Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,632 / Phssthpok

Posted by smiffy on March 3rd, 2011

smiffy.

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.

Across
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.

Down
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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