Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,571 / Aardvark

Posted by shuchi on December 17th, 2010


A challenging puzzle at many levels for me: words I didn’t know, devious wordplay. The SW corner was specially tricky, I have a couple of explanations pending and your inputs are very welcome. A fine enjoyable workout overall.

Thanks to dreadnought and Gaufrid for the edits.


1 SALINE (A LENS)* around I
4 CROTCHET CC (Cricket Club) around ROT (rubbish) (THE)*
9 OEUVRE O[xford] (REVUE)*
12 BEAR ARMS a homophone of ‘bare arms’
13 MIMOSA M (minute) IMO (in my opinion) AS (when) reversed – ‘cut back’ in football means to reverse direction.
15 LING LINGO (English perhaps) – O (old)
16 CHINWAG (ACHING)* around W (Welsh); an extremely good clue
20 GOURMET GOUT (complaint) around RM (room) [brasseri]E
21 SORE S (shilling) ORE (coin)
25 ESTATE GESTATE (carry offspring) – G
26 FROM A TO B FROMA[ge] (French cheese, two leaving) [oc]TOB[er]. An estate car (25) would get you from point A to point B.
29 GLIDER G[a]L[e] after (RIDE)*. The indicators ‘affected’ and ‘intermittent’ go well with the surface.
30 LISTERIA LIST-E (5th programme) AIR (broadcast) reversed; a bacteria that spoils food.
31 PIPPIN PI[nts] (couple of pints) PP (very gently) IN (at home). ‘Pippin’ is a variety of apple primarily used for cider.


1 SNOWBALL SNOW (drink) BALL (party perhaps). This drink I suppose.
2 LAUSANNE (ULNAE)* around SAN (hospital)
3 NORMAL M (marks), in N (new) ORAL (type of exam)
5 RUHR sounds like ‘ruer’ (one regrets)
7 HOT POT HOOT (laugh), around PT (port) reversed
8 TIN EAR IN (hip) in TEAR (ladder)
11 AMPHORA AMPHORA A[r]M (limb, right away) PH (public house i.e. pub) letters from ‘dOoRwAy’. I love those ceramic vases with two handles and a long narrow neck, now also know the right name for them.
14 IN YEARS TINY (minute) EARS (hearing apparatus) –  – T (tenor)
17 BOAT RACE BOA (stole) [ticke]T, RACE (sprint)
18 TOTTED UP TUP (sheepish one; ‘tup’ is a male sheep) around OTT (over the top) ED (journalist)
19 RED BARON *(BADER) NOR (and not) reversed – ‘surfaced’ is the reversal indicator. Sir Douglas Bader (1910-82) was a British fighter pilot in WWII; Red Baron the nickname of Richthofen (1892–1918), German fighter pilot in WWI.
22 PEN PAL PENAL (a type of colony) around P (Pastor)
23 STALLS TALL (elevated) in SS (seconds)
24 AMALFI IF (provided) LAMA (priest), all reversed
27 LOCI LO (see) CI (101)

11 Responses to “Financial Times 13,571 / Aardvark”

  1. dreadnought says:

    Thanks for the blog, shuchi. Yes quite tough from aardvark today. Doesn’t help that I was watching the cricket…8D took me ages to twig that lug was ear…I agree 16A especially good.

    I think 12A is simply homophone of ‘bare arms’ i.e what Mitch Johnson does when he’s getting sweaty taking 6 wickets against England…sigh…

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Shuchi
    A few corrections/clarifications.
    12ac homophone of ‘bare arms’
    26ac FROMA[ge] (French cheese, two leaving) [oc]TOB[er]
    31ac PI[nts] (couple of pints) PP (very gently) IN (at home) 8dn IN (hip) in TEAR (ladder)
    19dn *(BADER) NOR (and not) reversed – ‘surfaced’ is the reversal indicator

  3. togo says:

    Hi Suchi

    I think Tin Ear is TEAR (a ladder in a stocking..) with IN = hip/fashionable inside all being an ear problem – a problem to lug…

  4. togo says:

    Sorry to have missed Gaufrid’s explanation @2. Forgive the repetition.

  5. Lenny says:

    Thanks Scuchi. I found this a moderately difficult offering from Aardvark. I had no difficulty finishing despite not understanding the wordplay to Ling and Hot Pot. I was not thrilled by some of the abbreviations P for Pastor and W for Welsh. Yes, I’ve checked and they are both in Chambers. These days I automatically assume that any word can be substituted by its initial letter in the wordplay.
    I still don’t understand Gig for boat-race and and I guessed at pot meaning bank in the sense of pot bank meaning pottery. On reflection, I realise that it refers to the accumulated pool of bets in a gambling game.
    My last in was Tin Ear, which I liked because it was so misleading.

  6. Sil van den Hoek says:

    This was my first ever Aardvark [so by now I must have had most of the FT’s setters at least once], but I’m not sure whether I will visit him again.
    His style of clueing doesn’t [or didn’t, today] strike me as being one on My Wavelength [sorry for the capitals :)].

    Some of my Q’s (Quibbles and/or Questions):
    Where’s the anagrind for ‘a lens’? Is it ‘through’? And if not, what is ‘through’ doing there anyway? And the definition (“like the Mediterrenean”) for SALINE – I think it is a bit loose, although I appreciate the misdirecting use of ‘like’.
    POLKA-DOT is defined by “Type of design”, I guess. But we need also an anagrind for “lad OK”. Double duty for “design”? I do understand double duties most of the time, but in this case my intuition tells me that I don’t like it at all.
    “5th programme” for LIST E? Bit convoluted, or am I missing something?
    We need ORA from “doorway”, so we take the even characters. Aardvark, though, lets us ‘avoid’ the odd ones. Technically it’s OK, but again my intuition is against it.
    A “gig” is apparently a boat, but just like Lenny @5 I don’t see the (Boat) RACE. Maybe Aardvark wanted to write a kind of (semi) &lit, but then he failed IMO.
    Yes, Gaufrid, I think you’re right with RON being ‘NOR’ upside down, clued by “surfaced – and not”. But. That dash there spoils it all for me. I know generally speaking, punctuation doesn’t exist in Crosswordland, and normally I can’t be bothered too. Here though, it looks odd (just by looking at it, I mean).

    Don’t get me wrong, most clues were all right.
    And certainly from a technical point of view.
    But the style of clueing as a whole didn’t feel right to me.
    Probably it’s just me.
    Sorry, Aardvark.

  7. scarpia says:

    Thanks shuchi.
    I always find Aardvark’s puzzles quite difficult,possibly because of the ‘looseness’ of some of the clueing.Having said that,I do always end up enjoying them,it just takes a while to get on the right wavelength.
    Looking back at the completed puzzle,there is nothing unfair and quite a few clever clues,so no complaints from me.

  8. Jake says:


    Fantastic wordplay. A friend and I test ran Chambers ‘crossword completer.’ against it.
    A brilliant solve.

  9. shuchi says:

    Thanks everyone. Post updated based on your inputs.

    @Sil van den Hoek: I haven’t solved much of Aardvark either and I think I struggled partly due to unfamiliarity. My parsing some of the clues you’ve listed:

    1a: The anagrind is ‘snapping’, ‘through’ is the containment indicator for “I”. I thought this was a great clue.

    28a: The anagrind is ‘to wear’, as in to go through attrition.

    30a: I agree this is a bit convoluted, I thought of it as I’ve seen this before.

    17d: ‘gig’ is also listed as ‘sport’ in Chambers…I read that as the definition with the “?” also nudging us to think of the specific type of sport i.e. BOAT race.

  10. Lenny says:

    As Sil suggests, a gig is defined in Chambers as a long, light boat. I now see the definition as “sprint for gig”. Sprint is doing double duty here as part wordplay and part definition.

  11. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Hi schuchi, thanks for spending time looking at my “niggles”.

    Re 1ac, I see it now – you’re probably right.
    Or is it like this: “Through” (by means of ; using its letters) ‘a lens’ “snapping” (in its possible meaning of ‘catching’) ‘I’ , we’ll get “like the Mediterrenean”?

    Overlooked in 28ac that little word “in”, so saw it as (LAD OK)* ‘to wear’ (having outside) “bank”.
    But I do find “to wear” a bit of an unusual anagrind, though OK.

    Still not completely convinced by “gig”.
    According to Chambers it cán mean “sport”, but in its meaning of “fun, good-humoured mirth”. Well, let’s give Aardvark the benefit of my doubts.

    When I looked back at this puzzle, after your post@9, I felt that Aardvark’s head is full of good ideas, but that they are not always transformed into smooth constructions. At times it looks like he wants to be original or at least different, which is something to appreciate. But for me, it just doesn’t always work well enough.

    I know, it is very easy to be a bit critical standing at the edge of the field, and I have no intention whatsoever to depreciate Aardvark’s ability as a setter.
    But where it clicks with one setter, it doesn’t with another.
    OK, promise, will do the next Aardvark! :)

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