Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,540 / Sleuth

Posted by smiffy on November 11th, 2010


A few too many double definitions and homophones for my taste today.  Nothing particularly bad, but such a surfeit runs the risk of diluting the overall experience. So, to borrow a much-favoured and back-handed compliment from an erstwhile history teacher of mine, “It was good… far as it went”.

1 SPECTATOR – re: (The) Spectator magazine.  I once once found myself haphazardly gate-crashing a wine-tasting event by this organ – the plonk was palate-smackingly good, but the plummy-voiced small-talk generated even more of a hangover.
6 BRASS – double def’n (presumably), although I didn’t fathom the relevance to ‘baggage’. (Edit: courtesy of  Gaufrid, Pogel & Andrew, brass is cockney rhyming slang for a lady of negotiable virtue.)
9 REALM – hidden.
10 ARTICHOKE – (Take choir)*.  Jerusalem being the exemplar, but also contributing to the delightfully misleading surface; clue of the day.
11 BY ALL MEANS – (l{ocal} l{unch} in yam) in beans.  One of the quintessential indicators of the transatlantic cultural divide – in my book at least –  is that the Brits retain exclusive use of the phrase “By all means” while the Yanks coined and cherish the mantra “By any means”.
12 TERN – homophone of “turn”.
14 SWINDLE – Ld< in swine.
15 EMOTIVE – E + motive.
17 GANGWAY – gang + homophone of “weigh”.
19 SETBACK – set + back.  ‘Again’ = back is not a usage that I can immediately put into context.
20 ARNO – a + R + no.
22 SCRUPULOUS – (Cr in sup) + U + (soul)*.
25 USHERETTE – cryptic def’n.  Although, I think that the term picture-house must have gone west around the same time as Buster Keaton’s career.
26 LEAVE – double def’n.
27 EQUIP – {exercis}e + quip.
28 RESISTANT – Stan in resit.  I was sufficiently mislead by ‘second exam’, as to consider wordplay variants like mo+test or s+oral.

1 SHRUB – r in bush*. &lit.
2 EMANATION – MA in (E + nation).
3 TUMBLEDOWN – (Lend out BMW)*.  Possibly the most glaringly obvious anagram fodder anyone is likely to encounter anywhere this month!
4 TRAPEZE – cryptic def’n.
RETINUE – (E + tin) in rue.  I liked ‘Napoleon’s way’ as a stab at original wordplay.  Although, in retrospect, I’m sure he probably saw himself as more of a Grand Boulevard kind of guy…
6 BUCK – triple def’n.
7 ALONE – homophone of “a loan”.
8 STEINBECK – (Rick, “Mr Seafood”) Stein + beck.
13 PORTCULLIS – port + cull + is.  I usually tend to think of ‘cull’ exclusively in the destructive sense of the word, but I suppose it can be used in the sense of to ‘harvest’ (=”select”) too.
14 SIGNATURE – double def’n.
16 INAMORATA – (a Roman)< in it + a.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll bleat it again, I really don’t appreciate “appeal” = it.
18 YACHTER – (Arch yet)*.
19 SAUCERS – sauce + Sr<.  With ‘service’ as in dinner service (= a posh tea-set).
21 NEHRU – hidden reversed.
23 SCENT – homophone of “sent”.
24 PROP – double def’n.

11 Responses to “Financial Times 13,540 / Sleuth”

  1. Rishi says:

    Not really off topic, as what I am about to write below flows from a statement in the preamble.

    smiffy, another remark that these teachers make on answer papers: “Could do better”.

    A very safe way out, even if a paper has been valued rather lazily.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Hi smiffy
    In 6ac, brass and baggage are both terms for an immoral woman or prostitute.

    Regarding 19ac, again=back is in Chambers. As an example, what about “I’ve got to go again/back to the dentist”?

  3. Bracoman says:

    In 24d, I initially had “back”, as it is equally valid. Once other clues were solved, I realised it must be “prop”.

  4. Pogel says:

    Saki had a similar line, didn’t he? “The cook was a good cook, as cooks go; and as good cooks go, she went.”

    I also liked 10ac.

  5. smiffy says:

    Thanks folks – particularly Gaufrid. My knowledge of nicknames for immoral women must be skewed towards the vulgar rather than euphemistic end of the spectrum, as I’ve never heard either of those two before. They do have something of a post-war air to them.

    I didn’t even stop to consider the potential ambiguity at 24D, but well-observed, Bracoman. The last time the subject of rugby positions came up in this blog, I was exposed as having dangerously little knowledge on the subject. This time that was probably a blessing!

    Finally, I realise that I’d unintentionally omitted 6D from the blog. At least it’s a triple, rather than double, defintion clue.

  6. Pogel says:

    Brass – Cockney rhyming slang. Brass cooker – hooker.

  7. nmsindy says:

    In 13 down, I think cull = select in the sense of selecting some animals and killing others. Favourite clues, SWINDLE, EQUIP, SHRUB, SCENT

  8. Andrew says:

    Pogel, a more likely explanation for Brass=Prostitute, given in Eric Partridge’s Dictionary of Slang, is “Brass Nail” = “Tail”. “Hooker” seems like too much of a recent Americanism to be plausible.

  9. bamberger says:

    I had bits and pieces solved all over the grid but got nowhere near finishing.
    1a I was thinking of words like periodical rather than a particular one.
    6a I thought of brass but couldn’t think of any possible connection with baggage. I seem to have a 100% record of not entering correct solutions because I just can’t see the wordplay and putting in incorrect solutions because I can a tenable if implausible wordplay.
    20a Sadly had never heard of it.
    5d I would never had got rue
    16d Must remember Roman =Italian. I tried uno,una reversed but in vain.

  10. Tony Welsh says:

    I got all except 23d. I suppose “scent” is a “number of clues” but it seems weak to me. I had problems with a number of other definitions, some already mentioned. For example, in 27a why is sally=quip? And in 12a, I would have said a turn was a fit of illness rather than emotion but my dictionary confirms that it can be either.

    Bamberger, if you have a plausible answer but you are not sure, put the cross letters in lightly and try to solve some of the intersecting clues to confirm your choice. I did that with tern for example, since I am not good on wildlife and thought that it could well have been another bird. That led me to Steinbeck, which I was still unsure of since I had never heard of Rick Stein, but then I got setback and decided that all three answers were right. (Having already got buck and alone, I was then able to guess brass, but like the others had no idea why!)

  11. Gaufrid says:

    From Chambers under ‘sally': “a witty remark or retort” and for ‘quip': “a short, clever remark” so they are near enough synonymous.

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>

two + 7 =