Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,711 by Mudd

Posted by Pete Maclean on June 16th, 2011

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of June 4

Here is a fine Mudd only with a couple of clues that I am not completely sure about my reading of. My favourites are the cleverly misdirecting 2D (BEESWAX), the delightfully simple 8D (COLERIDGE) and the nicely cryptic 23D (DRAKE). I had the unusual experience of coming up with wrong answers at first for four clues; fortunately it was fairly clear that they had to be wrong.

Across
1. PUBLIC BAR – PUBLIC (known) + BAR (staff)
6. FRANC – RAN (was valid) in FC (Liverpool, for example). I think the sense of “ran” here is a legal one.
9. CLEAVER – [but]C[her] + LEAVER (one going)
10. GENERAL – double definition
11. TOWER – TOW (tug) + ER (perhaps)
12. BIG DIPPER – ??? I wonder if I am missing something here. “Ride monster” seems to be a reasonable, somewhat cryptic definition but “one which flies” does not seem relevant. (And see comment 1 below.)
14. TAX – homophone (“tacks”). Faced initially with __X, I figured this had to be LOX (homophone “locks”) but that sure does not fit with “demand”!
15. ELASTIC BAND – anagram of ITS BALANCED
17. WARTS AND ALL – WAR (fighting) + SAND (beach) in TALL (unlikely — as in tall story)
19. CUE – homophone (“Q”)
20. CAMBRIDGE – MB (doctor) + RID (free) both in CAGE (trapped)
22. BROAD – double definition
24. INNINGS – double definition. Thought this might be STRETCH at first.
26. CHIMERA – CHIMER (one rings) + A (a)
27. REEVE – double definition. I was not familiar with reeve meaning to thread (as a rope through a ring).
28. AT ANY RATE – double definition

Down
1. PICOT – CO (firm) in PIT (hole). Picot means a loop in lace.
2. BEESWAX – W (western) + SEE (view) both backwards in BAX (composer). I wonder how many people looked up lists of Polish composers?
3. INVERNESS – IN (popular) + VERNE (author) + SS (ship). One of my favourite places in Scotland!
4. BIRD-BRAINED – double/cryptic definition
5. RAG – double definition
6. FUNDI – FUND (finance) + I (individual)
7. AGRIPPA – homophone (“a gripper”). Of a number of Agrippas, I guess this clue refers to Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa — and definitely not the only Agrippa I ever knew (who was a cat).
8. COLERIDGE – COLE (cabbage) + RIDGE (line). I had not known that a cole is a type of cabbage.
13. GUTTA PERCHA – GUT (empty) + TAPER (narrow) + CH (church) + A (a)
14. TOWN CRIER – homophonic spoonerism (“crown tire”)
16. CELEBRITY – B (black) in CELERITY (speed)
18. ROMANCE – double definition? The two meanings seem a bit too similar for this to be a simple double definition. Am I missing something?
19. CHOLERA – HOLE (break) in ARC (line) backwards
21. RINSE – hidden word
23. DRAKE – double/cryptic definition
25. SPA – SPA[n] (short bridge). I initially guessed TAP for this one, TAP being short for the Tappan-Zee Bridge — but that is hardly well known.

8 Responses to “Financial Times 13,711 by Mudd”

  1. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks, Pete.
    I found this quite a tricky Mudd, but maybe I wasn’t really on form (that weekend I found the Observer’s Everyman also harder than usual).
    Some words like PICOT, GUTTA PERCHA and FUNDI were new to me.

    I fear I cannot help you with ROMANCE, but on 12ac I have a different view. Probably the definition is just ‘Ride’. And then BIG = ‘monster’ (as an adjective) + DIPPER = ‘one which flies’ (a dipper is a bird).

    Good crossword.

  2. Pete Maclean says:

    PICOT was new to me too. FUNDI I had some vague memory of while GUTTA PERCHA I know well. And I figure you are right about BIG DIPPER. Thanks!

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Pete.

    This sure was a toughie but very rewarding.

    Yes, I first assumed that 2d was a Polish composer but, when the penny finally dropped, this became by COD.

    I made life difficult for myself in the SE corner by first opting for AT ANY COST but, eventually, common sense prevailed.

    Regarding ROMANCE, I simply assumed that it was as straightforward as it appeared.

    I knew GUTTA PERCHA because it was once used for making golf balls.

    Very many thanks Mudd!

  4. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks Pete
    I was happy with the dd in 18dn since both ‘fairy story’ and ‘romance’ can have the meaning of ‘an imaginative lie’.

  5. Pete Maclean says:

    Bryan, I had AT ANY COST initially as well. I had forgotten about that when I wrote the blog but that makes four (!) clues I thought up wrong answers for.

  6. Bamberger says:

    I had at any cost for 28a which is why in part I couldn’t get 19d or 23d.

    Copious use of my electronic friend for picot, fundi, reeve , chimera & beeswax but not gutta percha which came up in the Times Xword recently.

  7. Wil Ransome says:

    The usual good Mudd production I thought, with some strange exceptions: I thought two double definitions were weak — 10ac (Unspecific position) for GENERAL: how is general = position? It’s a rank in the army, but to call this a position seems odd. And 22ac (Open wide) for BROAD: it seems a bit feeble to have such similar senses.

    But perhaps I’m missing something and they’re quite OK.

  8. Pete Maclean says:

    Wil, you bring me to second thoughts more than any other commenter. And as a result, I agree with you especially about 22A. Maybe Mudd thought he could get away with it because the surface is so good?

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