Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,448 / Jason

Posted by Gaufrid on July 27th, 2010


Agentzero has been delayed whilst returning home from a business trip so here is my analysis of today’s puzzle.

There was a mini theme involving one board game, three card games and four game birds/animals. Snipes are shot for sport, hence they are game birds, but I have never known one be put in a game pie. Generally straightforward but the cryptic definitions in 4dn and 6dn didn’t particularly appeal to me.

1 BACKPACK  BACK (wager) PACK (group)
5 USES UP  US (American) E (energy) SUP (drink)
9 ICE SKATE  ICES (cools) KATE (little woman) – ‘little’ is referring to a diminutive female name not one of the characters in Louisa May Alcott’s novel.
10 FALLEN  ALL (everyone) in FEN (slough) – slough=fen=marsh
12 GATOR  G (grand) A (adult) TOR (hill) – an informal US term for alligator
14 GROUSE  G[oalkeeper] ROUSE (stimulate)
16 EVOCATE  CAT (moggy) in EVOE (Bacchic cry)
18 ARCHAIC  *(CHAIR) in A C[upboard]
20 RABBIT  dd
22 REMEDYING  R (right) *(I NEED GYM)
23 SHAWL  SH (quiet) AWL (tool)
24 PHOTOS  homophone of ‘foe’ (enemy) TO (turn over) S (son)
25 CIVILISE  *(CLIVE IS I[ndia])
26 DATING  TIN (dough) in DAG (awkward Aussie) – dough=tin=money
27 HEREINTO  *(EITHER ON) – would have been better if ‘into’ hadn’t appeared in the clue.

1 BRIDGE  B (bishop) RIDGE (long mountain range)
3 POKER  POKE (jab) R (run)
4 CAT’S-EYE  cd – according to the usual references the enumeration should have been 4-3 (Chambers and Collins) or 7 (COED).
8 PUNISHED  PUN (joke) IS HE’D (he would)
11 HARE  hidden in ‘relisH A REvealing’
17 LARRUPED  *(PURE) in LARD (fat)
19 CRIB  dd
20 RAGTIME  RAG (paper) TIME (bird) – bird=time=prison sentence
21 CLUEDO  CLUE (what this is) DO (again)
23 SNIPE  SNIP (steal) [th]E – steal=snip=bargain or steal=snip=snatch

15 Responses to “Financial Times 13,448 / Jason”

  1. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid, I thought an OK crossword, though straightforward [using very much standard devices and ‘unoriginal’ indicators].
    Like you, I wasn’t happy with both cd’s (4d, 6d).
    Some setters are just better at it than others.
    [btw, I have seen CAT’S EYE as (4,3) in the Oxford Online ánd Chambers Online 21st Century Dictionary – but these are probably not seen as the ‘real thing’ (however, why are these enumerations in there then? – Chambers = Chambers, or?)]

    Best clues for me 21d (CLUEDO) and (as a clear winner) the CREATURE COMFORT of 2d [nice smooth surface, well-constructed too].

    One small niggle about 1ac.
    I thought the rule for ‘A on B’ in an Across clue was ‘A after B’, because of B being attached to A.
    This is certainly nót the case here with BACK/PACK.

  2. Rishi says:

    On this question of ‘A on B’ in an across clue, please see my post in Chat Room: General Crossword Discussion.

  3. Sil van den Hoek says:

    My God, Rishi, this is the second time I got involved in this ‘A on B’ matter and the second time I made a confusing mistake in a post. :(

    What editors want – after reading your and anax’ comments – is this, right?:
    in a Down clue – ‘A on B’ means (usually) ‘A on top of B’
    in an Across clue – ‘A on B’ means ‘A being attached to B’ [that’s where I made my mistake] , so ‘A after B’

    Therefore ‘Wager on group’ should lead to PACKBACK – well, officially.

  4. walruss says:

    Yes, SVDH, A on B across means A comes after B, while A on B down means A is before B. But I’m beginning to get confused myself now!!!

  5. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Sil
    Whilst I didn’t think twice about 1ac prior to your comment, I think the clue can still be made to work as a charade. I’ve heard people say “I’m going to wager on that horse”, as in ‘back’ or ‘bet on’, so the ‘on’ does not need to be a positional indicator.

  6. Eileen says:

    Hi Gaufrid

    Like you, I didn’t initially think twice about 1ac but now think you’re right. In fact, I’d go further and say that ‘on’ is not a positional indicator at all: wager / bet and back are not synonymous – the former both actually need to be followed by ‘on’ in order to mean ‘back’. [Chambers has: ‘back: to support a horse by placing a wager or bet’.]

  7. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Sorry to have woken you all up with my Niggle …… :)
    Gaufrid (ánd Eileen), I am completely convinced by your wise words!

  8. smiffy says:

    Glad to see that we’ve managed to thrash out our A’s and B’s. Now to the next item on today’s agenda…
    Can anyone explain to me how “Call from the dead moggy in Bacchic cry” isn’t the most bizarre or ugliest clue to hit the newstands so far this year? This one makes the mutually-maligned clunkers at 4D & 6D read like classics, in comparisons.

    (Thank goodness I’m not even in a cantankerous mood today!)

  9. Paul B says:

    I would agree that ‘wager on’ has to equal BACK here, although other commentators’ views on AB and BA coincide with my own – just not relevant on this occasion, folks!

  10. Paul B says:

    The moggy one (which I neglected to mention when previously I had the chance: oh, for an ‘edit’ button) is a bit weird in that, for surface purposes, one is invited to imagine a call from a cry, but all the bits are correct. A less familiar definition perhaps, but it yet lives in Chambers Big.

  11. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Gaufrid.
    I thought this was a pretty good puzzle with a nicely worked mini theme.Wasn’t keen on 6 down and I agree with your comment on 27 across.
    Smiffy @8 – I liked 16 across,the definition was clear(evocate – to call up from the dead) and the wordplay was straightforward,as explained by Gaufrid.I suppose “evoe” is not in common usage but I have seen it used quite often in crosswords.
    Thought 7 down was very good with racing as anagram indicator after Isle of Man.
    Other favourites were 24 across and 2 and 21 down.

  12. smiffy says:

    I wasn’t questioning the structural soundness, or the componentry of 16A. Merely that, to me at least, the surface reading is complete and utter gibberish.

    I’d also beg to differ with you on the merits of 7D, since you mention it. Other than being a vague/tangential allusion to the Tourist Trophy, the surface here too is scarcely coherent.

    A search of previous blog comments for this particular setter suggests that ‘surface-neglect’ seems to be an persistent trait. So I don’t think I’m a soloist in this particular choir. Glad others had fun with the puzzle though.

  13. Scarpia says:

    Hi smiffy.
    I take your point about the surface reading,a “sentence” that could only be a crossword clue.
    I’d been solving the Azed puzzle from Sunday’s Observer previous to tackling Jason and was still in “barred puzzle” mode,where surfaces don’t seem to count for much.
    A couple of examples – Piebalds drink up measure of water displaced.
    – Keep scratching last in Civil Service.
    Both scarcely coherent,I think you’d agree.

    Anyway that’s my excuse.A pretty poor one perhaps,but it’s the only one I’ve got. :)

  14. walruss says:

    I agree with you, the surfaces were not strong!

  15. smiffy says:

    No excuses necessary, Scarpia!

    I think Azed is given occasional leeway on surfaces etc, by dint of his countless other qualities and prolificacy. However, I feel one should be less indulgent of such persistent traits in the cases where there are few other redeeming characterisitcs.

    By way of counterpoint, I would highlight other FT setters (e.g. Alberich) who receive near-universal acclaim for producing highly solvable and ‘natural’ material. Also, today’s (Weds) FT includes a peculiar surface at 28A, but I’m more willing to cut Cinephile some slack because, over time, he consistently mines far more gold nuggets than he does lumps of coal.

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