Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,432 – Styx

Posted by smiffy on July 8th, 2010


I found this to be a real variety show of both easy and elusive answers, with some intermittent channelling of Sid James or Frankie Howerd to keep us amused (“titter ye not”).

6 PEAS – hidden.
9 PARER – p{athology} + (rare)*.
10 PERSEVERE – (ever) in (per se).  The word ‘moving’ is nice, but ultimately superfluous, embroidery.
12 INACTION – in action.
13 SPOILT – (I,L) in (spot).
15 LINGO – hidden.
16 IMPARTED – I’m parted.
18 BASEMENT – (semen) in (bat). ”Fertiliser’ in the mammalian sense.
20 WASTE – was + t{h}e.
23 AT REST – r in (a Test).
24 SENTRIES – sent + I in (res).
26 LYONNAISE – l{amb} + (is) in (anyone)*.  ‘Served with onions’ is the culinary term, despite initially looking ripe for anagram fodder.
27 ELOPE – (people)* – p.
28 TEEM – double def’n.
29 CONSISTENT – (sis) in (content)

1 CAPRIOLE – cap + I in (role).
2 TERRAIN – ER (‘TV program’, with an American spelling to boot!) in train.
3 HORATIO NELSON – (North Sea oil)* + on.  If I might make so bold, wouldn’t ‘London columnist’ have been a more concise and devious definition?  Still an enjoyable clue.
4 IMPROVISED – imp + (Is) in (roved).
5 HERD – homophone of “heard”.
7 EREMITE – (lie tree)* – l.  A hermit; ‘leaf’ is a somewhat unusual indicator for the letter “l’.
8 SHEATH – (heat) in Sh!
11 EXPERT WITNESS – (sex tips weren’t)*…and refreshing to see ‘court specialist’ in a racquet-free context for once.
14 SPUTTERERS – Sp. + utterers.
17 BED SHEET – (shed)* in (beet).
19 AUREOLE – Au + e{vangelist} in (role).  Our second “role” of the day, after 1D.
21 SKI POLE – (kip) in (sole).  I couldn’t find anything skiing-related  under the forty or so definitions for ‘stock’ in my E-Chambers.
22 HARLOT – har{d} + lot.  A clue to make 50% of the population wince.
25 LINO – hidden.

6 Responses to “Financial Times 13,432 – Styx”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi smiffy
    Regarding 7dn, I can find no support for ‘L’ being an abbreviation for ‘leaf’ in any of the usual references so I think that ‘solitary’ must be doing double duty as both the definition and an initial letter indicator.

    Similarly, there is no indication that ‘stock’ = ‘ski pole’ in Chambers, Collins or COED. The nearest definitions are along the lines of ‘a vertical beam’ but these days ski poles are neither straight nor vertical so I would question the validity of the definition in this clue.

  2. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I found it hard to make a proper start this morning, but once the ball went rolling, I enjoyed this very much.

    I thought this was a crossword with an overdose of splendid surfaces [a thing that I really appreciate (on top of a variety of devices, of course)].
    10ac (PERSEVERE) reads so smoothly, and for me, smiffy, taking away ‘moving’ would make this a lesser clue.
    What a lovely clue for ELOPE (27ac) – I know, a bit wordy, but I do like this kind of storytelling.
    I had to smile when I saw SPUTTERERS, and 20ac, 22d and 26ac were three more favourites, as was the very well embedded homophone of 5d (HERD).

    Nothing negative, then?
    Well, a pity that (as you say) ‘role’ is used twice [in the same way].
    And three hidden answers (6ac, 15ac, 25d) is a bit much, isn’t it?

    I wondered about ‘leaf’, too, but Collins Online does give it:

    A ski pole could be called a ‘stick’ and that’s not a ‘stock’.
    Maybe Styx is referring to the word that German speaking people in the Alps use for it [der Stock = the pole]. Just a thought.

    The only solution I couldn’t fully parse, was CATCH LIGHT (1ac) – and there’s no explanation in the blog either.
    ‘Ignite’ is clearly the definition.
    Does ‘vessel secured by chain’ fit the first part of the clue (CATCH), since ‘to land’ is probably: + LIGHT? Maybe, CH then stands for ‘chain’, but ATC for ‘vessel’??
    Or am I completely on the wrong track?

    In any case, a very satisfying crossword.

  3. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Sil
    “I wondered about ‘leaf’, too, but Collins Online does give it:”

    That site uses the Collins 5th Ed. published in 2000. I have just rechecked and the latest Collins, which I have in electronic form, does not have ‘leaf’ in the list of abbreviations under ‘L’ so it looks as if it must have been dropped from later editions.

    “Maybe Styx is referring to the word that German speaking people in the Alps use for it [der Stock = the pole]. Just a thought.”

    I had a similar thought, but the equivalent in English, alpenstock, is defined in Chambers as “a mountain traveller’s long spiked staff” so again there is no specific connection with a ‘ski pole’.

    I eventually parsed 1ac as CAT (vessel, an old name for a coal and timber vessel on the NE coast of England) CH (chain) LIGHT (land). I agree that ‘secured by’ would indicate an inclusion of something in CH but, like you, I cannot see how ATC can be a vessel so in the end I just ignored the ‘secured’.

    However, having looked at the clue again whilst typing this I can see how it could work. CAT is connected or tied to (‘secured by’) LIGHT by CH.

  4. mike04 says:

    Hi smiffy, Gaufrid and Sil.

    Re 22dn: Thanks for the correct parsing. I thought that C(HARLOT)TE was involved in some way! (Of course I couldn’t account for the CTE).

    Re 1ac: Chambers gives CAT as a noun, describing it as ‘short for CATAMARAN’.

  5. Scarpia says:

    Thanks smiffy.(Gaufrib and Sil).
    Late starting this one,so finished it and checked here before working out some of the answers.
    21 down,I automatically connected with “alpenstock” although I now see that is not a strictly correct definition.
    Guessed 28 across as I didn’t know the (archaic/obsolete)definition – to bear young.
    1 across,I parsed as cat(amaran) followed by ch(ain).
    Top clues for me – 3 down,5 down and 26 across.Also, as Sil pointed out,27 across – what a lovely surface!

  6. Gaufrid says:

    Hi mike 04 and Scarpia
    Agreed, it could be CAT as an abbreviation for catamaran but I prefer the ‘old name for a coal and timber vessel on the NE coast of England’, which has been used in puzzles before. I don’t think that many people would describe a catamaran as a ‘vessel’ since it is more akin to a yacht.

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