Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,479 / Cinephile

Posted by Gaufrid on September 1st, 2010


I found this to be one of the hardest FT puzzles for quite some time. The right-hand side was filled quickly enough but the left-hand, particularly the NW corner, caused me a few problems. However, it was an enjoyable challenge even though, for me, there were no particular PDMs that stood out.

I don’t know if it was intentional but there seemed to be a link between a few of the clues. Both 10ac and 13ac could apply to 4dn, as could 15dn if one were being very unkind. There would also be a 14ac in an old folks’ home.

1 COCKCROW  COCK CROW (birds) – early morning, when cocks crow.
5 HOBNOB  HOB (elf) NOB (aristocrat)
10 CRABBED  CRAB BED (sea food farm) – ill-natured, perverse or irascible, as in the Grumpy Old Men/Women TV series or Victor Meldrew in ‘One Foot in the Grave’.
12 IDEAL  IDE (fish) A L (learner)
14 PECKING ORDER  KING (sovereign) in CORD (binding) in PEER (lord)
18 SEE YOU AROUND  SEE YOU (call bluff) A ROUND (drinks for all)
23 XENON  X (not known) NONE (nobody) reversed
24 DECORUM  ECO (green) in DRUM (stretched object)
25 SLOVENE  SLOVEN (ratbag) E (Eastern)
26 LILITH  hidden in ‘helL I LIT Her’ – I don’t know if the ‘candle’ is particularly relevant to Lilith. Googling brings up many hits for ‘Lilith candle’ but the Wikipedia entry makes no mention of one.
27 IN A SENSE  homophone of ‘innocence’ (not being guilty)

1 CYCLIC  homophone of ‘sigh’ (expression of regret) ‘click’ (employment of mouse)
2 CHAPEL  dd
3 CABALLERO  A BALL (a great time) in *(CORE)
4 OLD FOLKS AT HOME  cd  A T (time) in OLD FOLKS’ HOME (the retired) – the title of a song, also known as “(Way Down Upon the) Swanee River”. Edit: thanks smiffy for the nudge towards the parsing (see comments #3 & #4).
6 ORIBI  OR IBI[s] (bird with no tail)
7 NORMANDY  NORM ANDY (two little boys)
8 BOATYARD  O (love) AT Y[ear] in BARD (poet)
9 PERSON TO PERSON  SON (child) TOPERS (drinkers) in PERON (Argentinian)
15 OBNOXIOUS  OB (died) NO X (premier’s place) IOUS (notes) – I liked the use of ‘premier’s place’ as the wordplay for NO X.
16 ASPHODEL  ASP (snake) HOD (carrier) EL (railway) – just occasionally in crossword-land a ‘flower’ is actually a flower and not a river.
17 METRICAL  MET (police) RIC[h] (wealthy docked) A L (a pound)
19 INTERN  INTER N (put pole in ground)
20 SNEEZE  S (Southern) homophone of ‘knees’ (joints)
22 EGRET  [de]TERGE[nt] (cleaner with dent removed) reversed

5 Responses to “Financial Times 13,479 / Cinephile”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Gaufrid.

    I liked the genuine homophones in 1dn [and 20dn] and smiled at ‘with stress to the end’ in 27ac, to excuse what might have been a dodgy one!

    In 26ac, I assumed that ‘candle’ was as good as anything else [perhaps like yesterday’s errand boy’s greens?] since it had to be ‘lit her something’.

    I was puzzled by 21ac, never having heard of a horseshoe bat.

    Re 10ac: ‘often applied to age': ‘crabbèd age’ is a quotation from Shakespeare’s ‘The Passionate Pilgrim':

    Crabbèd age and youth cannot live together:
    Youth is full of pleasance, age is full of care;
    Youth like summer morn, age like winter weather;
    Youth like summer brave, age like winter bare.
    Youth is full of sport, age’s breath is short;
    Youth is nimble, age is lame;
    Youth is hot and bold, age is weak and cold;
    Youth is wild, and age is tame.
    Age, I do abhor thee; youth, I do adore thee;
    O, my love, my love is young!
    Age, I do defy thee: O, sweet shepherd, hie thee,
    For methinks thou stay’st too long.

    And Robert Louis Stevenson wrote an essay entitled, ‘Crabbèd Age and Youth’.

    But I like your idea about the mini-theme! :-)

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Eileen
    Thanks for the elucidation regarding 10ac. As you will know by now, Shakespeare is not my forte.

  3. smiffy says:

    Glad to see that I wasn’t the only one to get brainache from this one. The toughest in a long while, I’d say.

    I also struggled in the NW corner, although not helped at 1D by being in a part of the world and an industry where “sick-click” is the standard pronunciation. Cracking that one provided a key beachhead, although CHAPEL as the collective noun at 2D was new to me. And, like Eileen, the HORSEHOE bat was also beyond my ken.

    Just wondering: is 4D in fact a container/contents? (FOLKS A T{ime}) in OLD HOME.
    Requires the assumption that “the retired” = old (people’s) home. But that’s far from a quantum leap by Cinephiliac standards.

  4. Gaufrid says:

    Hi smiffy
    You are nearly spot on but the definition is ‘Swanee people’. This makes the wordplay simply A T[ime] in OLD FOLKS’ HOME (the retired). Having mentioned the latter in my preamble I should have seen the parsing when I was writing the post.

  5. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Hi Gaufrid.
    After seeing the first line of your preamble this morning, I thought let’s wait for my Partner in Crime to join me for this.
    But alas.

    So, tonight I gave it a go myself.
    One eye on the crossword, half an eye on Mrs Bradford and the other half on the Alex Higgins documentary at BBC2.
    Maybe, it was the healthy influence of some new Zealand white wine, but at my slow pace I completed the job.
    Well, um, completed? Not really.
    In the end I was missing the four in the NW [apparently the hardest part today].
    Thought it might be CHAPEL, but I was too lazy to check Mrs Chambers.
    And both 1ac and 1d were rather nice – after I saw the solution.

    So, I didn’t fully complete this crossword, but I surely liked it. Very well clued, too.
    It seems Mr Graham is gearing up a bit [since, at least IMHO, his recent Saturday puzzle was also extremely enjoyable].

    And a lot of birds today, weren’t there?

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