Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,685 / Alberich

Posted by smiffy on May 5th, 2011

smiffy.

“A game of two halves” best describes my experience today.  Solved in a generally east-west direction, with the right-hand side providing early target practice while the left-hand side had me resorting more to sporadic and isolated potshots.

Across
1 STATECRAFT - state + cr[edit] + a + FT.
6 SPUD - spu{n} + d[aughter].  Even after almost a decade together, my American wife never fails to mock me when I lapse and refer transatlantically to baked potatoes as “jackets”.
9 ORPHEUS - {M}orpheus.  The answer being the mythological Greek musician of Underworld fame; the wordplay being the contemporary deity in charge of snoozing.
10 INSURES - I + nurse* + s{ick}.
12 MALEFACTOR - male factor (Y chromosome is the genetic determinant of gender).
13 OCH - hidden.  The “container” sounds like a village from a Roald Dahl story but does, apparently, exist (on the banks of Loch Ness, since you ask).
15 AGEISM - a + (is in gem).
16 COMPOSER – m[illions] in co + poser.  Easy enough, even if – like me – you were unfamiliar with the particular definition by example required.
18 DEFENCES - de-fences.
20 VIVACE - vac[ation] in vie.
23 RUN - hidden.
24 AFTERSHOCK - afters + Hock.  Unfortunately, recent events probably now render the definition (‘no great shakes’) as somewhat nonchalant.
26 OUTCAST - U[nited] in OT + cast.
27 TRIBUBNE - T- + rib + une.
28 TACK - triple def’n.
29 ALLNIGHTER - (nearly light)* – y.  Surprised to see this unhyphenated, as that would have been my instinctive way of spelling.  I fondly recall, Leo Sayer has been bestowed honour of becoming rhyming slang for an “all dayer”; according to the web, the nocturnal equivalent is the much less whimsical “jet fighter”.

Down
1 SLOG - gol{f}’s<.
2 AT PEACE - p{romoter} in ate + ace.  My favourite clue today; loved the ‘boxing’ wordplay and the overall surface overlay.
3 EYELESS IN GAZA - (Genesis a lazy e{…})*.  A novel by Huxley, which I vaguely recalled but the title hovered tantalisingly out of recall for several minutes.  This provided the key to unlocking the left hand side of the grid for me.
4 RASCAL - lascar, with the ‘sides’ (ambiguously, either the two ends or the L and the R – your choice) reversed.
5 FRICTION - fraction, with the a replaced by I.
7 PARLOUS - rap< + soul*.
8 DISCHARGED - Di’s charged.
11 STRIP LIGHTING - strip + light + in {fo}g.
14 VAN DER POST- red< (the colour of Postman Pat’s vehicle!) in van post (a whimsical description of the vehicle itself!).  [Edit: Pls see Alberich's own clarification below].  Laurens van der Post – erstwhile South African and mentor of Prince Charles.
17 TEETOTAL - (latter to + {spre}e)*.  &lit-ish.
19 FANATIC - fan + (cit{e} a)<.  A little self-referential, as isn’t fan (=’supporter’) simply an abbreviation of fanatic itself?
21 ACCOUNT - cryptic def’n. [Edit: in fact, AC [='current']+ count, again per our very own tormentor]
22 GRATIN - gratin’.
25 HEIR - homophone of “air”.

8 Responses to “Financial Times 13,685 / Alberich”

  1. Alberich says:

    Thanks for the nice blog, Smiffy. It was Sod’s Law that I wanted to print off as many crosswords as I could today to pass the time while dealing with Czech officialdom, only to find the FT was one of mine! A couple of points of interpretation: 17 down was meant to indicate VAN + RED< + POST (what the van contains) – though I can see that this was perhaps ambiguous. 21 was supposed to be an &lit – AC (current)+ COunt (count on, bank on) though on revisiting the clue I can see it looks like a (not very good) cryptic definition.

    I hope I haven't butted in too early – I'm not sure of the form on these matters.

  2. Jezza says:

    Thanks to Alberich for the puzzle – I really enjoyed this one, and to smiffy for the review.
    I also liked the wordplay in 2d.

  3. jmac says:

    Thanks for the blog Smiffy, particularly for explaining ORPHEUS. My experience was similar to yours, with the east side falling quite quickly, and the west side proving trickier. VAN DER POST eventually sorted it out for me. Too many great clues to mention,so only left to say thanks Alberich for a most entertaining puzzle.

  4. Thomas99 says:

    Van der Post is a classic! Literally made me laugh out loud. Unfortunately, I’m at work…

  5. malc95 says:

    Thanks Alberich and smiffy.

    Missed 15a (I had AVERSE, but clearly couldn’t parse it), and couldn’t fully parse 21d.
    Loved 14d, but my c.o.d. was 12a.

  6. malc95 says:

    Forgot to mention 23a –
    “Former union returned” NUR (National Union of Railwaymen, now the RMT) = RUN as well as being a hidden answer.

  7. Bracoman says:

    Mine was also a game of two halves, but in this case it was the bottom half first and then the top. I did like 14d.

  8. Sil van den Hoek says:

    And we ended up (as we do frequently) in the NW.
    The place where ORPHEUS was the solution we entered with me having Morpheus in mind and with us both having no clue what it was all about.
    So, thanks smiffy!

    Alberich’s crosswords are always a joy to solve as I feel great affinity with his cluing style.
    Usually, my PinC and I do the Guardian together after work, but Alberich is one of the few setters that overrule this daily routine of ours. Sorry, Shed!

    Yet, I think this wasn’t Alberich (fully) on top form.
    Don’t get me wrong, it was very good, but I missed the extra amount of misdirection and deviousness. And the ‘lift & separate’ device too. That said, it was there in eg the very clever AGEISM. Maybe, I’m getting too used to his style.

    While we didn’t jump for joy after finding GRATIN, TACK, ACCOUNT, TEETOTAL and OCH, we did appreciate many other clues.
    As there were, for example, 15ac (AGEISM), 26ac (OUTCAST), 29ac (ALLNIGHTER), 2d (AT PEACE), 3d (EYELESS AT GAZA) and above all the fantastic VAN DER POST (14d).
    Just brilliant.

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