Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,488 by Cincinnus

Posted by Pete Maclean on September 23rd, 2010

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of September 11
Here’s another clever Cincinnus puzzle. Some of the clues seem so easy (to construct, that is), even fairly obvious clues for the words in question — but they are really not. And I know of no compiler who comes up with as many of these as Cincinnus does. Take for example 12A (HEAT) with its fine surface reading, 20 A (BIG GAME), 25A (SKIN) and 23D (CHECK).

Across
1. ORCHID – ORC (Tolkien monster) + HID (kept dark)
4. ESTIMATE – I (one) + M (million) both in ESTATE (property)
10. FUSSPOT – F (fine) + US (American) + SPOT (blemish)
11. AFFABLE – A (a) + F (France) + FABLE (story)
12. HEAT – HEAT[her] (Erica loses “her”)
13. BARBERSHOP – triple (!) definition
16. ORDAIN – anagram of ROAD + IN (in)
17. ALMANAC – A (a) + MAN (chap) in LAC (leading aircraftman)
20. BIG GAME – double definition
21. ALPERT – hidden word
24. DISTRAUGHT – DIS (Diana’s) + [cha]R[les] in TAUGHT (informed)
25. SKIN – [a]SKIN[g]
27. SWANSEA – SWAN (bird) + E[xtr]A. This one took me a while!
29. CUI BONO – CU (copper) + I[nterrogate] + BONO (rock star)
30. ACOLYTES – anagram of TOY SCALE
31. BASSET – B[askervilles] + ASSET (something valuable)

Down
1. OFFSHOOT – OFF (not on) + SHOOT (fire)
2. CUSTARD PIES – anagram of IS PATE CURDS
3. IMPS – I (one) + MPS (mile per second). A speed of 3,600 miles per hour equals 1 mile per second.
6. SEATBELT – SEAT (Spanish car) + BELT (go fast)
7. ALB – hidden word with cryptic definition
8. EXEMPT – EXE (river) + MP (politician) + T[iddler]
9. A-TEAM – ATE (possibly had lunch) + AM (before noon)
14. HEAVEN KNOWS – anagram of WHO SANK EVEN
15. BING CROSBY – anagram of SONG BY CRIB
18. AMPUTATE – A (a) + P (penny) in MUTATE (change)
19. STAND OUT – STAND (bear) + OUT (dismissed)
22. ODESSA – ODES (poems) + SA[y] (recite mostly)
23. CHECK – double definition
26. PISA – IS (is) in PA (Pennsylvania)
28. ADO – A (a) + DO (function)

3 Responses to “Financial Times 13,488 by Cincinnus”

  1. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks, Pete, another jewel in the crown.
    I think 13ac (BARBERSHOP) is even a triple definition.
    Trim place, quartet (close harmony piece sung by four men) ánd composer’s dance (Barber’s hop).
    My Clue of the Day: 14d (HEAVEN KNOWS) – such a natural surface.

  2. Pete Maclean says:

    Hi Sil, You are right about 13ac of course. I noticed that when I solved the clue and then overlooked it when I wrote the blog. Thanks.

  3. Wil Ransome says:

    Agree that many of Cincinnus’s clues are simple but unexpectedly or misleadingly good. You say you can’t think of another setter who comes up with as many of these as Cincinnus does. I’d suggest Dac in The Independent (Wednesdays nearly always; also in The Times but we don’t know when) whose clues are similarly excellent.

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