Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,394 / Neo

Posted by Gaufrid on May 25th, 2010

Gaufrid.

Agentzero is busy today so I’m afraid you will have to put up with me (again!).

I thought this was easier than usual for a Neo, despite some novel anagram/insertion indicators. However, it was not until I came to write this post that I realised the subtlety of the first half of 8ac since I initially read ‘in’ as being a link word rather than part of the first definition.

Across
1 KITCHEN  ITCH (urge) in KEN (boy)
5 MAIDEN  AID (help) in MEN (people)
8 NUMBER TEN  dd - ‘last but one in’ refers to the penultimate batsman in a cricket team.
9 HYDRA  hidden in ‘filtHY DRAin’
11 ARENA  A (one) *(NEAR) – ‘Barking’ is the anagram indicator.
12 BETTER OFF  BETTER (gambler) OFF (leaving)
13 OPTICIAN  *(PI[eces] IN COAT)
15 SMITER  *(SIR MET)
17 CLAIRE  LAIR (secluded place) in CE (church)
19 CANNABIS  NAB (arrest) in CAN (prison) IS
22 UGLY AS SIN  Y (Yankee, phonetic alphabet) in U (universal) GLASS (mirror) IN (at home)
23 ERNST RN (UK ships) in E[a]ST (Orient after ousting Asians’ leader) – Max Ernst, German artist, though it could also be his son, the American painter Jimmy Ernst (born Hans-Ulrich Ernst).
24 TIRED  TI[e] (couple minus energy) RED (bloody)
25 GLISSANDO  *(LASS DOING)
26 DEBRIS  RI (scripture study) in DEBS (society girls)
27 GENESIS  dd

Down
1 KANGAROO COURT  KANGAROO (Australian bouncer) COURT (attempt to win)
2 TEMPEST  MP E[quals] in TEST (questions)
3 HYENA  H (hard) YEN (currency) A (advanced)
4 NOT A BEAN  BATON (stick) reversed EA[r]N
5 MINUTE  dd
6 ICHNEUMON  *(ONE MUCH) in IN – a large mongoose native to Africa and S. Europe.
7 ENDMOST  SO (thus) MD (doc) reversed in ENT (hospital department)
10 AS FAR AS IT GOES  *(SEA ARGO IS FAST)
14 CORIANDER  AND (with) in CO[u]RIER (uniform-free messenger)
16 DAUNTING  AUNT (relation) in DING (snooker player) – Ding Junhui, Chinese professional snooker player.
18 AT LARGE  dd
20 BANANAS  NAN (bread) in BAAS (lamb’s comments)
21 OSAGES  AGE (time) in O (old) SS (steamer) -  native Americans of a tribe living in Oklahoma, etc.
23 ESSEN  hidden in ‘sausagES SENt’

10 Responses to “Financial Times 13,394 / Neo”

  1. anax says:

    Thanks for another excellent blog Gaufrid. Like you I found this (mostly) easier than the slightly naughty one’s usual fare although the SW corner held me up; glad I solved it though for the delicious 24a.

    6d would have been a sticking point too had it not been for one of my own (recently abandoned) puzzles where this was a possible answer for a 9-letter slot; I kept looking at it thinking “You’d never get away with it – too obscure”. Damn instinct, wrong again.

    Great puzzle, Neo old bean.

  2. nmsindy says:

    Enjoyable puzzle that was quite tough, I thought. I took esp liked TIRED, also MAIDEN, UGLY AS SIN, BANANAS. 6D was most definitely new to me, but got it when I’d established it looked like an anagram, and I had most of the crossing letters.

  3. smiffy says:

    Agreed that this was a fun puzzle – even allowing for the exotic voyage of discovery into the realms of mongoose-hood.

    One question, on something that I’ve now seen crop up several times in recent months. Is “barking” really a valid anagrind? i.e. can it still mean crazy, as a standlone word, when not accompanied with the suffix “mad”. I’m increasingly out of touch with UK vernacular usage, so maybe the two words of the phrase are now synonymous…

  4. anax says:

    Indeed smiffy it can. Like many colloquialisms “barking mad” has been (or often is, at any rate) shortened to just “barking”. It shouldn’t be long before “end of story” appears in a puzzle in its “end of” form.

  5. Gaufrid says:

    Hi smiffy
    Your assumption regarding ‘barking’ is correct. Chambers defines it as “adjective (slang) barking mad” and Collins gives “ADJECTIVE mad; crazy ADVERB (intensifier) barking mad”.

  6. walruss says:

    This crossword sat very nicely somewhere between the other two, Guardian and Independent, I’ve managed to complete today. Clues read well and were often funny. Favourite bit of clueing is ‘Lamb’s comments’!

  7. Scarpia says:

    Thanks again Gaufrid.
    I thought this a very good puzzle with some very clever wordplay,especially liked 20 down.
    Didn’t spot the cricket reference in 8 across,somehow thought that Number Ten might be the second last house in Downing Street!
    Ichneumon is actually named after a mythical beast,as mentioned in Pliny the Elder’s Natural History.It would cover itself in layers of mud,letting each bake hard before applying the next,so forming a kind of armour.Thus protected it would wait for a chance to grab it’s foe(a snake or a crocodile) by the throat.

  8. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I’d like to join the Chorus singing that this was a fine crossword.
    But, indeed, slightly easier than usually for a Neo.
    In our AWS (After Work Session) we first completed Gordius, but couldn’t resist the Temptation of Neo [nice film title :)].
    Some (almost) giveaways today like 5d (MINUTE), 12ac (BETTER OFF) or 27ac (GENESIS), but still enough inventive clueing to make this puzzle enjoyable.
    Like others, we were Laughing With The Lambs at 20ad [another nice film title :)], but also very impressed by the appropriate surface of 16d (DAUNTING), the anagrind in 11ac, the “how can we give a short solution a quite complicated clue” and the misleading use of ‘filthy’ [could have been a anagrind for 'drain' leading to, for example, Indra].

    Of a recent Crux I said that it was a happy marriage between clever construction [you can see that there's some thought put in the clues] and accessibility.
    This Neo was another fine example.
    Good puzzle!

  9. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Er, btw, the “how can we give a short solution a quite complicated clue” phrase is referring to 23ac (ERNST).

  10. Neo says:

    Many thanks, as ever, for superb blog and kind comments. I am a bit 24 ac after a particularly awful gig in sunny W1, but I think you’ve dotted the Is and crossed the Ts with great aplomb.

    I shall now most unsteadily to bed, to sleep off all the nonsense I’ve just said.

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