Fifteensquared

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Financial Times 13,494 by Mudd

Posted by Pete Maclean on September 30th, 2010

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of September 18

This puzzle took me longer than most. In particular, 24A (TOILET ROLL) and 6D (APOSTROPHE) stumped me for a while. At first I did not completely understand 4A (APPARENT) but a commenter set me straight. My favourite clues here are 24A (a good aha moment when I finally got it) and 17D (BANDICOOT).

Across
1. RETIRE – RE (on) + TIRE (flag)
4. APPARENT – A (a) + P (page) + PARE (cut) + NT (book). I believe NT (for New Testament) is usually clued by “books”, not “book”, but the New Testament is published as a single physical book so why not!
10. STIRRER – cryptic definition
11. SPONGER – double definition
12. BOOB – palindrome
13. INSISTENCE – anagram of SCENES IN IT
15. SLIGHT – double definition
16. COLOMBO – CO (business) + MB (doctor) in LOO (private accommodation)
20. BEARING – double definition
21. SHINTO – anagram of THIS NO
24. TOILET ROLL – ELIOT backwards (writer rejected) + TROLL (giant)
26. RIGA – hidden word
28. EVERTON – EVERT (turn out) + ON (on)
29. TRIPOLI – TRIP (journey) + [c]OLI[n]
30. SILENCED – anagram of DECLINES
31. BARTOK – BART (Simpson) + OK (fine)

Down
1. ROSE BUSH – ROSE (rebelled) + BUSH (president)
2. TRILOBITE – T[o] + IT (it) in anagram of BOILER
3. RARE – double definition
5. POSEIDON – POSE (sit) + anagram of ODIN
6. APOSTROPHE – PORT (left) + SO (so) + PA (father) all backwards + HE (him). I wonder how common and how fair it is to use “him” to clue HE. Or do I have this wrong?
7. ELGIN – G (good) in NILE (river) backwards
8. TARGET – TAR (sailor) + GET (achieve)
9. TRUNK – double/cryptic definition
14. CHARLESTON – anagram of CLOSER THAN
17. BANDICOOT – COO (Bill’s partner) in BANDIT (robber)
18. ENTRANCE – double definition
19. SOYA MILK – SO (then) + YAM (vegetable) + ILK (type)
22. STRESS – double definition
23. FLUTE – double/cryptic definition
25. IDEAL – I (single) + DEAL (port)
27. DIVA – AVID (eager) backwards. The FT’s web version of the puzzle had an inconsequential typo in this clue; the last ‘n’ in maintenance was omitted.

8 Responses to “Financial Times 13,494 by Mudd”

  1. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks Pete for the blog.

    I am a great admirer of John Halpern’s writing skills, but sometimes I wonder whether thát is the main reason that I always want to complete every single Mudd.
    Maybe I am expecting too much – but this was a routine affair, nothing special at all.
    Many clues were like lines in an boring book.
    “Turn out, taking on team” , “Force declines, so cut short” , “Troublesome spoon” etc.
    Having said that, there was not much wrong with the various constructions, which were rather straightforward though.

    No Paulian sparkle here, although some might smile at reading “Are a chicken’s gnashers so?” for RARE (3d)
    We had a TOILET ROLL in 24ac, constructed the same way as not so long ago in a Paul.
    And a BOOB (12ac) and a ‘loo’ as part of one the better clues (COLOMBO, 16ac).

    Normally we see NT described as ‘books’, but Mudd opted for ‘book’ in 4d. I’m not a biblical person, so that might be right.
    [Pete: A + P(page) + PARE (cut) + NT (book), definition: Clear]

    What surely isn’t right: putting in a clue ‘with him’ and then asking for HE (6d).
    A pity because the clue in itself wasn’t bad at all.

    In 30ac we had a very ordinary word as anagrind (‘Force’). I can’t remember having seen that before, and I have my doubts – although it is clear what Mudd means. I think if ‘Force’ were an accepted anagram indicator, we would see it more often, as it is such an obvious word.
    Finally, in all the dictionaries that surround me ROSE BUSH (1d) is one word.

    Of course, there were nice touches as well.
    I already mentioned 16ac and 6d, and I think 17d had a fine surface [although I had never heard of a BANDICOOT, and COO for ‘Bill’s partner’ (still don't understand this)].
    Good anagram in 13ac (INSISTENCE).
    Oh, and 21ac (SHINTO) has a lot of potential – but why this anagrind? There must be one that makes it a much more powerful clue.

    Disappointing crossword – like the artist who still has to make one last record for his former company [luckily I know that the artist can make brilliant records too :)].

  2. Pete Maclean says:

    Sil, Thanks for the perceptive comments. I am particularly pleased to know that you agree with my doubts about HIM and HE.

    There is an expression “to bill and coo”, used as if it were a single verb and usually applied to birds such as doves. Chambers defines it as meaning “to touch and rub bills together” — this would be in an amatory (or seemingly amatory) fashion.

  3. jmac says:

    Thanks for the blog Pete. Although maybe not quite up to the standard of Paul’s brilliant puzzle in this week’s Guardian, I still think this was pretty good. Particularly liked BANDICOOT.

    I don’t share the reservations expressed re HE and HIM. Although Chambers lists HE primiarily as a nominative, it does give it as an accusative albeit flagged as “irregularly, ungrammatically or dialectally”, and I have heard it used as such. Also, it does make for a really good clue and that counts for a lot.

    Similarly, I don’t have any problem with “force” as an anagrind -to me it seems quite a natural use of the word.

  4. Pete Maclean says:

    Hello jmac, Thanks for commenting and for pointing that out about HE and HIM. I had not thought to look them up to check but perhaps, as a blogger, that is what I should have done.

    I think “force” is okay as an anagrind, perhaps marginally okay.

  5. Sil van den Hoek says:

    To be honest, I am still not very impressed by HE = ‘him’.
    Yes, jmac, Chambers says so, but I think the setter should (preferably) stick to what’s grammatically correct – and not fall for what some people say (right or wrong).
    BTW, Oxford gives us a much better explanation for HE: “(W. Indian) him or his: don’t tell he nothing more”.
    But, very familiar to Paul/Mudd’s use of the English language, I think this specific use of HE is very, very poor.

    “Force” as an anagrind may be an indisputable one for some, but.
    There are two things against it.
    (1) in (online) anagrind lists (and in Bradford) “force” isn’t mentioned as such [which in case you might expect to be there, as it is such a common word]
    (2) if it were a valid anagrind, we would have seen it more often
    ‘To force’ is more like ‘to break’, as a splitting indicator.

    For me, Mudd was just not on form.

  6. Wil Ransome says:

    Sil talks about ‘force’ as an anagram indicator. This doesn’t seem nearly so doubtful as the one Mudd has used in 2dn: ‘supposed’ or possibly ”s supposed’. I’ve never seen this before. Not good enough I think. Or am I missing something? My reading of the clue is that it’s (t{orment} boiler it)* but I see Pete that you say it’s something rather different: if you are correct (and you may well be) then ‘supposed’ is an inclusion indicator, which seems equally odd.

  7. Wil Ransome says:

    Because I posted so late Pete it occurred to me that now you may not have the original clue, which was ‘Old fossil beginning to torment boiler, it’s supposed’.

  8. Pete Maclean says:

    I feel rather sure that I am correct in that “torment” is the anagram indicator. That indeed leaves “supposed” as an inclusion indicator. As best I can remember, I considered that okay at the time I wrote the blog because “supposed” can mean “assumed” and “assumed” can mean “taken in”. Now you bring my attention to it, however, I suspect that I took a false step there because, looking in my dictionaries, I can find no justification for “supposed” meaning “taken in”. So, I agree, this may well be a faulty clue.

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