Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,480 / Falcon

Posted by smiffy on September 2nd, 2010

smiffy.

A real bran tub today.  Our ports of call range from the dangerously shallow (yes, I’m talking about you, five-letter answers!) to almost uncharted waters (C19th operatic minutiae).

Across
1 PENCHANT - p{oet} + enchant.
5 STOGIE - egoist*.
9,17 THE QUEEN OF SPADES - A clue whose natural home would have been in the Times, c. 1972 (when the working assumption of what constituted “general knowledge” was a lot more highbrow).  It turns out that the pun here is that Peter Ilyich’s brother (Modest) was the librettist for this piece.  If you already knew this then my cap is doffed in your general direction..
10 PATOIS - {h}ospita{l}*.
12 COPSE - cops + e{xamine}.
13 TINDERBOX - tin + der + box.
14 SNAPPY - nap in spy.
16 BARBERA - bar + b{izzar}e + RA.  The chap who, along with his partner in crime Mr Hanna, was responsible for producing a panoply of celluloid delights.  Let’s hear it for Hong Kong Phooey, The Hair Bear Bunch, Snagglepuss et al.
18 FREEMAN - free + man.
20 OCELOT - coolest* – s.
22 PEPPERONI - pepper + on + I.  I thought that using pepper in the wordplay was too close to its related sub-component for comfort.
23 BREAK - double def’n.
24 DARING - dar{l}ing.
25 POLYGLOT- Poly(technic) + l in got.  After a couple of years of remission, we seem to have experienced a recent outbreak of ‘Poly’s across the broadsheet puzzles in recent weeks.
26 SADDLE - DD in sale.  ‘Lumber’ here is a transitive verb.
27 GOVERNOR - as hiddens go, it’s a nice one;  not least because it put me in mind of Fulton Mackay in Porridge.

Down
1 PUTSCH - puts + Ch.
2 NO EXPENSE SPARED - (ex pen’s) in (spread, one)*.
3 HOUSE - H + ouse.
4 NO ENTRY – (neon)< + try.
6 TO A DEGREE
7 GOODBYE TO BERLIN - (It bore golden boy)*.  Again, not a work I’ve ever encountered (it’s by Isherwood), but the anagram fodder was obvious and yielded few possibilities.
8 ESSEX MAN- {w}essex man.  Finally an art/literature reference that I recognized! (Probably helped by being a native West Saxon myself).  Michael ‘Henchard’ is The Mayor of Casterbridge.
11 SNUB - buns<
15 PIMPERNEL - cryptic only if you’re unfamiliar with the Scarlet varietal, Percy B..
19 NOOK - nook{y}.
20 ORINOCO - or + coin* + O.
21 SKATER - s + Kate + r. Re: Christopher Dean, who successfully went from pounding the beat in Nottingham to flouncing the Bolero in Sarajevo.
23 BOYLE - homophone of “boil”.

5 Responses to “Financial Times 13,480 / Falcon”

  1. Eileen says:

    Hi smiffy and many thanks for the blog.

    I liked a lot of this and especially, I think, the ref to Michael Henchard, who sold his wife!

    I think you may be more familiar with ‘Cabaret’, the musical version of 7dn?

    Quite a literary one, all round, with a reminder of the Hans Christian Andersen’s story in 13ac, which I remember finding quite frightening at primary school!

  2. smiffy says:

    Thanks for the cross-references Eileen.

    At least I’m aware of ‘Cabaret’, even if the sum total of my knowledge thereof is that (i) it’s vaguely German-themed, and (ii) it featured Liza Minelli. And I imagine that (ii) could well be a serious impediment to me ever becoming any the wiser by viewing it.

    I also recall being quite alarmed by Andersen’s saucer-eyed dogs when I first encountered them! I think the accompanying illustrations must have been quite ghoulish.

  3. Eileen says:

    smiffy – and the saucer-eyed dog was only the first: it was the idea of eyes as big as mill-wheels and then the Round Tower of Copenhagen

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rundet%C3%A5rn

    that spooked me!

    [These 'fairy tales' that our parents and teachers subjected us to were really terrifying, weren't they?]

  4. John Newman says:

    Thanks Smiffy

    I found the left hand side easy but the right hand side too hard. Can you tell me though, how one gets “man” from “piece” – 19A?

    cheers

    John

  5. Jan says:

    Hi, John, I’m glad I’m not the only one who arrives late to the table. I’m just checking up on last week’s puzzles.

    Smiffy will see your query, but in the meantime, piece = man in chess, a fairly common crossword contrivance.

    Again, ffanks for the blog, Smiffy. I don’t remember The Tinderbox, but Thumbelina scared me.

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