Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13654/PHSSTHPOK

Posted by scchua on March 29th, 2011


This is my debut FT blog.  Thought I was going to be in trouble after getting only 1 in the initial run-through.  And the clue for 5D seemed to tell me something!  But turned out alright in the end, with 5D my top favourite.  Enjoy, as I enjoyed the puzzle (thanks PHSSTHPOK) and producing the blog!  And any comments are welcome.


1 Female country is a dangerous place (2,4,4)

NO MAN’S LAND:  NO MAN’S (“Female”, adjectival) + LAND (“country”).  Dangerous because it’s under dispute, or unclaimed because it’s hazardous.

7 Empty question (4)

PUMP:  Double defn.  What they do to your stomach if you’ve ingested poison, and what they do to you to find out how it happened.

9 Heads back to station (4)

SPOT:  Reverse (“back”) of TOPS (“heads”).  Defn.  “Station”:  Where you should stand eg. when on duty.

10 Result of embarrassed Queen winning hand? (5,5)

ROYAL FLUSH:  What an “embarrassed Queen” shows (I’m afraid ROYAL BLUSH, though more accurate, wouldn’t work).  Defn: Unbeatable hand in 5-card stud poker.

11 Hot in Centigrade, despite shadowed surroundings (6)

SPICED:  C[entigrade] in (“surroundings”) SPIED (“shadowed”, as in being followed by a spy)

12 Approach public by river (8)

OVERTURE:  OVERT (“public”, in the open) + (“by”) URE (the “river” in Yorkshire).  Defn:  “Approach”, pre-foreplay, you might say.

13 Ward of court in pursuit of restless prince (8)

PRECINCT:  Anagram (“restless”) of PRINCE with CT (“court”) at the end (“in pursuit”).  Defn:  “Ward”, a division of city or county for policing or electoral purposes.

15 Article of clothing: sock or tie (4)

BELT:  Triple defn.  “sock” as in punch, and “tie” as in belt up.

17 Card shows English letter inside Greek letter (4)

MENU:  E (“E[nglish]”) + N(” letter”) in MU (“Greek letter”).  Defn:  “Card”, bill of fare.

19 Adapt male noun to describe objects that can’t be seen (8)

NOUMENAL:  Anagram (“Adapt”) of MALE NOUN.  Defn:  Collins gives “an object that is of purely intellectual intuition” plus another meaning which is too philosophical for me to explain.

22 Could be pitfalls in giving sacred chant extra note (8)

MANTRAPS:  MANTRA (from Sanskrit sacred message, usage as special word for meditation came later) + PS (“extra note”, postscript).

23 Gangster has time for new cloak (6)

CAPOTE:  CAPONE (“Gangster”, Al) with N(ew) substituted by T(ime).

25 Makes red wine for bullfighting, perhaps (5,5)

BLOOD SPORT:  BLOODS (“makes red”, stains with blood) + PORT (“wine”).  Defn:  Example (“perhaps”) of a blood sport.

26 Report money raised (4)

BRED:  Homophone (“report”) of BREAD (“money”).  Defn:  “raised”, past tense of breed

27 King returned knight’s dagger (4)

KRIS:  K[ing] + reversed (“returned”) of SIR (“knight”).  Defn: A mean-looking weapon.

28 Face cryptic compiler continually (10)

COMPLEXION:  COMPLEX (“cryptic”) + I (“compiler”) + ON (“continually”).  Defn.  Colour and general appearance of a person’s skin, especially of the “face”.


2 Propane combusts, theoretically (2,5)

ON PAPER:  Anagram (“combusts”) of PROPANE.  Defn:  As opposed to “in the real world”.

3 Top level network has no limits (5)

ATTIC:  LATTICE (“network”) with first and last letters removed (“has no limits”).  Defn:  The room at the top.

4 Walk over nearest empty grating (8)

STRIDENT:  STRIDE (“Walk”) on top (“over”) of N[eares]T (“empty”).  Defn:  “Grating”, getting on your nerves.

5 Pray not for the solution to this clue, but accept help when in difficulty (3,4,2,1,5)

ANY PORT IN A STORM:  A reverse anagram, or a clue as an answer:  An anagram (“in a storm”) of ANY PORT gives “Pray not”.  Defn:  Accept any sort of help when in trouble.

6 Sweet hallucinations about fantastic clue (6)

DULCET:  DT (Delirium Tremens: withdrawal symptoms, including “hallucinations” in alcoholics) around (“about”) anagram (“fantastic”) of CLUE.  Defn.  Pleasant to the ears, “sweet” sounding

7 Give friend a buffet that’s delicious (9)

PALATABLE:  PAL (“friend”) + A TABLE (“a buffet”, table fare).

8 A harsh blow for one excluded from abortive hearing (7)

MISTRAL:  I (“one”) excluded from MISTRIAL (“abortive hearing”, is there a difference in using “abortive” vs “aborted”?).  Defn:  A strong cold dry wind in Europe, “a harsh blow”.

14 It’s polite to outsource production (9)

COURTEOUS:  Anagram (“production”) of OUTSOURCE.

16 Wine cuts meal into pieces (8)

MUSCATEL:  Anagram (“into pieces”) of CUTS MEAL.  Defn:  A sweet “wine” from Muscat grapes.

18 I enter link up in internet business (1-6)

E-TAILER:  I in (“enter”) reverse (“up”) of RELATE (“link”, as in to relate one thing to/with another).  Defn:  an E(lectronic) (Re)tailer

20 Redcoat battling in modern style (3,4)

ART DECO:  Anagram (“battling”) of REDCOAT.  Defn:  Art movement of the 20’s and 30’s, including architecture.  The Empire State and Chrysler Buildings in New York are examples.

21 Enormous distance needed to analyse speed of light (6)

PARSEC:  PARSE (“analyse” as sentence eg. crossword clues) + C (“speed of light”, as in E=MC2).  Defn:  A “distance” in space, much farther than a light-year.

24 Address hygiene problem in infectious disease (2,3)

P.O. BOX:  B.O. (“hygiene problem”, one that requires deodorants, at least) in POX (a general term for “infectious disease”s incl. small*, chicken*, cow*, and an informal term for syphilis).  Defn:  “Address” eg. for those who don’t want to be reveal their true addresses.  Shouldn’t the enumeration be (1,1,3)?

6 Responses to “Financial Times 13654/PHSSTHPOK”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Scchua and Welcome!

    This was quite challenging but in the online version (at least)24d was shown as 2,3 whereas, in my view, it should have been 1,1,3.

    Also thanks to Phssthpok.

  2. Bryan says:


    Belatedly, I see that we agree.

  3. bamberger says:

    Got about 3/4 out with a massive gap in the SW.
    19a Even with n?u?e?a? and letters l,m,n,o to fit in and the certainty that it had ot be nou, I still couldn’t get it.
    Kicking self for not spotting 14d was an anagram as that would have helped with SW misery.
    Terrific blog -thanks

  4. Lenny says:

    Well done scchua. If this had been my first blog I would have been having kittens. It’s definitely an order of difficulty above the normal FT fare. Noumenal and E-tailer were new to me. In fact I was surprised to find E-tailer in my 2003 edition of Chambers. Strangely, my last in was Spot, which I guessed on the first run-through while remaining unconvinced by the definition.

  5. Tony Welsh says:

    Thanks, Scchua. I too liked 5d. But my favorite clue was 21d, which maybe should have pleased Bamberger too, requiring for a change some science rather than classics education!

    I gave up with 22a and 26a left to do. Like Lenny, I had never heard NOUMENAL or E-TAILER before. Or KRIS.

  6. bamberger says:


    Alas I got e (obviously) but couldn’t for the life of me get tailer. Tried commerce, sales and numerous other variations.

    Still I got parsec

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