Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,551 / Viking

Posted by smiffy on November 24th, 2010


We are informed that “This is Viking’s final crossword”, and it’s a swan song that’s reassuringly familiar in style and humour to the other aspects of his generous legacy.  Several of the best clues (including 26A, 28A, 5D) employ a similar, anagram-x device to entertaining effect.

1 CHARISMA – char + -ism + a[lto].
6 TROUGH - R[iver] in tough.
9 NICOLA – in< + Cola.  I found this one particularly amusing as it reminded me of a former colleague who would always (inexplicably) pronounce the name Ni-Coe-la, with heavy emphasis on the second syllable.
10 TURN TAIL - ‘Go’ as in “Buggin’s turn”; ‘train’ as in, e.g., a wedding dress.
11 CUSS – alternate letters in ‘course’s’.  Although there is a hint of double duty being served by the apostrophe-ess, (or otherwise an adjective masquerading as an adverb?) here.
12 DERIVATIVE - double def’n.
14 OVERCOAT - coa{l} in overt.
16 ACNE – N[ame] in ace.
18 ASTI – There seems to be two possible, or separate, wordplay strands here. Either (IT’s a[ppeal])<, or (it’s a)*.
19 CLOISTER - c. + (s in loiter).
21 FIRE ENGINE – fire (‘heat and light’) + engine (‘source of power’).  Anyone else’s initial instincts follow mine into the heffalump trap of looking for an answer that featured at least one of the three letters P[ower], H[eat] or L[ight]?
22 IRAQ – IR (Inland Revenue) + Q(&)A<.
24 SUBSONIC – bus< + so nic{e}.
26 ?LATINO -( National)*- NA. Very clever, with the deftly placed question mark allowing enough wiggle room for the &lit interpretation to work.
27 MEMBER – {re}member.
28 ENTIRELY - (Inexpertly)* – XP (Window’s O/S).  A similar wordplay conceit as 26A, and almost as elegant to boot (if you’ll pardon the pun).

2 HAIKU – homophone of “high coup”.
3 ROOM SERVICE – moor< + service.
4 SO-AND-SOS – homophone of “sew and sew” (the corporate mantra of any self-respecting, Nike-dependent textile baron….Just Do It!) + s[ons].
5 ANTARCTIC CIRCLE - (An icy tract)* – y + circle (=’round’).
6 THRIVE - riv{e} in the.
7 OUT – {b}out.
8 GRIEVANCE – Evan in (g + rice).
13 TRANSMITTER - (transit Metro)* – o.
15 VESTIBULE – vest + I bu{y} + le.
17 COVERLET - (lover)* in cet.  ‘Gets hot’ is the lesser-spotted anagrind.  Cet is the lesser light of the French variants of “this”, being the (ahem) “hard” male version that’s required when it proceeds a vocalic sound.
20 INANER - A[nswer] in inner.
23 ANNUL - annu{a}l.
25 SUB - double def’n.

5 Responses to “Financial Times 13,551 / Viking”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was a elegant reminder of Viking’s masterful clueing which will be sadly missed. Favourite, LATINO.

  2. Tony Welsh says:

    I found the puzzle rather easy, and finished it, but did not get the word play “-ism” for “practice” in 1a or “moor” as “secure” in 3d. Both quite clever though.

    Re. 18a, I don’t get what the first two words are there for. Apparently “IT” refers to Italian vermouth, though I have never heard of anyone drinking this rather than dry vermouth with gin (as in “gin and it”). But as you say, Smiffy, it is redundant word play.

    Also, abbreviating “appeal” to “a” seems arbitrary to me. Similarly, in 7d “bowler” is abbreviated to “b”. What are the rules for this? I used to think that either one used an accepted abbreviation (like for example C for Celsius) or you used some indicator like “initial appeal” or “bowler’s first” to refer to the first letter of a word. (Maybe b is an accepted abbreviation to cricket fans but what about a for appeal?)

  3. nmsindy says:

    Tony, I think the ‘appeal’ = SA (sex appeal) returning = AS followed by IT (also returning).

  4. Tony Welsh says:

    Maybe you’re right nmsindy.

  5. jetdoc says:

    A very sound, fair and enjoyable puzzle, perfect for the FT. RIP, Viking, you will be missed.

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