Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,364 / Loroso

Posted by Agentzero on April 20th, 2010


A new setter, I believe. Welcome!  A very nice debut.  This was slow going for me, perhaps because I am unaccustomed to the setter’s style.  However, many of the clues struck me as fresh and clever. 

10 ARAGORN A (first to “actually”) R (run) A GO (repair) R[oyal] N[avy] (service).  I think repair is being equated to go in the sense of “I will repair to my room.”
11 CASSAVA ASS (dipstick) in CAVA (fizzy wine)
12 LEGAL LEG (on, in cricket) A L (line)
13 GUNSMITH M[ajor] in *(IN THUGS)
15 HEAVY METAL a nice dd
16 SHUN H (hot) in SUN (paper).  This was deceptive and clever.
18 PAWN PA (old man) W (with) N (new) Thanks to Eileen and Shuchi for the correction
20 STREET ARAB RE (on) + RATE (respect) reversed in STAB (attempt)
22 ROYALIST ROY (Rovers star, as in the comic strip) A-LIST (high-profile)
24 NINJA hidden in assassiN IN JApanese.  Not quite an &lit. since “one stealthy” figures only in the definition.
26 CHOOSEY CH (companion) OO (loves) + YES (right) reversed
27 MARXIST XI (side) in MARS (planet) + T (temperature).  The definition, of course, is “red;” very tricky, since Mars is also the red planet
28 ON THE RAMPAGE RAM (sheep) in ON THE PAGE (written)
2 BHANGRA HANG (swing) in BRA (Bristol supporter).  A kind of Punjabi pop music.
3 TROLLEYS YELL (roar) in SORT (race, in the ethnic sense), all reversed
4 ETNA reverse hidden in dormANT Enabling.  This one is an &lit.
5 ENCOURAGED N (new) in EC (City) + OUR AGED (the “OAPs we have”).  That last bit made me laugh.
6 OASIS O (over) AS IS (as it stands).  An &lit. referring to the fact that the Gallaghers’ band has broken up for good
7 SLAVISH S (beginning of “snow”) LAVISH (shower)
9 BATHING BEAUTY *(THE GUN A BIT) in BAY (opening). 
14 PENTASTYLE PEN (write) TASTY (nice) L[in]E
17 ETON CROP NOTE (record, reversed) CROP (collection); a 1920s hairstyle
19 WAY TO GO dd
23 LISZT homophone of LIST (put in order)
25 EMMA hidden in problEM MAtchmaking; another &lit!

22 Responses to “Financial Times 13,364 / Loroso”

  1. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, agentzero.

    As you say, a new setter’s style takes some getting used to but I, too, found this very refreshing.

    Lots of clues to admire – and smile at, which is always a good sign. Favourites: 15, 22, 27, 28ac and 2, 5, 6 and 25dn.

    One day, I’m going to do some research on the number of times EMMA has been clued. I’ve been amazed recently at how good clues keep coming and I thought this was one of the best.

    I read 18ac as PA [old man] W[ith] N[ew].

  2. Eileen says:

    Apologies for a slip of the finger – I meant Agentzero! :-)

  3. shuchi says:

    Excellent crossword. A very warm welcome to Anax in his new avatar as Loroso.

    18a: I parsed this as PA (old man) W (with) N (new)

  4. Alberich says:

    Welcome to the team, Anax/Loroso! Splendid puzzle which looked deceptively simple with its short, concise clues but in fact was a hard workout for what passes for my brain these days. Liked 1 and 22 across and 8, 19, 21 and 23 down particularly. The top right corner gave me most trouble – I’d never heard of BATHING BEAUTY before. Great stuff, thank you!

  5. Eileen says:

    Thanks, shuchi and Alberich, for the enlightenment – I thought it had a whiff of Anax! [Next stop the Guardian – please?]

  6. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    Till some years ago few Indian films in Hindi, Tamil and other Indian languages were without a scene showing a BATHING BEAUTY.

    Films made in later years may had the beauty in a jacuzzi or bath tub. But in earlier years when the producers were strapped for cash the beauty may have drawn water in a bucket from the well and poured it over her head. Or she may have been under a shower in a not-so-well-appointed bathroom.

    Film magazines often used the expression for their photo captions. They must have borrowed it from the title of an old English movie.

  7. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    Please read “…may have had…”

  8. anax says:

    Thanks very much for your kind comments, friends.

    A quick note on BATHING BEAUTY. I think it dates from Victorian (possibly even Edwardian) times when ladies in full evening dress used to emerge, from their wheeled changing huts, wearing only slightly less than full evening dress.

  9. Paul B says:

    Ah, Anax. Excellent work. Only the high peak of Mount Stephenson to overcome?

    Good luck …

  10. Barry says:

    Great Stuff!.
    A good example of a couple of Bathing Beauties and their conveyance of choice may be found here:

  11. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Loroso, new name – but as Alberich recently mentioned on his site that anax joined the FT, I became suspicious, even more after the musical clues of 15ac and 6d.
    As Agentzero says, ‘fresh and clever’.
    Initially I thought, this is a setter who has done his ultimate best to make his first entry as Great as Great can be – all this (concise) cleverness.

    I must admit, I have never tried an anax [due to the fact that you can only solve Indíes online plus the fact that the Guardian is my main supply] and indeed, shame on me.
    If this is the level that FT readers may expect in the years to come: dear anax, you’re surely one of their most original – and hardest as well.
    I thought this was not easy.
    And if, at one point, you will reach the top of Mt Stephenson [as Paul B called it], a thing that Eileen would welcome (and then take Alberich and Neo with you, please), well, if that would happen, there will surely be some critical notes of solvers, I guess [which here is a contradictio in terminis], because your style is way beyond the average level of Guardian crosswords. Certainly not one for a Monday.

    Anyway, to end in simplicity, my Clue of the Day is 1ac (OBSTREPEROUS), contestant for the Anagram of the Year, and a prove for the fact that anagrams still deserve to be part of a crossword. Magnifico. As was the crossword.

  12. anax says:

    Hi Sil

    Many thanks – glad you enjoyed it. As for “As great as great can be” though, I’d never do that. It’s too risky. If you slave away for days trying to produce the best puzzle you’ve ever written, you set yourself a benchmark you can’t hope to live up to. I set myself an absolute limit of 2 days on this (I think it was about a day and a half, in the end) and didn’t go back in to rewrite clues. There are more crosswords awaiting use, and they’re pretty much the same, possibly a tad easier.

    Talking of difficulty… yes, OK, perhaps my clues are on the harder side, but I think it’s more important to know that every setter is tough to crack until you become familiar with their individual styles.

  13. petebiddlecombe says:

    Just did this one – an entertaining 20 minutes or so, so a pretty tough workout. Anax does get a bit easier as you get used to his tricks (such as new container indicators like “bags”) and favourite areas of knowledge (pop music and football seem to be well up there, with 2D using a bit of each).

  14. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I was thinking of “as Great as Great can be” before I knew it was you [being an experienced setter]. At first I thought, this is a néw setter with such a high quality that it almost looks that he [or she, of course] has done his/her ultimate best to make an unforgettable first impression.

    Reading your post, you make me – the occasional amateur clue writer – feel very humble when you say that it took you not even two days. Wow.
    You must have some talent …. :) :)

    BTW, to get back to the crossword, why is BRA in 2d ‘Bristol supporter’?

  15. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Pete Biddlecombe, “an entertaining 20 minutes or so, so a pretty tough workout”?
    My God, you must be from another planet than I am [and another country :)].
    As to BRA, I suspect BR stands for Bristol Rovers, but the A?

  16. Agentzero says:

    Sil, that’s a bit of rhyming slang that’s difficult to explain in a family newspaper weblog. Suffice it to say that a Bristol is what is supported by a bra.

    Peter, “20 minutes or so” =/= “a pretty tought workout”!! 😉 It took me a good bit longer than that.

    Anax/Loroso, thanks for stopping by. We hope to see you in the FT again soon. Like Sil, the fact that the Indy does not make PDFs of the puzzles available (to be printed off and done on the train) has kept me from solving your puzzles in that paper. Obviously I have been missing a treat.

    Thanks to Eileen and Shuchi for correcting my parsing of 18 across.

  17. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Oh, I see, the A (#15) stands for … Amazing :)

  18. IanN14 says:

    Just spotted this on my RSS feed.
    I didn’t do the puzzle (shame, because I like anax) but couldn’t resist putting Sil out of his misery.
    The rhyming slang refers to Bristol CITY (not Rovers)… so it’s simply a cryptic definition for BRA.
    If you’re still there Sil, what did you think the A did stand for?

  19. Rishi says:


    I too was wondering about the Bristol reference.

    Agentzero, being relunctant even to mention it, let alone wax eloquent over it, gave (see #16) a hint to Sil as to what it means and I guess that the latter got wise to it.

    As for myself, I googled and found sufficient info here:

    I am providing the link as it might be useful for overseas solvers like myself whenever we encounter vague rhyming slang.

  20. petebiddlecombe says:

    Sil / Agentzero: not a different planet, just 30+ years of experience, starting while still quite young. (Plus a fairly quick mind and enough general knowledge to appear once on Mastermind, though not very successfully.) Result: a couple of wins in the Times championship. I’d expect to finish 90-95% of Times puzzles inside 20 minutes, and one of average difficulty in about 10. Enough bragging already.

    Rishi: the London slang site looks a lot better than some sites I’ve seen explaining rhyming slang, but the rhyming slang used in puzzles should be recorded in standard dictionaries – the Concise Oxford gives a full explanation in its def. for ‘bristols’. So does the shorter Compact Oxford which is avaiable for free online, and explains all of berk, butcher’s (under butcher), raspberry, and barnet too.

  21. anax says:

    Same again for Sil’s comment “You must have some talent”.

    Honestly, it isn’t about talent – it’s all about learning the rules and practising. If you spend 30 years playing chess or riding a bike you become good at it, but it doesn’t make you some kind of genius. I’m very, very lucky. This life in crosswords began at a ridiculously early age and has been almost completely uninterrupted. Most kids tend to develop a passing interest in some hobby or other and then move on to something else.

  22. Sil van den Hoek says:

    For those who thought that I still was in doubt about BRA [after Agentzero’s very clear explanation (#16)], don’t worry, I’m not – know perfectly well what Bristols are now.
    Yes, it’s in my Mrs Chambers as well, so I should have looked it up.
    But I was, I guess, wrongfooted by the Bristol-Supporter combination – saw, of course, the obvious Supporter connection, but really didn’t think of slang. Found somewhere that BRA might mean ‘Bristol Real Ale’.
    And sorry, IanN14 to hurt any feelings by mentioning the ‘wrong'(?) club.

    Thank you so much, Rishi, for a useful slang-link.
    I started doing croswwords about two years ago, a few months after moving from the Netherlands to the UK.
    Ever since, I learned a lot, mainly through this site and that-other-one-that-now-is-as-dead-as-a-dodo, and through indeed (Pete (#19), anax (#20)) practising, practising.
    But due to my background, there are still some weak points.
    ‘Slang’ is one of them. As is ‘idiom’ [unlike vocabulary or grammar]. As to culture, I know more about, say, Keane than Keats.

    Even so, it has become one of my major hobbies and made my life richer.
    [like this excellent puzzle did (for me) with some words, unknown to me like STREET ARAB, BHANGRA and PENTASTYLE].

    Finally, good to see, that an FT blog can produce more than 20 posts as well …. :)

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