. Sil van den Hoek says:

    All that fuss about ICEMAN aside (it’s in WordWeb Pro anyway, as a ‘professional killer’), has nobody an opinion on the anagrind in this clue?

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