Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,524 by Mudd

Posted by Pete Maclean on November 4th, 2010

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of October 23

This strikes me as a rather pedestrian puzzle. I particularly like 23A (ARC) and 16D (DOWNSTAIRS).

Across
9. CASTOR OIL – O (old) in CASTRO (Cuban) + I (one) + L (litre)
10. PUPIL – double definition
11. OUTLAST – OUT LAST (like the tenth man back in the pavilion)
12. EARLDOM – A (a) + R (king) in [s]ELDOM (rarely missing leadership). Yes, a countess’ estate is properly called not anything like a countessdom but an earldom.
13. SIR – hidden word
14. CAMARADERIE – anagram (“about”) of AMERICA READ
17. TACIT – CAT (prowler) backwards + IT (it)
18. NIT – double definition. I first thought this was NUT, which fits at a stretch, but NIT is better — see comments below. Although I suspect an egghead can also be a nit/nut!
19. WISPY – W (well, initially) + I SPY (children’s game)
21. DENTAL FLOSS – DEN (office) + FLAT (apartment) backwards + LOSS (death). With a nice cryptic definition.
23. ARC – A[dvance] + R[ound] + C[ircle]
25. MINARET – M (many) + anagram (“building”) of NEAR IT
27. TOASTER – TO (in the direction of) + ASTER (flower)
28. ROTOR – palindrome
29. AMBERGRIS – BERG (composer) + R (runs) together in AMIS (author)

Down
1. ACROSS – double definition. A liger is a cross between a lion and a tigress.
2. ESOTERIC – E (English) + SOT (drinker) + ERIC (man)
3. NOVA SCOTIA – VASCO (Da Gama) in NOT (not) + AI (main route – the A1) backwards
4. COLT – double definition
5. ALLEGRETTO – L (line) + EGRET (bird) in ALTO (voice)
6. SPAR – SPAR[e] (extra short)
7. SPIDER – double definition. The second definition refers to a rest as used in snooker. I believe I have seen a very similar clue before.
8. FLUMMERY – LUMME (good gracious) in FRY (fish)
15. MAN OF STRAW – [chi]N in WARTS (verrucas) + FOAM (froth) both backwards
16. DOWNSTAIRS – anagram (“inebriated”) of WINDSOR SAT
17. TIDEMARK – anagram (“needing replacement”) of DARK ITEM
20. SLATTERN – SLAT (blind partially) + TERN (bird)
22. NINETY – I (one) + NET (bag) in NY (state). The definition, “nearly a ton”, would seem to use “ton” in the sense of 100. A dictionary confirms this meaning but it is not well known to me.
24. CARESS – ARES (God) in CS (Lewis). The author of the Narnia books (among others), not Inspector Lewis.
26. RARE – double definition
27. TUBA – homophone (“tuber”)

10 Responses to “Financial Times 13,524 by Mudd”

  1. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Funny isn’t it?
    We really enjoyed this Mudd – a bit more depth than usual, and very well constructed.

    Of course, there were more or less giveaways like the short ones SIR, NIT, COLT and RARE, plus the chestnutty ROTOR.
    But apart from those, high quality stuff.
    In particular, EARLDOM (12ac), DENTAL FLOSS (21ac) and ALLEGRETTO (5d) were highlights amongst many.
    Two great anagrams too (DOWNSTAIRS (16d) and CAMERADERIE (14ac)).
    Also a winner: NOVA SCOTIA (3d).

    The NE corner held us up for a while, with SPAR, FLUMMERY and the excellent WISPY eventually coming at the surface, but from the end of our toes.

    Mudd is not Paul [well, he is, of course] and deliberately so, I guess – but this was excellent faultless clueing.
    Charming puzzle.

  2. Pete Maclean says:

    I find it interesting that we see this differently. I agree that the clueing is faultless but to me it is also lacklustre.

  3. Boon says:

    I’m glad you all found it so easy. Why was egg no egghead nut!!

    Newbie . Boon

  4. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Dear Boon, welcome to 15^2.

    Did I say it was easy? – I don’t think so.

    NUT is, indeed, a kind of “double definïtion”.
    In Dictionary.com, one of the definitions of ‘egg’ [and identical to the one for ‘nut’] is:
    One of the two male reproductive glands that produce spermatozoa and secrete androgens.
    And as an ‘egghead’ is supposed to be clever, a ‘nut’ isn’t.
    So that’s it, plus the fact that the name of the setter is John H. :)

  5. Pete Maclean says:

    Welcome, Boon. Believe me, I did not find it particularly easy. A few of the clues took me a while, 8D for example.

    Why was egg no egghead nut? Good question. I had to do a bit of dictionary diving to satisfy myself that this clue was sound. And I determined what Sil has already mentioned.

  6. Boon says:

    Thanks for the help. Boon.

  7. Boon says:

    Hmm. Further thought: NIT is an egg of a headlouse. NITWIT is also commonly referred to in childrens books for folks of lesser intellectual ability. I wonder which one the printed answer will opt for.

  8. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Boon, I think you’re probably right.

    Chambers gives us [as you said] for NIT:
    (a) the egg or young of a louse
    (b) (slang) an idiot

    So, maybe there are two possible solutions here – which is not something that we want.
    On second thoughts I’ll go for NIT, which suits the clue just that bit better.

  9. Pete Maclean says:

    Boon, Thank you. I agree that NIT is a better fit.

  10. Pete Maclean says:

    The solution is now published in the FT and 18A is indeed NIT.

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