Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,693 by Cincinnus

Posted by Pete Maclean on May 26th, 2011

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of May 14

Another beaut from Cincinnus this week. My top honours go to 12A (ELMER). This may be a perfect clue: ELMER is precisely in the middle of Ethel Merman, the surface reads like a straightforward Polymath clue, the cryptic reading is just so, and realizing the solution brings delight. I only regret that some younger solvers may not know who Ethel Merman was. (She was a star of musical comedy, primarily on Broadway starting in the 1930s.) I also applaud 11A (IN ESSENCE). 27A (GNOME) and 20D (BRAVEST).

1. BARLEY WATER – anagram of WE LAY in BARTER (exchange)
7. AIM – [r]A[c]I[s]M
9. SITES – SET (group) + IS (is) all backwards
10. GARNISHED – anagram of HIS GARDEN
11. IN ESSENCE – IN ESSEN (where many Germans live) + C[av]E
12. ELMER – hidden word
13. LACQUER – homophone (“lacker”)
15. TOOL – T[aking] O[ff] O[r] L[anding]
18. IDEA – [sw]E[et] in IDA (woman)
20. BUFFALO – BUFF (expert) + A (a) + [g]OL[d] backwards
23. OTHER – [b]OTHER (trouble – not the first)
24. APARTMENT – ART (cunning) + MEN (chaps) together in APT (suitable)
26. BALD EAGLE – anagram of LAD in BEAGLE (dog)
27. GNOME – anagram of MEN GO
28. EAR – hidden word
29. LIMITATIONS – L (learner) + IMITATIONS (copies)

1. BASTILLE – TILL (work) in BASE (contemptible)
2. RETRENCH – RE (about) + R (right) in TENCH (fish)
3. EASES – AS (arsenic) in SEE (witness) backwards
4. WAGONER – WA (close to Moscow) + GONER (hopeless case). That is Moscow in Washington state!
5. TORMENT – O (old) + RM (marines) both in TENT (shelter)
6. RAINED OFF – anagram of FOR A FIEND
7. AT HOME -A (a) + H (hotel) in TOME (book)
8. MODERN – ODE (poem) in MR (Mr) + [aude]N
14. UNDERSEAL – anagram of DEAL and NURSE
16. LAKE COMO – anagram of MALE COOK
17. POITIERS – PO (river) + I (one) + TIERS (banks)
19. AMALGAM – A (a) + MAL (bad French) + GAM (school). Gam here means school as in a school of whales.
20. BRAVEST – BRA + VEST (underwear)
21. HOMBRE – H (hours) + OMBRE (game). Ombre is a card game that was popular in the 17th and 18th centuries.
22. WHALER – homophone (“wailer”)
25. TIGHT – double definition

7 Responses to “Financial Times 13,693 by Cincinnus”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Pete

    This was perfectly straightforward – particularly considering it was a Prize puzzle.

    I bet that the Observer was flooded out with entries.

  2. Pete Maclean says:

    I have occasionally wondered why certain compilers are chosen for prize puzzles and not others. I have no idea of the reasons but it seems clear that, at least with the FT, prize-puzzle compilers are not those who create the most challenging crosswords.

    I find most, but certainly not all, Cincinnus puzzles to be moderately easy. This one struck me as fairly average.

  3. bamberger says:

    Why are the prizes for most puzzle comps across the the newspapers generally crossword dictionaries or similar? Is it to put off the better solvers who most probably have them? I don’t bother submitting -I reckon the cost of stamps for unsuccesful entries would more than cover the actual cost of the prize and I’m not bothered about my name in print.

    Re the Saturday prize puzzle, I generally find it easier than some of the weekday ones -though I don’t bother with Cinephile -it’s not that he is too hard but too many of his clues don’t follow the rules that other setters follow. I don’t usually bother if there is a theme -becomes too much of a treasure hunt.

  4. Jan says:

    Thanks, Pete. I agree, 12 was a superb clue – I have a big tick by it.

    But – I have a question mark by 19d. I entered AMALGAM – not sure if that’s right? A MAL, ok, but GAM (or GUM) for ‘school’? Am I missing something obvious?

  5. Pete Maclean says:

    Jan, Looks like we are both missing something! I somehow completely missed 19D when writing the blog. I have now added it in.

    GAM for school? Yes, believe it or not, “gam” means school in the sense of a school of whales.

  6. Pete Maclean says:

    Bamberger, I don’t know why prizes are typically reference books but, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I was more inclined to send in entries back in the days when the FT prize was a Pelikan pen (actually a token for such). And the one time I won, I thought it was cool to see my name printed in the paper!

  7. Jan says:

    Thanks for GAM, Pete. I should have looked it up, but I was convinced it couldn’t be right! – Silly me.

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