Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,602 / Redshank

Posted by smiffy on January 27th, 2011


Another Thursday, another debut setter (or, at least, pseudonym).  My second new opponent in consecutive blogs – the FT editor must be broadening his church further still in 2011.  And it’s not too shabby an offering from the crimson-limbed one; a quick solve but an enjoyable one.

1 TRANSEPT – t[ense] + parents*.
5 AMENDS – men in ads.
10 FUNFAIR – F{air} + unfair.  Potential for an “unfair” cross-reference to 4D here perhaps?
11 ORGANZA – OR + (N in Gaza).
12 ENNUI – {yo}u{th} in (nine)*.  Redshank’s paying his dues early to the “Try Finding a Novel Way to Clue This…” Society.
13 XYLOPHONE – X,Y + (help Ono)*.
14 SHADOW BOXING – box in shadowing.
17 BACK OF BEYOND – pun on the answer being a possible indicator of the letter D (=500).  I quite like these kind of lateral thinking clues.
21 TOOTHSOME – 00 in (the most).
23 MOUSE – M.O. (modus operandi) + US + E[nglish].
24 ANNOYED – anyone* + D[uke].
25 DURANGO – rang in duo.  I only knew this as the model-name of a popular Dodge pick-up truck.  But, according to Wikipee, the city’s full name is Victoria de Durango and it only has a population of approximately half a million, so don’t feel too overwhelmed by ignorance.  Will await for the acid-test results of what constitutes general knowledge (a.k.a. Bamberger’s work colleagues) for vindication.
26 THRONE – throng with E (. Regina) for G (. Rex).  An nifty, and as far as I’m aware, original idea.
27 DRY-CLEAN – D[irector] + larceny*.

1 TOFFEE – hidden.
2 AWNING – a + n[ew] in wing.
3 SLAVISH – s[mall] + lavish.
4 PEROXIDE BLONDE – P + (ex bride old one)*.  To the undoubted chagrin of my elders and betters, I am of an age that most immediately associates Ms Dors with her cameo appearance in the music video for Prince Charming.  Shame on me.
6 MUG UP – another quasi-reverse cryptic (a la 17A).  ‘Sticky stuff’ = gum = mug<.
7 NONTOXIC – (on tonic)* + x.  A surface so natural that it almost passed me by unheralded at first.  Probably my pick of the pops for today.
8 SPACE AGE – ‘gap years’ = space + age, though even now part of my brain still wants it to read as a direct anagram.
9 FOLLOW-MY-LEADER – (Rolf made yellow)*.  Conjures up a curious image, but at least we avoid the cluing cliche based upon newspaper editorials here.
15 ABSTRACT – AB’s tract.
16 SCHOONER – ch in sooner.
18 NUMERIC – nu + crime*.
19 QUINCE – Qu. in C.E.  Peter Q is a character from AMND.
20 REJOIN – jo (Scottish for sweetheart) in rein.  This is the one clue which makes me wonder how much of a newbie our setter truly is; until now I have only ever encountered the (slangy) term “jo” in the likes of seriously heavyweight crosswords (Listener etc.)
22 HAYDN – {symphon}y in hadn'{t}.

17 Responses to “Financial Times 13,602 / Redshank”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Smiffy and a Hearty Welcome to Redshank – even if he/she is a familiar setter in a new guise. (Hello again Cinephile?)

    This was very enjoyable but Jo in 20d is completely new to me.

  2. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, smiffy, for a witty blog of a stylish puzzle [apart from the repetition of ‘fair’ in the clue and answer of 10ac.]

    Like you, I suspect a reincarnation rather than a debut.

    Re 26ac: coincidentally, there’s a similar clue in today’s Guardian Crucible:

    State of stupor in Spanish region banning left for a short time [9].

  3. nmsindy says:

    Pleasing puzzle, quite easy, I found. It’s also got a pangram (every letter of the alphabet appears at least once).

  4. crypticsue says:

    Had I known about Scottish sweethearts, this would have been an enjoyable, easy, quick to finish crossword from Redshank – thank you to him/her.

  5. Tony Welsh says:

    Thanks, Smiffy. Like others I had never heard JO and so did not get 20d. Otherwise a quick solve. Wasted time on 8d thinking it was an anagram.

  6. shuchi says:

    Thanks smiffy and welcome to the new setter/pseudonym; it certainly doesn’t feel like a first-timer’s work. I knew neither JO nor DURANGO but otherwise found this on the easy side. Enjoyed the stylishly defined 5a, the blink-and-miss-it anagram fodder in 21a, the clues with reverse wordplay. 14a and 17a might have caused problems had they been trickier – those two slots have three unchecked letters in a row.

  7. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Just like others I found this a very nice crossword, as some said ‘stylishly’ clued.
    I wonder why some think that this might a familiar setter under a new pseudonym – how can you tell?
    Certainly not just by spotting a ‘Scottish sweetheart’. I’m sure of that, since I used the same JO in my own recent puzzle and one can’t say that I’m that experienced – it’s more like when you need a JO, you’ll find one in Chambers.
    BTW, after reading the posts I know now who did not solve my Dalibor puzzle …. foei, Bryan … :)

    I didn’t find it a hard puzzle, but also not an everyday crossword in the sense of (lesser) quality. It was generally very well-written, in my opinion, with a kind of light touch to it. Some infrequently used anagrinds like ‘dither’, ‘drift (round)’ and ‘coiffed’, or a container indicator like ‘tackle’ point in the direction of a thoughtful setter.

    On the other hand, I agree with Eileen about 10ac about the repetition of ‘fair’ – a pity.
    And ‘strip’ for ‘Gaza’ wasn’t the first thing I thought of, even if the surface was miltarily orientated. But it’s OK.
    Never heard of ORGANZA, but now all at once it appeared twice in two days time (after yesterday’s Gordius).

    I am not convinced by ‘gets’ in 7d (NONTOXIC), which was however a nice clue as such. Does ‘gets’ really indicate that the X should go inside? Normally, ‘A gets B’ means A+B. And it is surely not (ON TONIC + X)* – and if so, then I think ‘gets’ is quite iffy.
    [Dante did a similar thing recently, which I questioned (without getting an answer)]

    Although I liked the idea of swapping the G and E in 26ac, I am not sure whether G and E are valid for George and Elizabeth – they are not in Chambers as stand-alone abbreviations.

    All in all, a fine contribution to a very good FT Week of Crosswords so far.

    Thanks, smiffy – and Redshank, of course!

  8. bamberger says:

    Romped through everything bar 11a, 8d & 20d. Faced with s???e age all I could think of was stone which was probably a technological advance at the time.
    Would never have got 11a & 20d.

    Thanks setter & blogger

  9. Eileen says:

    Hi Sil

    I can see nothing at all wrong with ‘get’ as a containment indicator – in fact I think it’s marginally better than ‘A gets B’ means A+B. My only query with that clue was the lack of a hyphen.

    And GAZA for ‘strip’ was beyond ‘OK’, I thought. The surface was brilliant – since we established the other day that N was OK for Navy.

    As for E and G as being acceptable on their own, I’m reminded of, ages ago, trying to defend H = Henry here on the same grounds and then finding, to my embarrassment, that it’s a perfectly respectable SI unit, which I filed away for future reference – and it has come in very useful on several occasions. I think that here, although you wouldn’t normally find them individually as abbreviations, taken together, with the throne association and the historical accuracy, few would take issue. I certainly wouldn’t: I thought it was a brilliant clue – and, as I said earlier. on a par with Guardian 21ac. 😉

    As to whether this is a new setter, I think the craftsmanship suggests a rather older hand – almost like well-tempered steel, you might say. ;-), as a further hint. [But see Gaufrid’s super-efficient ‘Setters’ update.]

    [ I hasten to add, Sil, that, of course, that doesn’t mean that debutant[e]s can never display craftsmanship!]

  10. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Wow, Eileen, that’s a S-U-R-P-R-I-S-E.
    (and how does Gaufrid know?)

    By the way, many thanks for giving a sensible answer to my “gets” question, as I am compiling myself a little bit, and as I always try to learn from these kind of things (which is the reason that I ask these questions).

    “And GAZA for ‘strip’ was beyond ‘OK’”
    I guess that’s only because of the surface.
    In which I’m completely with you.

    I think, I’m with you anyway re this crossowrd.

  11. Eileen says:

    Hi again, Sil

    “that’s a S-U-R-P-R-I-S-E.”

    Well, perhaps not too much of a one – the hallmarks are there … but what a lovely coincidence that he was there in the Guardian today!

    As far as I’m concerned, two super puzzles in one day and much to look forward to in the FT. Welcome to Redshank!

    “(and how does Gaufrid know?)”

    I suppose because he’s a wise old owl and knows everything. 😉

  12. Jan says:

    Thanks, Smiffy and Redshank – a lovely puzzle.

    As soon as I see anything relating to a Scottish sweetheart or darling I think of Robert Burns’s, John Anderson, my Jo.

    How does Gaufrid know, he could probably tell you but then he’d have to ……

  13. Scarpia says:

    Thanks smiffy…and welcome to Redshank.
    I really enjoyed this puzzle,not too difficult but with enogh clever wordplay to keep it spicy.As nms says pangramattical as well,which I was looking for after completing the top half of the puzzle.This helped me remember JO from a previous puzzle.
    Shame about 10 across,surely something like ‘..not just on Flamborough head’ would have been better.
    I agree with Eileen,8 down needs hyphenating.
    Those are,however just minor quibbles about a very good puzzle.Favourite clues for me 11 and 17 across.

  14. Bryan says:

    So Redshank is aka Crucible … What a surprise!

    Judging by the double bill that was served up on the same day. I guess that the FT pays a lot more than The Grauniad?

  15. JS says:

    For more info on Crucible/Redshank/Radian check out the following link from Orlando’s (Michael Curl) very informative website:

  16. Bryan says:

    JS @ 15

    Many thanks – a great link!

  17. Mark Allen says:

    Maybe on 20dn &lit

    One of the most anthologised of Burns poems is John Anderson, My Jo.

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