Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,409 / Hamilton

Posted by shuchi on June 11th, 2010


I started off smoothly with this puzzle but struggled to finish it, stuck for a long time with 11A, 5D. While there were some neat clues like 17A and 28A, I wasn’t particularly pleased with a couple of letter selection devices (6D, 19D).


8 CHURL C (about) HURL (let fly)
10 GARDENER ARDEN (forest) in GER (Germany)
11 LITANY N (number) in (ITALY)*. I used the “tweet-a-friend” lifeline to get this answer – thanks @owentuz on twitter.
12 ORCA hidden in ‘majORCAn'; ‘holiday’ remains unused. 27 i.e. WHALE is the definition.
13 CORPORAL PO (naval man) in CORRAL (enclosure)
15 WIMPISH WISH (fancy) around I (a) MP (politician)
17 STASHED SAT (settled) reversed, in SHED (outhouse)
20 PENITENT hidden in ‘oPEN IT ENThralled’. Neatly hidden word.
22 ALMS sounds like ‘arms’ (members)
25 MISSES dd
26 BACK ROOM BACK (second) + MOOR (African) reversed
27 WHALE 12 i.e. ORCA is a whale, and having ‘a whale of a time’ is having a great time.


1 PAGAN (AG)< in PAN (the best bet?) AG (silver) in NAP (best bet) reversed // Thanks to Gaufrid.
5 WHITLOWS WHIT (bank holiday) LOWS (blues)
6 TRUNCATED RUN (single, in cricket) C (copyright) in TATE (gallery) D (first letter of “Doesn’t”, I suppose, indicated by ‘chief’)
9 SLUR (RULES)* – E (Spain)
14 LIMELIGHT L (fifty) IM (999) EIGHT (8) around L (fifty). Are IL, IC, IM considered acceptable? I don’t think so, but then how is it that crossword setters use them so abundantly? Also, what is to indicate that EIGHT goes around L? If ‘-‘ => without => outside, then that is stretching it too far.
16 PLIMSOLL Cryptic definition for Samuel Plimsoll, who devised the Plimsoll line, an indicator of the legal limit to which a ship may be loaded.
18 TRAMCARS RAC (motoring organization) in SMART (shrewd), all reversed
19 STABLED TABLE (furniture) in S D (outermost ‘shed’)
21 EASE [c]EASE (wind up, topless). A good clue but the exclamation mark is unnecessary.
23 MARROW dd
24 GOFER initial letters of ‘Given Orders From’ + ER (queen)

17 Responses to “Financial Times 13,409 / Hamilton”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Shuchi
    1dn is AG (silver) in NAP (best bet) reversed.

    In 14dn, IM is not valid for 999 which should be CMXCIX (we’ve had this debate a couple of times before on this site). I too cannot see how ‘-‘ can indicate the insertion of L other than the way you have indicated.

    For 21dn I had [t]EASE

  2. Hamilton says:

    Thanks for the blog Shuchi.
    14 down – I checked the submitted version of the crossword and it would appear that the gremlins have been at work; the final “-” should in fact be “÷”

  3. Rishi says:


    Thanks for the clarification.

    As an occasional victim of the self-same gremlins, I can sympathise with you.

    We are used to suspect misprints in crossword clues but in this case we were blind as it was not language but symbols.

  4. shuchi says:

    Hi Gaufrid,

    Thanks for your explanations. NAP = best bet is a new meaning for me.

    The incorrect use of Roman numerals for 49, 99, 999 etc. puzzles me – it comes up in the clues of many experienced and careful setters too, such as Rufus and Dac. Not all can be making the same mistake by accident, surely? Led to me wonder if there is some sort of cryptic licence thing going on. Seeing the comments on an old Guardian blog, at least solvers seem to be in unanimous agreement that the usage is not valid. I’m curious why setters are using it.

  5. shuchi says:

    Thank you Hamilton, for the puzzle and for clearing up 14D. What a difference a couple of dots can make!

  6. Rishi says:

    It is a pity that Hamilton’s mathematical clue fell flat because of the misprint.

    Shuchi, it might be a good idea to make a collection of such clues.

    CIVIC, MIMIC and such other words must have been clued in this manner.

    Alec Robins’ book has one such example:

    ? of 1 + ? of 1?—what kind of sign is that? (4)

  7. Rishi says:

    In the preview the two-thirds character that I copied from the character map appeared properly but it has not come out well.

    The clue is

    (symbol for two-thirds) of 1 + (symbol for two-thirds) of 1 – what kind of sign is that? (4)

  8. Rishi says:

    This one from the book Anatomy of the Crossword by D. St. P. Barnard:

    3.14159 + 2.71828. Not for Simple Simon! (3)

  9. Rishi says:

    I am sorry. Please insert ‘a’ between ‘for’ and ‘Simple’ above.

  10. mike04 says:

    Thanks for the blog, shuchi.

    How about RENDER for 2dn?
    As a verb, Collins gives ‘to give or provide (aid, charity, a service, etc)’.
    As a noun, it gives ‘a first thin coat of plaster applied to a surface’.

  11. Rishi says:

    As I riffled through the pages of the Barnard book, I saw another clue.

    As the text box does not render the symbols correctly, let me write it elaborately.

    100w + 8 = a…n (divided by) 20. (13)

  12. nmsindy says:

    Re comment 10, mike 04, that was my view (RENDER) too esp from ‘provide’ without being fully able to explain it, I think you now have.

  13. Eileen says:

    I couldn’t quite see TENDER, either [although I had it ! :-) ]. RENDER does seem to make more sense.

  14. Eileen says:

    However, I’ve realised that Hamilton didn’t dispute TENDER when he dropped in.

  15. mike04 says:

    Yes, Eileen @14, that crossed my mind too. It would be wonderful if he could drop in again.
    For many, though, there are other distractions in the southern hemisphere this evening –
    and for some time to come!

  16. Hamilton says:

    Eileen – sorry, I was preoccupied with the gremlin earlier and I didn’t spot 2dn.
    mike04 – comment 10 – spot on.
    I’m afraid I shall only be distracted by events elsewhere when Fabio’s boys are performing!

  17. mike04 says:

    Thanks for your fine crossword today – and for dropping in again!

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