Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,514 / Alberich

Posted by Agentzero on October 12th, 2010


This was a challenge for me: more difficult than the usual Tuesday FT fare. However, Alberich has rewarded our efforts with a very clever puzzle. Particularly nice were several clues in which … (don’t read further if you haven’t solved the puzzle yet)

…what appeared to be a unitary phrase in fact represented separate parts of definition and wordplay, e.g., “web page” (15 across) and “fish egg” (19 down).

1 SIMILE I in SMILE (look happy)
4 EDIFICES E[uropean] + *(DEFICI[t]) + S[ociety]
11 STAPLER STAPLE (that’s essential) R[ight]
12 DRAB BARD (Shakespeare) reversed
13 REJUVENATE JUVENA[l] (Roman poet briefly) in *(TREE)
15 SPIDER P (quiet) in SIDE (page) + R (resistance)
16 BERLIOZ homophone of “barely owes;” I got the name of the composer quickly from crossing letters, but it took me a while to see the pun
20 HABITUE A BIT (somewhat) in HUE (shade)
21 ATTEST AT (attending) TEST (trial)
24 BAD HOMBURG BAD (wicked) HOMBURG (headgear)
26 EWER [s]EWER (channel)
28 COASTER dd; a coaster is a ship
29 PHONEME PHONE ME (I’d like you to call)
30 SONORITY *(IN O [love] STORY)
31 VERMIN V[ery] ERMIN[e] (short fur)
1 SOAP-DISH d&cd; Corrie is a British soap opera
2 MARGARITA *(TIA MARIA minus I (one) plus R[equire] G[reek])
3 LOAF L[eft] + OAF (lout)
5 DISQUIET D[aughter] IS QUIET (makes no noise)
6 FLAGELLATE *(LEGAL) + L[abour] in FATE (lot)
7 CELIA I[ndependent] in ALEC (smart fellow) reversed
8 SHRIEK I in SHREK (film)
9 FEVER F[ellow] EVER (always)
17 OVERWHELM OVER (having too much) W[eight] HELM (tiller)
19 STURGEON ST[one] + URGE ON (egg)
22 ABACUS CAB (vehicle) reversed in AUS[tralia]
23 TRIPE cd
25 DRAIN This was tricky:  SPANIARD (European) with SPA removed (“well off”) and reversed.
27 MORE Henry MOORE, minus the middle letter, yields Thomas MORE

7 Responses to “Financial Times 13,514 / Alberich”

  1. anax says:

    Great entertainment as always from Alberich and, as you say Agentzero, full of his (typically) clever lift-and-separate components; the other Alberich trademark much in evidence is the smoothness of the clues.

    A couple really had me struggling for a while, 16a finally succumbing with an appreciative groan, 27d embarrassing me because it took so long to dredge up from memory, and finally 20 because I was sure the answer had to include an X to make the pangram. Knowing Alberich, I bet this was deliberate ploy!

    Super fun.

  2. Jezza says:

    Very good puzzle from Alberich, which I found tricky in places.

    Re 2d, is it *(TIA MARIA minus I(one) plus R[equire]G[reek])

    Thanks to Agentzero for the review

  3. Agentzero says:

    Yes, thank you Jezza. I was careless in typing the explanation; I’ve fixed it now.

  4. bamberger says:

    Got most of the lhs out but the rhs was completely barren.
    13a I racked my brains for Latin poets but I’m afraid I have never heard of Juvenal
    15a Couldn’t be anything else but couldn’t get wordplay.
    29 & 30a Not words I have come across before.
    Disappointing effort after solving most of the Saturday and Monday prize puzzles.

  5. Sil van den Hoek says:

    A clever crossword from Alberich, but I think not his cleverest so far.
    But don’t worry, folks, I did like it!

    I had the feeling that he was a lot more fiendish on other occasions, and I think there were some clues that weren’t even thát brilliant, like ATTEST (21ac) which is too similar to ‘attending’, AIRFARE (10ac) or MORE (27d) which I found so obvious that I thought it couldn’t be right [I wouldn’t call Thomas More a writer in the first place anyway].

    26ac hád to be EWER [vessel], but the clue as such is not completely unambigious, as it cán be read as ‘a vessel with its first letter removed’ to give us a ‘channel’ [with a capital? – only for the surface, I guess?].

    Maybe it looks that I’m negative now, but all of this is relative.

    Many highlights, especially SIMILE (1ac) [very elegant], 15ac (SPIDER) & STURGEON (19d) [for reasons already given; ‘building society’ in 4ac was another of these lift-and-separate devices, as Anax calls them], the homophone of BERLIOZ (16ac) [it took me a while to understand this], DRAIN (25d) [ingenious construction] and HELICOPTER (14d) [my anagram of the day – despite the brilliant surface of MARGARITA (2d)].

    So, a very good puzzle [of course, I would say – haven’t seen a bad Alberich so far] – yet, let’s say, nót a Friday crossword.

    Thank you, Alberich [and I hope it’s not too much of a mess still, in the Golden City].
    And thank you, Agentzero – after all you had to blog this crossword without having the option to cheat every now and then (like Guardian and Indy bloggers), which is quite an admirable feat for a crossword of this calibre.

  6. Agentzero says:

    Thank you, Sil. About ten minutes in, I had a flash of fear that I would have to post a blog full of blanks! Fortunately everything became clear in the end.

  7. shuchi says:

    A very enjoyable puzzle, I loved 1A and 15A. Even the simpler clues have beautiful surfaces, like 12A and 9D. Thanks Alberich, and thanks Agentzero for the blog.

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