Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,632 / Phssthpok

Posted by smiffy on March 3rd, 2011


This one of those puzzles that appeared quite daunting at first pass, but ended up being  plainer sailing than initially feared.  Mr/Mrs/Ms Phssthpok can usually be relied upon to inject more than their fair share of clue-writing originality into proceedings, as is the case today.  However, I did feel that several of the clues were a little less polished than is usually the case.

1 SOCIAL NETWORKS – work (=’have guts’, in the mechanical sense) in coastline*.
10 ONION – on + I + on.  Purist couldd justifiably query the appearance of ‘under’ in an across clue.
11 GOALMOUTH – go + {F}almouth.  A clue of Kinnockesque verbosity, where both the surface and the definitional sub-component still seem a little unsure of themselves.
12 TWITTER – w[ife] in titter.
13 SANCTUM – (man’s cut)*.
14 SCALE – double def’n.  The ‘need’ is purely for surface padding.
16 THRESHOLD – thresh + old.
19 PREFORMED – performed, with the second and third letters swapped (i.e. a ‘single exchange’).
20 RABID – b[lack] in raid.  Anyone else remember the character “Johnny”, from The Fast Show, who would always end up painting over his artistic works-in-progress with black?  I hadn’t for years, but the ‘Crazy black…’ intro to this clue, somehow sprang him unexpectedly from the junk-pile recess of my brain.
22 GUFFAWS – guff + w[icket] in as.
25 ARRAIGN – a + homophone of “reign”.
27 SUMMING UP – double def’n.
28 LEAST – homophone of “leased”.
29 SURGE PROTECTOR – double def’n; each related to a different kind of current.

2 ORIGINATE – (I + gin) in orate.  A tricky looking clue, that turned out to be a fairly oft-deployed wordplay combo.
3 INNIT – inn + it.  One of those marmite (“love it or hate it”) clues, I suspect.  Personally, I give it the thumbs up.
4 LOGARITHM – log + a + homophone of “rhythm”.  The definition is admirably innovative, as we rarely see mathematical answers clued as anything less banal than ‘function’ or ‘constant’.
5 EXAMS – axe< + MS (‘manuscript’).
6 WOMANISER – (0 + man) in wiser.  Not a meaning of the word ‘wolf’ that I’d encountered before, but it makes perfect sense, given that such individuals are often referred to as being “on the prowl”.
7 ROUST – US in rot.
8 SCHEMED – s[uccess] + chem{ist} + e{scape-po}d.  Stylistically, this one fell into the same camp as 11A for me.
9 MONTHS – N in moths.
15 EVOCATIVE – (Evita + cove)<.  Neat and tidy, tidy and neat.
17 RED CARPET – D[iamond] in re-carpet.  I think… although that interpretation is dependent on ‘with’ being an insertion indicator.
18 OBBLIGATO -(bal{l} + too big)*.
21 DONATE – don + a + te.
23 FEMUR – em in fur.
24 SUGAR – initial letters of ‘solution unblocks gastric and renal’.
26 RELIC – Eli in RC (Roman Catholic).

5 Responses to “Financial Times 13,632 / Phssthpok”

  1. bamberger says:

    This appeared dauntign and remained daunting. I only managerd 12a,27a,28a 17d,24d& 26d. Had flood protector for 29a which , lacking checking letters, didn’t seem unreasonable.
    1a Sorry I still don’t follow works=has guts.
    10a Count me a purist here -and I assumed illuminated =lit.
    11a Too convoluted for me.
    19a I haven’t seen this trick before.

    3d Where does sex appeal come into the answer, please?
    15d Too hard for me, I’m afraid
    18d I guessed it would a musical term that I’d never have heard of and I wasn’t wrong.
    19d Answer must be pegasus from the checking letter.I wouldn’t have thought of peg=stop.

  2. Abby says:

    It’s coastline* + works, not work inside, obviously (two esses.

    What kind of note is “te”?

  3. Tony Welsh says:

    My problem with 3d was not the clue but the answer. I got it early on but could hardly believe it. Not exactly a real word imho.

    Abbey, te is the 8th note in the tonic scale “doh re me” etc.

  4. Scarpia says:

    Thanks smiffy.
    Quite a tough puzzle from the unpronounceable one.
    A few clues were perhaps a bit iffy,but generally I enjoyed this puzzle.
    3 down could have done with some indication of being a colloquialism.
    Not over keen on 17 down, decorate = carpet,I suppose it’s o.k. but I doubt if it’s given as a synonym in dictionaries.In fact I’d offer 3-1 that it’s not! :)
    Bamberger(copied from Chambers) – IT 2, old use, colloq sex appeal.
    Turns up quite often in crosswordland!

  5. Paul B says:

    ‘Is it not’ at least gives the correct grammatical case for this strangely prevalent (not to mention ubiquitous) usage. People these days appear to be using it most frequently as a substitute for something like ‘don’t you see?’, as in (on the phone, as ever), ‘I’m in here right now so I can’t talk to you innit’.

    You get me?

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