Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,774 by Gozo

Posted by PeeDee on August 17th, 2011


Yet another great crossword from Gozo, and I’m lucky enough to get to write the blog again.  It wasn’t easy, but well worth the effort to complete.

The recent guest on the Desert Island Discs radio programme referred to in the preamble is, of course, John Galbraith Graham who sets FT crosswords under the pseudonym Cinephile (29 across).  You can listen to the programme again here.  I am curious as to how Procol Harum get mixed up in the otherwise very genteel choice of music, I shall be listening to find out more just as soon as this blog is posted.

There are so many good elements to this crossword that it is hard to single out any part for a special mention, but I nominate 5,6,14 for the way the anagram fits into the surface reading.  15,18 and 26 ac are also very good, but I have seen them before.  Mainly I enjoyed the breadth of general knowledge required for a completed solution, some of which I knew already, and some I learnt for the first time today.

Thanks Gozo.

Hold mouse over a clue number to read the clue.

1 BETHLEHEM BETH (young girl) LE (‘the’ in French) HEM (border) – reference to the Christmas carol “O little town of Bethlehem…”
6 WIPER anagram of Piano (quietly) and WIRE
9 HOMBURG Hat and music by Procol Harum
10 See 7
11 See 22
12 SAKI Author and type of monkey
14 SWEETEN NEWS (reports) about TEE (support) reversed – modify in the sense of mitigate, e.g. ‘sweeten the pill’
15, 6 down, 14 down BLOW THE WIND SOUTHERLY (HOLTBY WHISTLED OUR NEW)* – traditional song, sung by Kathleen Ferrier
16 DEE tiDE Ebbs – any of the many rivers of that name
17 ULSTERS Left and REST* (anagram=broken) in US (the States)
19 EASTERS A (acting, abbrev) in ESTERS (class of chemical compounds) – people who live in the Eastern USA
21 HOVE Double definition – Sussex town and nautical term
22, 11 THE HEAVENS ARE TELLING HEAVENS (sky) Associate inside THERE and TELLING (counting) – music by Joseph Haydn
27 VULPINE V (quintet, 5 Roman numeral) and LINEUP* – cunning, like a fox
28 YAHOO Double definition – badly behaved person and an enthusiatic but inept stroke in cricket
29 CINEPHILE IN (popular) EP (extended play, recording) in CHILE (the country) – pseudonym in the FT for the Reverend John Graham crossword compiler
1 BOHEA BOHEmiA (region of Czecholslovakia missing ‘M1′ motorway) – a type of China tea
2 TAMPERE TAMPEREr (meddler without R=right) – the third most populous city in Finland.
3 LAUREL TREE Stan Laurel and Sir Herbert Tree (knighted actor) – the bay tree
4 HIGHLANDS (eNGLISH HAD)* without capital letter
5 MACON CO (company) inside MAN (worker) – famous French wine
6 See 15 across
7, 10 PEASANT CANTATA ANT (worker) inside CANAPEES* and TA-TA (farewell) – music by JS Bach
8 READINESS READ (study at university) NES (three points of the compass) inside (inner) IS (one has, I=Roman numeral) – definition is ‘inclination’
13 CODSWALLOP COD (fish) and SWALLOwP (bird with last letter changed from W to P)
14 See 15 across
15, 18 BEETHOVEN SEVENTH BeethoVen (seventh letter of)
20 EMERITI IE reversed containing MERIT (worth)
23 HI-TEC wHITE Christmas
24 SWEDE Emmanuel SWEDEnborg (half of) – theologian and religious mystic who inspired Swedenborgianism – what a great word!
25 SUMO SUM (total) O (zero, tennis score)


17 Responses to “Financial Times 13,774 by Gozo”

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks PeeDee, this was good fun. The subject of the theme was very obvious, but I couldn’t remember any of his DID choices when I started (and didn’t was to “cheat” by looking them up). However they gradually came back to me as I worked my way through the puzzle.

  2. Bryan says:

    Many thanks PeeDee for your analysis.

    I was pleased when my home town hoved into sight and, of course, CINEPHILE was an obvious way into the theme but I only caught a few minutes of DID and I couldn’t remember anything that he had chosen.

    Consequently, I abandoned this very quickly because – in my view – it was just not worth any effort.

    Sorry, Gozo, but you have delivered a NoNo.

  3. Conrad Cork says:


    I don’t think you needed to abandon. I couldn’t recall any of the music chosen (by definition making it unmemorable at least for me) and initially worried a bit, but Gozo, the poet among compilers, supplied such excellent subsidiary indications that there was no problem in the end.

    Is the opposite of a NoNo a Oui Oui?

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the good blog, Peedee.

    I very rarely disagree with Andrew [or Conrad, whose comment has appeared while I’ve been writing this] but I’m afraid that practically all the fun, for me, was ruined by the preamble and the ‘chosen by 29′ in the relevant clues. It seems to be a feature of FT crosswords for any theme to be clearly indicated but this is the most heavy-handed example I have seen so far, I think. John Graham’s appearance on DID had been widely publicised, particularly in Crosswordland, and, since that’s where we are, with the preamble read, there was barely a need for a clue to 29ac, let alone one beginning ‘compiler’! [Without the preamble, the ‘Compiler’s popular recording’ would have given sufficient hint of the theme.]

    Like Andrew, I couldn’t remember all the choices and was determined not to look them up – although this would have been all too easy. I would so have enjoyed that great ‘aha’ moment when I’d solved two or three and suddenly saw the connection.

    I think this was a delightful idea for a puzzle and there are some excellent clues, as always from Gozo, but it could have been so very much better, as far as I’m concerned.

    [I’m sorry, too, Gozo – but for rather different reasons from Bryan]

  5. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Gozo and PeeDee.

    I did not listen to the Desert Island Discs programme, although I knew it was taking place, but was able to infer the answers from the subsidiary indications. To me, that is how a thematic crossword should be.

  6. PeeDee says:

    Does anyone know whether the preamble was added by Gozo or the FT crossword editor?

  7. Eileen says:

    Hi PeeDee

    As I said, I’ve seen the theme stated several times before – but, on reflection, I think they were mostly Gozo puzzles, so it’s hard to say!

    Rev John himself has written several puzzles along the lines of ‘seven of the clues are of a kind and lack further definition’ or ‘F signifies the same thing in all cases’ – which is fine – and I think they were Cinephile ones, but can’t be certain.

  8. PeeDee says:

    Hi Eileen,

    I recall Gozo commenting on a previous blog that the preambles were not always his idea. I had not heard of the DID appearance by Rev J Graham (which made the crossword more interesting I think).

    Regarding ‘Crossword Land’, I suspect many FT solvers live in the real world and have busy jobs to do. Many will have never heard of Fifteensquared let alone hang out here, listen to Desert Island Discs or read the crossword news. It’s probably not so much common knowledge as you suspect.

  9. Eileen says:

    Fair point, PeeDee. I know not everyone’s as obsessive as me / us!

    I was probably being overly grumpy. It’s just that I prefer the Indy and Guardian policy, where, on the whole, setters / editors give us the satisfaction of gradually seeing the theme for ourselves. [I don’t remember seeing that comment of Gozo’s.]

    [I’m actually being rather ambivalent here, as I have been known to say how frustrating it must be for setters to have a theme and no one see it – as [nearly] happened to Puck in the Guardian yesterday! I suppose it’s a question of a happy medium.]

    Since others have obviously thoroughly enjoyed this crossword, I’ll stop now! [I hope Gozo realises that my ‘rant’ was really a kind of backhanded compliment. 😉 ]

  10. mlega says:

    I didn’t find the DID references a problem: it just told me that we needed some pieces of music. And I had no idea who Cinephile actually is.

    But I couldn’t do 19ac (and am not that impressed with the answer), nor 20dn.

    Rest I thought fair play. And I found out that saki is a monkey!

    Thanks for the blog.

  11. walruss says:

    I thought Gozo’s last puzzle a bit in your face about its theme too! The clues had no definition, but were anagrams of twop Shakespeare characters that we had to enter into the across grid spaces. Not the most skilled handling of a theme I have ever seen, and today is clumpy as well. (But don’t worry Gozo, I am off to Asia tomorrow and it might be for a veryu long time!)

  12. Tom Johnson says:

    Thanks to the favourable comments. I do not recall actually “stating” my views about preambles, by the way, though many of my puzzles do include a preamble, especially in the Spectator series. True, though, that some of my FT puzzles do include a preamble, if that is what was meant by the comment.
    Conrad, as always, is very positive in what he writes.

    One of my moments of serendipity when compiling the clues has been missed by everyone so far. The “HOLTBY” reference is to Cinephile’s sister, Mary Holtby, whom he mentioned in the DID programme and whose poem/hymn was another of his eight choices of music.

    PeeDee’s comment about those of us in “Crossword world” knowing everything about the edition of DID, who Cinephile is and which records he chose is spot-on. As a compiler I had to tread a careful middle-ground when compiling and cluing the puzzle. Don’t forget than many FT solvers live abroad anyway and will not automatically have heard of the broadcast, or been able to receive it, if they had known of it. You only have to look at the names of prize winners in each Saturday’s edition of the newspaper to see just how far afield our solvers live.

  13. PeeDee says:

    Tom, my apologies for claiming your views on preambles and special instructions. I am getting confused with an earlier blog of a Monk crossword, where he informed us that the preamble was added by the editor, not by him.

  14. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the wise words, Tom. I’m throughly chastened, especially after missing the ‘Holtby’ reference.

    I remember John Graham choosing his sister’s poem / hymn but didn’t register / remember her name. Today, the only ‘Holtby’ I recalled was ‘South Riding’ Winifred but,like Andrew, I admired the rest of the clue’s surface. Pure serendipity, as you say.

  15. verbose says:

    Re: 20a, I’ve lived in the US for more than twenty years now and have never heard anybody refer to folks living in the eastern US as “easters.” The usage isn’t documented in the online OED either. How common is it?

  16. PeeDee says:

    Chambers dictionary gives ‘easters’ as having the same meaning as ‘Easterners’, which it gives (among other definitions) as residents of the NE USA. I’m not convinced that easters refers specifically to this particular definition, but I give Gozo the benefit of the doubt (simply because I liked the crossword).

  17. quodlibet says:

    A “down-easter” is someone from Maine. I was born and raised in the northeastern US and have never heard “easter” used to refer to a human being.

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