Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,669 / Sleuth

Posted by shuchi on April 15th, 2011

shuchi.

At the easier end of Sleuth’s spectrum with 5d, the longest word of the puzzle, falling quickly and supplying helpful letters down the center of the grid. I worked my way from the top to the bottom without much trouble. A gentle, pleasant ride.

Across

1 PLASTIC BAG (I CLASP TAG)* around B (black)
7 TEND dd; ‘minister’ as in ‘tend/minister to the needs of the poor’
9 PIER sounds like ‘peer’ (equal)
10 PERNICKETY PER (each) NICK (slang for prison) (YET)*
11 RUMPUS RUM (unusual) PUS (matter); pus = matter is somewhat vague I think.
12 SALES TAX SAX (instrument) around (LEAST)*. No sales tax in UK? It is levied in India too, alas.
13 MEAT LOAF OAF (fool), after T (short time) in MEAL (dinner, say)
15 OILY FOIL (counter, as in contrast) – F (fellow) Y[ard]
17 ASTI hidden in ‘toAST Imbibed’
19 FREE KICK E’ER (always) reversed, in F (fine) KICK (thrill)
22 MONGOLIA G (government) in MONO (record), AIL (trouble) reversed
23 REPORT RE (about) PORT (Hull – a port in England)
25 ONE-MAN SHOW NAME (celebrity, as in ‘He is a name in Hollywood’) NO (number) reversed, S (second) HOW (question). One of those clues where you get the answer instantly from the definition and then reverse fit the wordplay.
26 LOOM GLOOM (partial darkness) – G
27 EDGY ED (leading journalist) G[u]Y (chap pouring out heart)
28 HURLY-BURLY HURLY (sounds like the actress ‘Hurley’) L in BURY (a town in Greater Manchester, England)

Down

2 LEISURE E (European) IS, in LURE (temptation). Interesting use of ‘enthrall’ to indicate containment. I wonder if everyone agrees this is kosher; on clue-writing forums I’ve come across objections to indicators that use metaphorical meanings in a literal way. Another example is ‘essentially’ to pick the center of a word. Your views?
3 SCRAP SCRAP[e] (corner, largely); scrape = corner as in an awkward situation.
4 IMPOSTOR IMP (young miscreant) (ROOTS)*
5 BIRDS OF A FEATHER (AFFAIRS BOTHERED)*
6 GRILLE sounds like ‘grill’ (cook)
7 TAKE STOCK dd
8 NETBALL NET and BALL = two elements in tennis.
14 THINGUMMY THIN (slender) GUMMY (sticky)
16 TEARAWAY TEAR (drop i.e. teardrop) AWAY (not at home); ‘rough’ is British slang for a ruffian.
18 SCORNED S (sourthern) CORNE[t] (instrument, curtailed) D (Deutschland or Germany)
20 CAR POOL CAROL (woman) around PO (river)
21 FLINCH FINCH (bird) around L (lake)
24 PILAU IL (‘the’ in Italian) in PAU (French city). An exotic dish indeed made of rice, with many regional variations in method of prepation (as well as spelling – ‘pulao’ it is in India).

At the easier end of Sleuth’s spectrum with 5d, the longest word of the puzzle, giving a quick start. I worked my way from the top to the bottom without much trouble. A gentle, pleasant ride. 

Across

1 PLASTIC BAG (I CLASP TAG)* around B (black)
7 TEND dd; ‘minister’ as in ‘tend/minister to the needs of the poor’
9 PIER sounds like ‘peer’ (equal)
10 PERNICKETY PER (each) NICK (slang for prison) (YET)*
11 RUMPUS RUM (unusual) PUS (matter); pus = matter is somewhat vague I think.
12 SALES TAX SAX (instrument) around (LEAST)*. No sales tax in UK? It is levied in India too, alas.
13 MEAT LOAF OAF (fool), after T (short time) in MEAL (dinner, say)
15 OILY FOIL (counter, as in contrast) – F (fellow) Y[ard]
17 ASTI hidden in ‘toAST Imbibed’
19 FREE KICK E’ER (always) reversed, in F (fine) KICK (thrill)
22 MONGOLIA G (government) in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monaural MONO (record), AIL (trouble) reversed
23 RE (about) PORT (Hull – a port in England)
25 ONE-MAN SHOW NAME (celebrity, as in ‘He is a name in Hollywood’) NO (number) reversed, S (second) HOW (question). One of

those clues where you get the answer instantly from the definition and then reverse fit the wordplay.
26 LOOM GLOOM (partial darkness) – G
27 EDGY ED (leading journalist) G[u]Y (chap pouring out heart)
28 HURLY-BURLY HURLY (sounds like the actress ‘Hurley’) L in BURY (a town in Greater Manchester, England)

Down

2 LEISURE E (European) IS, in LURE (temptation). Interesting use of ‘enthrall’ to indicate containment. I wonder if everyone

agrees this is kosher; on clue-writing forums I’ve come across objections to indicators that use metaphorical meanings in a

literal way. Another example is ‘essentially’ to pick the center of a word. Your views?
3 SCRAP SCRAP[e] (corner, largely); scrape = corner as in an awkward situation.
4 IMPOSTOR IMP (young miscreant) (ROOTS)*
5 BIRDS OF A FEATHER (AFFAIRS BOTHERED)*
6 GRILLE sounds like ‘grill’ (cook)
7 TAKE STOCK dd
8 NETBALL NET and BALL = two elements in tennis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netball
14 THINGUMMY THIN (slender) GUMMY (sticky)
16 TEARAWAY TEAR (drop i.e. teardrop) AWAY (not at home); ‘rough’ is British slang for a ruffian.
18 SCORNED Not sure of the wordplay.
20 CAR POOL CAROL (woman) around PO (river)
21 FLINCH FINCH (bird) around L (lake)
24 PILAU IL (‘the’ in Italian) in PAU (French city) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pau,_France. An exotic dish indeed made of

rice, with many regional variations in method of prepation (as well as spelling – ‘pulao’ it is in India).

6 Responses to “Financial Times 13,669 / Sleuth”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Shuchi – this was very enjoyable.

    My favourite was HURLY BURLY.

    We do have a sort of Sales Tax throughout the European Community but it’s known as VAT: Value Added Tax.

  2. walruss says:

    Very enjoyable, pleasant solve. Thanks Shuchi and Sleuth!

  3. smiffy says:

    Yes, a fun puzzle but definitely on the easier side. With 1A going in immediately, I managed to work my way South and East with every clue in turn going in on first parse. That typically is a less-than-annual event for me, but it’s never a bad thing to be reminded that accessibility and amusement can be peas in the same pod.
    Clue of the Day honours to 10A; Could Do Better rosette to 6D.
    And, as a breakfast-solver today, I for one was grateful that the wordplay in 11A was not more specific!

  4. Joe says:

    Thanks Shuchi. Pretty straightforward, and the NW corner was the last to fall for me. Regards, Matter=Pus, it is fine as it is given under the former in the Chambers.

  5. verbose says:

    That was the quickest I’ve solved an FT crossword in a long time. Thanks for the blog, Shuchi. I thought that in 15ac “foil” = “counter” not as in contrast/oppose, but as in stub or counterfoil. To “foil” a plot is rather stronger than to “counter” it, so I’m not sure they can be regarded as synonymous. What do you think?

  6. bamberger says:

    Two unaided solves on the trot though the NW was the last to fall.
    Thanks setter and blogger.

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