Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times no.13,769 by HAMILTON

Posted by Ringo on August 11th, 2011


Though England’s cities burn, the morning crossword – like the Test Match – must go on. In any case, Leeds may be grubby, scruffy, pot-holed and rainy, but I’m proud to say it’s remained peaceable over these troubling past few days.

Hamilton’s latest felt like a bit of a slog for me today, for some reason. A few less-than-satisfying definitions didn’t help, but I got there in the end. A two-espresso puzzle.


1. ESCORT  Anagram of Cortes, though I’m not really sure why the conquistador might have had one

4. ESTEEM  S(urrey) [sounds like ‘es’] + teem [sounds like ‘team’, or XI in cricket]; not entirely sure about ‘cried’ as a sounds-like indicator

8. VIVALDI  Vidi [Latin for ‘I saw’, as in Caesar’s ‘veni, vidi, vici‘] incorporating Val [a girl’s name] to give the Venetian composer

9. SALTING  Salt [seadog] + anagram of gin to give a means of ‘putting it away’ (but the he’s seems awkward to me)

11. MANICURIST  Rather limp double definition

12. NERD  NE [North East, the region of England that includes Tyneside] + Rd [road, way] to give a wonk, geek, nut or obsessive

13. ANGEL  That rarity, a triple definition

14. HACIENDA  Anagram of enchilada minus L(earner) [uninitiated]

16. DOG WATCH  Another somewhat weak cryptic-cum-double definition for a bit of naval slang

18. SAMEY  Say [comment] incorporating me [yours truly]

20. ASIA  Opening letters of A(ny) S(erious) I(nternational) A(ssembly) – but, again, the definition doesn’t really satisfy

21. APICULTURE  A + pi [religious, pious] + culture [society(?)] to give bee-keeping, or the propagation of social communities – not mad about the clueing, but love the definition

23. SIDINGS  Sings [confesses, in crime-movie slang] incorporating Di [Diana, girl’s name] to give the train-track sections used for storing rolling stock and so on. Got bogged down here by mistakenly assuming that the G stood for girl, and spent ten minutes worrying away at convolutions of ‘I sin’ or ‘I did’

24. WINSOME  If you win some, you enjoy partial success

25. SIGHTS  Anagram of Things, with the n [North] changed to s [South]

26. URGENT  Urge [appeal] + NT [New Testament, books]


1. ERICA  Eric [boy’s name] + a to give a girl’s name – this one had me cursing when the penny dropped

2. CRAVING  C(aught) + raving [wild]

3. RED MULLET  Reversal of tell [mention (?)] + um [hesitation] + der [German for ‘the’] to give the tasty fish

5. SMART  Not-entirely-satisfactory double definition: smart as in ‘clever’ and ‘sting’

6. ENTENTE  E(ast) + N(orth) + tent [cover] + E(ast) to give a French term for an understanding (I remember reading a quote (probably apocryphal) from a US politician to the effect that “Russian has no word for entente“… but I’m damned if I can track it down – anyone?)

7. MAN FRIDAY  Anagram of f(anc)y Miranda to give a Defoeian helpmeet

10. HIGHCHAIR  Cryptic definition

13. ACOUSTICS  A + cous [sounds (sort of) like ‘coos’, a bird’s calls – a pigeon or dove’s, specifically] + tics [sounds like ‘ticks’, short periods]

15. COSTUMIER  Anagram of Tom Cruise – okay, this one works very nicely

17. WEARING  Nice double definition: wearing as in ‘tiring’, ‘trying’, and as in ‘being dressed in’, ‘sporting’

19. MATISSE  Anagram of Satie MS [manuscript] to give the French painter

21. ANGST  Hidden in gANG STages

22. REMIT Another double definition


3 Responses to “Financial Times no.13,769 by HAMILTON”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Ringo & Hamilton. This was a real pleasure after having struggled with today’s Grauniad Cryptic.

    However, I did fail to get 23a SIDINGS as this possibilty never occurred to me.

    Try as I may, I can’t win them all.

  2. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Hamilton for the puzzle and Ringo for the blog.

    Re 21ac: this was one of many that took me longer than it should have done, but I was perfectly happy with it once I had solved it.

    Because I started with 1ac, I had no problem solving 1dn. Nonetheless I feel it is an unsatisfactory clue, since PAULA would work equally well without the checked letters.

  3. quodlibet says:

    President George W. Bush was supposed to have said that there is no French word for ‘entrepreneur’, but this seems to be a canard (do the French have a word for that?) Ronald Reagan did claim that Russian had no word for ‘freedom’.

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