Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,631 by Gozo

Posted by PeeDee on March 2nd, 2011


Gozo again proves himself to be a master of the grid, all the across solutions are Shakespeare characters, and they combine to make some great anagrams.

Unfortunately, inventive as the format is, the crossword as a whole felt very unbalanced to me.  Down the way the standard clues were very easy indeed, whereas across the way I was completely out of my depth.   I only solved this by enlisting the aid of Wikipedia and going through lists of Shakespeare characters one by one looking for matching letters.  Only a handful of characters I spotted unaided.

My feeling that this would have worked really well with some tough down clues to match the across clues.   Maybe a special prize puzzle, the sort that takes a week to get right.

I’m still unsure of 1 & 4 across.  Any help sorting this out would be appreciated.

1 BULLEN Henry VIII Could be BULLEN, alternate spelling to Boleyn, but then I can’t complete the anagram for 4 across
4 DERCETAS Antony and Cleopatra Could be DERCETUS, but then I can’t complete the anagram for 1 across.
9 IMOGEN Cymbeline
10 CORDELIA King Lear
12 GRATIANO The Merchant of Venice
13 SIMPLE The Merry Wives of Windsor
15 PETO Henry IV parts 1 & 2
16 HOLOFERNES Love’s Labour’s Lost
20 EROS Antony and Cleopatra
23 TYBALT Romeo and Juliet
25 STEPHANO The Tempest
27 FLORIZEL The Winter’s Tale
28 ORSINO Twelfth Night
29 LADY GREY Henry VI Part 3 and Richard III
30 LAUNCE The Two Gentlemen of Verona
1 BRING UP Brother and RING UP (call)
3 EMETIC ITEM reversed inside EC (City of London postcode)
5 ETON English TON (fashion)
11 IN DOUBT Industrialist (first letter of) BOUND* and Time
14 TO TASTE Definition, and reference to Shakespear play.
17 NARRATION ARRAN reversed and INTO*
18 DIALLING LAID reversed and LING (heather)
19 FATEFUL Female A (one) FLUTE*
21 SAO TOME TOO* inside SAME
22 SPARTA PART inside South Australia, city of ancient Greece
24 BROAD B (second class) ROAD
26 FETE bufFET Enjoyed


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

13 Responses to “Financial Times 13,631 by Gozo”

  1. anax says:

    Hi PeeDee – thanks for the blog.

    BULLEN and DERCETAS are the 1a/4a pairing.

    Quite an odd experience solving this one, and I didn’t find the down clues as easy as you did. It also didn’t help being rusty on The Bard – didn’t know BULLEN, GRATIANO, PETO or TYBALT (although working out their pairings allowed me to take punts on the answers without rummaging though Chambers Crossword Lists first.

    It was satisfying to get it all finished but I was left wondering if this was a cryptic crossword in the true sense; it almost felt like some other variety of word puzzle which just happened to feature a selection of cryptic clues for solving ‘Part B’.

    Full credit to Gozo for an impressive grid fill – but I wasn’t overly smitten by the concept.

  2. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Peedee

    I have no ideas what else 1 & 4 across could be.

    Is there a genius around?

  3. Eileen says:

    Hi PeeDee – thanks for the blog.

    I agree about the imbalance of the crossword but if the down clues had been harder it would have been extremely difficult to get started on 1 & 4 across, which I put in last. Fortunately, I knew at least one of all the other pairs.

    I wasn’t very happy with BULLEN for 1ac, being just a surname, but nothing else fitted. It left a very unlikely collection of letters for 4ac, which I played around with for ages before coming up with perhaps the least likely combination: DERCETAS, a character in Antony and Cleopatra, a play I haven’t seen / read, so I’m afraid I’d never heard of him.

    Hi Anax – I was just about to add that I found it more like a treasure hunt than a cryptic crossword, then saw your comment!

  4. Prolixic says:

    Very clevery done to fit all the characters in the grid in this way but sadly it became something of a letter lottery for me trying to make up meaningful names from the anagram fodder with the checking letters and then hunting for the names on-line. A a few attempts, it became tedious and I stopped.

    I enjoyed the down clues though!

  5. Tony Welsh says:

    I think 1/4 is a mistake. According to Wikipedia the character is DERCATUS with a U, so the anagrams don’t work. btw, I could never have finished this without the help of Wikipedia’s list of Shakespearian characters. Cheating I know, but it was still hard work and at least maybe I learned something.

    Also, I must be dense but why is fashion=TON???

  6. Chaz says:

    Hi Tony,

    Ton can be defined as style, mode or fashion. A French import I think.

  7. Tony Welsh says:

    Thanks, Chaz. Never come across that but it makes some sense. Ton means “tone” but I think “bon ton” means something like “good taste.”

  8. Gaufrid says:

    Tony @5
    It is the entry in Wikipedia that is wrong (not for the first time!). The character in Antony and Cleopatra is Dercetas as indicated by Anax in comment #1 and Eileen at #3.

  9. Gaufrid says:

    I should have said whichever page you were consulting was wrong. The following Wikipedia page has Dercetas:

    It is interesting to note that a new RSC production of Antony and Cleopatra which opens in the Swan Theatre tomorrow night does not include Dercetas in the cast list.

  10. walruss says:

    Obviously not an essential element of the drama. As has been said, I found this lop-sided, but I do remember so fondly Gozo’s Tribute to Araucaria, the Magnificent One, so I am very forgiving on this! Come back, Gozo!!

  11. PeeDee says:

    According to this page the in the Folio Shakespeare spells the name both ways.

  12. PeeDee says:

    I must add that though I think the result ended up a bit unbalanced, I’m all for innovative ways of setting crosswords, and full marks to Gozo for trying out a variation with the theme.

  13. Scarpia says:

    Thanks PeeDee.
    An unusual puzzle which I needed help to complete.The pairing at 1/4 being the one that defeated me.
    I guessed BULLEN and still didn’t twig that it was an alternative(probably original) spelling of Boleyn.
    DERCETAS is hardly well known,a grand total of 5 lines in A + C.
    This puzzle was fine for a one off,but I think I prefer a normally clued puzzle.

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