Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,646 by Cinephile

Posted by Pete Maclean on March 31st, 2011

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of March 19
As I have probably mentioned many times, I am a long-time fan of Cinephile but all the same am very ready to criticize him. After some fifty years of compiling crosswords he can still come up with some gems — but this is not one of them. I think that 19D (GORBALS) is definitely faulty and several other clues here are questionable. The only clues I really like are 22A (RESIDUE) and 3D (SOLAR).

1. TWO SHORT PLANKS – anagram of POLWORTHS in TANKS (military vehicles). There are many, many euphemisms for “very thick” and this is one I do not recall hearing before.
10. ARIEL – ARIES (sign) with S (shilling) changed to L (pound)
11. EXTENSION – X (ten) + TEN (ten) in NOISE (row) backwards
12. STIRRUP – PURR (audible satisfaction) + ITS (its) all backwards
13. EPOCHAL – anagram of HELP A CO
14. MOGUL – MOG (cat) + U[g]L[y]. “Mog” is both a slang name for a cat, an abbreviation of the more common “moggy”, and the name of a fictional cat.
16, 29. WHAT’S THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN – double definition
19. GUN BARREL – NB (note) in GUAR[dian] (protector unfinished) and REL (relative)
20. ELDER – double definition
22. RESIDUE – U (university) in RESIDE (live)
27. ABUNDANCE – “a bun dance” (like a cakewalk)
28. SIGHT – double definition. This is, I suppose, a reference to the expression “a jolly sight “.

2, 25. WRITING ON THE WALL – double definition
3. SOLAR – SO (one note) + LA (another note) + R (right)
4. OVERPOWER – OVER (bowling) + POWER (might)
5. TITLE – double definition
6. LANGOUSTE – anagram of GOT US in LANE (a way)
7. NEIGH – NEIGH[bour] (next door’s part)
8. SINGLET – anagram of GLISTEN
9. RANSOM – ANS (response) in ROM (memory)
15. LLANDUDNO – LAND (country) in LUD (legal lord) + NO (no). That’s “lud” as in, I guess, “not guilty, m’lud”. Not bad perhaps for a word that may be hard to clue.
17. ALLOTMENT – cryptic definition
18. HYDRANGEA – homophone (“hide ranger”)
19. GORBALS – ORB (world) in GALS (girls). How on Earth does “Glasgow” clue Gorbals? Sure, the Gorbals is a neighourhood of Glasgow, one well known in the old days for its slums and more recently for its Citizens Theatre. But one does not clue the other. Looks like a dodge for what is a dandy surface.
21. RELATE – double definition
23. SLUMP – S + LUMP (piece of sugar). Just how does the S get in here? “One needed” could, I suppose, clue S for singular but then it should come after LUMP.
24. ERNIE – IN (home) backwards in ERE (before). I am not thrilled with “bondman” as a definition — it’s clever, sure, but not accurate since the ERNIE that is presumably meant is neither a man nor a slave (which is what “bondman” means).
26. EPSOM – hidden word

12 Responses to “Financial Times 13,646 by Cinephile”

  1. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Unlike you, Pete, I did like this puzzle.
    I wouldn’t be too upset about GORBALS if I were you.
    But I see where you’re coming from.

    The S of SLUMP (23d) is the first letter of ‘Sugar’ [one needed].
    ‘Sugar’ doing double duty here.
    ‘Bondman’ refers to ERNIE being ‘The computer which picks random numbers to be used as winning numbers on premium bonds’ (Chambers).

    In 4d you mention (twice) ‘bowing’, instead of ‘bowling’ which would make more sense when clueing the first part of OVERPOWER.

  2. Pete Maclean says:

    Oops! I misread 4D. Thanks, Sil, for pointing out my error. I have removed the comment I made about the clue.

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Pete

    I really enjoyed this which was served up on the same day that The Grauniad presented an Araucaria. A Great Double but I considered this to be the easier of the two.

    At first reading, I was rather intimidated by encountering Belshazzar and Daniel – whoever they are – but I was able to succeed anyway.

    Thanks Cinephile!

  4. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Pete.
    I enjoyed this puzzle,which I thought contained plenty of Cinephile’s usual wit.
    I can see your point re. GORBALS but I must admit,when solving the puzzle,it didn’t bother me.
    My only(minor) quibble would be over the two long clues 16/29 and 2/25.If you are familiar with the Biblical story they were rather easy and opened up a large part of the puzzle.

    I’m surprised that you’ve not come across the phrase ‘as thick as two short planks'(meaning stupid) it’s very common around here.
    Regional differences I suppose.

  5. Pete Maclean says:

    Bryan, I was not familiar with the story of Belshazzar and Daniel either but quickly found the answers on Wikipedia.

  6. Bryan says:

    Pete @ 5

    I always do puzzles offline, at least initially, and – in this case – I was able to get all the answers without resort to any computer assistance.

    Like Scarpia, I am familiar with the phrase ‘as thick as two short planks’ possibly by virtue of my Oldham background.

  7. bamberger says:

    I took one look at this and was immediately put off by the Belshazzar to Daniel clues. I googled but was none the wiser. How precisely do you get “WRITING ON THE WALL” and “WHAT’S THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN” please? I think it is plain unfair to put biblical references in.

    As thick as two short planks was well known to me.

  8. Jan says:

    Thanks, Pete. I didn’t help myself by entering SOLFA instead of SOLAR and then had to rethink it later.

    Bamberger, I agree that the ‘Daniel’ clues were rather obscure if you’re not familiar with the Bible story. I well remember ‘Tene, tene, tekel, upharsin’, from school lessons.

    I found this quirky version of the story, written for children, …

  9. Pete Maclean says:

    I am inclined to agree that biblical references are unfair. It’s the kind of thing that makes it too easy if you know the reference and too hard if you don’t. That said, I would forgive the “WRITING ON THE WALL” clue here because, as far as I know, the Belshazzar-Daniel thing is the origin of the expression.

  10. bamberger says:

    Great link -thanks

  11. Wil Ransome says:

    Pete I agree with you about the weakness of some of this. What nobody has said, though, is that in 1ac ‘two short planks’ doesn’t mean ‘very thick’. Certainly there is an expression ‘as thick as two short planks’ but to equate the two bits seems just wrong. It’s like saying that ‘toast’ is a definition of ‘warm’, or that ‘a cucumber’ is a definition of ‘cool’.

  12. Pete Maclean says:

    Wil, That’s a very good point about 1ac. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

6 − four =