Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times no.13,781 by GAFF

Posted by Ringo on August 25th, 2011


In a bit of a hurry this morning, so please forgive any typos/slips/basic errors of logic and/or judgment.

Far too many anagrams for my liking from Gaff today (my rule of thumb is that, if the anagrams don’t all fit on the Jotter Pad, there’s too many of them). Plus a theme that will leave many, I expect, thinking School hasn’t half changed since my day…


1, 4. GCSE RESULTS DAY  Oh, how I love an anagram of an abbreviation (by the way, is there  a specific word for a series of initials – like GCSE – that doesn’t make a word (I think an acronym has to be a word, like scuba or radar)?) Anyway, this is a nice &lit, as today is the day UK teenagers get their GCSE results – anagram of Gree(k) study class

9. PINOT BLANC  Anagram of point + Blanc [as in Raymond, the celebrated chef]

10. LOPE  (E)lope [run away]

11. AEROBICS  Double definition: the process of taking in oxygen, and a once-fashionable way of working out

12. ARABIC  AC [alternating current, i.e. (power) supply) incorporating (kohl)rabi [type of cabbage] to give a subject that one might study at GCSE (see 1ac.)

13. DELI  Hidden in siDELIne

14. NEARSIDE  Anagram of needs air to give the side of a car on which the passenger sits (as opposed to the driver’s side, or offside)

17. OPOSSUMS  Very slightly cryptic definition to give the mammal known for playing dead

19. See 26ac.

22. SOMALI  Hidden in blosSOM A LIly to give another subject for our polyglot GCSE students

24. RETROFIT  Retro [dated] + fit [suit]

25, 3. HOME ECONOMICS  Anagram of choice (c)onsomme to give another GCSE subject

26, 19. EXPRESSIVE ARTS  Express [squeeze out] + I [one] + hearts [suit] with V [five] replacing h to give another GCSE subject – the study of drama and music, presumably

27. GEODESISTS  Anagram of god sees its to give a technical term that I haven’t got time to go into here…

28. SIDE  Double definition, presumably referring to a side dish as opposed to a main meal as well as to ‘side’ as in ‘team’


2. CHINESE  Anagram of franchisee minus the letters of far to give another GCSE subject

3. See 25ac.

4. RABBIT  Double definition: a rabbit is a poor performer in sport (in particular, a bad tail-end batsman in cricket), and might also be pulled from a Derby (US term for a bowler hat) by a conjurer – excellent clue

5. STARS AND STRIPES  Stars [celebrities] + Andes [(mountain) range] incorporating strip [disrobe] to give Old Glory

6. LACKADAY  Another smart double definition: lackaday is an archaic cry of dismay, and, because Monday is a Bank Holiday in England, the working week will lack a day

7. SALSA  Double definition: a dance and a spicy sauce

8, 16. APPLIED BUSINESS  Anagram of builde(r)s within (h)appiness to give a GCSE subject

15. SEACOASTS  Sounds like seek [look for] oasts [ovens]

16. See 8dn.

18. PROPOSE  Op [work, opus] within prose [plain language]

20. THIEVED  Anagram of the devi(l)

21. STRESS Double definition

23. AMEND  Amen [response, in church] + (dea)d to give ‘amend’, (put) right

7 Responses to “Financial Times no.13,781 by GAFF”

  1. Brian H says:

    As a solver who doesn’t live in the UK, and moreover as a solver for whom such an examination is well over sixty years in the past (when it used to be called something else) this Xword was nothing more than a load of unknowns.
    And, moreover, un-cared abouts.

  2. Conrad Cork says:

    Maybe a bit harsh Brian? All the answers, except 1, were far from unknown to anyone. And even 1 could scarcely be anything else, given the anagram fodder.

    Whoever and wherever you are Gaff, I salute your achievement.

  3. Uncle Yap says:

    Gaff made a gaffe with his parochial theme with such disparate subjects; somali, chinese, home economics? Why not theme WORDS and then every word in the dictionary would be fair game.

    Nope, I did not enjoy the puzzle at all.

  4. Pelham Barton says:

    I was not going to comment on this puzzle, but I cannot leave the balance of comments against it. It is a puzzle in a UK newspaper with a theme marking a day of importance to a large part of the UK population (even some people in Scotland may have relatives in other parts of the UK who were getting there results on the day of the puzzle).

    The puzzle is well structured, with the separation of 1ac from 4ac allowing a reference to 1ac in the thematic clues, all of which could be deduced readily enough from the subsidiary indications.

    While GCSE may be UK specific, the set of subjects including three languages from widely separated parts of the world can hardly be said to be parochial.

  5. Ringo says:

    Thanks, all, for your comments – and thanks to Gaff, too, of course.

    Like you, Pelham, I think some commenters have been a bit harsh; I wouldn’t say that the theme is particularly parochial, although I have to agree to some extent with Uncle Yap’s observation that a category that can be stretched to include ‘Somali’ and ‘Applied Business’ is really barely a category at all…

  6. Pelham Barton says:

    Further to 4, I should of course have thanked Gaff for a puzzle which I enjoyed and Ringo for the blog.

    I should also apologise for “getting there results”: of course I meant “their”.

  7. DeclanOR says:

    I did this puzzle in the US on August 30, where I have lived for over 40 years. Like the non-UK resident above I was flummoxed for a time by 1 ac – I had the anagram letters and the possibility of the word ‘results’, until, prompted by the “Today …” beginning to the clue, I Googled “August 25 UK” and Lo and Behold, the first reference was to “News for August 25 UK, GCSE Results”. Not having ever spent much time in the UK, nor having ever heard of the GCSE, (I’m Irish) this was a godsend; it was there for the taking.

    Nevertheless, ‘lackaday’ and ‘aerobics’ got me.

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