Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13767 PHSSTHPOK

Posted by scchua on August 9th, 2011


Thanks PHSSTHPOK for this puzzle – I’m sure your puzzles are getting more difficult with time!  The bottom half was quite quickly filled in, but the top half, especially the NE corner, proved a bit more stubborn.  Some nice surfaces and crafty definitions.  (Definitions are underlined in the clues.)  Similar to yesterday’s Guardian and last week’s Quiptic, I’ve put in a hidden theme in one of the picture sets – have fun with it.


1 Some acts do this in prison break (8)

PLAYTIME :  PLAY(theatrical play which is made up of some acts) + TIME(what a criminal does in prison)

Defn:  A recess break in school, especially for younger children

5 Left out in the end by top editor (6)

ELIDED :  E(last letter,end of the word the) + LID(top of a container) + ED(short for editor)

Defn:  To strike out,omit,leave out something written.  Nice surface as it’s exactly what an editor might do.

10 Trick one hospital worker (7)

ARTISAN :  ART(guile,cunning,trick) + I(Roman numeral for one) + SAN(short for sanatorium,sanitarium in US,a place for unhealthy people to recover, like a hospital, you could say)

11 Floor shows no more in France (7)

NONPLUS :  NON(no in what they speak in France) + PLUS(similarly for more)

Defn:  To completely puzzle,confuse someone, thus figuratively knocking him/her to the floor.

12 Relative monstrosity is carbohydrate-free (5)

UNCLE :  Carbuncle(a skin eruption, larger than a boil, caused by a staphylococcal(staph) infection, would look like a monstrosity in an extreme case)  without(free) of carb(short for carbohydrate).  (No graphics in deference to the squeamish.)

13 Nicky and Nico – but not Nicholas? (9)

NICKNAMES :  Cryptic defn:  The full name, Nicholas is a “Nick” name, but not a nickname

14 Model leapt after following this instruction (7,5)

FASHION PLATE :  Double defn :  1st :  One who dresses in the latest fashion and can therefore serve as a model for others to follow; and 2nd :  The instruction, “fashion (the word) plate” which after following gives its  anagram “leapt”.

18 Tiny ship with cargo of wood and fast food? (6,6)

MINUTE STEAKS :  MINUTE(small,tiny) + SS(SS so and so,steamship) around(with cargo) TEAK(type of hard timber,wood)

Defn:  Thin pieces of meat which can be cooked quite quickly (in a minute?), and can therefore be called fast food with a ?, as you can’t get them at fast food outlets. 

21 Type more practical if saints are included (4,5)

SANS SERIF :  SS(s = saint, ss = saints) in(are included) in {SANER(less woolly thinking,more practical) + IF}

Defn:  Typeface without small projections at the end of character strokes.

Serif and sans-serif 01.svg    Serif and sans-serif 03.svg

Sans Serif & Serif(the red parts)

23 Mystic took the waters by head of the Indus (5)

SWAMI :  SWAM(taking the waters means to go to a spa, to bath, drink, etc. for one’s health, I suppose you could also swim in it) + I(initial letter,head of Indus)


Defn:  An honorific title given to a Hindu religious teacher.  Nice surface as you’ll find water and swamis at the Indus River.

24 Believe wise men visited home going towards the Orient (7)

IMAGINE :  MAGI(wise men who paid homage to the infant Jesus) in(visited) IN(at home) +(going towards) E(East,the Orient)

25 Plan to orbit moon in ancient vehicle (7)

CHARIOT :  CHART(plan showing, eg. course of action, flow diagram) around(to orbit) IO(one of Jupiter’s 4 largest moons, with 60 other tiny ones)


26 Want empty lampshade with spur (6)

NEEDLE :  NEED(what one requires, strictly speaking something essential, compared to “want”,”desire”) LE(letters of “lampshade” without its inner letters,empty)

27 To demand sex appeal is to invite punishment (3,3,2)

ASK FOR IT :  ASK FOR(to demand) IT(those who have “it” have oodles of sex appeal).  I think this clue works as well with fewer words if “appeal” were left out (becomes a double defn. then)


1 Trophy filling could be the result (6)

PLAQUE :  Double defn:  1st :  A commemorative piece flat metal or wood, can be displayed as a trophy; and 2nd :  Dental plaque (there are other types too), soft sticky film attached to teeth enamel, formed by bacteria growth, hardening to form yellowish tartar.  Plaque can give rise to tooth decay and cavities, which could require filling as a result.

2 Fit resulting from a deviation round team leader (6)

ATTACK :  A TACK(a course of action or conduct that differs,is a deviation from a previous course, thus, one changes tack to surprise one’s opponents) round T(initial letter,leader of the word “team”)

3 Challenge when reflective minds included hypercube (9)

TESSERACT :  Reversal(reflective) of CARES(tends to,looks after,minds) in(included) TEST(a trial,challenge)

Defn:  One for the mathematicians, a cube with an extra dimenstion,hyper to the normal 3.  Can’t explain more than that – it’s all in the mathematician’s mind.

4 Anybody in island surrounded by traffic? (3,2,3,6)

MAN IN THE STREET :  MAN(Isle of Man, island in the Irish Sea) + IN THE STREET(where you’ll be surrounded by traffic).

6 For security, wrap new fabric (5)

LINEN :  LIEN(what the bank has on your property as security for a loan, say) around(wrap) N(new)

7 End up on top of literary heroine’s problems (8)

DILEMMAS :  Reversal(up, in a down clue) of LID(the top end of a container) +(on top) of EMMA(Jane Austen heroine in the novel of the same name)’S

8 I withdrew after reviewing satirised tragedy (8)

DISASTER :  Anagram(after reviewing) of SATRISED(letters of “satirised” without,withdrewI”)

9 Criticise continuously and stuff the consequences (5-2,7)

KNOCK-ON EFFECTS :  KNOCK(criticise) ON(on and on,continuously) EFFECTS(stuff and things as in personal effects)

Defn:  A chain of consequences, like dominoes falling down.

15 It is plain that man is being pursued by carnivorous fish (9)

PIKESTAFF :  STAFF(the verb, to man,provide staff) +(is being pursued by) PIKE(carnivorous fish, a big fish that eats little fish, and other aquatic/amphibous animals).  Imagine that the whole word is moving from left to right, in which case it looks as if “pike” is pursuing “staff”.

Defn:  From the simile, “as plain as a pikestaff”, which can be quite an insulting thing to say.


16 Going out on internet quest? (8)

EMISSION :  E(short for electronic in things, well, electronic, like email, eBay, e-banking, just add the “e” in front, associated with the internet) MISSION(a search for an objective,quest)

17 In international organisation, determine the age of flood (8)

INUNDATEIN UN(United Nations,international organization) + DATE(to determine the age of) something, eg. rocks in geology, artefacts in archaeology)

19 Cook a vicar’s eggs (6)

CAVIAR :  Anagram(cook) of A VICAR

20 Some raised protest at kidnapper’s one-sided demand (6)

DIKTAT :  Hidden(some) and reversed(raised, in a down clue) in protesT AT KIDnapper’s

Defn:  A harsh punitive decree,demand imposed unilaterally,one-sided on eg. a defeated nation.

22 Static is inaudible (5)

STILL :  Double defn.


2 Responses to “Financial Times 13767 PHSSTHPOK”

  1. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks scchua for this blog. Some nice clues here, of which my favourite was 9dn for an excellent surface, although I am not generally a fan of cluing phrases by defining each word individually.

    Full marks for attempting to justify “is being pursued by” in 15dn, but I cannot accept that device as fair.

    By the way, how do you pronounce PHSSTHPOK?

  2. Paul B says:

    With care?

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