Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,626 / Hamilton

Posted by Gaufrid on February 24th, 2011


 Smiffy is away on business today and so is unable to be with us.

I said on Tuesday (Indy 7598) that the cinema is not my forte and now I have to blog a puzzle themed around old actors/actresses only two days after one that involved films starring Michael Douglas. The fact that the theme appears to be deceased actors/actresses enabled me to rule out Jane and Peter Fonda but the same couldn’t be said of the Barrymore dynasty.

I did wonder if the thematic connection was that they had all won best actor/actress awards but this does not seem to be the case (at least in the time I have had available for research). If anyone more knowledgeable about these matters can offer a suggestion as to the ‘common theme’ I would be glad to be enlightened.

Overall I found this relatively easy because I spotted the theme very early on, but I have a minor concern regarding 1ac and 12ac and just cannot see how 19ac works as a clue.

1 DEBONAIR DEB (Miss Reynolds is shortly) ON AIR (broadcasting) – Debbie Reynolds – I thought the accepted format was that the definition came either at the beginning or the end of a clue so in this case the definition must be ‘the dashing’ which is clearly incorrect. Also the ‘is’ is superfluous. Would not ‘Elegant Miss Reynolds shortly broadcasting?’ have been better?
5 COLMAN CO[a]LMAN – Ronald Colman
9 AT RANDOM [b]RANDO (26 {Brando} blows his top) in ATM (cash point)
10 ADJUST double def.
12 FLYNN FLY (shrewd) N (new) N (number) – Errol Flynn – the wordplay actually leads to FLYANN, the ‘a’ should have been omitted.
14 MONROE *(NO MORE) – Marilyn Monroe
16 MUTATES Spoonerism of ‘two mates’ (a couple of friends)
19 RHEUMED R (king) *(E[x]HUMED) – the definition is ‘of cold-like symptoms’ so the anagram indicator must be ‘diagnosis’ and I just don’t see how this works. If ‘diagnosis’ is intended to be part of the definition then there is no anagram indicator since the ‘out’ is indicating the removal of ‘x’ from ‘exhumed’.
21 HARLOW def. – Jean Harlow
23 DIGNITARY AR (Arkansas) in DIGNITY (stately airs)
25 FONDA FOND (affectionate) A (note) – Henry Fonda
26 BRANDO RAND (money) in BO (box office) – Marlon Brando
27 DIETRICH DIET (regime) RICH (affluent) – Marlene Dietrich – ‘is paramount’ indicates that ‘diet’ comes before ‘rich’.
28 EXTORT EX (former lover) TORT (wrong)
29 MEAN WELL M (male) AN (article) in EWELL (Surrey town) – I think ‘pens’ has to be interpreted as ‘writes’ for this clue to work.
1 DWARFS WAR (fighting) in D[anish] F[lying] S[quad]
2 BARRYMORE pun – Barry Manilow and John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore or the lesser known (at least to me) Diana, Ethel or John Drew Barrymore.
3 NINON NI (Ulster) NON (no French)
7 MOUNT double def.
8 NOTARISE NOT A RISE (isn’t a pay increase)
11 PALM PALM[ist] (fortune teller lost first)
15 REMAINDER A (Austria) in REMINDER (souvenir)
17 THORNDIKE *(RED-HOT INK) – Dame Sybil Thorndike
20 DEAN hidden in ‘seasiDE ANtics’ – James Dean
21 HAYWIRE *(WAY) IR (taxman) in HE – the Inland Revenue no longer exists (it is now HM Revenue and Customs) but the abbreviation is still in the dictionaries and setters continue to clue it using ‘taxman’.
22 RACHEL ACHE (pain) in RL (both sides)
24 GRANT GR (King George) ANT (social worker) – Cary Grant
25 FUTON PUT ON (don) with the first letter changed (has new cover)

5 Responses to “Financial Times 13,626 / Hamilton”

  1. Hamilton says:

    Thanks Gaufrid for a splendid blog, as ever. I’m sorry I had to burden you with more film-related trivia, but I don’t see Indy crosswords very often and of course I have no say on the FT publishing schedule!

    The theme is simply that they are all dead actors/actresses.

    21d – you must forgive me, but as a member of the Inland Revenue for 38 years, old habits die hard! I have used it once before though, so now I shall put it to rest.

    19a – Chambers describes rheumed as “of or like rheum” which, without going into all the messy details, gave me “cold-like symptoms”. My trusty Chambers Thesaurus suggested “diagnosis” had a valid alternative in “interpretation”. Not perfect, I know, but it wasn’t the best of words to be left with when the grid was filled!

  2. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks Gaufrid for stepping in and Hamilton for dropping by.

    A pleasant crossword, although I share your reservations about 1ac and 12ac. Moreover, I do think that ‘is’ in 28ac (EXTORT) should perhaps not be there. I think “Former lover’s wrong …” is much better.
    I am also a bit puzzled by the use of ‘pens’ which normally indicates an insertion. Even if it is meant to be taken as ‘writes’ it still doesn’t feel comfortable to me.
    I took 19ac the same way as Hamilton did.
    And finally, is MUTATES (16ac) really a Spoonerism of ‘two mates’? I thought ‘mutates’ should be pronounced as ‘myooteyts’.

    Even so, an enjoyable crossword.
    Favourites perhaps 13ac, 4d, 18d and 25d.
    Of the actors only COLMAN was unknown to me, and if we’re unlucky someone will stand up again to tell us that Ulster isn’t the same as Northern Ireland …. :)

    Thanks again Hamilton.

  3. Tony Welsh says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid and Hamilton. If I understand it correctly, the objection on 1a is to the word “the” at the start. I think it reads fine without it, but I don’t see any reason to change “dashing” to “elegant.”

    For some reason my eye fell on 24d first and solved it instantly. Thereafter I was sure we had a set of Civil War generals! Then I got REMAINDER and then BRANDO and I was back on track for a fairly easy solve.

    Did not know Colman. Living in Texas, I was trying to work the wordplay based upon “oilman.” The coalman is a dim and distant memory even to this 66-year-old!

    Favourite clue 16a.

  4. Richard says:

    An enjoyable crossword and an excellent blog. I am still not sure why was 21a a definition. Spoonerisms are always fun but in 16a “Two Mates” should really give us “Mootates”.

    I too was hoping for a tighter common theme so it was fun imagining a film featuring all these performers!

  5. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Gaufrid.
    Nice puzzle from Hamilton,using what I assume is the FT’s style for themed puzzles(undefined asterisked solutions,a la Cinephile).This is o.k. by me as long as,like here,the theme is wide ranging enough.
    1 across seemed fine to me,using’The dashing’instead of just’dashing’ removed any ambiguity as to which sense of ‘dashing’ the solver was looking for.
    Not keen on’diagnosis’ as an anagram indicator but reading Hamilton’s justification I wouldn’t say it was wrong..and it did make a nice surface!
    Two mates/mutates is fine by me,I am always happy to give leeway to a setter for amusing Spoonerisms or homophones.As I’ve said before,I love corny puns!
    In fact I would nominate that clue(16 across) and 8 down as my favourites.

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