Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13737 Jason

Posted by scchua on July 5th, 2011


This was a pleasant solve, quite straightforward with some nice surfaces.  Thanks Jason.  (Definitions are underlined in the clues.)


1 One in west coast city selling aromatic shrub (8)

LAVENDER :  An LA(Los Angeles,US west coast city) VENDER(one who is selling,vending.  An alternative spelling of vendor).

Lavender blue: van Gogh admired the gardens of the Monastery of St-Paul-de-Mausole in St-Remy de Provence

6 Draw small sailing boat (6)

SKETCH :  S(small, as used for shirt, shoe, etc. sizes) KETCH(sailing boat).  Déjà vu as this answer appeared in last week’s FT which I blogged.

9 Son with worries first for pets (6)

CARESS :  CARES(concerns,worries) before(first) S(son).

Defn:  What lovers do to each other.  I don’t think “pets” can be used as a noun in this sense, so there appears to be a mismatch between the singular verb “pets” and the plural verb “caress”.

10 Following innovation claim one source of fuel (4,4)

COAL MINE :  Anagram(following innovation) of CLAIM ONE.

11 Shown back I find a small food shop (4)

DELI :  Reversal(back) of LED(as in “led,shown to your seat”) I.

12 Invitee and one chum give a rough idea (10)

GUESTIMATE :  GUEST(invitee) +(and) I(=one) MATE(chum).

Defn:  A portmanteau word made up of “guess” and “estimate”, in other words, not much better than a guess.  Though used quite often for years when I was working, it looks as if it got into Collins only in 2009.

14 Comical gagster succeeded with rolls (8)

STAGGERS :  Anagram(comical) of GAGSTER + S(succeeded, as in, I think, notation for the succession of monarchs)

16 Catch infection finally – bother (4)

NAIL :  N(last letter,finally of infection) AIL(verb, to bother as in “what’s ailing,bothering you?”)

18 Very dry bishop with a dull manner hard to shrug off (4)

BRUT :  B(bishop, as in chess notation) +(with) RUT(a boring,dull routine from which it is hard to escape,shrug off, not to be confused with the far from boring periodical sexual excitement of deer, goats, sheep, etc.)

Defn:  Descriptive of a champagne, not sweet.

19 One daughter being a character (8)

IDENTITY :  I(=one) D(daughter) ENTITY(a being,unit,one-ness).

Defn:  Character,condition as to who/what a person/thing is, eg. a case of mistaken identity.

21 Foolishly send coward to this entertainment! (5,5)

SWORD DANCE :  Anagram(foolishly) of SEND COWARD.  Fine surface reading as a coward may not be able to stomach such entertainment.


There are more sword dances from around the world than you can shake a sword at!

22 Wine can destroy 50s dress (4)

SACK :  Triple defn:  1st:  Type of wine from Spain and Canary Islands, or any dry white wine from SW Europe; 2nd:  Destroy a city after conquest.  3rd:  A plain dress that was fashionable in the 50s and looked like its namesake, ie. straight down from shoulder to hem. 


24 Sliced beef done with jam intrigues at first (8)

PASTRAMI :  PAST(done,completed,over with) + RAM(thrust into,jam, with force) + I(initial,first letter of intrigues).  Nice surface:  It all depends on what sort of jam it is!

26 Approach a rendezvous (6)

AVENUE A VENUE(place to meet,rendezvous).

Defn:  A way or means of entering into or approaching a place or objective, eg. “there are various avenues into the Chinese market”.

27 Sort of reggae group backing Tropical Rays (6)

SKATES :  SKA(sort of reggae music, originating from Jamaica) + reversal(backing) of SET(group,collection).

Defn:  A variety of those flat fish that live in tropical waters.


28 Reportedly quaint monarch is making fine adjustments (8)

TWEAKING :  TWEA(Homophone(reportedly)  of twee,affectedly dainty or quaint) + KING(monarch).


2 A puzzle to flabbergast (5)

AMAZE A MAZE(puzzle).

3 Venus? All the more in grand celebrity (7,4)

EVENING STAR :  EVEN(as an adverb, an intensifier suggesting all the,much more, as in “this is even better”) G(grand) STAR(celebrity)

Defn:  The planet that can sometimes be seen as if like a star in the evening sky.


4 Who draws grid seen in a new light? (8)

DESIGNER :  Anagram(in a new light) of GRID SEEN.

5 A high achiever, I launch farreaching studies (6,9)

ROCKET SCIENTIST :  Double defn:  1st:  Metaphor for someone successful, often used in a backhanded way such as “you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to …”.  Equally ranked with a “brain surgeon”?  2nd:  Literally the person responsible for launching explorers to study outer,farreaching space,.

6 Box with gratitude in old city (6)

SPARTA :  SPAR(box, often as part of training) TA(short form of saying thanks,showing gratitude).

7 Tree found between hostel and monastery (3)

ELM :  Letters found between hostEL & Monastery.

8 Conned, we hear, following prisoner’s squeeze (9)

CONSTRICT :  TRICT(homophone(we hear) of tricked,conned,cheated) after(following) CON(abbrev. for convict,prisoner).

Defn:  The verb “tighten”.

13 Small cut in fast food (6,5)

MINUTE STEAK :  Cryptic defn:  A small piece,cut of beef that can be quickly cooked.

15 Return batch work in unsatisfactory state (9)

THROWBACK :  Anagram(unsatisfactory state) of BATCH WORK.

Defn:  A return to the past, as in “Flared pants are a throwback to the 70s”.

17 Be very eager stirring such as a Frappuccino (8)

BEVERAGE :  BE V(very) + anagram(stirring) of EAGER.

Defn:  Frappuccino – A registered trademark drink concoction from Starbucks, an iced mix of coffee, water, milk, and various syrups, all the more to increase revenue.  The word is another portmanteau of “frappe”, a thick milkshake often made with cream, and “cappuccino”, which I guess everyone knows of.

20 One contracts standards of perfection (6)

IDEALS :  I(=one) DEALS(contracts,agreements).

23 Central heating container is to boil (5)

CHURN :  CH(central heating) URN(container, eg. of tea, cremated ashes).

25 Little ‘un to toddle those first three steps (3)

TOT First three letters,steps(to maintain the surface reading) of TO Toddle.

Defn:  Little child,’un, eg. a toddler, one who is just learning to toddle,take his/her first steps.

6 Responses to “Financial Times 13737 Jason”

  1. Pelham Barton says:

    Thank you scchua for this very clear blog and Jason for the puzzle.

    A quibble about 17dn: It could be an anagram of BE V(ery) EAGER, but I think it is better taken as BE + V(ery) + anagram of EAGER.

  2. scchua says:

    Thanks Pelham Barton. Agreed and blog now edited.

  3. deke says:

    I usually read the blog without having the puzzle at hand, so I’d like to offer my appreciation for the extra work of including the clues in the blog (and all the images are another welcome enhancement).

    I read 22A as a quadruple definition, with “can” = “fire” = “sack”.

  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Scchua & Jason this was yet another enjoyable puzzle.

    I don’t drink coffee and so I’d never heard of Frappuccino. It looks horrible!

    Did anyone else spot the nina hidden in the perimeter? I never expected to find LCD in the FT.

  5. mike04 says:

    Many thanks for the blog, scchua.

    I agree there’s a verbal mismatch in 9a as CARESSES would be expected in the solution.
    However I can’t see how ‘All the more’ is equivalent to EVEN in 3dn.
    If ‘even better’ is being used as an example, would this not lead to ‘all the more better’,
    a double comparative?

  6. Richard says:

    Thank you for a superb blog, scchua. Other bloggers should take note of your thoroughness!

    I enjoyed this a lot. Just the right level of difficulty for me.

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