Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,603 / Hamilton

Posted by shuchi on January 28th, 2011


I had mixed feelings about this puzzle. Liked some clues such as 17a, 16d, found others a bit shaky.


1,5 PERSIAN CARPET (APPRENTICES A[lways] R[eady])*; “principal always ready” = A R? Hmmm :-|.
8 TEARDROPS TAR (sailor) around ‘E, DROPS[y] (disease, ended early)
9 POP-UP PUP (youngster) OP (work). A pop-up book has images jumping out of the page.
11 OZONE O[slo] ZONE (district); ozone is informally used to mean fresh air.
12 HANDICAPS HANDI (sounds like ‘handy’) CAPS (headgear); “its” appears to be only a filler.
13 HOT PANTS (TOP)* in HANTS (another word for Hampshire)
15 PILEUM (PLUME I)*. New word for me – pileum is the top of a bird’s head.
17 TIPTOE TIP TO E (drug)
22 REPUTABLE REP (delegate) U (sounds like ‘you’) TABLE (BOARD)
23 SPEAK S (second) PEAK (mountain)
24 HAIKU H[oliday], initial letters of ‘And I Keep Us’


2 READOPT RE (the musical note) ADO (difficulty) PT (gym)
3 INDIE INDIA (country) with A changed with E
4 NEOPHYTE NEE (born) around OP (work) (THEY)*
5 CASINO hidden in ‘inCAS IN Olden times’ &lit. Not a fan of this one: the word “times” is redundant and the definition seems contrived.
6 REPTILIAN hidden reversed in ‘NAIL IT PERfectly’
7 EXPIATE PAT (Irishman) in EXE (river), with I (one) inside
10 POSTMAN’S KNOCK Anagram of K (thousand) + SMACKERS + NONSTOP – RES (reserve) &lit
14 ABOUT TURN (RUNT)*, a rebus-style clue.
16 NO SECRET (SCORE TEN)*; very nice surface.
18 PAPRIKA PAPA (father), around KIR (drink), reversed
21 OBI-MAN ROBIN (Boy Wonder, Batman’s sidekick) – R, around MA (degree). I enjoy superhero/SFF references in clues. The wordplay has a little problem here: “his” is superfluous.
23 SLOPE S (south) (POLE)*

8 Responses to “Financial Times 13,603 / Hamilton”

  1. jmac says:

    Thanks for the blog Shuchi. I think there were some good things here, NO SECRET, as you say, ABOUT TURN, and REPTILIAN, were my favourites. Also, liked the fact that PILEUM was easy to get although I didn’t know the word.

    In 1,5 across, I don’t have a problem with “principal always ready”, (save that principal might have been in the plural) it seems quite a normal device and I was reminded of Klingsor’s use of “leads to collective embarrassment” for “c” and “e” in a recent Independent prize puzzle.

    Maybe Hamilton is unfortunate to be at the tail end of a particularly fine run of puzzles this week.

  2. shuchi says:

    Hi jmac

    1,5 I’d be perfectly happy with “principals of/to always ready”.

    Maybe Hamilton is unfortunate to be at the tail end of a particularly fine run of puzzles this week: You may be right about that. :)

  3. walruss says:

    Indeed shuchi, some great puzzles this week in the FT. Perhaps Hamilton’s technique is not as strong here, with the A R indication being a case in point. I don’t think that’s properly done, unfortunately.

  4. Tony Welsh says:

    Thanks, Shuchi, but there is a small error in 4d. Too may E’s so it must be ne rather than nee.

    Found this hard. Finished it with a bit of help from an online dictionary with wild card facility. Favorite clue 13a. Never heard of INDIE, PILEUM, OBI_MAN, or MARCO POLO sheep.

    In 6d, is MEAN the definition? Not sure that REPTILIAN means MEAN.

    20d seemed a bit too literal to me. Did not believe it was the right answer at first.

  5. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Tony
    Yes, in 6dn the definition is ‘mean’. The adjective REPTILIAN is derived from the noun ‘reptile’, for which one of the definitions in Chambers is “a base, malignant, abject or treacherous person”. If you check Chambers you will find that ‘mean’ is synonymous with both ‘base’ and ‘abject’.

  6. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Shuchi

    I had to struggle with this but I did enjoy those I got.

    I’ve never heard of PILEUM or OBI-MAN and I probably never will again.

  7. bamberger says:

    Didn’t get very far with this.
    Pileum ,haiku , expiate , neophyte and obi man all unknowns.
    19a Not convinced by this -would I look at a fountain and think “ah yes origin of the jet”?
    14d I didn’t get it but do think that was clever

  8. Scarpia says:

    Thanks shuchi.
    I found this more difficult than some of Hamilton’s previous puzzles,but still an enjoyable solve.
    Marco Polo sheep were new to me,but a quick dictionary check confirmed my guess.
    I did like the 2 long anagrams down the sides and also 14 down,my favourite in this puzzle.

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