Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13672 Loroso

Posted by scchua on April 19th, 2011


 This has been gruelling!  It took me the better part of the day to finish, the last 2 being 25 and 23.  Looking back I think the difficulty was contributed by the lower proportion of wholly anagrammatic answers, which generally are easier to spot, and the use of unusual positional and anagrammatic indicators, which easily misled.  So thanks Loroso for the puzzle, from this knackered blogger and I hope your next one will be less taxing.


1 Cover artist in foil? (6)

DEFRAY :  RA(artist) in DEFY(foil, the verb).  Defn:  As in “I’ll cover,keep you whole on your expenses”. 

4 One stays up to work with long novel (5,3)

NIGHT OWL :  Anagram(novel) of WITH LONG.  Defn:  Figurative use of the bird’s name to describe one who stays up to work keeping owlish hours.

9 Runs into area with playground equipment (6)

SEESAW :  SEES(Runs into), A(area) W(with).

10 A short fuse to suppress absolute inspiration (8)

AFFLATUS :  A FUS[e](truncation,short of word fuse) around(suppress) FLAT(absolute, as in a flat denial or rejection).  Defn:  An impelling mental force from within one, giving inspiration.  Extraordinarily, if you behead this word twice, you get another impelling force from within, but of a different kind!

12 Fight, simply to protect nothing (4)

BOUT :  BUT(simply,merely, just: as in “I can but try to complete this crossword”) around(to protect) O(nothing).

13, 15 Twist words for personal gain within corporation (6,3,1,4,4,4)

PLEASE SIR I WANT SOME MORE :  Crytic defn:  Famous words of Oliver Twist, personal gain refering to food and within corporation refering to the body.  Spent long time being misdirected by Twist, reflexively taken to be an anagrind. 

18 Hurry up, mum – man’s removing hot towel (4,2,6)

MAKE IT SNAPPY :  MA(mum) KEIT[h]‘S(man’s, without,removing h[ot]) NAPPY(towel).  A nappy, short for napkin in the diaper sense, is sometimes made of towelling (nowadays, mostly synthetic materials used instead);  whilst a table napkin is likely to be a small towel, I’m not sure that “nappy” can be used for the latter, not least, so as not to confuse the waiter when you ask for one! 

21 Giraffe arrived, old jockeys mean to feed (10)

CAMELOPARD :  CAME(arrived) + anagram(jockeys) of OLD with insert(to feed) of PAR(mean,norm).  Defn:  A former name for the giraffe, a coupound of “camel” for its long neck and look-alike head, and leopard for its spots. 

22 Fly over low zone (4)

ZOOM :  Reversal(over) of MOO(low) Z(zone).  Defn:  Fly as a verb.

24 One way to follow badly injured beetle (8)

LADYBIRD :  I(One) RD(road,way) after(to follow) anagram(injured) of BADLY.  Defn:  The insect that belongs to a family of beetles, and not a bird at all.  Comes in various colours and patterns on their wings.

25 Russian alcoholic’s struggle to find occupation (6)

SOVIET :  VIE(struggle as a verb) in (to find occupation) SOT(drunkard,alcoholic).  Defn:  A citizen of the former USSR.

26 Help us to acquire article before they auction it (8)

SOTHEBYS :  SOS(Help us) having inside(to acquire) THE(article) BY(before, as a locational preposition, like “next”, “behind” and so on).  Defn:  Famous international auction house, auctioning anything of big value, from art pieces to jewels to jewellery to wine to memorabilia.

27 Very nice (6)

PRETTY :  Double defn:  1st:  as in “pretty,very good” and 2nd:  as in “pretty,nice,good-looking person”


1 Would winds enveloping such terrain be visible as fronts? (4,4)

DUST BOWL :  Cryptic defn:  Depression in arid land,terrain looking like a bowl.  Winds blowing into it carry sand and thus can be visible as moving fronts.  A dry tsunami, in fact; not quite as frightening, but still…(Ed. note:  pl see Gaufrid@1 & Eileen@2 for the full monty)


2 Monster disappeared when reporting visit (8)

FREQUENT :  Homophone(when reporting) of FREAK(Monster) + WENT(disappeared).  An alternative pronounciation to FREAK + WON’T.  Defn:  Visit, usually frequently, as in “one frequents one’s local”.

3 Just open a bottle (4)

AJAR :  A JAR(bottle).  Defn:  Just, slightly open.  Nice misdirection. 

5 Provocative working man from Italy (12)

INFLAMMATORY :  Anagram(working) of MAN FROM ITALY

6 Give no name when describing one learning to become warlord (10)

HILDEBRAND :  HIDE(Give no) + BRAND(name) around(when describing) L(learner, one learning).  Defn:  Warlord character of Germanic legend. 

7 Soup or crude sandwiches by volunteers (6)

OXTAIL :  OIL(crude oil, what comes from underground before being refined into useful products, primary route of taking carbon from under the ground and putting it into the atmosphere) around(sandwiches) X(times,multiplied by, an arithmetical operator) + TA(Territorial Army, in UK, made up of volunteers.  Even though it’s now replaced by TAVR, TA is too useful to be discarded in Crosswordland).  Defn:  Soup made with that part of cattle.  

8 Stand around behind girl (6)

LASSIE :  LIE(place on, which is synonymous with stand if the object’s height is of no consequence compared to its length/width) around ASS(behind, not the animal).  Defn:  A little girl.  Took some time to disentangle the 2 prepositions.

11 Presumably loose clothing right for this? (7,5)

SLUMBER PARTY :   Cryptic defn:  Also called a pyjama party, which you go to wearing the same loose clothing you wear to slumber.  (Ed. note:  ditto see Eileen@2)

14 Open to attack while black guards worry (10)

ASSAILABLE :  AS(while,for the duration) + SABLE(black) around(guards) AIL(worry, as in “what ails you?”).

16 House master turns into likely provider of wisdom (8)

APHORIST :  HO(House) + reversal(turns) of SIR(master) into APT(likely, as in “is he apt to complete this crossword?”.  Defn:  One who makes or uses aphorisms, those short expressions of truth and wisdom

17 TV award’s put up with judge’s agreement (8)

SYMMETRY :  Reversal(put up) of EMMYS(what the Oscars are for movies, the Emmys are for TV) + TRY(judge, as in court).  Defn:  Agreement,match of an object’s size, form and arrangement, on opposite sides, eg. this crossword grid. 

19 Short book for Goonish teenager (6)

ECCLES :  Double defn:  1st:  Abbreviation(Short) of ECCLES[iastes](a book in the Bible) and 2nd:  Character in the Goon Show.

20 In a film about Germany (6)

AMIDST :  A MIST(film) about D(International Vehicle Registration code for Deutschland,Germany). Defn: In, the locational preposition.  

23 Threaten to provide meal with no starter (4)

LOUR :  [f]LOUR(finely ground meal of grain, but with no starter, ie. without its first letter).  Defn:  Threaten, to be dark, overcast, menacing, eg. of the sky before a storm.

16 Responses to “Financial Times 13672 Loroso”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi scchua
    As you say, this one was a little on the tough side. In fact I think it was the most difficult FT puzzle since I started solving them some years ago.

    You have a typo in the title and preamble, the setter is Loroso.

    There is some wordplay in 1dn: S[uch] T[errain] B[e] in *(WOULD) so it is something of an &lit.

  2. Eileen says:

    Hi scchua

    Many thanks – and congratulations! – for the blog.

    Phew! Gruelling is the word – but so, so satisfying and enjoyable! One of the best [and hardest] puzzles I’ve done for ages. Huge thanks to Loroso.

    There are actually more anagrams than you think:

    1dn is an anagram [winds] of WOULD round S[uch] T[errain] B[e]

    11dn is an anagram [loose] of PRESUMABLY and RT

  3. Joe says:

    This came across to me as an outstanding work by a master craftsman. It wasn’t as tough as the Indy on Friday and was extremely fair to the solver. I kept grinding with hope and by an hour, all but three in the SE had fallen! Thanks a lot, Loroso/Anax!

    Thanks to scchua as well. I can understand how intimidating it will be to solve this with the blog at the back of the mind! A small typo in 6D where one learning = L. By the way, is there really no wordplay in 1A? I got it from the crossings and assumed “Would winds = (WOULD)*”. But I couldn’t carry on with the parsing. Not that it was the only place where I got tricked in a puzzle replete with ingeniousness and wit.

  4. Joe says:

    Thanks to Gaufrid and Eileen. Now my awe has multiplied!

  5. scchua says:

    Thanks Gaufrid, Eileen and Joe. I’ve corrected the typos and cited references for the others. Sorry Loroso for getting your pseudonym wrong.

    Somehow during my drafting/redrafting, “wholly” got deleted from my preamble. Should have read “…lower proportion of wholly anagrammatic answers…”. And certainly, I overlooked those anagrams in 1D and 11D too.

  6. Jezza says:

    An excellent puzzle! Many thanks to Loroso, and to scchua for the notes and the explanations for the couple that I failed to solve.

  7. bamberger says:

    Way out of my league and I solved only 4a & 5d.
    Just one comment-I have read on the Times blog site that the intention is that the crossword can be solved by a reasonably well educated person on a commute. Obviously commutes vary and I think it is more how much practice you have doing at xwords than how many O levels & A levels you have. Surely there would be very few who could finish this on a commute -wouldn’t it have been better for a Saturday? Cinephile seems to get more than his fair share of Saturday ones.

  8. anax says:

    Bit quiet here today – wonder if everyone else (like me) has turned ‘one eye on the snooker’ into ‘both…’ (have to say I really enjoyed watching Ronnie today).
    Thanks for your comments as always, and relieved to see the &Lits at 1d/11d spotted eventually.

    Note to Bamberger: True enough, but the guideline relates to the level of obscurity of answers rather than the difficulty level of the clueing. Funnily enough a solver who usually tackles the Tele emailed me earlier to say she found this somewhat easier than typical Loroso/Anax, so I guess it just depends on the extent to which wavelengths match on the day – always unpredictable!

    Bye for now – the intriguing Ebdon/Bingham battle demands my attention.

  9. Thomas99 says:

    I suspect a lot of people haven’t commented because they haven’t finished it yet! I really found it very hard, but enjoyable and a good one to look back on and savour. When I finally got 13 15 you could probably hear the penny dropping in space. Well done Scchua – very good explanations. I think the pressure might have got to me if I’d been solving this for a blog. The Guardian was hard today too (Boatman) – it’s been quite a day.

  10. Thomas99 says:

    PS. Hadn’t noticed the comment about the solver who found it easier than the average Anax/Loroso – it’s true, we never really know how hard it is for anyone else.

  11. anax says:

    Forgot to say, huge thanks to scchua for a superbly presented and extensive blog. Not surprised you were knackered after that!

  12. Scarpia says:

    Thanks scchua.
    A bit late to comment really but I couldn’t let such a brilliant puzzle go by without registering my praise!

    I must have been on Loroso’s wavelength with this one as I didn’t find it too difficult – apart from misremembering the Dicken’s quote!
    So many very good clues it’s hard to pick favourites but 18 and 24 across and the brilliant homophone at 2 down particularly stand out.

    Great day for crosswords so far with Boatman and Loroso – now on to Radian in the Indy,who can usually be relied upon to give a fair,fun challenge.

  13. Geoff says:

    Thanks scchua and Loroso.

    I didn’t find most of this quite as difficult as today’s Boatman in the Guardian. However, having spotted the Oliver Twist reference in 13, 15, I entered the somewhat less peremptory PLEASE CAN I HAVE SOME MORE, which banjaxed the NW corner until I realised my mistake.

    It took me a while to see the charade elements of 1d and 11d and I tried valiantly to find something similar in 13,15, but to no avail!

    As scchua noted, I’m sure Mudd would have made something of FLATUS in 10a….

  14. flashling says:

    Just got back from hospital with 2 broken ribs so was pleased to be able to complete this whilst in the ward under the influence of morpheus, sorry morphine. Rather tricky indeed but had lots of time on my hands so at least it kept me going. Thanks Loroso and scchua.-

  15. scchua says:

    Thanks for dropping by Anax. My only regret was that I didn’t do justice to the brilliance of 1D and 11D.

  16. smiffy says:

    Phenomenal stuff! Certainly gruelling, but in an exquisitely masochistic way. I can’t recall the last time that the FT puzzle accounted for more attention than my commute and “coffee breaks” can afford. Finally got around to cracking the unfinished business that was the NE corner this evening.

    Too many top-drawer clues to mention, but 11D provided the heaviest penny-dropping moment that I can recall in a long time (and I’m not referring to the long time that it did take for the light bulb to turn on for me there!). Also, I’ll be gobsmacked if I encounter a better one-two punch of adjacent clues than 8D/11D between now and Hogmanay.

    PS: I’m going to have to start watching the snooker, if it provides such zen-like inspiration to clue-writing.

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