Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,522 / Styx

Posted by smiffy on October 21st, 2010


I found this a lot trickier than is typical the case from Styx, but I’m not sure that my brain is firing on all cylinders today so it could just be a reflection of that.  I certainly didn’t aid my own cause by rashly throwing in a couple of plausibly tenuous (but utterly wrong) answers for a while.  A few entertainingly phrased clues; I have the neighbouring clues at 16 and 17D pegged as the pick of the bunch.

1 METTLE– met + t{it}le.
4 ADVISERS – Ad + (is in vers{e}).
9 GUIDON – (“I do”) in gun.  A guidon is a military “standard” in the vexillological sense.
10 EMISSION– (miss + I) in eon.  The word “managed” seems a tad redundant in the clue.
12 BACTERIA – act in (a brie)*.
13 BLITHE – b + lithe.
14 TIER – double def’n.
15 PRESENTERS – enter in press.
19 DISCLOSURE – (L in disco) + sure.
20 PUSS – puss{y}.
25 MENTALLY – men tally.
27 TANGELOS – tang (=”surgeonfish”, a new meaning of the word for me) + sole*.
28 LARIAT – l + aria + t.
29 CREATURE – rate* in cure.

1 MEGABIT – game* + bit.
2 TWITCHERS – witch in ters{e}.  I became convinced from a couple of checking letters that the answer must be TEMPTRESS (=”fascinating woman”) and spend a while tilting at imaginary wordplay windmills.
3 LOOTER – retool<.
5 DAME – dam + {on}e.
6 INSOLENT – (sole in inn) + {employmen}t.
7 EDICT – C{opernicus} in edit.  I thought the “Polish” aspect was neatly woven into proceedings here.
8 SUNLESS – s{easide} + unless.
11 CITRUS – (countries)* – one.  Again, I didn’t help myself by over-confidently seeing the wordplay and incorrectly bunging in RUSTIC before having any checkers for corroboration.
16 SURGED – E in drugs*.
17 EQUAL SIGN – squealing*.  A nicely obtuse definition.
18 PLANGENT – plan + gent.
19 DRASTIC – d + racist*.
21 SHYSTER – shy + s{is}ster.
22 STRATA – (a tart’s)<.
24 MANSE – hidden &lit.
26 FOUR – fortune* – ten.

4 Responses to “Financial Times 13,522 / Styx”

  1. Jezza says:

    I quite liked this puzzle, although I spent an absolute age on 2d.
    I agree with 17d as the pick of the bunch.
    Thanks to Styx, and to smiffy for the notes.

    30a TANNER is missing above.

  2. bamberger says:

    After 20 minutes I had a third out and thought that today was my day -but 40 minutes later not one more clue had been cracked.
    9a I immediately thought of “I do” and gun and got guidon but dismissed that as never being a word (I don’t have access to a dictionary when solving).
    27a I knew tang , I knew there was anagram of sole -the best I could come up with tangelos but clearly that didn’t exist.
    So yesterday I put in a non existent word and today I leave out two real words. Unfair!

    14a & 20a Didn’t get but brilliant.

    18d Got gent but don’t think I have seen plangent before.

  3. Tony Welsh says:

    Thanks, Smiffy, but you left out 23a, Armani. Very hard today I thought.

  4. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Styx (who is certainly in my Top 10 of FT setters) offered us indeed a crossword of a different level than what we used to get from him.
    I think, smiffy, it is a great feat to deliver a timely blog on this one, not being able to cheat [like Guardian and Indy bloggers].

    While you (and others) were pleased by 16 and 17d, I was impressed by the fantastic surface and the completely apt devices in 11d (CITRUS).
    And 24d, though a simple hidden answer, is splendid too – (almost?) an &Lit.

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