Fifteensquared

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Financial Times 13,515 / Cinephile

Posted by Gaufrid on October 13th, 2010

Gaufrid.

A rather tricky themed puzzle from Cinephile today with some obscure answers, in particular two place names though fortunately these were clued with easy wordplay. Definitely not one for beginners or those without access to Wikipedia etc.

Apart from the simple wordplay, I thought 9ac was particularly unfair since, without access to Wikipedia or similar, it required a knowledge of the German name for a little known city or river somehow connected with the Baltic.

There seemed to be a trend in this puzzle for the place names to be defined rather obliquely, for example ‘on the Thames’, ‘of the Baltic’, ‘found in Cyprus’ and ‘in West Africa’ though one (20dn) wasn’t defined as a location at all.

There were a few clues that I liked (29ac, 1dn & 4dn) but overall I found this puzzle to be more of a chore than an enjoyable challenge, which is not something I would normally say about this setter so perhaps it is just me being out of sorts today.

Across
1 TALKING SHOP  cd
7,28 PUTNEY  PUT (place) NEY (marshal) – Michel Ney
9 MEMEL  ME ME (double self-assertion) L (student) – the German name for a city in Lithuania (Klaipeda) and a river (Neman) which flows into the Baltic
10 PARTRIDGE  PART (leave) RIDGE (higher ground)
11 DISCOVERY  I’S (one’s) COVE (fellow) in DRY (going without liquor) – the name of the ship in which 25dn first visited Antarctica
12,15 SOUTH POLE  OUT HP (sauce) in SOLE (fish) – the aim of 25dn on his second expedition to Antarctica, accompanied by 27ac, was to be the first to reach here but he was beaten to it by 17dn
13 TOOLBAR  TO LB (pound) in OAR (blade)
18 PASS  dd
20 CUTWORM  CU (copper) TWO (couple) RM (marines)
23,24 BLACK-EYED SUSAN  LACKEYED (was hanger-on) SUS (suspect) in BAN (prohibition) – this is the name of several plants so I don’t see the need for, or relevance of, ‘girl’ in the clue
26 DUNGAREES  *(RAGE) in DUNES – def. ‘overall’, more usually seen in the plural except for N. America
27 OATES  homophone of ‘oats’ (porridge) – Captain Lawrence Edward Grace (“Titus”) Oates
29 LANCASTRIAN  *(SAINT CARNAL)

Down
1 TIMIDITY  TIM (small boy) IDI[o]T (nothing less than a fool) Y (unknown)
2 LIMASSOL  LIMA’S SOL (the sun that shines in Peru) – a town in Cyprus
3 IGLOO  homophone of ‘I glue’ (I stick)
4 GAP-YEAR  GAP (space) YEAR (time)
5 HURRY UP  HUR R (right) YUP (yes)
6 PORT SALUT  PORT (harbour) SALUT[e] (with no English acknowledgement)
7 PODIUM  [soa]P[box] ODIUM (general dislike)
8 TEETHE  TEE (starter) THE (article)
14 BLANK WALL  BLANK (…….) W (with) ALL (everything) – not a term with which I was familiar (my initial thought was ‘brick wall’ until I saw the clash with 18ac), and it doesn’t appear in any of the usual references, but confirmation can be found at Dictionary.com
16 ROSSETTI  *(IT STORES) – Dante Gabriel Rossetti
17 AMUNDSEN  *(NUDE MAN’S) – Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen, the first man to reach 12,15
19 SHEBEEN  SHE BEEN? (have we had a visit from her?)
20 CHELSEA  CHE (revolutionary) L (left) SEA (waves) – Chelsea Clinton who got married in July
21 IBADAN  I (one) BAD (rotten) AN (article) – a town in Nigeria
22 DAINTY  IN T (time) in DAY (time)
25 SCOTT  a reference to the saying ‘great Scott’ – Captain Robert Falcon Scott, leader of the Discovery and Terra Nova expeditions

11 Responses to “Financial Times 13,515 / Cinephile”

  1. Tom Johnson says:

    Just a small comment, but I cannot find “Cypress” on my map of the world.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks Tom. Typo corrected. The site crashed part way through my preparing this post and I obviously didn’t spend enough time proof-reading it when I was able to regain access.

  3. Richard says:

    Very very small comment on a wonderfully informative blog: 3dn could be I + homophone of GLUE. The I is not really part of the homophone as it is long in “I glue” but short in “Igloo”.

  4. Abby says:

    We mostly figured this one out today, but I still don’t get what “Producer of Ben” is doing in 5D. We got the answer anyway.

  5. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Like Abby, here’s another one who doesn’t see the “Producer of Ben” part of 5d. So?

    Just like you, Gaufrid, I found this not a very friendly crossword [my words, not yours].
    With a ‘word’ like MEMEL I don’t have any problems as such [normally, I have to ask advice of My Resources Dept anyway], but defining it as “of the Baltic” is not really fair.
    In fact, the same occurs in 21d (apparently, IBADAN) – “in West Africa”. At first I had ABADAN, which fits the clue just as well, but unfortunately, that’s in Iran …

    I did finish the crossword and I cannot say I didn’t like it at all, because it’s Mr Graham and there’s something in his cluing that is in a way ‘personal’ – however … I think, a bit of an uncomfortable puzzle.

    I wasn’t convinced by some definitions.
    TOOLBAR, a ‘line on screen’? Well, maybe, just about.
    And what is the definition of 7d’s PODIUM?

    On the other hand, I did like 14d (BLANK WALL).
    Apparently it’s not in The Dictionaries, but sometimes I can’t be bothered, certainly not when it’s so very well clued as it is here.

    Conclusion: an extremely mixed bag.

  6. Rishi says:

    Abby #4

    Could there be any reference to Ben-Hur, on whom there was a famous film in the 1950s?

  7. Gaufrid says:

    Richard @3
    You are of course correct. An error on my part when I came to write the post.

    Abby and Sil @4 & 5
    I thought the ‘producer of Ben’ was just padding to improve the surface. As Rishi says, it is a reference to the film.

    Sil @5
    The definition in 7dn is ‘soapbox’ which is doing double duty by also supplying the initial P. The clue could be considered as an &lit because often people don’t like the things that are said when someone is on their soapbox.

  8. ACP says:

    7dn wouldn’t be &lit as the clue has to describe ‘podium’ not ‘soapbox’.

    As has been said, the puzzle was nice for the Scott/Amundsen references but painful for the obscure place names, barely defined. And Ben Hur – whatever that is.

  9. mike04 says:

    In 5dn I read ‘Producer of Ben’ as meaning ‘parent of Ben’.
    In Europe this could be a “Mr Hur” or simply Hur.

  10. Sil van den Hoek says:

    When I cycled to work this morning, I thought: ‘Oh yeah, soapbox = podium’.
    Should have seen that earlier, nevertheless thanks, Gaufrid, for the explanation.

    But ‘Producer of Ben’ to improve the surface?
    By throwing in words that may even point in the direction of a device (‘ Producer of’)?
    Well, not for me.
    Of course, I saw the allusion to Ben Hur, and maybe mike04′s idea of ‘Producer of Ben Hur’ = ‘ Hur’ (with several steps in between) is what Cinephile meant – but then, describing a word that’s already there (Hur), is a bit silly isn’t it?

  11. mike04 says:

    I did mean ‘Producer of Ben Hur’ = ‘Hur’ as you pointed out, Sil, and I agree
    with your point about the word ‘Hur’ being there already.
    Personally, however, I can (almost) accept this as “Producer” and “Ben Hur”
    are both required for some cinematographic wordplay from Cinephile!

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