Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,584 / Styx

Posted by smiffy on January 6th, 2011


A quick-quick-slow kind of puzzle today.  Plenty of easy or familiar items on the menu to binge on early, before finishing off with a smattering of sublimely tricky or unhelpfully-defined answers.

1 CONTEMPT – con (=”kid”/have on) + temp + t.
5 BANISH – nab< + is + h.  One of the clues where I thought the definition was somewhat oblique.
10 AGGRO – a + (grog)*.
11 ARSONISTS – (son + is) in arts.  A well-hewn clue, although I think I’ve seen “burning desire” for arson or pyromania before.
12 PATRONISER – pat + (on in riser).
13 SETA – set + a.  The first of three consecutive across clues with answers that crop up far more commonly in advanced barred puzzles rather than dailies.
15 MARIST – is in mart. A religious order.
16 THORITE – tiro< in the.
19 PREFACE – ref in (P + ace).  “handling” is the contents/container indicator, to make of what you will.
21 CRIMPS – P in crims.  I wonder whether something along the lines of “A different one for one down…” could have worked here.
23 RING – hidden.
25 SEPARATION – (peas)* + ration.
27 DOMINEERS – mine in doers.
28 IRATE – rat in i.e.  The vertical part of a ‘cross cross’ (with 22D).
29 CUDGEL – cud + gel.
30 SPINNERS– P{akistan} in sinners.

1 CRAMPS – r in camps.
2 NEGOTIATE – (got + I) in neat + E.  I spent too much time here staring at the checking pattern N-G-T-A-E, and trying to justify the answer NIGHTMARE.
3 ECONOMICAL – E + (on in comical).
4 PIANIST– (an + is) in pit.  &lit, &clueoftheday.
6 AUNT – {t}aunt.
7 ISSUE. is + sue.
8 HOSTAGES – host + ages.
9 ASCENT – a + scent.
14 COGITATION – go< in citation.  Again the definition seems a little wafty; surely “thought” rather than “study” (Cogito ergo sum)?
17 IN PRIVATE – I + P in (air vent)*.
18 SPORADIC – (ad + I) in (crops)*.  With a hmmm, for the angrind “contaminate”?
20 ELEVEN– {tw}el{ve} + even.  Gets the Academy Award for Best Supporting Clue of the Day.
21 CHATS UP – hats in cup.
22 ANGERS – ang{l}ers.
24 NOMAD – on< + mad.
26 ONCE – hidden.  This clue could have been easily amended so as to avoid the superfluity at the beginning.

9 Responses to “Financial Times 13,584 / Styx”

  1. Tony Welsh says:

    Didn’t finish it today, and I have lots of questions/quibbles! For example, in 21a is “crim” meant to be an abbreviation for “criminal”? Never heard it, not found it in dictionary or on web.

    Also, why does “guy” become “taunt” in 6d?

    And in 2d, is “got” meant to be “contracted” and is “efficient” meant to be “neat”?

  2. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for the blog, Smiffy – I agree with your assessment of the puzzle as a bit of a mixed bag.

    You sound sceptical about ‘handling’ as a containment indicator? Chambers’ first definition of ‘handle’ is ‘hold’ so that seems fair enough.

    Hi Tony Welsh

    I’m with you re the ‘synonyms’ in 2dn but the verb ‘guy’ means ‘to turn to ridicule, make fun of’ [Chambers – similar in Collins] which seems close enough to ‘taunt’.

    I was also with you re ‘crim’ but am amazed to find it in Chambers as ‘short for criminal’. [But we don’t have to like it. 😉 ]

  3. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Tony
    Crim = criminal is in Chambers, Collins and COED.

    Guy = taunt in the sense of goad or make fun of.

    Got/contracted as in catching the flu and both efficient and neat mean effective.

  4. bamberger says:

    Thanks Smiffy -I went through all the clues twice before finally getting started with 23a. Only managed 10a, 1d,7d,24d & 17d. I always hate missing a hidden word but I’ll forgive myself for 26d.
    Way out of my league.

  5. smiffy says:

    Hi all: Eileen – with hindsight, “handling” seems perfectly reasonable. For some reason I could get past it sounding more like an anagrind.

    Tony – in one of those not-so-strange coincidences, the same meaning of “guy” crops up in today’s Times puzzle too (as the definition part for RIDICULE).

  6. Lenny says:

    This was quite a tricky solve and I agree with the comments suggesting that some of the definitions were a bit off-centre. On reflection, I think that all of them were justifiable, at a stretch.

    I finished this but I had no confidence that I had a correct solution so I was relieved to find that Seta and Thorite were real words. Thorite was particularly tricky since I only knew Tiro in its alternative Tyro spelling.

  7. Jan says:

    Thank you, Smiffy, I agree with all your comments, even the clue of the day and it’s co-star. I didn’t get MARIST although I recognise it. I was trying to justify PAPIST, wondering if PAPT was an acronym familiar to FT readers.

  8. Jan says:

    I can’t believe I typed that apostrophe in its! :(

  9. Scarpia says:

    thanks smiffy.
    I really enjoyed this puzzle,even if it was,like you say,more like a barred puzzzle in parts.
    Ambiguous,craftily hidden definitions,complex wordplay,alternative spellings,unusual vocabulary – some pretty tough clues here.One of those puzzles where some answers appear through check letters alone,which you then have to work out the wordplay for.
    Great stuff!

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