Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13529 / Mudd

Posted by C G Rishikesh on October 29th, 2010

C G Rishikesh.

A pleasant solve. For me the right side fell first, then the bottom left and finally the top left. We do see a couple of ‘humorously entertaining’ clues for which this setter is known (e.g., 2d, 22d) but there are also some chestnuts (e.g., 30d) and some others where the surface reading is none-too-convincing but some sense can be made if a brave attempt is made (e.g., 8d, 26d). I understand  some clues only because I have seen them before and I know a little bit of life abroad: take 29a, in India few people go upstairs for retirement. I had to look up ‘Brillo’ as this brand does not seem to have come to India as yet. I had no difficulty with any of the clues though one or two (e.g., 5a, 2d) I was able to parse only as I was writing this blog.


1  DUST-BOWL – Spoonerism of ‘bust dole’ (gone bankrupt on unemployment benefit)

5  STEP UP – S[i]TE (one out of position) + PUP (very young setter, perhaps)

9  OVERLIES – Anag. of SOLVER I.E.

10  CARPAL – CAR (Mini) – PAL (mate)


13  SINUS – Rev. of SUN (massive fireball) + IS (is)

14  FLOG – Rev. GOLF (game)

16  BRIGAND – BRIG (ship +) AND (with)

19  CHIPPER – DD – happy / stonemason, one who might chip stones

21  STEW – Rev. of WETS (pours liquid)

24  ULTRA – hidden in “awFUL TRAffic”

25  ELABORATE – DD – expand / complex

27  BRUNCH – R (right) inserted in BUNCH (group)

28  HIBISCUS – Inserting BISCU [deleting IT in BISCUIT (something sweet)] in HIS (man’s)

29  RETIRE – DD – step down / go upstairs



1  DROWSY – D (donkey’s initial) + ROWS (scraps) + Y (oily at the bottom, the last letter of ‘oily’)

2  STEAMY – Insertion of EAM [rev. of MAE (girl’s shown up] in STY (place of swine)

3  BALSA – Rev. of A SLAB (a)

4  WEEPING – N [final letter of ‘scorn’ (last of scorn)] in WEE PIG (runt, perhaps)


7  POPINJAY – POP IN (drop in) + JAY (bird)

8  PALISADE – Insertion of LISA (girl) in PAD (home) + E [the initial letter of ‘erect’ (first to ‘erect’)]

11  BOOB – palindrome of the word derived from ‘error’ – How would Mudd have handled this if this had been in its plural form?

15  LAP DANCER – DAN (desperate man) in LAPCER (anag. of PARCEL) – why is Dan ‘desperate man’? Help!

17   SCRUBBER – DD – Brillo, the steel wool / one’s easy – woman with loose morals – In surface reading is “Brillo!” informal for “Brilliant!” which goes well with words that follow it?

18  MISTRUST – MIST (film) + rust (the rotter)

20 REEF – DD – rock / music – I should think that ‘Reef’ is the name of a music band.  The clue “Rock music?” (with a question mark at the end) has often appeared in crosswords with a different solution. (On edit: Some commenters suggest the solution REEL for this clue. See below.)

21  SEA LION – telescopic formation from SEAL and LION

22  SAUCER – SAUCE (lip or brazenness) + R (the last letter of server, ‘end of server’)

23  TEASEL – T (the initial letter of T, ‘top of tobacco’) + EASEL (‘support for Monet’)

26  OXIDE – Slangy pronunciation of ox hide by omitting the letter ‘h’

9 Responses to “Financial Times 13529 / Mudd”

  1. jmac says:

    15 ac. Desperate Dan, a comic book character (Beano or Dandy, can’t remmeber, I very long time ago for me!)

  2. jmac says:

    Should be 15 down, Desperate Dan, a comic book character (Beano or Dandy, I can’t remember, a very long time ago for me!). My fingers seem to have had a senior moment!

  3. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Rishi.

    The top left corner was the last for me, too. [I’m not too keen on the definition ‘it’s light’ for 3dn.]

    Desperate Dan is a character from the Dandy comic

    I had REEL for 20dn but I’m not making out a case for it!

    Re Brillo: Mr Halpern seems to be going in for brand names these days: as Paul in the Guardian, he gave us Smarties on Tuesday.

  4. jmac says:

    Also, 20 down, thought this was Reel, a double definition.

  5. Eileen says:

    Sorry, jmac – I should have refreshed before posting!

  6. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Well, I found this surely a bit harder than the average Mudd, which is not a bad thing.

    As a non-Brit I wasn’t familiar with CHIPPER meaning ‘happy’, SCRUBBER in relation to ‘easy’, SAUCE meaning ‘lip’ and the word POPINJAY, for example.
    But one’s never too old to learn.

    I needed the blog to understand OXIDE [should’ve found that myself, though], MISTRUST [ didn’t see why ‘rotter’ had ‘the’ in front of it] and the STE bit of STEP UP, which I think was rather clever.

    First I thought “BRIGAND is a mistake”, taking it as a dd here [brigand’s not a ship but a brigantine is] only to realise much later that with = and.
    I should have known better, because Mudd hardly makes mistakes.

    I enjoyed this crossword, although we could have done with less reversals (there were 5 of them: SINUS, FLOG, STEW, BALSA and BOOB). And I wasn’t very keen on REEL too [it’s all right, but it reminds me of “A-reelin’ and a-rockin'” which separates the two, if you see what I mean (and if not, well, it’s fine too – no big discussions today :))].

    My Clue of the Day would probably be WEEPING (4d), but I liked the surfaces of 9ac and 6d, too.

  7. nusquam says:

    21d, I think, is seal + one + on.

  8. bamberger says:

    I needed an anagram solver to get me started on this and when simpatico popped out, I had to check that it was really a word.

    I solved the NW , for the first time ever getting a Spoonerism but elsewhere only had the odd one here and there.

    I don’t think I would ever have got popinjay, palisade, hibiscus.

    Disappointed not to have got oxide, boob and carpal

  9. Dynamic says:

    Really enjoyed this, though I occasionally used solving aids to speed things up. I seem to be on the same wavelength and have a similar sense of humour to this setter in his many guises. Somehow I like the way the cluing forces me to work out the cryptic wordplay (subsidiary indication) so often rather than finding the definition first.

    I concur with a REEL which is suitably distant from rock music to be cryptic. Liked the disguise of brigand as a double def. For me, top left and bottom left were first then bottom right fell into place, then struggled to get a start on the top right. Used help then popinjay jumped out at me. Not a word I’ve ever used, but I’ve come across it in contexts hard to decipher (used to think it might be someone who flitted about) then mainly in crosswords.

    Generally, for a Brit suitably versed in popular culture and vernacular (e.g. scrubber, Brillo, chipper, simpatico), though, the difficulty was in the cryptic solving and oblique definitions not through a great deal of obscurity in vocabulary, which is something I often like about Mr Halpern’s crosswords.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

× six = 54