Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,509 / Aardvark

Posted by Gaufrid on October 6th, 2010


A pleasant enough puzzle that would suit those who don’t like double or cryptic definitions since only one clue did not involve a charade, anagram or other wordplay. There did however seem to be rather a lot of reversals (a device used in a third of the clues).

I have a minor concern about 9ac in that I do not think that ‘crypto-‘ accurately equates with ‘closet’ because I cannot think of an example in which they could be interchanged, but this did not cause a problem when solving the clue. 27ac may have tripped up one or two solvers if they did not read the clue carefully enough.

1 VALENCIA  VALE (farewell) NCIA (Peruvian {Inca} one moving)
6 MALICE  M (Mike) I[dentify] C[arefully] in ALE (beer)
9 CRYPTO  CRY (turn on waterworks) P (pressure) TO – ‘crypto-‘ is a combining form meaning secret, hidden or concealed whereas ‘closet’ is a noun that, when used as a modifier, can mean private or secret.
10 TAX EXILE  EX (late) in TAXI (cab) LE (the French)
11 ORCA  hidden in ‘windsOR CAstle’
12 CARICATURE  *(CURTAI[n]) in CARE (charge)
14 MACARONI  CAR (vehicle) in MAO (Chinese leader) IN reversed
16 RIDE  RID (free) E (drug)
18 GOBI  BO[oots] reversed in GI (soldier)
19 ADVANCED  VAN (truck) C[rech]E in ADD (tot)
21 KIDNEY BEAN  KID (child) YEN (foreign money) reversed BEAN (coin)
22 PAGE  EG (say) AP (before meal {ante prandium}) reversed
24 GIGANTIC  G (George) ANTI (not in favour) in CIG (cigarette) reversed
26 AT WILL  TWI[t] (idiot endlessly) in ALL (everything)
27 PESTLE  d&cd – “an instrument for pounding or grinding, esp a small club-like kitchen utensil used in conjunction with a small bowl or mortar”. Hands up those who saw ?E?T?E and put in KETTLE without understanding the ‘found in pound shop’.
28 PRIMROSE  RIM (margin) in PROSE (writing)

2 AIRER  [f]AIRER (brighter when top’s scrubbed)
3 EXPLANATION  EX (dead) PLAN[t]ATION (area of trees? Drop in temperature)
4 CHOP-CHOP  C (college) HOP (dance) repeated
6 MEXICO  M[usic] IX (baseball team) reversed in ECO (green) – there are nine players in a baseball team.
7 LAX  L (left) AX (American chopper)
8 COLERIDGE  EG (for example) DIRE (awful) LOC[k] (hair cut) reversed
13 TYRONE POWER  TYRO (novice) PEN (writer) reversed OWER (one in debt)
15 ABORIGINE  [b]A[m]B[o]O RIG (fake) IN E (England)
17 SVENGALI  S (succeeded) V (playing {versus}) *(EALING)
20 MYRTLE  MY (setter’s) [handle]R *(LET)
23 GALES  EL (the Spaniard) reversed in GAS (chat)
25 APT  PA (dad) reversed T (casual shirt)

6 Responses to “Financial Times 13,509 / Aardvark”

  1. Eileen says:

    Hi Gaufrid and thanks for the blog.

    I don’t understand your objection to crypto = closet. I didn’t think twice about it but a quick google reveals [along with your comment! :-)] several articles / letters where ‘crypto – Jew’ and ‘closet Jew’ are used interchangeably.

    Re 27ac: yes, the first instinct on seeing those letters is to enter ‘kettle’ but, as you say, the clue doesn’t fit, so I didn’t actually get as far as putting it in.

    I was more concerned about the definitions here and at 2dn. I would more readily call an airer an item and a pestle a utensil.

  2. bamberger says:

    After my alloted hour I had about half solved with the SE completely blank.

    4d I tried every combination of anagrams of eton eton -but obviously without success.
    8d I had this pencilled in as c?l looked promising but just couldn’t see the wordplay.
    13d I have never heard of him- and in a quick straw poll neither have any of my immediate collegues. “Tyrone who?”
    I’m with Eileen re an airer and a pestle.

  3. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Eileen
    Your comment has caused me to reconsider 9ac. I appreciate that many people add ‘crypto-‘ to the beginning of a noun in the same way that they would describe it as ‘closet’ but this surely doesn’t mean that a combining form is the same as a modifying noun.

    I would be happier if there was some support in the usual references but none has ‘crypto-sameword’ and ‘closet sameword’ as an entry or example.

  4. Eileen says:

    Hi Gaufrid

    As I said, I don’t see the problem: Collins has ‘closet’ only as a modifier but Chambers has: ‘adj. secret, private’.

    [I’m going out now. :-) ]

  5. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I know that my posts can be very long, but this one’s very short.
    Only to say that, in my opinion, 5d (A STORM IN A TEACUP) is a stunning anagram [but, at the same time, what a pity that the clue as a whole is a bit like a bridleway after a rainstorm].

  6. Ferret says:

    I’ve only just got round to this one. Fairly straightforward, but I was thrown by putting in TAP near the very beginning for 25D…….the mini household theme being extended to a bathroom fitting?

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nine + = 15