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Financial Times 13785 Neo

Posted by scchua on August 30th, 2011


A bit of apprehension when I saw Neo as the setter (having had diffulties with Tees before).  But I think Neo is pitched a little easier, and this didn’t cause too many problems.  My CODs were the 2 No. 1s.  Thanks Neo.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  Hidden connections are in 2 of the picture sets.


1 “Very large in glee” misconstrues Hamlet’s plot (7,5)

VILLAGE GREENAnagram of(misconstrues) V(very) LARGE IN GLEE

Defn:  The communal plot of land found in old hamlets,villages,small towns, where cricket matches against neighbouring villages, fetes, and other community events would be held.  Very enjoyable and clever misdirection


8 Is to secure new, extravagant place (7)

INSTALLIS containing(to secure) N(new) plus TALL(excessive,extravagant, as in “a tall order”, “a tall tale”)

9 Star unfit with belly layer (7)

STRATUMAnagram of(unfit) STAR plus(with) TUM(tummy,short for stomach,belly)

11 Dodgy doctor stashing drugs in some department (4,3)

COTE DORAnagram of(dodgy) DOCTOR containing(stashing) E(drugs,specifically Ecstasy)

Defn:  A French adminstrative area in eastern France, famous for its Burgundy wines, especially Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

         The Great Barrier Reef    

12 Country person of vulgar habits heading off sometime soon (7)

LEBANON :  LEB{(“pleb” is short for “plebeian”,coarse vulgar person, minus its initial letter(heading off), “p”} ANON(in a while,sometime soon)

13 Buried during ancient city’s catastrophic end (5)

UNDERAnagram of(catastrophic) END contained in(during) UR(ancient city in what is now south Iraq)

14 Nervous Shakespeare women dismissed with some banter (3,2,4)

ILL AT EASE :  ILL{short for William Shakespeare minus(dismissed) the letter “w”,women} plus(with) A TEASE(one of things one might say,banter to jokingly annoy somebody)

16 With sixth sense they leap in dance across time (9)

TELEPATHYAnagram of(in dance) THEY LEAP containing(across) T(time)

Defn:  The noun for the elusive and illusive ability to transmit and receive thought across space without the help of any of the other five senses.

19 What propels boat south – men at oar (5)

SCREW :  S(south) CREW(the men working the oars)

21 Expect payment where hospital refused to perform surgery (7)

OPERATE :  OPE{“hope”,expect minus(refused) the letter “h”,hospital} RATE(payment,charge)

23 Nobleman given honour as something of a listener (7)

EARLOBE :  EARL(nobleman) plus(given) OBE{Officer of the Order of the British Empire, an honour given to chosen British subjects by the Queen (or King)}.  An amusing surface of an earl being honoured for being a good listener.

Defn:  The fleshy part of the ear,listener.  One of the common parts of the anatomy for decoration/mutilation.

Ear Lobe Piercing Picture   

24 Demonstrators in rain? (7)

SHOWERS :  Double defn:  1st:  A rarely-used noun from the verb to show,demonstrate; perhaps just as well since the slang meaning is somewhat embarrassing.

25 Thomas for one infected, cold caught (7)

SCEPTIC :  SEPTIC(infected, eg. as open wounds could be unless treated with antiseptic medicine) containing(caught) C(cold, as would be seen on your bathroom taps)

Defn:  What the Biblical Doubting Thomas was.

26 Potter’s work in poem has pun that’s awful (3-9)

ONE-UPMANSHIPAnagram of(that’s awful) IN POEM HAS PUN

Defn:  Book by Stephen Potter (1900-1969), a spoofy “self-help” book on how to be one-up on the other guy.  Other of his books include “Gamesmanship”, “Lifemanship”,”Supermanship” and “The Complete Golf Gamesmanship”.


1 Caligula’s sex position many came to see (7)

VISITED :  VI(Roman, of which Caligula was one, numeral for six,sex in Latin, which Caligula undoubtedly spoke) SITE(location,position) D(Roman numeral for 500,many).  Excellent misdirection and an anti-climax, as you might say, after figuring it out.

2 Heroic lover with piercing eye (7)

LEANDER :  AND(in addition to,with) contained in(piercing) LEER(to look at,eye with lascivious interest, as associated, rightly or wrongly, with “dirty old men”)


Defn:  Mythical lover of Hero, thus Heroic lover.   

3 Leader on Annapurna gets ill – right to receive treatment and physician (9)

ALLERGIST :  A(first letter,leader of Annapurna) plus anagram of(to receive treatment) [GETS ILL plus R(right)]

4 Artistic support for treacherous person beheaded (5)

EASEL :  EASEL{“weasel”,untrustworthy,treacherous person minus its first letter(beheaded), “w”}

Defn:  Whimsical definition of that which supports the artist’s canvas

5 Cheese on toast provides unusually good mouthful (7)

RAREBIT :  RARE(unusually good,excellent) BIT(mouthful,what you’ve bitten off)

6 Sent into stormily sea-girt land (7)

ESTONIAAnagram of(stormily) SEA containing(girt) anagram of(sent) INTO

7 Rude Posh attends dance club, sure to get thrown out (12)

DISCOURTEOUS :  U(posh,upper-class) contained in(attends) {DISCO(dance club rampant in the 70s) plus anagram of(get thrown out) SURE TO}

10 Reckon why men worked with tool (6-6)


15 Parishioner’s poem sung for each boy (9)

LAYPERSON :  LAY(poem, especially one to be sung) PER(for each, as in per capita, per annum, etc) SON(boy)

17 Told Porky to have some rest (3-4)

LIE-DOWN :  LIED(told porky,a lie) OWN(to have,possess)

18 Man almost catches delayed plane (7)

PLATEAU :  PAU{“Paul”, a man’s name or sometimes an octopus’s, minus its last letter(almost), “l”} containing(catches) LATE(past the expected/due time,delayed)

Defn:  A flat level surface or a figurative level of attainment, as in “he’s plateaued/levelled out in his musical performance.”

19 Terrifying sound rocks Switzerland (7)

SCREECH :  SCREE(a mass of broken rocks on the side of a mountain) CH(IVR code for Switzerland, from the French “Confédération Helvétique” – I had always wondered about that)

20 Vase for standing contains nothing in high place (7)

ROOFTOPReversal of(standing, in a down clue) of [POT(vase, perhaps more elegant in looks than a common garden pot) plus FOR] containing(contains) O(letter that looks like zero, therefore used to stand for nothing)

22 Mares would triumph here, in sleep so monstrous (5)

EPSOMHidden in(in) sleEP SO Monstrous

Defn:  The racecourse, Epsom Downs, in Surrey, England where the annual Derby is held.  I assume mares have their fair share of triumphs at Epsom.



6 Responses to “Financial Times 13785 Neo”

  1. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Neo for an enjoyable puzzle and scchua for the blog. My favourite clues were 2dn and 6dn.

    A small point about 19dn: all the sources I have just checked give CH as from the Latin Confoederatio Helvetica rather than the French. As well as being the IVR code, “.ch” is also the top-level internet domain code.

    I have one minor quibble with the crossword itself: I am not entirely happy with “during” as an inclusion indicator in 13ac. Would not “in” have given as good a surface?

    Finally a point about 1ac. The clue could also be parsed as V + (LARGE IN GLEE)*, keeping the abbrevation away from the anagram. Normally I prefer such parsings, to avoid any hint of an indirect anagram, but in this case I prefer your reading, because of the quotation marks. Note also that R for right is an essential part of the anagram fodder at 3dn.

  2. Steve says:

    Thanks Neo and scchua. As you say, excellent misdirection on 1ac and 1dn. I wasted a lot of time trying to make something of REVENGE -R-E- from the anagram fodder before the penny dropped on 1dn making me rethink 1ac.

  3. Neo says:

    Well thanks, scchua, for the excruciatingly pleasant and pictorial blog, not to mention Pelham and Steve for their comments, but I’m left wondering whether this work of art of yours possibly deserved a few more comments. Maybe your tribespeople frightened them off: maybe I frightened them off with Caligula and his (probably very perverted and violent) sex? Who knows. But I’ll go with more or less all of what you said, with the possible exception of

    7dn Rude Posh attends dance club, sure to get thrown out

    which is DISCO/ U/ RTEOUS* with plural usage for (there being no need in this case to resort to ‘strings of letters’) the two anag fodder words. Thus the tense is maintained for the whole clue.

    VILLAGE GREEN is intended to be read as V plus anag, but I do, since old habits (with many of mine having been picked up via Guardian crosswords) die hard, occasionally use what might be considered to be ‘indirect’ elements in anagram fodder (v for very being a case in point, though not here).

    Many thanks,

  4. anax says:

    A little late to the fray – and always nervous about appearing to suck up to a much-loved colleague – but I really enjoyed this, full of characteristic cleverness as in 9a, 19a, 1d (brillo) and the lovely 18d. Major kudos for finding something original for EASEL too; whenever I end up with that in a grid I feel like it’s a struggle to find anything that isn’t a raging chestnut.

    As PB himself says, a shame to see so few comments, but I notice even the Graun review has attracted (at this time) a measly 17 comments, so I’m guessing many are using this Bank Holiday for a last summer week’s fling in the rain. Hopefully we’ll be back to normal, and covered in mildew, next week.

  5. scchua says:

    Late posting due time difference. Thanks for dropping by Neo, always good to see what the setter’s thinking is. Thanks too to Pelham, Steve and Anax for dropping a line on a dry day like this.

  6. Neo says:

    Bank Holiday suggestion makes sense. It may also account for why it took me 5 1/2 hours to get from South London to Newcastle-under-Lyme on Friday. That’s an average of 30.9 mph according to the Ambleside Schools Calculator (thanks Google). And thanks Anax too: don’t be ashamed! I now feel like Muttley with a medal (not that you’re necessarily Dastardly).

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