Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,639 / Flimsy

Posted by shuchi on March 11th, 2011


Pretty neat clues from Flimsy, as if in defiance to the dominant “ruinous” imagery of their surfaces – several clues talk of rot and decay, spoiling and perishing. A niggle or two over wordplay that might have better explanations than I can see.

Highlights: The cleverly hidden word in 11a and entertaining surfaces in 28a, 16d.


1 DIABOLICAL This looks like a straight definition to me, or does “absolute” mean diabolical?
7 TIFF STIFF (difficult) – S (son)
9 ORAL (MALE)* – M (male)
10 BLOODY MARY BLOODY (cruel) MAR (spoil) [stor]Y; an eye-opener as the cocktail gives a jolt to the senses, I suppose.
11 LESSOR hidden in ‘uncLES SORrowfully’
13 JIUJITSU (I JUST)* around initial letters of ‘institutions using Japanese’. Jiujitsu is a Japanese martial art, also spelt as Ju-Jitsu, Jiu-Jitsu or Jujutsu. An awkward clue but then the word isn’t exactly tractable for the setter.
15 USED initial letters of ‘universities seem extremely dubiously’
17 STEM STEAM (source of power) – A (acceleration)
22 FALSETTO FALSE (wrong) T (temperature) in TO (telegraph office). I was briefly misled into looking for a homophone.
23 COFFIN C OFF IN? Other than “off in” given gratis in the clue, I can’t see how the wordplay works.
25 CHEAPSKATE (KEEP CASH)* around T. Some liberty with the definition there to turn this into an &lit.
26 IDOL I DO (what groom might say) [foa]L
27 GROT G[rave] ROT


2 ISRAELI IS I (interest) around (REAL)*, with “bust” as anagrind. The word “creating” seems superfluous but one could take it in the interest of surface reading. A reference to Israel’s ex Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. All those who thought of Stone before Ariel, you have huge company
3 BALLS dd. Ed Balls is the Labour politician in question.
5 CLOUD CUCKOO LAND C (coloured) LOUD (showy) CUCKOO (bird) LAND (ground). I don’t recall coming across c = Coloured but Chambers lists it.
6 LADDIE L (left) A D (duke) DIE (perish)
7 TOMMY GUNS TOMMY (boy), SNUG (comfortable) reversed
8 FORSAKE FOR (in favour of) SAKE (drink)
18 TEACHER ACHE (pain) in TER[n]. “Beak” is British slang for teacher.
20 NAIROBI (RAIN)* OBI (witchcraft)
24 FAITH I (one) in FAT (large) H (hospital); nice joint between “hospital” and “trust”.

15 Responses to “Financial Times 13,639 / Flimsy”

  1. Rishi says:

    When we say that someone is diabolically clever, we mean that person is absolutely clever. However, I can’t think of a sentence where I can substitute ‘diabolical’ for ‘absolute’.

  2. Rishi says:

    23: Food beginning to go off – [s]COFF
    in – IN
    box – (def.)

  3. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Shuchi
    In 10ac I think the ‘eye-opener’ refers to the fact that a bloody mary is/was recommended as a hangover cure when one wakes up after a heavy drinking session the night before.

  4. Shyam says:

    I wonder why G=Grave in 27A. Anyone?

  5. Canalonly says:

    G – tip of grave

  6. Shyam says:

    Thanks Canalonly :)

  7. Canalonly says:

    you’re welcome

  8. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Shuchi. this was very enjoyable.

    For me, the SW corner proved harder than the rest.

    This was another robust puzzle from the unduly modest Flimsy.

  9. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Nice crossword.

    Ended up at 11ac, where I was looking and looking for a justification, only to discover that it was simply a hidden one (or as you said, shuchi, a cleverly hidden).

    Only a pity that the clue to COFFIN (23ac) has indeed “off in” already in it.
    A similar feeling I had about 5d: the first word of that long one (CLOUD) is (visibly) part of “Coloured”.

    I have no real dictionaries at hand while writing this comment, but I cannot find any indication on the internet that “interest” could be I (in 2d) – and I’ve never seen it before.
    But I am sure that Flimsy did his homework and that it will be somewhere.

    In the post for Flimsy’s previous puzzle, I appreciated his ability to disguise definitions, or to use them in a different sense within the surface. Today there were a few more, like “beak” (in 18d) and “Check” (in 17ac).

    The majority of clues read very well (even a simple clue from a construction POV like 7ac (TIFF)), with 16d (DRY-CLEAN) and 24d (FAITH) as two of the very best.

    Many thanks Flimsy for an enjoyable crossword.
    And shuchi for the blog.

  10. mike04 says:

    Hi Sil
    How about the (old) formula for Simple Interest: I = PRT/100?

  11. bamberger says:

    Got most of this out but would never have got diabolical for absolute.

    For some reasom bloody mary came to mind with only ??o?d? but decided that there was no way that it was an eye opener (and still don’t) so didn’t write it in .

    Did get Israeli but don’t think that “Sharon for example” is much of a hint. I thought it was some sort of fruit to start with.

    Mixture of some very good clues with some very tenuous ones.

  12. Richard says:

    1a I’d call a “diabolical liberty”

  13. Sil van den Hoek says:

    mike04, unfortunately I don’t know anything about economics and so I have never seen your formula before [which is probably my weakness, and something that has nothing to do with being a non-Brit].
    After I came home from work, I searched Chambers and couldn’t find it.
    The Oxford Dictionary of English couldn’t help me either, nor could Collins Online.
    And even though I am flexible and had, of course, an idea where it was coming from, a rule in crosswordland is that an abbreviation like this has to be in at least one dictionary [yes?].
    That said, I’m fine with the clue, in which there was – to my relief – for once no Disraeli or Lear connection.

  14. mike04 says:

    Hello again, Sil

    I’ve checked the three dictionaries you mention and, as you say, our abbreviation is conspicuous by its absence!
    I was surprised, because my 1991 Third Edition of Collins gives the following:

    i abbrev. for: 3. banking. interest

    In Britain we still teach Simple Interest and Compound Interest in Mathematics lessons. Many years ago I remember teaching the subject using both

    I = PRT/100 and I = P(1 + R/100)T (to power T, I mean, but can’t write!)
    where P = the Principal, R = the Rate of Interest and T = the Time in years

    I think the subject is taught differently now, but I believe that I is still used throughout the land!

  15. flimsy says:

    My Millennium Edition of Collins has i = interest (with reference to banking). I presumed it was still a common abbreviation in economics (though it’s been a while since I studied it…). By the sound of it though, it’s not common enough!

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