Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,487 / Aardvark

Posted by shuchi on September 10th, 2010


The confidence that the first two Across clues gave me soon vanished as I progressed with this crossword. This was a slow solve with aids needed to check on the slang and music references.

I enjoyed the wordplay tricks at several places, especially 28a and 29a. 15a needs your help! // Gaufrid comes to the rescue as usual. Answer updated.


1 MAPUTO MAP (plan) UTO (regular letters from ‘tuition’). Maputo is the capital city of Mozambique.
4 BACHELOR BACH (composer) ROLE (character) reversed
10 SHELL SUIT SIT (model), around HELL (suffering) (US)<
11 RATES RAT (one shops) [l]ES[s]. ‘shop’ is slang for ‘betray’.
12 HUMP CHUMP (fool) – C (caught)
15 PINT-POT PIN (leg) TO PT reversed
16 EXPERT EXERT (stretch) around P (positive)
19 MARRAM A palindrome, ‘marram’ is a type of grass found on coastal sand dunes.
21 BAR CODE BAR (block of chocolate, say) on C (‘computer’, primarily) ODE (lines) &lit. My initial parsing was ‘computer lines’ = CODE and I couldn’t see what ‘primarily’ was doing here.
23 BRIGANTINE ANT (worker) in GI (soldier) in BRINE (salty water). Isn’t soldier = GI and not IG?
25 LEAF E (letter no.2 of L’Equipe) in LA (‘the’ in French) F (fellow)
28 DREAMBOAT (ARMED)* BOA (stole) T (tons). Clever use of ‘stole’.
29 LUNGWORT (GROWN)* in [g]LUT (abudance)
30 KOWTOW WOK (pan) reversed) TO W (wife)


1 MISSHAPE (EMPHASIS)* To a rugby player used to an egg-shaped ball, a spherical one will be misshape.
2 PNEUMONIA PNEU (sounds like ‘new’) (NAOMI)*
3 TILT TIT (bird) around [noe]L
5 ASTAIRE A AIRE  (British flower), around ST (street). As is the custom in cryptic crosswords, flower here is flow-er i.e. a river, and not a real flower. The answer refers to Fred Astaire.
6 HERB ALPERT HERB (Basil, for example), P (piano) in ALERT (lively). Herb Alpert is an American trumpeter.
7 LITHO LO (see) around (THI[s])*. I think ITH should be ‘cropped THIS, lousy’ and not ‘cropping THIS, lousy’, though it spoils the surface. Or is there a better way to read the wordplay?
8 RESIDE (IS)< in RED, E[lectronics]
9 AUGUST AUGURS (forecasts) – R (right), T (temperature)
17 ROOTED OUT O (very old) TED (rock ‘n’ roller) ROUT (brawl)
18 BEEF STEW BEE (worker, from worker bee) FEW (one or two), around S[e]T. When worker is not ANT as in 23a, it’s usually BEE.
20 MATADOR DATA (info) in ROM (space, on computer), all reversed
21 BUNGEE BUNG (slang for throw) E[rmin]E
22 ABSEIL AB’S (sailor’s), LIE (tale) reversed
24 IOWAN second letters of ‘finish Cornish’ WAN (pasty)
26 AMMO A (alpha) M (male) MO (flash)

8 Responses to “Financial Times 13,487 / Aardvark”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Shuchi
    I think the dancer in 5dn is more likely to be Fred Astaire.

    15ac is PINT-POT – PIN (leg) TO PT reversed.

    23ac is ANT in GI in BRINE.

    I’m not happy with 17dn. To get the answer, ‘very old’ has to give OO. Alternatively, ‘old rock ‘n roller’ is TED and OO is simply ‘very’. Neither of these work for me.

  2. shuchi says:

    Hi Gaufrid

    I was puzzled too by 17d, missed mentioning this in my post. I though that ‘very’ served no useful purpose. Possibly the setter wanted us to read it as OO, then use the second O along with rock ‘n’ roller? Not satisfactory, even then.

    Have made the other updates. Thanks for your help!

  3. Tokyocolin says:

    Thanks Shuchi. You omitted 11ac, the only one I didn ‘t get. Is it RATES? If so, why?

  4. shuchi says:

    Hi Tokyocolin

    RAT (one shops) [l]ES[s].
    ‘shop’ is slang for ‘betray’.

    I’ll include 11ac in the post. Thanks.

  5. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Tokyocolin
    I had RATES though it has not been a tax in the UK for quite some time. I parsed it as RAT (one shops) [l]ES[s] (less, first and last to avoid).

  6. Tokyocolin says:

    Thank you to both Shuchi and Gaufrid. I should have been able to see that myself.

  7. Tony Welsh says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid & Shuchi. I have lived in the US for 30 years but have never heard of a shell suit. I was trying to make it sweat suit, but of course had no idea why.

  8. shuchi says:

    Hi Tony

    Shell suit was one of my “Googled” answers. I hadn’t heard of one either. According to Wikipedia, they are a variation of tracksuits that became popular in the 1980s, and are considered a fashion faux pas of that decade.

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