Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13701 REDSHANK

Posted by scchua on May 24th, 2011


First time I’m blogging this setter, and can’t say whether I’ve done his puzzles previously.  Slow start, but progressed steadily.  He seems to favour &lits, at least in this puzzle, and there are some excellent surface readings as well.  Thanks REDSHANK.  (Definitions are underlined in the clues.)


1 Drink and travel regularly, showing flexibility (6)

SUPPLY :  SUP(drink) + PLY(travel regularly, as in “No. 74 bus plies between here and Marble Arch station.”).  Defn:  Adverb for supple, alternate to and pronounced same as supplely.  Not to be confused with the word pronounced “sir-ply”, cf. 30A.

4 In first form exam swallowed one drink (8)

ORIGINAL :  ORAL(exam) around(swallowed) {I(one) + GIN(drink)}

10 First-year student swaps second for heart of princess, 28 (9)

FRENCHMAN :  FRESHMAN(first-year student) with its S(second) replaced by(swaps…for) NC(heart,middle letters of princess).  Defn:  Description of 28A BONAPARTE.

11 More unlikely to have speaking part (5)

EXTRA :  Double defn:  2nd:  refering to one of the crowd in a movie or play, serving as a human prop, so to speak.

12 It makes a good pudding if you scrap most of it (4)

SAGO :  Hidden(if you scrap most of it) in makeS A GOod pudding.  Defn:  Starch made from the pith of the sago palm, and used to make puddings.  An &lit.

13 Soprano performing with good accent? (10)

SONGSTRESS :  S(Soprano) + ON(performing,as in “the LSO is on tonight”) + G(good) + STRESS(accent, as used in phonetics to indicate the prominence of a syllable’s loudness, pitch, length or all of these).  An &lit.

15 Elsa was one cocooned in happiness, born free (7)

LIONESSONE surrounded by(cocooned in) BLISS(happiness) minus(free) B(born).  Defn:  One adopted by adopted by Joy and George Adamson in Kenya as an orphaned cub and later released into the wild.  The tale was narrated in the book “Born Free”, later made into a film.  This, then, is a lovely &lit.

Elsa_OnRock_FullBody_Color_400_75.jpg (95824 bytes)  Elsa_JoyRestingOnElsaRiver_350_100_Color.jpg (88401 bytes)

16 It was Tommy’s protection which secured home (3,3)

TIN HAT :  THAT(an alternative to which, also to who, in grammatical construction) around(secured) IN(at home).  Defn:  Combat headgear,protection for Tommy, the representative name for a British Army private, Tommy Atkins in full.  The hat’s actually made of steel.

19 Sleeps over with editor but rejected by him (6)

SPIKED :  Reversal(over) of KIPS(sleeps, naps) +(with) ED(editor).  Defn:  In journalism, from those days when editors would reject a story by literally spiking the paper it was typed/written on, through a pointed spindle.  I’d rate this a semi &lit at least.

21 22 13’s short song about bairn initially? (7)

LULLABY :  LULu(22 13, ie. Scotch songstress, who started in the 60’s) minus last letter(short) + LAY(song) around(about) B(first letter,initially of bairn).  Defn:  Song (a Scottish singer sings) to a child,bairn (of Scottish origin).  Another &lit.

23 Empty cardboard box? It’s stuffed in funny drawer (10)

CARTOONIST :  {O(zero,nothing) inside}(empty) CARTON(cardboard box) + anagram(stuffed) of it’s.

25 How to pay back blackleg (4)

SCAB :  Reversal(back) of BACS(abbrev. for Bankers’ Automated Clearing System, a UK system for making payments,how to pay).

27 Not working this evening? Get drunk (5)

TIGHT :  TonIGHT(this evening) minus(not) ON(working, as in “I’m on 9 to 5 daily).

28 A Bronte composition about father’s house in Corsica (9)

BONAPARTE :  Anagram(composition) of A BRONTE around(about) PA(father).  Defn:  Family name,house of Napoleon who was born in Corsica.

29 In Darwin’s study he tried out theory at last (8)

HEREDITY :  Anagram(out) of HE TRIED + Y(last letter,at last of theory).  Defn:  In evolution, Darwin’s field of study, the mechanism by which changes in characteristics are handed down through the generations; although, during his time, Darwin didn’t know much about how heredity worked.  An &lit I think

30 Request ideally satisfied by 1 across (6)

DEMAND :  Double defn:  2nd:  refers to economic theory, where in an ideal market, 1A SUPPLY = demand.


1 This paper badly loses out with line in subtle marketing (4,4)

SOFT SELL :  Anagram(badly) of LOSES around(out) FT(this paper in which this crossword appears, the Financial Times) +(with) L(line).

2 Classmates, say, look intently at Greek press (4,5)

PEER GROUP :  PEER(look intently at) and GR(Greek International Vehicle Registration letters) + OUP(Oxford University Press).  Defn:  An example,say of which are classmates.

3 Fortune in bottle with no top (4)

LUCK :  pLUCK(courage,bottle) minus(with no) initial letter(top, for a down clue)

5 Ready in Kuala Lumpur to call nasty person (7)

RINGGIT :  RING(call) + GIT(nasty person).  Defn:  Unit of money,ready in Malaysia, the capital city of which is Kuala Lumpur.

6 Relatively large pawnbroker? (5-5)

GREAT-UNCLE :  GREAT(large) and UNCLE(slang for pawnbroker).  Defn:  Uncle of your parents, a relativeLarge here seems to double up in both definition and wordplay.

7 Explosive component can upset engineers (5)

NITRE :  Anagram/reversal(upset) of TIN(can) + RE(Royal Engineers).  Defn:  Potassium (or sodium) nitrate, a powerful oxidising compound, hence its use as a component of explosive devices.

8 To maintain contact in Australia is easy (6)

LIAISE :  Hidden(in) AustraLIA IS Easy.

9 English model hugs bishop to raise some relief (6)

EMBOSS :  E(English) MOSS(Kate, fashion model from England) around(hugs) B(bishop).  Defn:  To raise a design on a surface in relief.

14 What your muscles may do on your bike (3,7)

GET KNOTTED :  Double defn:  1st:  Your muscles may go into spasms, and then get knotted,form knots, which are painful abnormal areas in your muscles.  Presumably being on your bike for too long might cause this.  2nd:  An exclamation of rejection, “off you go!” or on your bike!   An &lit as well?

17 A former police song about a setter (9)

ARAUCARIAA + {RUC(Royal Ulster Constabulary, former name for the police force in Northern Ireland) + ARIA(song)} around(about) A.  Defn:  Pseudonym of a prolific crossword setter featured in the Guardian cryptics.  I cut my cryptic crossword teeth on Araucaria’s Monkey Puzzles.  The word itself stands for a genus of trees, including the monkey puzzle, a conifer with edible nuts.


18 Rare day going north to drink fizzy beer and loaf (3,5)

RYE BREAD :  R(rare, I can picture the waiter writing R,M, or WD for your steak order) + reversal(going north, for a down clue) of DAY around(to drink) an anagram(fizzy) of BEER.

20 Awfully bad night, hard going for Aussie fool (7)

DINGBAT :  Anagram(awfully) of BAD NIGhT minus(going) H(hard).  Defn:  Term presumably more often used in Australia(and New Zealand and America) than elsewhere.  Derived as an embellishment of “bats”, ie. nuts, loco.

21 Don’t start shutting down (6)

LOSING :  cLOSING(shutting) without its initial letter(don’t start).  Defn:  As in “Arsenal was down by 2 goals at half-time”.

22 Put an end to college books in school (6)

SCOTCH :  {C(college) + OT(books in the Old Testament)} in SCH(school)

24 I got your message and I’m heading up in limo (5)

ROGER :  Reversal(heading up, in a down clue) of EGO(I) in RR(Rolls Royce, the luxury limousine).  Defn:  Term used in radio communications to signify I’ve understood,got your message.

26 Use it to fence roofless wigwam (4)

EPEE :  tEPEE(wigwam,tent of the American Indians) without its top letter(roofless, in a down clue).  Defn:  A sword used in the sport of fencing.

9 Responses to “Financial Times 13701 REDSHANK”

  1. Uncle Yap says:

    Mr Chua
    Fantastic blog for an excellent puzzle
    My first in was RINGGIT and after that everything fitted

  2. Neil says:

    Wow, what a blog scchua. Many thanks.
    And this was my first Redshank. You were were difficult, and I liked you.

  3. bamberger says:

    Failed on two 5d ringgit which I’ve never heard of and 1a which I put in as supple. Couldn’t see where ple came from but what else could it be?
    I enjoy Redshank’s puzzles because I can actually finish them unaided or get very close.

  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Scchua.

    This was very enjoyable and all the more so because I guessed RINGGIT correctly. I figured that Uncle Yap could have helped me but he didn’t.

    At first, I entered 25a as BACS which made me struggle in the SE corner but then … Voila!

    I was delighted to see ARAUCARIA get a mention in the FT where he usually operates as CINEPHILE.

    Many thanks Redshank.

  5. the button says:

    Totally stumped by this one!
    Can finish most FT’s crosswords but clearly I can’t get inside Redshank’s head.

    Thanks to all the bloggers on this site- you’ve really helped my solving improve.
    Maybe I’ll do better with the next Redshank.

    May I just ask what &lit means?

  6. Gaufrid says:

    Hi the button
    I know this is your second comment but welcome to 15². I can best describe an &lit clue by copying what Peter Biddlecombe says on his website under ‘clue types’ (

    “All in one” is a new name for these clues, invented by Tim Moorey in his excellent 2008 book on “How to Master the Times Crossword”. I’m using it here because I think it’s clearer than the old name &lit., which is short for ‘and literally true’. These clues are ones where the whole clue is simultaneously wordplay and a definition of the solution. A well-known example is:

    Example: I’m one involved with cost (9)
    Answer: ECONOMIST – an anagram of ‘I’m one’ and ‘cost’ shown by ‘involved’. The whole phrase defines the answer.”

  7. ACP says:

    A very good blog.
    But I’d suggest that a few of the ‘&lits’ are not so. The whole clue has to be definition AND wordplay. Although the surface is related to the answer, the definition doesn’t always add to the wordplay.
    e.g. HEREDITY – ‘In Darwin’s study’ is not a part of the wordplay.
    SPIKED – ‘rejected by him’ is not a part.
    LIONESS – ‘Elsa’ is not a part.

    In Gaufrid’s example above, all the words are wordplay AND all the words suggest the definition.

  8. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Yesterday there was that S&B do in London.
    On the way in (by train), I thought: let’s do this crossword – ‘I might easily finish it, Redshank is not that hard thus far’.
    On the way out, I sat next to Andrew who managed to get (in about 15 minutes) more solutions than I did on the way in … :)

    The last time I commented on a Redshank puzzle, I said that “he had his Daily Mail hat on”, indeed being not very positive.
    I am not sure whether he read that, but here he had surely his Radian/Crucible hat on.
    This was a great puzzle. Accessible, fine surfaces, very clever too.
    A shot through my heart!

    My last entry was also my Clue of the Day: CARTOONIST (21ac).
    Did I say ‘clever’?
    Other winners: 21ac (LULLABY), 29ac (HEREDITY), 21d (LOSING) and 22d (SCOTCH) [one of the best clues I’ve seen for this familiar word].

    A pity that in 17d ‘police’ wasn’t (or couldn’t have been) capitalised.
    Perhaps, in that case ‘former’ should have been ‘old’, but that would conflict with the meaning of RUC.

    Only 14d (GET KNOTTED) didn’t work for me, but that’s probably my problem. Never had a properly working antenna for cd’s.

    Great blog, scchua!

    Not sure if you’re still there, Redshank, but this was one of your very best, IM(H)O.

  9. the button says:

    Thanks for the explanation and the welcome!

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