Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,583 / Cinephile

Posted by Gaufrid on January 5th, 2011


A bit of a mixed bag from Cinephile today with some very easy clues, some a little more tricky and one where I think an error has been made in the wordplay. There was a mini-theme involving Alice.

As you will see from my comments below, I think there is an error in the wordplay for 19ac, though I am more than happy to stand corrected if someone can provide a valid link between ‘old garment’ and ‘cotte’. I am also a little bemused by the definition in 16dn, but other than that a pleasant enough solve.

All definitions (in quotes) are from Chambers.

1 BLACK-WATER B[uffalo] LACK WATER (be thirsty) – “a fever in which the urine is dark-coloured”.
6 OMIT O (round) MIT (with German)
10 ACME AC (bill) ME (yours truly)
12 CONTAMINATED NT (books) A MIN (a brief time) in COATED (covered)
15 WEIGHED IN d&cd
17 EERIE E (oriental) ERIE (lake)
18 TOSCA T[heatre) OSCA[r] (prize reduced)
19 COTTESLOE COTTE (old garment) SLOE (fruit) – I can find no confirmation that ‘cotte’ is an ‘old garment’. The nearest word is ‘cotta’ which is “a short surplice”. In French, ‘cotte’ means ‘coat’ as in ‘cotte de mailles’ (which is the derivation of ‘coat’ in English). Cottesloe Theatre is one of the three auditoriums at the National Theatre.
20 HUMPTY DUMPTY HUMPTY (seat) MP (politician) in DUTY (payment) – humpty, “a low padded seat, a pouffe”.
24,22 DELEGATE DELE (abolish) GATE (entry)
26 NORM dd
27 ASSESSMENT *(MESS) in ASSENT (agreement)
1,2 BARE ARMS dd – ‘bare’ is an archaic variant of ‘bore’.
3 KING OF HEARTS KIN (family) GO (leave) *(FATHERS)
4 AFRIT A (one) FRIT (scared) – ‘frit’ is a dialect variant of ‘frightened’.
5 ESTAMINET hidden in ‘bEST A MINE That’ – “a small bar or café”.
7 MOCK TURTLE Spoonerism of tock (T) myrtle (shrub) – ‘toc’ or ‘tock’ is the “telecommunications code for signalling the letter T”.
8 TWEEDLEDEE WEED (tobacco) LED (was first) in TEE (ball carrier)
16 DECIDUOUS DEC I (first of month) DUO (couple) US (FT) – I’m not happy with the definition ‘can’t have leaves’ since a deciduous tree does have leaves but it sheds them all at one time. If we are to infer that a deciduous tree ‘can’t have leaves’ on ‘Dec I’ then this would also be incorrect if one lives in the antipodes.
21 MIDGE MID (middle) GE (earth {goddess})

14 Responses to “Financial Times 13,583 / Cinephile”

  1. Eileen says:

    Hi Gaufrid

    Thanks for the blog.

    Cotte is not in any of my dictionaries but googling produces several references to a mediaeval garment. Wikipedia gives:

    The Cotte (or Cote) was a mediaeval outer garment, a long sleeved shift, or tunic, usually girded, and worn by men and women. In mediaeval texts, it was used to translate tunica or chiton. Synonyms would include tunic or gown. It was worn over a shirt (chemise), and a sleeveless surcote could be worn over it. By the sixteenth century it had become a woman’s undergarment, later (seventeenth century) it split into an upper ‘corps’ and a lower ‘cotte’, or skirt, amongst the poorer classes.

    There is a picture here:

    I share your scepticism re DECIDUOUS.

  2. Hamilton says:

    Hello Gaufrid, thanks for the blog.

    Wikipedia has a cotte (ot cote) as a medieval outer garment, a long-sleeved shift or tunic. Like you, I couldn’t find anything in the usual references!

  3. Hamilton says:

    Hello Eileen


  4. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks Eileen and Hamilton
    It’s difficult to type when standing so I am sitting corrected. I didn’t think to try Wikipedia as I assumed that Cinephile would use, and the FT’s crossword editor would require, a word that was in at least one of the usual references.

    The clue was difficult enough if one didn’t know the names of the three National Theatre auditoria without introducing a very obscure term into the wordplay.

  5. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Gaufrid

    I enjoyed this even though I was unable to get COTTESLOE.

    And now it’s been explained … No Wonder!

  6. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I enjoyed this crossword which was not too tricky.
    The problem with my last entry COTTESLOE has been solved now, but I am still wondering a bit about 14d (DISSIMILAR).
    Is there really an anagram indicator here?
    Or is “Not like” doing double duty (for the anagrind, in combination with ‘being’)?
    And if so, is that a valid anagram indicator?
    Or does the clue as a whole suggest an anagram?
    It does not feel completely right to me, but maybe it’s just me.

  7. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Sil
    I didn’t see any double duty in 14dn. I took the ‘being … ?’ as the indicator for an anagram of the two words in-between.

  8. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Well, Gaufrid, it that were so (and it probably is like that), than I find this a rather thinnish anagrind.
    IMO, “being …?” doesn’t say anything about mixing up the letters or the fact that one transforms into the other (like when setters use “becoming”, for example), does it?

  9. Tony Welsh says:

    Finished it, but have several little quibbles. e.g. I looked up black-water to check, winc while it was fairly obvious I had not heard of the fever, and found that it is generally one word, not hyphenated. And I agree about deciduous.

    But what about 11d? Is “drawing” the definition? If so, I don’t get it. If not, what is the word there for and where is the definition?

    Also, I don’t I understand “ge” for earth in 21d.

  10. jmac says:

    Thanks for explaining HUMPTY, DELE, and GE which were all new to me but fortunately didn’t hinder solving. I just assumed that COTTE was an alternative to cotta and am surprised that it is not in Chambers or (presumably) Collins. I did like DECIDUOUS but I wasn’t thinking of our friends down under, and possibly a question mark might have helped.

    I must say that I do like the Reverend’s crosswords as Cinephile as they have the wit of his other persona whilst tending to avoid some of that incarnation’s characteristics(long anagrams,obscure (for me) literary references, etc.), which sometimes spoil my enjoyment of those puzzles.

  11. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Tony
    ‘Drawing’ is the definition in 11dn. Think in terms of sports scores, for example ‘one set each and three all in the third set’.

    As I indicated in the parsing, Ge (or Gaea/Gaia) is the goddess of Earth. The full definition in Chambers is:

    “In Greek mythology, the goddess or personification of Earth, mother of Uranus and (by him) of Oceanus, Cronus and the Titans.”

  12. MikeC says:

    Thanks for the blog and a mostly enjoyable puzzle. Re 14d, is there a kind of reflexivity in the clue? The definition, not like, is a “dissimilar” version of mislaid sir. The question mark at the end then becomes an indicator of something odd going on, rather than merely an anagram indicator.

    I’m sure I’ve seen analogous clues, though I can’t think of one right now.

  13. bamberger says:

    Defeated by 19a and 24/22 where I had never encountered dele meaning abolish. While i got the answer , humpty =seat was new to me.

  14. Agentzero says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid.

    A thought on 16 down, which occurred to me some time after solving: is “can’t have leaves” meant to be read “can not have leaves,” i.e., “is capable of not having leaves”?

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