Fifteensquared

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Financial Times 13,570 / Falcon

Posted by smiffy on December 16th, 2010

smiffy.

Something for all levels of solvers in today’s outing.  In fact, I suspect that this might be a good educational/confidence booster for relatively newbie solvers.  A couple of gentle anagrams, a twinset of hiddens (one obvious, one more subtle), and the potential for some educational snippets along the way.  For example I was aware of the answer at 14A, but would never have guessed the associated composer before today.

Across
1 BABE RUTH -(be + R.U.) in Bath. Baseball legend, a.k.a The Bambino; lead the Boston Red Sox to three World Series titles before crossing over to the Dark Side of the Force.
5 MARMOT - mo’ (as in “Just a mo’.”) in mart.
10 LEG-PULL - leg (in the Tour de France sense) + pull.  ‘Stage turn’ is one of those happily concise combos that the best setters seem to unearth with amazing regularity.
11 ACRONYM - crony in Am.  Def’n by example.
12 GREED - hidden.
13 TAKE AFTER - ‘mirror’ (vb).  The wordplay ‘take’ befuddled me for a bit, but I think can be used, casually, as an alternative to “reading”; à la “I’m taking Advanced Particle Physics and Media Studies”.
14 PEARL FISHERS - (Pairs herself)*.  This opera.
18 UP AND RUNNING - figurative/literal double def’n.
21 LONG JOHNS - John in longs (the sartorial opposite of shorts, I presume).
23 SALSA - double def’n.
24 UNLEASH - (ale – shun)*.
25 ETHANOL - h[usband] in (lean-to)*.
26 HEARSE - hears (judicially) + e{very}.
27 SKULLCAP - homophone of “scull” + ca. + p.

Down
1 BELUGA – (a bulge)*.
2 BIG BEN - big + Ben. 
3 ROUNDHEAD - round + head.  This clue has a very old-school feel to it.
4/9 TALK THROUGH THE BACK OF ONE’S NECK - not quite sure how to classify this one.  Also a little quaint to my uncouth mind; I must confess that my own equivalent phrase of choice features a different part of the human anatomy.
6 AORTA - hidden.
7 MINSTREL - M + in + Stre + l.  A good building-blocks lesson for newcomers.  With a bonus/salutary lesson that ‘street’ needn’t always be St. (Edit: I stand corrected; as the wortdplay here is St + re:.  Thanks Sil.)
8 TAMARISK - Tamar (nature’s equivalent of Offa’s Dyke for emmets) + is + {oa}k.
15 SENESCHAL - (she cleans)*.  Coincidentally, and weirdly, enough this far-from-everyday word came up in conversation between myself and Mrs Smiffyonly a couple of nights ago. 
16 FURLOUGH - {chatea}u in Fr. + lough.  (Temporary work) ‘leave’.
17 MAGNOLIA - mag + (oil)* in NA. 
19 CLINIC - in in clic{k}.  I understood ‘pop’ (= click) in the onomatopoeic sense.
20 WALLOP - double def’n.
22 JEANS - an in jes{t}.  Anyone know an apparel-related knock-knock joke?

8 Responses to “Financial Times 13,570 / Falcon”

  1. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks, smiffy, for your explanations.
    I needed them for SKULLCAP.

    The word in 15d was new to me: SENESCHAL (you swapped two vowels :)).
    MINSTREL (7d) I read as M + IN + ST + RE (on) + L.

    11ac’s ACRONYM took me a while to get due to FBI.
    Its is indeed a definition by example, though that isn’t indicated. Normally setters add “say” or “perhaps”.

    Yesterday I found Cinephile’s hidden-answer-indicator in EDWARD somewhat minimalistic. Today Falcon’s “apostrophe s” in GREED is even less obvious. When reading it as “has” it is OK, I guess.

    Good puzzle with lots of playful clues.
    BTW, I knew Bizet’s “Pearl Fishers” : my late father was very keen on ‘the’ duet “Au fond du temple saint”.

  2. Andrew says:

    Thanks smiffy. As you say, this was a mixture of the very easy with some trickier moments. I was unhappy with 4/9: I’d worked out it was a cryptic definition, but I think it needs more wordplay to make the answer unique. I wasn’t familiar with the phrase and guessed HEAD for NECK at first.

    In 15dn I believe the spelling is SENESCHAL.

    The only clothing-related knock-knock joke I know is actually crossword-related too. it comes from a famous puzzle by (I think) Torquemada where some of the answers were the “names” in knock-knock jokes. This one was something like:

    Knock knock.
    Who’s there?
    Euripides.
    Euripides who?
    Euripides pants and I make you buy me another pair!

  3. Tony Welsh says:

    I agree with Sil re. 7d. Had not heard the word seneschal before. (And nor has this site’s spell-checker!) I have a bit of a problem with their being nothing qualifying FBI to suggest that it is an example, but I have no problem with the apostrophe in 12a. I would read it as “greed” belongs to “pedigree dog”.

  4. smiffy says:

    Thanks folks – spelling goof at 15D now amended. I’d like to pretend it was a typo but, in all honesty, I see that I did likewise in my completed grid too. Mrs Smiffy will be pleased to learn that my spelling skills do not match up to my vocab ones!

  5. Steve says:

    Thanks smiffy. Regarding 11A, I thought an acronym was an abbreviation that made a pronounceable word. If so, FBI is an example of an abbreviation but not an acronym.

  6. scarpia says:

    Thanks smiffy.
    Nice puzzle from Falcon with a good mix of clues.Like you,it’s not usually the back of the neck I refer to when rubbish is being talked.
    Steve @5 I think you’re right,I would say FBI is an initialism rather than an acronym,but it seems some dictionaries differ on this.
    Sil – You’re late father had very good taste,“Au fond du temple saint” is a beautiful duet.This version(featuring the wonderful Jussi Bjorling) is widely acknowledged as setting the benchmark for all performances http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PYt2HlBuyI

  7. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Scarpia, this is quite unbelievable.
    It is the version with Jussi Björling (and Robert Merrill) he liked most.
    And after all these years (50 or so), and when I think about them now, I can still hear their voices …. Oh, those were the days of 78′s and 45′s.

  8. scarpia says:

    Sil,as I said your late father obviously had very good taste,IMO that version has never been bettered.
    Happy memories!

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