Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,403 / Loroso

Posted by shuchi on June 4th, 2010


The second Loroso puzzle to appear in FT, and the first I’m blogging about – welcome to the setter who’s better known in these parts as Anax.

Loroso treats us to novel tricks and surprises us with unexpected meanings of words. I thought this was a brilliant puzzle with plenty of penny-drop moments to savour. I loved 24A, 31A, 17D. A very tough and eminently satisfying workout.


1 TOPPLE sounds like “TOP’LL” (crown will). The definition is “be dethroned”.
4 HEDGEROW HOW around EDGER (which marks a boundary) &lit. One of the last to go into the grid.
10 RESTAGE AGE (season) after REST (others), with “run again” as the definition.
11 PALAVER PAL (China, which is rhyming slang for “mate”) AVER (state). “Business” is in the sense of fuss/bother.
12 SOHO SOH (note) O[riental]. The Soho area is a fashionable district of upmarket restaurants.
13 AND SO FORTH hidden in ‘demANDS OF ORTHodoxy’
15 MUSEUM MUM (tight-lipped) around USE (work). With this setter, expect guards, boxes and bags to be verbs rather than nouns.
16 CRANK UP RANK (position) in CUP (competition)
20 PERFECT RE (about) turned around in PREFECT (senior pupil). A textbook example of a crafty definition.
21 MERCIA MERCI (much obliged, in French) A (one). “Gallic” is a synonym of French.
24 ABSOLUTELY (BUT ALSO)* ELY (see, as in jurisdiction of a bishop)
26 PRIG P (quiet) RIG (pervert)
28 RAVIOLI Hidden in ‘whateveR A VIOLInst’
29 CELLINI CELL (party) IN I (Italy)
30 PINOTAGE NOT A (one) in PAGE (leaf). Pinotage is a red wine grape.
31 MOOLAH A LOOM (frame) reversed, H (hot). Bread is slang for money.


1 TIRESOME RE (on) SO (thus) in TIME (use stopwatch)
3 LEAD dd. The symbol for the metal is Pb, which matches the reduced form PB for “Penny Black” of 9,23.
5 EXPOSURE dd. In photography, exposure is the image resulting from the effects of light on a photosensitive surface. Exposure is also an instance of “flashing”.
6 GOLDFINGER GINGER (Ginger Rogers, dancing partner of Fred Astaire) around OLD F (female)
7 ROVER R (run) OVER (past)
8 WORTHY WHY around ORT (scrap). A “big cheese” is an important person.
9, 23 PENNY BLACK PEN (author) N (name) (BY)< (on, reverse) LACK (need) // Updated, thanks to Gaufrid @ comment#1.
18 SCATHING S C (odd letters of ‘SuCh’) A THING (phobia). To “have a thing” for something is to have strong, unreasonable feelings towards it, such as fear or obsession.
19 LANGUISH L (line) ANGUISH (dole)
22 SATRAP PART (role) AS, all reversed. Satrap was the name given to governors in the ancient Persian empires.
23 See 9
25 SEVEN Rover, the answer to clue 7d, is a familiar name for a dog; and seven is an odd number.
27 ALOO ALOO[f] (mostly ‘cold’). I get a kick out of seeing words of Hindi (my first language) origin in the crossword. Aloo is the Hindi word for potato.

13 Responses to “Financial Times 13,403 / Loroso”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Shuchi
    Well done, this was a very tricky puzzle. Regarding 9/23, though there are several authors with the surname Penn, I think the intended parsing here is PEN (author {as a verb}) N (name).

    You had an unfair advantage with 27dn :-)

  2. Rishi says:

    Re 31a MOOLAH: “Origin uncertain” says Chambers. I would think that this word meaning ‘money’ has a link with the Sanskrit derived Hindi ‘mooli’ meaning ‘cost’, ‘value’. The Tamil word is ‘moolam’ (meaning ‘capital’, ‘money’).

    I would be interested to know what Shuchi (whose first language is Hindi) thinks. Mine is Tamil, though my mother tongue is Kannada, which I speak at home.

  3. shuchi says:

    @Gaufrid: I believe you’re right about PEN+N, will update.

    @Rishi: Can’t say for sure but it is likely. The Hindi word for cost or value is ‘mool’/’moolya’ (‘mooli’ is something rather different).

    Apparently, the term ‘big cheese’ (8D) is also of Indian origin. It is based on ‘cheez’, which is Hindi for ‘thing’.

  4. mike04 says:

    I thought today’s Loroso was just as difficult as the first one in April. I nearly stumbled in the SE corner,
    but got there in the end – courtesy of a love of South Asian food!

    Thank you for an excellent crossword, Loroso, and a great blog, shuchi.

  5. Scarpia says:

    Thanks shuchi.
    As you say a very tough puzzle,with many ‘penny dropping’ moments.
    No clue was unfair and there was no unfamiliar vocabulary,the difficulty was caused through very clever clueing(and a few misdirections).
    The use of less familiar meanings of words is something you are more likely to come across in a barred puzzle and may not be appreciated by all in a weekday puzzle.
    I loved it!
    17 down must be one of the clues the year!

  6. flashling says:

    So was Rover a tribute or just a coincidence?

  7. anax says:

    Many thanks for a great blog Shuchi and for all your kind comments – glad you enjoyed it!

    Flashling: coincidence I’m afraid; the puzzle was set many months ago. I never met Rover and can’t say I was very familiar with his puzzles, but I’m sure they will have been a source of delight to a great many solvers, and I am saddened to hear of the loss of a setting colleague.

  8. nmsindy says:

    A very fine puzzle, indeed, with almost every clue having something special to offer, far too many good ones to list out individually. Very hard, yes, but I enjoyed every minute spent at it.

  9. Bazza says:

    I had to come here for some help but thanks for a great puzzle. I did myself no favours by putting in ‘Venation’ at 30 across – *Produce of*(VINE, NOT and A for one) gives ‘an arrangement of veins in a leaf’ (or blood vessels in an insect’s wing). I was hanging out for some whacky Grand Vizier at 22d with a V on the end!

  10. Peter Biddlecombe says:

    Chipping in late: Very hard but very good. You might think someone with the initials PB would have seen {‘lead’=Penny,Black} quite easily, but you’d be wrong!

  11. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I am chipping in even later.
    Just to let everyone know what I think:
    “Bloody Hell, what a fantastic puzzle!”

    Indeed, extremely hard.
    In the first two hours I found three and a half words …. [including the ‘hedgerow’ which was similar to one of my recent Cryptica clues that vanished in the haze]
    Then I asked my PinC to help me.

    Wow, we ran from one marvel into another.
    It took us three additional post-Guardian sessions to complete it minus one (ALOO).

    Only two crosswords for the FT and already one of their hardest ánd most compelling setters.
    [and to be honest, I cannot imagine that there were a lot of FT readers completing this crossword on the day – there must have been a lot giving up on it]

    Blimey, brilliant.
    Wake up, Mr Hugh S !!

  12. anax says:

    Oh my Lordy – thank you chaps. I’m stunned!

    Sil: I did send a sample puzzle to Hugh a while back, not heard anything yet. But we have to bear in mind the Guardian team is a big one and fitting a new setter in is likely to be at the expense of someone else and I wouldn’t want that. If Hugh thinks my work is good enough I’m sure he’ll let me know.

  13. tupu says:

    Very late entry. I came to this only yesterday after recommendation on the Guardian site by Eileen and Sil, and after doing Cinephile 13398 (which I solved but missed the complex structure).

    This was an extremely difficult but ultimately enjoyable puzzle full of (to me) new tricks. But it took longer than I can normally give.

    I am immensely relived that really expert solvers found it very hard too.
    I missed three answers – I did not know moolah (I see it was gettable), and should have got lead and restage but not enough blood sugar left for them.
    I did not know ort=scrap but got the answer.

    I had not realised that FT puzzles are of such high quality.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

two + = 4