Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,625 by Redshank

Posted by PeeDee on February 23rd, 2011


Not a difficult crossword, but a lovely one.  Elegant and witty with some nice & Lits.  I especially liked 27 and 28 across, 8 and 16 down, though one could easily pick others for a mention too. 

There are a lot of anagrams, which may or may not be to one’s personal taste, but apart form this I cannot find fault with the clueing at all.

1 NEURON NEUtRON (spent time = t is all gone)
5 EX-LIBRIS EX LIB with SIR reversed
10 NOUGAT (any NOUGAT)* = (agony aunt)*
11 ASHRAM HAS* (rancid=’gone off’) RAM (ram=butter, an object that butts things)
12 SCOT FREE CROFT* inside SEE (bishopric)
25 HOMING Home Office Money IN Government
26 BANGER Double definition
27 ELECTRON “Elect Ronald Reagan” and fundamental particle
28 AESTHETE HE inside (pressed into) TEASET* &lit
29 STRIDE State (first letter of) TRIED*
3 RESTRAINT TRAIN (train=coach, e.g. coach sports) inside REST
4 NANOMETRE (Espania inside ORNAMENT)*
5 END USER END (objective) SURE*
6 LINGO recycLING Organisation
7 BLUFF BUFF around Lake
8 ISABELLA (A SEA BILL)* – Isabella 1st of Castile funded Christopher Columbus, a super &Lit
13 TAN Tried Acting Naturally (first letters of)
15 ICE SHEETS THESE* in ICES (ice cream)
16 ALMA MATER ALTER (change) going around (fencing) MA MA (masters)
19 TOG GOT reversed (‘get up’ = clothes)
20 CORTEGE GET reversed inside CORE (middle) – ‘late’ implies followers of a funeral procession. I like the repitition of ‘Get’ here, but using a different device.
23 INGOT Anagram of Gold (bit of) and INTO
24 NURSE RUNS* East – nurse=harbour as in ‘harbour a grudge’ or ‘nurse a resentment’


Hold mouse over clue number to see clue, click a solution to see its definition.

17 Responses to “Financial Times 13,625 by Redshank”

  1. Conrad Cork says:

    I don’t see ‘homing’ as ‘putting up’ at all. Is there any dictionary support for the usage?

  2. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Many thanks, PeeDee.

    Redshank’s second FT puzzle was very different from his first.
    The clueing was immaculate and at places adventurous as ever, but the overall level of difficulty was so much lower that it looks like Redshank did (or had to do) this deliberately to make the crossword more as accessible as possible.

    There were too many (partial) anagrams to my taste, making solving an easy-peasy experience.
    Still an enjoyable solve, though.
    I just felt a bit disappointed that I didn’t have to work for it.

    I liked the NEURON/ELECTRON (1,27ac) pair, just like AESTHETE (28ac) and NOUGAT (10ac).
    There are a lot of fine surfaces to admire, which I appreciate enormously.
    14ac (INTERMINABLY) was one of them, but what a pity that ‘INTER’ is part of the fodder ánd the solution.
    In 25ac I hesitated to enter HOMING.
    Thought that couldn’t be it (the clue already containing ‘Home’), but it was.

    My conclusion must be that it was without doubt quality clueing, but without the trickier bits that makes a Crucible or Radian crossword so special.
    Maybe the setter had his Daily Mail hat on?
    Good, but lightweight.

  3. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, PeeDee. I agree with your assessment. Favourite clue: ISABELLA.

    Conrad, I was quite surprised at HOMING, too, but Collins has ‘to furnish [Chambers ‘provide’] with a home’.

  4. PeeDee says:

    Can’t find it in my Chambers. Its pretty common useage though, ‘putting someone up’ is to ‘give them a home’. A quick Google search gives dozens of example usages in this sense, especially for children and animals. For example: ‘homing stray dogs’, ‘foster homing children’, ‘re-homing ex-racehorses’.

  5. Conrad Cork says:

    Thanks Eileen. I promise to try not to think of pigeons in the future.

  6. Tony Welsh says:

    Thanks, PeeDee. Like Conrad, I don’t really buy HOMING in that context. And I have never heard anyone say “foster homing children.” Why not just “fostering”? But it was obvious enough. As was EX LIBRIS which I had never heard but was so obvious it was my first solve. Got stuck on 13a for a while thinking it was another anagram! Favorite clue 28a.

  7. Rishi says:

    Tony Welsh #6…EX LIBRIS which I had never heard…

    I too have never heard anyone say ‘ex libris’.

    But some decades ago bound books used to have on the usually decorative front free-end paper a box with the words Ex Libris in an ornate font and some dotted lines, where the owner entered his or her name.

  8. jmac says:

    “Ex libris” is synonymous with bookplate. In the world of saecond-hand and rare books (admittedly a small world) it is a very common term.

  9. walruss says:

    Weird puzzle, too many anagrams, with one or two oddly suspect clues. The rest were okay, barring PeeDee’s original objection about the anagrams. Is the person a Daily Mail setter, or was that just a joke?

  10. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Hi walruss, happy to see that I’m not the only one who thought there were too many anagrams.
    The mentioning of the Daily Mail is indeed a nod to this setter.

    I haste to say that I am a great admirer when it comes to his Guardian and Indy aliases.
    This offering was however, unexpectedly, of a different category.
    There were a lot of nice touches in the clueing as such.
    But just a tad (or two) too easy.

  11. bamberger says:

    A rare all correct unaided solve for me. Had to work quite hard on the last seven or eight with last in being ex libris (not heard of) preceded by Isabella (thanks PeeDee for the explanation of Columbus).
    A refreshing lack of classical music, artists, poets. authors and the inclusion of science.
    Thanks Redshank

  12. Scarpia says:

    Thanks PeeDee.
    Agree with most comments here,a very good puzzle if a tad too easy.Thought ASHRAM and ALMA MATER were very good.
    Surprised that solvers had not seen EX LIBRIS(from the library of) before,I still have many books with my name inscribed on the bookplate inside the cover.Guess it must be my age!

  13. Sil van den Hoek says:

    bamberger (#11), I always read your posts and from those I think to know what it meant to you finishing this puzzle today.

    I didn’t want to look down on (who knows) less experienced solvers by saying that this crossword was too easy.
    But although I am a rather slow solver myself I really breezed through it with only a few left before I closed my eyes and counted to ten last night. Remember Dusty Springfield? :)
    This only happened once before with a Friday Cincinnus last year.

    Maybe, given it a rethink, thát was possibly the forte of the crossword.
    Accessible to beginners (I am nót saying you are one, bamberger!) and at the same time full of adventurous and smiling surfaces to satisfy others.
    Although I still think that clues like 14 and 16ac are just not that top of the bill, and clues that wouldn’t have been acceptable for Crucible or Radian.

  14. Sil van den Hoek says:

    14 and 25ac, I meant, of course.
    Certainly not 16d!

  15. PeeDee says:

    Sil, know what you mean about 14 and 25. I did like the surface readings of them both, especially the Inter Milan clue, so I let Redshank get away with these two.

    I agree totally that it is important to have a mix of difficulties during the week, otherwise how do people get started? I like to see good crosswords, not just tricky ones. I have been enjoying blogging the FT, of late I think the quality has been higher than the Guardian (my previous ‘gold standard’ for cryptics).

  16. Sil van den Hoek says:

    And there something else that bamberger said: “A refreshing lack of classical music, artists, poets, authors and the inclusion of science”.

    In yesterday’s Gordius blog John Cage and especially the word ‘éperdu’, although in Chambers, were not on.
    Today’s Araucaria blog is now [22h37] at a point that one discusses Shakespeare.
    I am a well-educated man, but I do understand what bamberger means.

    I am currently working on a crossword with a pop music theme (not even thát modern), but sometimes I wonder whether that would be appreciated by 15^2 solvers.

    Ah well.

    I agree with you, PeeDee, about the general standard of FT puzzles.
    But ‘names’ like Paul, Araucaria or Rufus cán make the difference, which I do understand. Like you, I guess.

  17. PeeDee says:

    I think everyone’s knowledge is different, so what is obscure to one person is obvious to another. Unfortunately there is no such this as a ‘fair’ crossword, easy or hard is a personal thing.

    My great like of crosswords is that I leran lots of new stuff every day. For me that would mean learning some more about pop music, for others it would be learning something about John Cage. It’s neither right nor wrong, just different.

    I do perceive a bias towards classical references in cryptics in general, but I think this just reflects the backgrounds of the current generation of setters who are, shall we say, past their first flush of youth. They just write about what they know (good thing too I say, remember Araucaria’s recent attempt at a clue about Bill Gates inventing the concept of Windows?).

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