Fifteensquared

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Financial Times 13,771 by Cincinnus

Posted by Pete Maclean on August 25th, 2011

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of August 13

Well, here is a confounding puzzle from Cincinnus. It includes a good dose of his typically brilliant clues, notably 14A (PAINTERS) and 10D (BARNACLE GOOSE) but also has three clues that strike me as suspect (17A, 22A and 6D). Given how impeccable Cincinnus usually is, I hope that I am missing something in these cases.

Across
1. NO FEAR – O (old) + F[ogey] both in NEAR (close)
4. SCHOONER – anagram of HE CROONS
9. MERIT – TIRE (weary) backwards + M (maiden)
10. BEEFSTEAK – F (fine) in BEES (insects) + TEAK (timber)
11. PALAVER – PAL (china) + AVER (say). “China” is a very Scottish term for a pal, a good friend.
12. ELEVENS – EVEN (regular) in ELS (golfer)
13. RAUL – RA (soldiers) + U[sefu]L
14. PAINTERS – anagram of PARENTIS. With, surely, one of the best anagram indicators ever.
17. HONOLULU – anagram of OH NO (cry of dismay) + LULU (singer). I have a lot to say about this clue. First, I initially got a wrong answer. With H___L___, I filled in HAMILTON (capital of Bermuda). Once I got 5D, which could hardly be ambiguous, I realized HAMILTON had to be wrong and I quickly hit on HONOLULU instead. The trouble here is “about”. It’s a pesky word in crossword puzzles because it could be an anagram indication, a reversal indicator or a surrounding indicator. In this case it seems it must be the first, that is denoting an anagram of OH NO. But this means we have an indirect anagram, a construction that is generally frowned upon except in cases where the measure of indirectness is very small (such as “left” for L). So we have the unusual case where one could argue that a wrong answer, HAMILTON, works better than the correct answer, HONOLULU. Now it is true that “Oh no!” is a somewhat more specific cry of dismay than “Ah!”, but either could do. It must also be true that, at least in Britain, Lulu is better known than Milton (that is Milton Nascimento, the Brazilian singer, sometimes identified simply as “Milton”). So, which is worse: one slightly obscure musician or an indirect anagram?
19. PERI – reverse hidden word
22. POSTBAG – POST (job) + BAG (secure). I wondered about “mail” cluing postbag. It seemed a bit of a stretch to me but we have a good confirmation in comment 6 that this is okay.
24. ILL FAME – anagram of I FALL + ME (myself)
25. WOEBEGONE – O (love) in WE (we) + BE GONE (depart)
26. DRILL – DR (doctor) + ILL (in a bad way)
27. SPLATTER – S[inger] + PLATTER (record)
28. WEIGHT – homophone (“wait”)

Down
1. NAME PART – anagram of TAMPER AN
2. FOR A LAUGH – ORAL (spoken) in FAUGH (expression of disgust)
3. ACTIVE – ACT IV (end of play?) + [audienc]E
5. CREME ANGLAISE – anagram of NAME SACRILEGE
6. OBSCENE – O (Ohio) + B (book) + SCENE (location)??? I suspect I am missing something here. I expect Ohio to clue OH but here there is no H.
7. NIECE – reverse hidden word
8. RAKISH – RAKI (liquor) + S[tomac]H
10. BARNACLE GOOSE – anagram of BARCELONA GOES
15. SEESAWING – SEE (get) + S[tuck] + A (a) + WING (branch)
16. TIME SLOT – TIMES (newspaper) + LOT (group)
18. NOBLEST – NOB (person of distinction) + LEST (in case)
20. SPAWNS – PAWN (pop) in [bru]SS[els]
21. PLEDGE – double definition
23. SWELL – double definition

10 Responses to “Financial Times 13,771 by Cincinnus”

  1. Lenny says:

    Thanks Pete. I did this in bed last night so it is fresh in my mind. It made a very pleasant end to the day with Cincinnus’ characteristic wit and ingenuity. I particularly liked the two long anagrams for Barnacle Goose and Crème Anglaise and the hidden word Peri.

    I had the same problem as you with Honolulu. Thanks for parsing For a Laugh. I did not know the word Faugh and thought the expression of disgust was Ugh so the wordplay was lost on me.

    It was nice to be reminded of platters at 27. It was a popular word in the 1950’s usually applied to 78rpm records and of course the Platters were a popular American vocal group. My dictionary gives the word as old inf. esp. US.

  2. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Pete & Cincinnus.

    Very enjoyable but trickier than usual.

    There’s a typo in your blog as ELEVENS should be 12a while 13a is missing.

    Do I get a reward?

  3. John Newman says:

    Thanks Pete. Glad you said confounding. One of the harder Cincinnus for a while. I had a number of “why” annotations on my answers so am glad to see your explanations.

    13A was one I couldn;t get so hope you will soon provide it.

    Faugh is a word I have never heard of so would never get 2D. I have also never heard of pop meaning pawn. And how does pledge mean toast? Another one of your american dictionaries?

    I am also still stuck on Palaver. Pal = china?

    I liked woebegone.

    cheers

    John

  4. Bryan says:

    John Newman @ 3

    13a is RAUL:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ra%C3%BAl_Castro

    Do you get it now?

  5. Pete Maclean says:

    Bryan, Thanks for pointing out my omission of the proper 13A. I have corrected it. Surely the satisfaction of pointing out the blogger’s lapse is reward enough? :-)

    John, I have added an explanation of CHINA = PAL. I don’t know if it is much in current use but in my young days, “china” was in common use in Scotland to mean one’s pal.

  6. Pelham Barton says:

    I am entering this discussion not having done the crossword, but in the hope that this may be helpful:

    22ac: Chambers (1998 p. 1280) gives “a term used collectively for letters received” as a definition for postbag, which works for me.

    6dn: O = Ohio also has the authority of Chambers (1998 p. 1116), although I agree that OH is what one would expect.

    17ac: I cannot find a way of making this respectable.

    11ac: I do not think CHINA = PAL is specifically Scottish. I have always understood it to be abbreviated rhyming slang China plate = mate. This is also given (as Cockney rhyming slang) in Chambers (1998 p. 286).

  7. Pete Maclean says:

    Pelham, Thank you for that. I am now satisfied with postbag and accepting of OHIO = O although not quite happy with it.

    So, could CHINA = PAL be Cockney slang? I suspected it was Scottish as I only ever heard it used in conversation there.

    Pete

  8. Keeper says:

    Thanks for the blog, Pete. China = PAL was new to me.

    As a Yank, I was preparing to voice strong objection to Ohio = O (we use OH to avoid confusion with Oklahoma and Oregon). But just before posting, I remembered B&O (Baltimore and Ohio) Railroad, which is well known to American players of the board game Monopoly.

  9. Pete Maclean says:

    Keeper, Thanks for your comments. I figure that plenty of people, even Brits, are not familiar with China = PAL. To us Europeans, B&O is also well known but as Bang & Olufsen.

  10. Bamberger says:

    My notes indicated that I couldn’t parse 2d and I have never come across faugh.
    I got Honolulu fairly early but I thought that oh no rather than ho no was the correct expression.

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