Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,552 / Mudd

Posted by Gaufrid on November 25th, 2010


I’m rather pleased that smiffy asked me to swap days with him this week due to his Thanksgiving celebrations as I ended up with this most enjoyable puzzle from Mudd. Probably towards the harder end of the FT spectrum, so it may not suit some solvers, but there were some good, and at times misleading, surfaces and interesting definitions.

1 SPHINX  H (hard) in SPIN (turn) X (kiss) – I rather liked this being defined as a ‘stoned poser’.
4 PSALMIST  *(P[riest] LIT MASS)
9 EAGLES  *(LEAG[u]ES) – ‘young’ seems to me to be superfluous.
12 PEAK  homophone of ‘peek’ (look)
13 RIVERMOUTH  [tumble]R I VERMOUTH (drink)
15 SIAMESE TWINS  *(NEWS ITEMS AS I) – a nicely misleading surface.
18 EARSPLITTING  R[ock] SPLIT (Croatian resort) in EATING (crunching)
21 ILL-NATURED  IL (state {Illinois}) TAN (brown) reversed in LURED (tempted)
22 BOZO  Z[imbabwean] in BOO (shocker)
24 POLE STAR  POLE (European) STAR (celebrity)
25 OTTAWA  O (old) A WATT (Scottish engineer) reversed – a reference to James Watt.
26 DAMOCLES  L (left) CO (company) reversed in DAMES (broads) – this legendary courtier.
27 FERRET  ER (monarch) in FRET (worry)

1 SHEEPISH  d&cd
2 HOGMANAY  HOG (corner) A in MANY (scores) – ‘corner’ as in ‘corner the market’.
3 NOEL  NO[v]EL (volume removed from work)
5 STREETWALKER  *(SETTER) ELK (animal) reversed LKE (upside-down animal) in WAR (fighting)  Edit: as pointed out by deke in comment #1, ELK is not reversed since the letters LKE are required. This means that ‘upside-down’ must indicate moving the first (top) letter of ELK to the bottom rather than it being a reversal indicator.
6 LAST-MINUTE  LAST (keep) MINUTE (note)
7 IREFUL  FU[n] (enjoyment cut short) in IREL[and] (country, and lost)
8 TETCHY  ETCH (cut deeply) in T[a]Y (flower {river}, leaving a)
11 LIVER SAUSAGE  I L (line) reversed VERSA (vice with this) USAGE (practice)
14 MEGAPARSEC  M[illenium] *(SPACE AGE R[ocket])
17 IGNORANT  [s]IGNORA (foreign lady, topless) N[o]T (not gutless)
19 LIMPID  LIMP (slack) ID (documentation)
20 SLALOM  LO (look) in SLAM (attack)
23 STYE  S[well] T[roubling] Y[our] E[ye] &lit

4 Responses to “Financial Times 13,552 / Mudd”

  1. deke says:

    Fine puzzle, but in 5D, “LKE” is neither upside-down nor reversed “ELK”.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Hi deke
    Thanks. How did I miss that? A case of seeing what you expect to see, perhaps.

    As this is a down clue the ‘upside-down’ must mean that the first letter of ELK is moved to the bottom to give LKE rather than it indicating a reversal.

  3. Lenny says:

    Thanks Gaufrid. There was the usual ingenious and entertaining wordplay from Mudd today. I found this moderately difficult and it took me a long time to get Dinosaur from the anagram at the end even though I knew I was looking for a synonym for an old-fashioned person. Some of the surfaces were not very smooth, notably 4A and 5D. I agree with Gaufred about the superfluous Young in 9A and I also cannot see the point of Old in 5D.
    I had no problems with Ottawa though, it is clued in a similar way in today’s Times, also using a reversal of the Scottish engineer.

  4. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I’m in an agree-mood today, so I agree on ‘young’ being superfluous and on this puzzle being slightly harder and/or more ingenious than the average Mudd [like in the clever constructions of the Down Triple 7, 8, 11].

    NOEL was my last one to go in, and I think the definition is rather nice (‘the present time’), or is it an old chestnut?

    I especially liked the fine anagram of SIAMESE TWINS (15ac).
    Never heard of MEGAPARSEC, but quite nice that ‘space age’ was part of it.

    The explanation for the ‘upside-down’ device is – I think – indeed that the “upper side” goes “down”. Fine by me, and let us, please, not accuse Mr Halpern of another mistake (after the two in today’s Paul).

    Finally, according to Chambers RIVER MOUTH consists of two words, so not (10) – but maybe other dictionaries think differently.

    All in all, I enjoyed this puzzle, never as witty as a Paul but always well-constructed and satisfying.

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