Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,517 / Viking

Posted by shuchi on October 15th, 2010


A typically classy puzzle by Viking. It is with a heavy heart that I blog this, knowing that Viking will not be delighting us with new puzzles or leaving a comment on the blog anymore as he often used to do. RIP Viking.

I found this a combo of easy and tough – some giveaway clues like 7a and 28a but a difficult bottom-right corner, some very nice constructions like 24a, 29a and 1d and a brilliant 14d.


1 ACUTE ACCENT A CUTE (charming) ACCENT (way of talking).
7 RAT (TAR)<
9 REBUS RE (concerning) BUS (public transport)
11 BROKERAGE BROKE (poor) RAGE (anger)
12 UNITE hidden reversed in ‘duET IN Unison’
13 TREMBLE TREBLE (singer) around M (master). Vibrato is a “trembling” effect in music.
15 NEED NETTED (caught), losing heart i.e. TT
18 MATH MAT (dull) H (hard). Math is the American shortening of the word; the British equivalent is Maths. A tongue-in-cheek
reference to the jest that Americans and math(s) don’t mix.
20 TETANUS ATE (worried) in SUN (star) T (tenor), all reversed
23 LADEN LEADEN (dull) – E (energy)
24 MOONSCAPE MOONS (wanders listlessly) CAPE (covering). I found this hard to get but also very pleasing.
26 ON THE TURN (UNROTTEN + H)* a sort of &lit
27 AVERT AVER (state) T[axes]
28 EAR regular letters of rEpAiR


1 ACROBATS A CROAT’S (European’s) around B (black)
3 ENSUE ENSURE (guarantee) – R
4 CHARADE CHARGE (price) – G (golf in the phonetic alphabet) + A D (day)
5 EASTERN E (one point) ASTERN (behind)
6 TURBULENT TURBU U (unionist) BRUT[e] (thug, mostly), reversed + LENT (fast)
7 RAISIN IS in RAIN (water); ‘quite the reverse’ switches the container and content.
17 ASBESTOS A SOS (alarm) around BEST (top). Asbestos is a flame-retardant.
19 HAMBURG HAM (meat) (GRUB)<
20 TROUNCE (COUNTER)*. It took me very long to see that this was an anagram, I was pegging it as a doubtful dd.
21 ALCOVE A LOVE (sweetheart) around C[uddle]
22 EDITOR E[radicate], ROT (rubbish) I’D reversed
25 SLASH SPLASH (headline) – P (page)

Today’s Financial Times puzzle carries a small write-up about Viking. Since the FT puzzle archive is short-lived, reproducing the write-up here so that visitors in future may see it.

Derek Arthur – Viking
Derek Arthur, who died suddenly on October 9 aged 65, set his first crossword for the FT in 2007 using the pseudonym Viking, Arthur being a VI (century) KING. For many years he also jointly edited the Listener crossword. Born in Shetland, he trained as a mathematician, becoming a lecturer in Dublin and Edinburgh. His final post, from which he retired in 2005, was Director of Mathematical Teaching at the University of Edinburgh. He is survived by his wife Alison and three sons.

7 Responses to “Financial Times 13,517 / Viking”

  1. walruss says:

    I see from he thread above the sad news. Obviously a very talented compiler, and I hope too this is not the lasst time we’ll see his work. Lovely stuff, God bless Viking.

  2. bamberger says:

    Got bits and pieces out but generally too tough for me -however kickimg myself for missing 10&12a

  3. nmsindy says:

    A reminder of Viking’s precise clueing style, a great puzzle which I found not too difficult. As shuchi says, the anagram in 20 dn was nicely far from obvious. Very sad he’s no longer with us.

  4. anax says:

    Much evidence here that Viking’s talent will be sorely missed.

    This was a fairly straightforward solve although the top half was my problem area, taking ages to spot the construction of 6d (even though I suspected the answer) and the brilliant 4d. Despite these minor hold-ups I never felt that Viking was asking too much and I finished it with the feeling that I’d enjoyed a friendly little encounter with just the right amount of thinking time to keep it interesting, fun and ultimately satisfying.

    I really hope that the FT has stock of Viking puzzles yet to appear. Something for all of us to bear in mind, though, is that if/when those puzzles appear they are likely to be ‘in the raw'; the crossword ed might make changes here or there (that’s what editors are for) but, sadly, Viking won’t be a part of that process.

  5. niloci says:

    Unfortunately it seems this may be the last Viking; unless more that he was working on are found and sent to me. I was saddened by his early death, especially since he was hoping to supply that FT with more puzzles soon having cast off the demanding shackles of the Listener crossword. Lovely man, good company, excellent setter. Colin

  6. Sil van den Hoek says:

    “I will need this to work to achieve brilliance” (14d).
    What a great clue!
    And what more can you say.

  7. Lenny says:

    I’m new to the FT and this was my first Viking. It was impeccably clued. I only had two question marks at the end: G for golf and tender for pathetic. In both cases he was right and I was wrong. I particularly liked the clues for Asbestos, Avert and Math.

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