Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,627 / Alberich

Posted by shuchi on February 25th, 2011


The usual Alberich brilliance with great clue surfaces. No single clear favourite today but a lot of all-round goodness.

The easy long entries at 3d, 6d got me off to a quick start and then the last couple of answers had me puzzled for long – took a while to see that “general” (23d) did not mean “common”, and “riot” (1a) was not the definition. I still have 22a not fully parsed, I’m sure someone will set it right. // Updated.

Interesting to note that there are three “note”s in the clues (11a, 12a, 20a), each instance meaning something different.


1 CRESCENT CRESCENDO (getting louder) – DO (act), [rio]T; “crescent” is a crescent-shaped street.
5 STRAND (RANTS)* D (departs)
10 UNTIL GUN (Winchester) – G (good), T[r]I[a]L
11 MONSTROUS N (note) (SORT)*, in (SUMO)*. This made me laugh.
12 MEMORANDA (EMMA)* around O (zero) RAND (money)
13 SEDGE [herbaceou]S EDGE (border)
14 DODDLE DIDDLE (swindle) – I (one) + O (old)
18 TREASON T[ackle] REASON (cause)
20 SCRAPE SAP (fool) around CR (credit), E (the musical note)
22 COWER C[ounsel] OWER (one who’s not settled). OWER is a made-up word for one who owes money, with the “?” hinting that something out-of-the-box is going on in the clue. // Thanks to Rishi.
25 POLYNESIA POLES (Europeans) around (NY)<, VIA (by way of) – V (very). I love the joint at “…not very large…”. Polynesia consists of over 1000 islands.
26 CRATE C (hundred) RATE (speed)
27 THEISM T[ediu]M around H (hospital) [d]E[f]I[E]S
28 RAP SHEET (TEACHERS + P (quietly))* – C (about). One of my last answers – I wasn’t familiar with the term RAP SHEET and the anagram was tricky with letters to be substituted for words.


1 CHUMMY CH (Switzerland) [r]UMMY (game, right out)
2 EXTEMPORE EX (former), E (European) MP (politican) in TORE (rent). What a smooth surface!
3 COLORADO SPRINGS COLOR (perhaps Green, in American spelling) DO (party) around A, SPRINGS (suspension); a very elegantly crafted clue. // Included the missing A. Thanks Eileen.
4 NOMINEE (ON)< MINE (dig up) E[mbarrassment]
6 TITUS ANDRONICUS (RSC NUTS AUDITION)*; a tragedy by Shakespeare that offers its name itself beautifully to anagrams. One by Rufus: Run studio cast in moving tragedy (5,10).
7 AVOID A (area) VOID (deserted)
8 DISPENSE DIS (underworld boss) PENS (prisons) E (Ecstasy)
9 UNFAIR FUNFAIR (a place for amusement) – F (fine). A tiny ambiguity in the wordplay  – there are two “F”s in the word, which to remove?
16 ESPLANADE PLAN (programme) in E (key) (ADES)*; “prom” is short for “promenade”.
17 STOCKPOT A “dealer”, as in a drug dealer, will probably STOCK POT.
19 NICEST NICE’S (resort’s) T (temperature)
20 SULTANA hidden in ‘conSULT AN Astrologer’
21 DETEST D[efenc]E TEST (trial). DE = “case for defence” is terrific.
23 WOLFE E[lection] after FLOW (current) reversed. Refers to General James P. Wolfe (1727 – 1759), a British Army officer.

9 Responses to “Financial Times 13,627 / Alberich”

  1. Rishi says:

    22a: C + OWER (one who owes money)

  2. shuchi says:

    Ah, that way “settled”! Thanks Rishi.

  3. Eileen says:

    Hi shuchi

    Lovely blog, lovely puzzle, as ever from Alberich.

    As you say, hard to pick out favourites but, if pushed, I’d choose 24 and 25ac and 3, 16, 20 and 23dn. Some super surfaces!

    [There’s an A missing in your blog of 3dn.]

  4. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thank you, shuchi.

    This was the puzzle I went to bed with last night, just to have a first look at it.
    I was so taken by it and it went so well that in fact I almost finished it before I closed my eyes.
    Just had to check a few answers this morning, like RAP SHEET (28ac) and also COWER (22ac) which I still couldn’t parse before I saw Rishi explanation. The “?” in the clue is there to indicate that ‘ower’ is not a word that’s in the dictionary, but more a playful allusion, I guess?

    Brilliant crossword, splendid surfaces, ingenious constructions.

    As some people might know by now, I feel great affinity with Alberich’s style of clueing, and maybe that’s why I went so smoothly through this puzzle. I knew (almost) exactly what to look for and where. Downside of it all: I didn’t pay much attention to the neatness of the surfaces (I dó find them important, though) while solving. The admiration came later.

    I find it very hard to single out any clues as possible highlights, but if I’ll have to … er, I don’t really know [or should I say: I really don’t know?].
    Great stuff all the way.

  5. bamberger says:

    I found this the hardest FT puzzle I’ve encountered since starting about six months ago. 3 passes and 25 minutes yielded no answers and I thought it was going to be the solvers equivalent of the whitewash/double bagel.
    Eventually I spotted the hidden word at 20d, then got the anagram at 24a & the only other one I got was 9d. Talk about not being on the setters wavelength, I wasn’t in the same universe.
    I still don’t understand parts of 3d & 8d and would be grateful for being put out of my misery.

    1a All I could think of was that I was looking for something to do with a law concerning a street
    5a Was a bit surprised to see “bum” in the FT -isn’t it a vulgar Americanism? Anyway I assumed I was looking for another word for a layabout.
    10a I didn’t make the association of Winchester with gun-all I could think of was the public school.
    11a Thought of enormous and ginormous. Never occured to me that note was “n” was thinking of doh, ray etc
    12a Had this the wrong way round and was looking for potless, bankrupt etc
    13a Never heard of this
    22a I wouldn’t have seen ower=one who has not paid up
    26a Couldn’t get 100=ton out of my mind
    27a I had tm but then tried the even and odd letters of hospital which doesn’t work
    28a I think if you had given me the answer and asked me to explain it, you’d still be waiting.
    And so to the downs
    1d I was looking for a game to remove r from but I was looking for a word meaning neutral or landlocked or mountaineous.
    2d I did get as far as ex e mp but that was it.
    3d I still can’t see why springs=receives a suspension.
    6d I tried every way of writing the letters out in the hope that something would leap out at me but it didn’t.
    8d I don’t understand dis=underworld boss.
    23d Very good clue but too hard for me.

    One day, perhaps.

    Well done anyone who solved that -I’m envious and impressed.

  6. Gaufrid says:

    Hi bamberger
    Alberich/Klingsor is a setter, like Anax/Loroso, whose style you must become accustomed to in order to see through the clues. Keep trying and you will get there in the end.

    Regarding your specific questions, in 3dn I think ‘receive a’ is just a link and it is suspension=springs (as in a car).

    In 8d, Dis is another name for Pluto, the Greek god of the underworld.

  7. shuchi says:

    Thanks Eileen. “A” added to 3dn.

    @Sil van den Hoek: I couldn’t see “OWER = one who’s not settled” either till it was explained in the comments; I should expand its explanation in the blog. As you say, the “?” must be there to indicate that ‘ower’ is not really [really not? :)] a word.

  8. Scarpia says:

    Thanks shuchi.
    Alberich is one of my favourite setters and this puzzle didn’t let me down at all.I fairly sailed through most of the right hand side of the puzzle but then ran out of steam and had to work hard for the rest.
    The surfaces were as smooth and misleading as ever.I don’t often notice the surface reading of clues as I tend to deconstruct the clue as I am reading it,so Alberich’s must be pretty good for me to notice.
    Top clues for me 25 across and the marvellous 21 down.

  9. shuchi says:

    Hi bamberger

    Alberich is at the hard end of the spectrum for me too. As Gaufrid says getting to understand his style makes a big difference.

    About 3d: “receives A” is to put A between COLOR and DO. I had missed that in my original post and Eileen pointed it out. Have fixed it since then.

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