Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,533 / Io

Posted by Gaufrid on November 3rd, 2010


Unfortunately we don’t see Io all that often in the FT (his last appearance was just over three months ago) but his puzzles are invariably a pleasure to solve and this was no exception. I have occasionally been flummoxed by clues written by his alter egos but, until today, not by Io.

There was a good mix of clue types and degree of difficulty, though those who have yet to reach a certain age may have had problems with 17dn. The one that has me stumped is 12ac. I just cannot see the wordplay. ‘From any other state, heading for Hawaii’ could mean remove H from a word or even ‘going west’ but after that I keep hitting a brick wall. Hopefully someone will come to my assistance and provide the parsing.

1,5 BLOW HOT AND COLD  BLOW (one knock) HOT AND COLD (two taps)
9 RECAP  PACER (I step) reversed
10 MEASURE UP  MEASURE (dance) UP (over)
11 TWENTY-TWO  cd – a reference to the term Catch-22, derived from the title of a novel written by Joseph Heller, meaning a no-win situation. I did wonder if ‘up in this puzzle’ was to be taken literally but I cannot see anything relevant in the grid.
12 SINUS  ??? – the definition is ‘airspace’ but I don’t see the wordplay.
13 ESTOP  hidden in ‘advocatE’S TO Preclude’ &lit
18 HEADPHONE  HEAD (one in charge of all) PH (bar {public house}) ONE
19 KOALA  KO (knock out) À LA (like)
21 THANE  [me]THANE (a gas taking me off)
23 ATHEISTIC  HEIST (criminal act) in AT[t]IC (upper room, time being wasted)
25 HOT POTATO  HOTPOT (product of Lancashire chef) A[ssigned] TO
26 ADIEU  DIE (to expire) in AU (to, in French)
27,28 TURKISH DELIGHT  *(DELHI RUSK) in TIGHT (difficult)

2 ORCHESTRA  hidden in ‘ tORCHES TRAditionally’
3 HOP IT  OP (work) in HIT (strike)
4 TOMATILLO  OM (order) A TILL (a drawer of cash) in TO – an ingredient in Mexican cooking
5 ALAMO  À LA MO[de] (fashionable lower classes abandoned)
7 ODEON  ODE (lines written) ON (about)
14 PEPPERONI  PEP (go) PERON (Evita) I
16 BEECHWOOD  E (eastern) CH (church) WOO (court) in BED (plot)
17 A-RATTLING  A (one) L (left) in RATTING (desertion) – the definition refers to the Benny Hill song which includes the lines: “Or Ernie’s ghostly gold tops a-rattling in their crate? They won’t forget Ernie, (Ernieeeeeeeeee) And he drove the fastest milk cart in the west.”
22 ASTIR T (time) in A SIR (a master)
23 AWASH  A (no. 1) WAS H (no. 8 )
24 IN ALL  [f]INALL[y] (the extremists have left at last)

10 Responses to “Financial Times 13,533 / Io”

  1. marmaloid says:

    re 11A: 22 “in this puzzle” is 22D, which is “astir”, which means “up”

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks marmaloid
    I should have looked at the obvious instead of trying to find something hidden.

  3. jmac says:

    Hi Gaufrid, I thought 12 across was geographical – I think Hawaii is the southernmost state in the U.S.A and I read it as S[outh] IN U.S.

  4. Gaufrid says:

    As I indicated in the preamble, I did consider the geographic aspect but the only state from which one would go south when ‘heading for Hawaii’ is Alaska and the clue says ‘from any other state’. From all the other states one would be travelling somewhere between SW and W, with the majority approximately WSW.

  5. mike04 says:

    Hi Gaufrid

    The USS Hawaii is a Virginia Class Submarine.
    The class (or heading?) can be formed by SINUS (S-in-US).

  6. walruss says:

    Can it indeed Mike! You display an incredible knowledge of this!

  7. smiffy says:

    G’day all. Agreed that this was a cracking puzzle from an all-too-infrequent visitor to the FT shores.

    No problem with SINUS at all, which I actually thought was an amusingly original nugget. I fear that your reservations may be a tad too pedantic, Gaufrid.
    And (pace walruss), I’m in awe of Mike’s mind-expanding persistence and lateral thinking on the matter. To borrow the immortal line from When Harry Met Sally: “I’ll have what he’s drinking…”

    I was similarly curious as to whether there was a hidden allusion to the grid in the clue to 11A – including whether the clue number being a factor of the answer was relevant. But no dice.

    Finally, de facto clue-of-the-day honours to 17D. It potentially opens up a whole new avenue of obscure, non-dictionary answers in the same vein (roll on “coo ca choo” and “pompatus”)!

  8. bamberger says:

    I romped trhough about half the clues in 15 minutes , got 2 more in a further 10 minutes but then made no further progress in my final 35 minutes. Most frustrating just sitting there staring blankly at the clues and checking letters.

    10a This is the only one I still don’t get. How does dance=measure, please? My googling has failed on this one.

    21a Failed as usual on the literacy question.

    4d Confidently put down tortillas , cleverly spotting the till. Couldn’t see the rest of the wordplay but not an unusual experience for me -and then came unstuck when 11a meant there a t where I had an i. Never heard of tomatillo.

    5d Guessed alamo with a???o but decided it couldn’t be right as I couldn’t see any possible wordplay.

    17d Should have got it.

    Good crossword -haven’t encountered this setter before.

  9. Gaufrid says:

    From Chambers under measure: “a dance, esp a slow and stately one”. Collins has “(archaic) a dance” as does COED.

  10. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid, I have to admit that some IO did ‘flummox’ me in the past just as much as Enigmatist or Nimrod.
    This John of the famous Gang of Four is probably the cleverest of them all [see eg SINUS(12ac)], at times even a bit too devious (although not today).

    I appreciated this crossword very much, with a good mixture of clues including a new ‘cryptic person’s guide’ to the ORCHESTRA (2d).

    While I know that some setters do, including Araucaria, I still don’t like the use of “I” as in 9ac (PACER) – me, the one that steps being a ‘pacer’.

    In 5d we have to abandon ‘de’ (lower classes).
    Are we talking about D and E?
    In that case, I don’t like ‘classes’ and I do prefer ‘grades’.
    But maybe there’s an other explanation.

    All Bar One, though, … [which one?] …, a nice crossword!

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