Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,720 by GAFF

Posted by PeeDee on June 15th, 2011


A very good crossword from Gaff, which I enjoyed immensely.  I started late, as I had to retrieve a sick child from school, and then after a long time was still staring a grid with only 4 completed solutions and facing the very embarrassing prospect of having to ask someone else to complete the blog for me.  Finally I gave in and started searching Wikipedia for a likely aniversary and then hit the jackpot and the answers started coming thick and fast.

The anniversary theme is of  The Reverend Wilbert Awdry, creator of the Railway Series books for children, better known these days as ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’.    Unfortunately, neither of our children are fans of the series, so I know very few of the characters in the theme, and had not heard of Awdry.  Coupled with archaic usages of words and some difficult constructions, this made for a hard solve.  In addition there is no indication in the preamble that the themed solutions are undefined.

I think it is fair that the constructions are tricky, as I can imagine that if one had sat through hours and hours of bedtime stories and Thomas on TV then many of the solutions would be guesseble immediately.

Hold mouse over clue number to see clue, click a solution to see its definition.

8 ENGINE (NINE EG)* abandoned=anagram – a search engine maybe, Google or Bing
9 PROVINCE fINCh (most of the letters) in PROVE (show)
10   See 17
11 HENRY GREEN Rolling (start of) on HEN (a layer) and ENERGY* (anagram=latent, in the sense of having the potential to be something different)
12   See 27
13 SCARCITIES CAR (tansport) inside Small and CITIES (large towns) – definition is ‘lacks’as a plural noun
17, 10 BETAKING BETA (second as in alpha, beta, gamma…) and KING (chess piece) – ‘to betake’ is an archaic meaning of ‘to move’
18 CODON NO DOC reversed (recovers=brings back)
19, 4 OVERSPIN PROVINcE’S* (without C = first letter of class, surprisingly=anagram)
23   See 26
24 PERCY SMALL Cubicle You Scratched My (initial letters of) in PER (each) and ALL (every)
28   See 5
29 JAMES RED JAM (preserve) and thE treeS foR particlE boarD (last letters of)
30 EUNUCH Cryptic definition
2 RINGO STARR INteRRoGATORS* (toe removed, vicious=anagram) – narrator of the first Thomas the Tank Engine series on television. To me ‘vicious’ does not mean ‘reordered’, but Chambers gives some archaic and Shakespearean definitions that would suffice.
3 BE PHYSICAL sounds like “beef is a cul” (piece of=not all of beef…culinary)
4   See 19
5, 28 TOBY TRAM BYTe (most of data) inside TO RAM (Random Access Memory)
6   See 25
14 AWDRY tAWDRY (without first letter) – The Reverend Wilbert Awdry author of The Railway Series
15   See 22
20 ELEGANCE CELAN and Good inside grEEce (centre of) – definition ‘grace’. The word ‘to’ spoils this clue for me, it disrupts the instruction ‘order clean with good’.
22, 15 THE FAT CONTROLLER THEFT (stealing) ROLLER (Rolls Royce, car) including A ploT (ending of) CON (with) – definition is ‘big runner’, the boss of the Sordor railway network.
25, 6 CREEPIER CREE (brave=native American warrior) and PIER (support)
26, 23 SURFACES SURF (search the Internet) and ACES (services, tennis). I don’t think to surf is really the same as to search, but makes a nice clue anyway.
27, 12 AUDITORS (tRADe UnIOnisTS)* without tennis, play=anagram, auditors check things


7 Responses to “Financial Times 13,720 by GAFF”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks PeeDee your explanations are appreciated.

    I Googled today’s anniversaries and shuddered when the awful theme emerged.

    Knowing nowt about Awdry or his stuff, I immediately surrendered.

    Now if only it had been Audrey Hepburn …

    What an awful gaffe!

  2. Bracoman says:

    Many thanks for the blog and explanations. Although I knew very little about Thomas the Tank Engine, I managed to finish it with the aid of Wikipedia. Quite satisfying once it was completed.

  3. Conrad Cork says:

    I went on a massive wild goose chase: having got Henry Green I assumed it was to do with one of my favourite novelists, and so got nowhere (even though there was no centennial involved). Still don’t know why he is there. Why’see 27’? Help appreciated.

  4. PeeDee says:


    ‘Henry the Green Engine’ was a character in The Railway Stories. Click on the ‘Henry Green’ link in the solution in the blog to find out more.

    See 27 refers to the following clue, 12 across, which is paired with 27 down.

  5. niloci says:

    The following intro should have appeared with this puzzle:
    Five 2-word solutions are each completed with the 8.
    Their clues have no definition part

    Apologies for the omission.

  6. Wanderer says:

    Thanks to PeeDee for the blog, and to GAFF for a very difficult but (only just) doable crossword. And thanks to niloci for supplying the omitted intro — that may have made it a little easier, but in the end I got there without needing it. Mind you, like PeeDee I fear I resorted to the web to find a possible birthday boy; I don’t think I would have cracked this puzzle without doing so.

    Am I alone in finding the split words rather irritating? Jumping around the grid to fit together SURF+ACES, AUDI+TORS, BETA+KING etc was the hardest part of the crossword for me.

    A good challenge.

  7. PeeDee says:

    Hi niloci, the complete instructions would certainly have made it easier, but I enjoyed the challenge of having to figure it out anyway.

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