Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times no. 13,715 by Monk

Posted by Ringo on June 9th, 2011

Ringo.

Took me a little while, this, but that may say more about me than about the puzzle. I had to look up a couple of the trickier words, but the wordplay was mostly very fair and there were some very nice slangy usages.

ACROSS

8. TAIL-PIPE Anagram of tipple [supply meaning ‘in a supple way’] incorporating AI [A1, the best]

9. OPAQUE O(ld) + p(l)aque [brass]

10. THUMBS A not-very-cryptic cryptic definition to give the digits hoisted in a thumbs-up gesture

11. THEMATIC Anagram of cheat Tim to give of an idea

12. TRUNCATE Trunk [section of an elephant] + eight to give a soundalike of truncate or cut.

13. STEP IN The word Fitzstephen might – in fact, does – have step in it

14. TIP OF THE ICEBERG Anagram of bigot thief creep to give the proverbial hint of a bigger problem

18. TMESIS Anagram of smites [‘totty’ is a novel anagram indicator]; the word refers to ‘the separation of the elements of a compound word by the interposition of another word or words’ – or separation in a word

20. FAIR ISLE Fair [square, as in ‘fair and square] + inch [an allusion, I suppose, to the Island of Inch] to give the fetching knitwear design

23. TRANSKEI Anagram of snake [‘ground’ being the indicator] within tri(p) [expedition] to give the South African Bantustan reincorporated into SA in 1994

24. MAKE UP Double definition, ‘slap’ being a colloquial term for make-up or cosmetics

25. NUTHATCH Thatch [thick hair] on nu(t) [head] to give the handsome little feathered friend [see 4dn] Sitta europaea

DOWN

1. FATHER Fat [round] + her [she] to give father, or Pops. I can’t believe how long it took me to get this. Sheesh.

2. FLAMENCO Flame [rage] + N(ew) supported by co(mpany) to give the famous Andalucian dance

3. FIESTA I [one] included in anagram of feast [I think ‘after a drink or two’ is a bit on the elaborate side for an anagram indicator]; the whole provides the definition

4. FEATHERED FRIEND Anagram of free father [1 down] dined give a fanciful term for a bird, such as a lark

5. FORENSIC For [pro] + anagram of science minus CE [Church of England]

6. FACADE F(ine) + acade(my) [‘suffering repeated cuts’ seems a clumsy instruction]

7. FUSILIER Anagram of rifle ‘loaded with’ US [American] + I [one] to give an old soldier

15. IMMERSED Simmered [boiled] with S(ulphur) ‘falling’ five places downward

16.  TASHKENT Ash [remains] + K(ing) within tent [i.e. under cover] to give the capital of Uzbekistan

17. BRICKBAT B(ritish) + Rick [a man’s name] + strike [bat] to give a figiurative word for a critical half-brick

19. SENTRY S(econd) + entry [minute, as in a note or memo]

21. INMATE Hidden in curtaIN MATErial

22. LAUNCH A(nswer) ‘stopping’ lunch [meal] to give a word for found [in the sense of establishing or initiating]

12 Responses to “Financial Times no. 13,715 by Monk”

  1. Conrad Cork says:

    All F’s along the top and all T’s down the left hand side. Very neat.

  2. Ringo says:

    Well spotted, Conrad! Completely missed that.

  3. walruss says:

    That’s a Monk signature I think? he has done this on more than one occasion in FT puzzles, IIRC.

  4. mike04 says:

    Thanks for the blog, Ringo

    I found this puzzle difficult, particularly the NW corner. 1dn took me ages too.
    In retrospect though, it’s a great clue!

    The word ‘inch’ is a generic term for an island and it’s used commonly in Scotland and Ireland.
    In the Firth of Forth, near here, we have Inchcolm, Inchkeith, Inchmickery and Inch Garvie.

  5. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Ringo – you are still a star!

    Whereas Monk is a little Monkey.

  6. Bamberger says:

    Started off well but came to a grinding halt and ended up with only 8 clues solved.

    18a Never come across tmesis and don’t see how “totty” is an anagram indicator. Tottering ok but totty-that’s what the Bigg Market in Newcastle is full of on a Friday night.
    20a Very obscure
    3d Agree with comment about anagram indicator .

    Even when I don’t get very far with some (most?) crosswords I can see the cleverness but this lacked a certain spark.

  7. Ringo says:

    Mike04: ah, had a feeling I was missing something re. ‘inch’ – thanks.

    Bamberger: to be fair, the OED defines ‘totty’ as a dialect term for ‘Unsteady, shaky, tottery (physically or mentally); dizzy, dazed; tipsy, fuddled.’

  8. superkiwigirl says:

    Many thanks Ringo for the helpful blog, and Monk for an entertaining puzzle.

    I found this tough going, and failed to finish a couple here (always a disappointment!)

    Just one thing about the blog – NUTHATCH is actually 26a. 25a is TEHRAN, and I’m a bit confused about the anagrind for “the”: is it “government” or am I missing the point somehow?

  9. superkiwigirl says:

    P.S. I suppose that “Shah ultimately” is telling us to move the “h” so that it comes after the “e” – should have spotted this sooner, rather than parsing the words “ultimately managed” together.

  10. Ringo says:

    SuperKiwiGirl: Whoops! Many apologies for the oversight. It should be:

    25. TEHRAN The last letters [i.e. ultimately] of (governmen)t (th)e (Sha)h + ran [managed] to give the capital of Iran or Persia, which was governed (untiol 1979) by the Shah.

  11. superkiwigirl says:

    Thanks, Ringo.

    It’s obvious once it’s explained (think these words might appear on my epitaph!)

  12. Sil van den Hoek says:

    A bit late at the party, but since my last effort to tackle a Monk puzzle was a hopeless one [something I confessed at this place], I’d like to tell the world that this time I finished it!
    Terrific crossword – instantly a great fan of this setter!

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