Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,604 by Mudd

Posted by Pete Maclean on February 10th, 2011

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of January 29
This puzzle strikes me as one of Mudd’s best. Taking pride of place is the brilliant semi-&lit that is 16D (HEATHROW). And I also especially like 9A (ODDS), 27A (STYE), 28A (WESTWARD HO), 5D (STARS AND STRIPES) and 24D (SUPER).

Across
1. MICRONESIA – CRONES (witches) in M (a thousand) + II (isles) + A (a)
7. FACE – double definition
9. ODDS – cryptic definition (I guess)
10. PEARL DIVER – PEAR (fruit) + [seawee]D in LIVER (meat). With a another nice cryptic definition.
11. CARNAL – [large]R in CANAL (passage). In an anatomical sense, a canal is a passage.
12. SAMPHIRE – AMP (current unit) in SHIRE (county)
13. PARTISAN – ART (skill) + IS (is) together in PAN (God)
15. FLOW – WOLF (bolt) backwards
17. ICON – I (single) + CON (blue — in a political sense)
19. STEMLESS – T[h]E (the hollow) + ELM (tree) backwards together in SSS (three seconds)
22. FIRE DOOR – RED (warning sign) + OO (two rings) together in FIR (wood). In my experience, “fire door” usually refers to a door that should be shut to prevent a fire’s spreading but Chambers confirms that it can also mean an emergency exit.
23. TASTER – [compos]T + ASTER (plant). I was stuck on this clue for a long time. I thought of TASTER early on but it took me a while to see that it could fit the definition (“extract”) — which it does in the sense of a sample.
25. SKYSCRAPER – SCRAP (dispute) in SKYE (Scottish isle) + R (right)
26. PAIL – homophone (“pale”)
27. STYE – hidden word
28. WESTWARD HO – anagram of WATERS + D[estroy] together in WHO (doctor). The enumeration is, inevitably, a give-away here but I think the surface is excellent considering recent floods in Devon.

Down
2. INDIANA – IN (in) + DIANA (goddess)
3. RESIN – S (sulphur) in REIN (check)
4. NEPALESE – PEN (writer) backwards + ALES (drinks) + E (drugs)
5. STARS AND STRIPES – SAND (smooth) + STRIP (shave) in STARES (looks)
6. APLOMB – L (liberal) in A POM (an Englishman abroad) + B[eliefs]
7. FRIGHTFUL – [mastif]F + RIGHTFUL (just)
8. CHEERIO – CHE (red) + ER (queen) + IO (ten)
14. TENNESSEE – SENNET[t] (director Mack almost) backwards + SEE (clock). Mack Sennett was probably the best known maker of silent films in early Hollywood days.
16. HEATHROW – HEAT (passion) + R[unways] in HOW (question). And a gem of a semi-&lit.
18. CRICKET – double definition
20. SWEDISH – ED (paper boy) in SWISH (posh). I was surprised to see “paper boy” cluing ED but it’s a nice change from “journalist”.
21. SORROW – SOR[e] (endlessly painful) + ROW (argument)
24. SUPER – SUPPER (meal) with one P (1p) removed

4 Responses to “Financial Times 13,604 by Mudd”

  1. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Either it wasn’t my day or this was indeed a slightly harder Mudd than usual.
    In any case, I thought this was a very good puzzle.

    My first entry was STYE (27ac), a familiar word in crosswords, but nicely clued this time.
    After that it took me a while to get going, having only five solutions after half an hour.
    Three of them I rewarded a ’plus’, all of them in the SE corner:
    WESTWARD HO, SUPER and the splendid HEATHROW.
    Surely, the latter – (once) a topical one, &Lit – must have been a leftover from a Paul puzzle, but because it was too good to bin, Mr H let it crop up here – well, that’s what I think that happened.

    And there were more contestants for Clue of the Day.
    Like PEARL DIVER [with its apt surface] and STEMLESS [another great surface (with btw, Pete, 'elm' backwards in the solution)], to name two.

    On the other hand there were also some cheapish clues, like 7ac, 9ac [sorry, Pete :)] and 21d.
    I didn’t understand TENNESSEE (14d), so thanks for enlightening me, Pete.
    And I have to admit, I made one mistake: in 17ac I entered SCAN without knowing why.

    All in all, in my opinion, as good as a Mudd can get.
    As you say, Pete, perhaps one of his best.
    Many smiles along the way – very enjoyable to solve.

  2. jmac says:

    Thanks for the blog Pete. I’m a long way from home (and my copy of the puzzle) so can’t really contribute anything, but remember enjoying it enormously. I failed on TASTER (never was one for botanicals) so I’m grateful for your explanation.

  3. Pete Maclean says:

    Sil, I neglected the backwardness of ELM in 19A just in the blog and have corrected it, thanks. I thought first of SCAN for 17A and took a while to convince myself that it had to be ICON.

    jmac, thanks for commenting. I did this puzzle a long way from home!

  4. bamberger says:

    Only got about half out despite it being a weekend crossword when I have much more time.
    12a Guessed that amp had to fit in somewhere but hadn’t heard of samphire and didn’t have enough checking letters to have a stab at what it might be.
    17a Never thought of this definition of blue
    23a Aster did for me
    14d How many have heard of Sennett? Not me.

    Thanks for the blog

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