Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,553 / Falcon

Posted by shuchi on November 26th, 2010


Probably an easy ride for someone who’s well up on alcoholic drinks. Given my modest knowledge of the subject, I had a bit of a struggle with some of the answers but the wordplay was helpful throughout.

I really enjoy Falcon’s puzzles – they’re consistently gentle and elegant – clues like 15D look so beautifully unstrained.


9 LITTLE ONE LITTLE (small) ONE (number). ‘Little One’ is a song from the 1956 film High Society.
10 BLIMP B[rigadier] LIMP (uninspiring)
11 COMMANDO (Green Beret) with O (round) “fired” i.e. removed
13,23 YEOMEN YEMEN (Red Sea country) around O[ligarchy]
14 PLASTER CAST reverse anagram of STAPLER
17 SATIE SAT (posed) I (yours truly) [stag]E. French composer and pianist, Erik Satie.
18 SPA hidden in ‘RegentS PArk’
19 CLIFF dd. Cliff is a boy’s name. A bluff is also a cliff, or a hill with a broad, steep face.
21 HAMMERSTEIN HAMMERS (hits) TEN (number) with 1 included. Oscar Hammerstein, American lyricist and playwright, best known as the writer of the title song for the The Sound Of Music.
25 ARIZONA ARIA (song) around ZON[e] (endless territory)
27 EPIGRAM E (English) PIG RAM (farm animals)
28 PLAYA PLAY (drama) A. Spanish word for ‘beach’.
29 CLOSE CALL CLOSE (quiet road) CALL (name)


1 PLUCKY P[unter] LUCKY (jammy)
2 STAMP OUT A MP (politician), in STOUT (beer)
3 ALTARPIECE sounds like ‘alter piece’ (change item). A picture or relief behind the altar or communion table in a church.
4 HOAD (DOHA)*. Had to look this up – Lewis Alan Hoad (1934-1994) was a champion tennis player.
5 PERPETRATE PE (drill) RATE (speed), around R (river) PET (stroke)
6 ABLE ALE (porter) around B[ags]
7 NIKITA KIN (family) reversed, IT A[narchy]. A Russian name.
8 APERITIF (PIRATE)* IF (provided). Alcoholic drink to stimulate the appetite before a meal.
15 ASSISTANCE S (son) IS in A STANCE (position)
16 RECONSIDER RE (about) CON (conservative) SIDE (party) R[omania]
17 SCHNAPPS S (second) CH (child) NAPPS (sounds like ‘naps’ i.e. takes a short sleep)
20 IMMORTAL I’M MORAL (lesson) around T (time)
22 MAI TAI I AT I AM (in the morning), all reversed
24 NIMBLE MB (doctor) in NILE (river)
26 OKAY [t]OKAY (Hungarian wine, without introduction)
27 EROS SORE (sensitive) reversed. The popular name for a monument in Piccadilly Circus, London.

3 Responses to “Financial Times 13,553 / Falcon”

  1. Lenny says:

    Thanks Shuchi. This was a very quick solve for me despite having to guess Mai Tai. I do know a restaurant called My Thai but I never realised that it was a play on words. I had also repressed all memory of the terrible Bing Crosby song but the answer could not be anything else.
    I always thought that there was a convention that, if a word was split over two answers, each part should be a word in itself. Yeoman is the second example I have seen in a week where that rule has been broken. Perhaps I made the rule up.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Lenny
    I initially thought as you did about split words and YEOMAN. However, ‘Yeo’ is in Chambers as a valid abbreviation for ‘Yeomanry’ so I don’t think there is a problem here.

  3. bamberger says:

    With some crosswords I write in half the answers and then come to a grinding halt. With this one I wondered if I was going to face the shame of not even being to start. Failing to get any of the acrosses in the first pass, I eventually opened with 8d and somehow I just got going. In the end couldn’t get 14a,28a, the second part of 3d, 5d & 26d.

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