Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,615 / Flimsy

Posted by Gaufrid on February 11th, 2011


 Shuchi is away again this week but we should have the pleasure of her company next Friday. In the meantime you will have to put up with me.

When Flimsy first appeared in the FT I felt his puzzles reflected his pseudonym but since then he has become a little more tricky in places, with greater obscurity for some definitions and more use of little, or less well, known words as part of the grid and wordplay.

Today’s puzzle was a mixture of a few very easy clues and some less than familiar words or meanings (eg mastic/tree, fane/temple & stamina as a plural). I rather liked the &lit at 7ac, along with the use of the minus sign which was cleverly hidden due to the presence of a similar dash in 1ac and 10ac, and the surface of 14dn.

7 CAST *(ACT[or]S) &lit – the removal of ‘or’ is indicated by the ‘– ‘ (minus sign).
9 SWAG hidden in ‘goodS WAGon’
10 PACK ANIMAL PACK (ram) ANIMAL (sexual)
11 REHEAT *(ARE THE) &lit – if ‘cooks’ can be an anagram indicator then I suppose ‘grills’ can be as well.
12 EUPHORIA EUPHOR[b]IA (bishop dropped off poinsettia)
13 GRANDEUR GRAN (relative) *(RUDE)
15 IRAN I (one) RAN (ruled)
17 SPEW S[ome] P[arents’] E[vening] W[orries]
23 ENTRÉE ENTRE (between French) E (English)
25 LABORATORY LABOR (work in America) A TORY (a Conservative)
26 TWIG T[ea] (a bit of tea) WIG (rug)
27 WEAR [s]WEAR (state boldly dropping school)
3 EAGLE [b]EAGLE (dog decapitated)
4 PIPETTES PIPE (supply) *(TEST)
6 SCAMPI S (small) C (caught) A MP (a politician) I (island)
8 STAMINA dd – the plural of stamen is either stamens or stamina.
14 NEW LABOUR *(NOBLE WAR U[nquestioned]) – ‘unlikely’ is the anagram indicator which contributes to a very good surface.
16 WIDE-EYED WIDE (broad) EYED (considered)
18 PROFANE PRO (for) FANE (temple)
20 CHEMIST  C (cocaine) *(HITS ME)
21 STRAND N (number) in STRAD (violin)
24 TUTOR T (Thailand) in *(TOUR)

21 Responses to “Financial Times 13,615 / Flimsy”

  1. Joe says:

    11A: The problem in my view is not ‘grills’ as anagram indicator. But given the place where the indicator is, I would have expected it to be a directive to the solver.

  2. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Gaufrid. I agree that Flimsy’s puzzles have become more substantial of late. I really enjoyed this one.

    I hadn’t completely fathomed 7ac, so thanks for that.

    There were some really nice surfaces and some clever anagrams, eg 28ac and 2dn.

    I’m not quite so keen on 18dn, as profane comes from the same Latin root as fane: pro [in front of, i.e. outside] fano [temple].

    Re 11ac: I’d taken ‘grills’ as the anagram indicator but in the sense of ‘tortures’ [Chambers] rather than analogous with ‘cooks’, which I’ve always thought of in the sense of ‘cooking the books’.

  3. Eileen says:

    I meant to highlight 14dn as my favourite clue of all.

  4. Sil van den Hoek says:

    This is my first ever Flimsy, so I can’t compare.
    But since I had a chat with him on the train back from Derby, I thought, it would be nice to see what his crosswords are like.

    There were a lot of very easy clues, so initially I rushed through it.
    However, then I slowed down, spending more attention to Flimsy’s craftmanship.

    Many surfaces are very natural with the construction nicely embedded,
    11ac (REHEAT), 17ac (SPEW), 2d (NEW YEAR) and 20d (CHEMIST) being good examples of that.

    What struck me most, though, was the fact that Flimsy’s quite good at misdirecting definitions, like ‘Get’ in 26ac, ‘sport’ (27ac), ‘Wants’ (28ac), ‘piece’ (21d) and ‘Coach’ (24d).
    They all mean something else within the surface.
    I liked that.

    Only one small niggle: I don’t think SCAMPI (6d) are ‘fish’.
    Even so, nice puzzle.

  5. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Sil
    Initially I shared your reservation regarding the definition in 6dn. Strictly speaking it should be crustacean, but as scampi, prawns etc are collectively known as shellfish, and Chambers gives “loosely, any exclusively aquatic animal” under ‘fish’, I decided in the end that it was fair.

  6. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Gaufrid

    This was my first encounter with Flimsy. However, I do consider that he is being unduly modest in his choice of Nom de Croix. This was a very robust puzzle which I really enjoyed.

    I had opted for MONASTIC and PROFANE without fully knowing why and now, as usual, you have shown me the light.

    My favourite was UNDERPANTS.

    Well, we’re all different, aren’t we?

  7. Nestorius says:

    Funny, I took the … (see here) as the removal indicator in 7ac.

    My niggle of the day: 1ac is American, no?

    Overall not too hard. I breezed through it over a coffee. Enjoyed it.
    Really started to appreciate the cleverness of some of the indicators only after going over it once more. Mostly I could fill in the words from simple definition and checked letters.

    Mastic is new to me as a tree. I know it as chewing gum.

    “Profane” is used as “in front of the temple”, meaning “not initiated” in freemasonry.

    Quite enjoyable offering. My thanks to Flimsy & Gaufrid.

  8. Nestorius says:

    I meant to say:
    Ruffling a midday’s diversion thanks to … (6,3,7)

  9. smiffy says:

    One of best things about these forums is the sanity check that comes from reading the opinions of like minds. For the last few months, I’ve harboured similar thoughts about Flimsy’s progression and maturation as a clue-writer – but never got around to voicing them.

    26A and 14D raised the biggest smiles here. And I never cease to be amazed how often we solvers seems to be afflicted by ‘piles’ (in the nuclear sense). I’ve still never met it any other context.

    And in the spirit of whimsical Friday anagrams:
    Nestorius’ niggle….one struggle is in translation?

  10. Eileen says:

    Hi smiffy

    Like you, I’m glad to have my own impressions confirmed and be reassured that it’s not just that I’ve met Flimsy in the meantime!

  11. Tony Welsh says:

    This started off very easy and then I got stuck. Did not get two short words: TWIG and WEAR, basically because I did not think of the alternative meanings of “get” and “sport” respectively. I liked UNDERPANTS but as Nestorius says “boxers” is American. I have lived in US for 30 years so it was not a problem for me, but I would not expect Brits to get it easily. Nasty form of underwear, btw.

    I think 23a was my favorite clue.

  12. Nestorius says:

    Smiffy, what’s the enumeration? Fair play please 😉

  13. Flimsy says:

    Comments from all appreciated – glad you enjoyed it!

  14. bamberger says:

    Completely misdirected by 1a where I tried all the terms I knew for fighting boxers.
    2a hadn’t seen this before -must remember this trick.
    10a Animal-sexual new to me
    11a Grill as an anagram indicator new to me
    12a Ditto euphorbia
    13a Ditto mastic for tree-had only come across the term with reference to a sealant.
    3d Couldn’t decide whether I wanted a dog with the first letter taken off to get a bird or vv. Didn’t have enough checking letters to help.

    A tad too hard for me but can’t blame the setter.

  15. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Nestorius and Tony
    I don’t think ‘boxers’ is specifically an American term. Both Chambers and Collins give it as an alternative to boxer shorts with no indication that it is not in general UK usage. In fact, on-line clothing stores (M&S, Debenhams etc) sub-divide their underwear category into boxers, briefs, slips, trunks etc.

    Hi bamberger
    You were not alone in only equating mastic with a sealant. I had never heard it as the name of a tree but the wordplay was obvious and a quick check in Chambers confirmed the mastic/tree connection.

  16. Walduck says:

    I have to say I always enjoy Flimsy’s clues. Perhaps it’s because, as a relative newcomer, I appreciate the occasional soft-toss to get me started, but they are enjoyable to play with even when I can’t figure them out. I look forward to tackling this on the way home tonight (I didn’t cheat!)

  17. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Gaufrid.
    Very good puzzle from Flimsy.
    I was another who was not too keen on the definition in 6 down,but I concluded that it was o.k. because it is quite common for shaped,breaded goujons of fish,to be sold as scampi.
    I didn’t know MASTIC as a tree,nor did I realise that poinsettia was a spurge.
    Favourite for me – 1 across.

  18. Steve says:

    There seems to be a problem with accessing the weekend cryptic (“server overload”). If this issue persists (which is more than likely based on prior experience), I’d be grateful if someone with access to the print version would be kind enough to post it on this site (I’m in rural North Carolina so unfortunately can’t run out to the corner newsagent to buy a copy). Many thanks.

  19. Steve says:

    Problem solved, now can access.

  20. Nestorius says:

    Gaufrid: I m,eant “underpants” is an americanism. You guys call them “pants”.
    Smiffy: could you do me a favour and post the enumeration of your clue in post #9? Thanks.

  21. Tony Welsh says:

    Nestorius, that is odd. I would never have thought “underpants” was particularly American, but in any case it is obvious what it means. As for boxers or boxer shorts, I thought both were American. It is not just the word but the item itself that I did not think existed in the UK, at least I don’t think they did when I lived there. My Chambers’ has only two meanings for boxer: one who boxes, and the Chinese Boxer movement.

    Nestorius, the solution to Smiffy’s anagram is in plain sight, “Nestorius’ niggle”. My niggle is that there really should be an “s” after the apostrophe.

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