Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,574 / Dante

Posted by Agentzero on December 21st, 2010


A very nice seasonal offering from Dante/Rufus.  Favourite clues were 15 across and 5 down.

4 BREAKS UP I see that school holidays are a “break,” but beyond that I’m not sure how this works
9 OUTSET OUT (open-air) SET (party)
12 CAROUSAL USA (America) in CAROL (Christmas song)
13 GLANCE dd
20 ROMP PM (afternoon) OR, all reversed
23 ASSIST ASS (a wise man’s transport) IST (first)
25 OSCULATE OS (big) CU(copper) LATE (ex)
27 KNEES-UPS KNEE (joint) SUPS (drinks)
28 NOTICE skaters should avoid anything that is NOT ICE
30 WALNUT dd
1 WOODCUT d&cd
3 TIED UP dd
5 REAP RE (about) A P[iano].  Very nicely misleading!  It took me a while to stop seeing “about” as a container indicator
6 ANGELICA ANGELIC (very good) A (article)
8 PARCELS L (a number) in *(CAPERS)
11 CANAPES CAN (tin) + *(PEAS).  I liked “mushy peas” = *(PEAS). 
14 STYLIST STY (pen) LIST (names for Christmas presents)
17 ADORATION A DO (party) RATION (helping)
18 PERSISTS S (end of Christmas) in *(PRIEST’S).  What is the “A” at the beginning of the clue doing here?  It led me to believe for a while that the answer was S in *(A PRIEST) = TRAIPSES, until I solved the crossers.  The clue makes perfect sense without the “A;” it should have been omitted. 
19 CRACKER dd, enhanced by the double sense of “pulled”
26 APSE hidden in reverse in CuratES PArty

11 Responses to “Financial Times 13,574 / Dante”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Agentzero.

    4ac is a double definition – Chambers ‘[of a school] to close for the holidays’. Our local ones do it today.

    I agree about the A in 18dn and was also bothered by the ‘is’ in 3dn.

    Otherwise, some lovely Dante / Rufus touches, eg CINDERELLA, which is also an anagram of RECALLED IN – and I liked the mushy peas, too!

  2. Paul B says:

    Yes, a nice seasonal offering: but two clues from yesterday’s Guardian are here repeated word for word (ANGELICA and PRESENT), and that can’t be a good thing. We are told that Rufus is ‘meticulous’ in compiling his clue-indexing system: that’s fair enough (if you’re that keen on recycling your output), but surely a little more care, especially in clueing sister puzzles with such a particular theme, is called for.

  3. Tony Welsh says:

    Thanks. Finished it but I got 14d for the wrong reason; thought “pen names” was somehow “styli” though that did not really work, and hence did not get the wordplay for the final 2 letters!

    I thought there were a couple of places where there were redundant words in the clue, as in “under the mistletoe” in 25a.

    Had never heard of “cupola” as a fireplace, but looked it up

  4. nmsindy says:

    I think the seasonal context and the jokey nature of ‘osculate’ fully justified the ‘under the mistletoe’ in 25A so I can’t entirely agree with you, there, Tony (comment 3).

  5. Agentzero says:

    Thanks Eileen — there was more to 19 across than I saw!

    Paul, agreed — I hadn’t seen yesterday’s Guardian, but if I had I would have been a little disappointed.

  6. Eileen says:

    Since I blogged yeterday’s Rufus, I wasn’t unaware of the duplications – but this is the season of goodwill, so I decided not to mention it. :-)

    This is my third Christmas with 15² and I know this is the third time Rufus has come up with a puzzle in which practically every clue and / or solution had some festive reference, which is no mean feat and some replication is inevitable, I would think. However, I agree that it’s unfortunate that the interval was so short – and, if Dante had had his usual Monday slot, it would have been non-existent!

  7. bamberger says:

    After 3 weeks of no internet misery, I thought I might struggle but got it all out unaided in the end. Cupola was dredged up from somewhere- O level Latin?

  8. Paul B says:

    Well, replication wasn’t unavoidable in such a situation for Nimrod et al for instance, who on the occasion of their marriage to the wonderful Jane managed to compile similarly-themed puzzles, on the same day, in each of the dailies without a single clash.

    I’m trying hard not to say that anyone’s getting away with murder every week here, which is my nod to goodwill.

  9. Rufus says:

    This puzzle surprised me in two ways.
    Firstly, it was used on a Tuesday rather than a Monday where I have been for almost 30 years.
    Secondly it was a Christmas puzzle. The FT crossword editor used to use a Christmas puzzle from me every year until 2004 when he stated that he thought the idea rather passé and would in future prefer a normal puzzle. This was the puzzle set for the FT in Christmas 2004 and not used. 6 years later I thought I could repeat some of the clues from a puzzle I imagined would never see the light of day! Caught again!

  10. Eileen says:

    Well, there you go!

    And we have something of a hat-trick – in today’s Indy puzzle:

    “Very good cake decoration in short supply [7]” :-)

  11. Paul B says:

    Lucky it wasn’t one of mine, I guess.

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