Fifteensquared

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Financial Times 13,777 by Cinephile (the John Steinbeck puzzle)

Posted by Pete Maclean on September 1st, 2011

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of August 20

Cinephile is back with a themed puzzle. I copped to the theme fairly quickly and, having been a Steinbeck fan in my youth, easily filled in most of the “novel” answers. (And last year I visited the Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California.) The rest followed fairly well although 29A (ICONIUM) was tough for me. There are a few clues that I have concerns about.

Across
4, 9. GRAPES OF WRATH – anagram of SOFTWARE in GRAPH (mathematical drawing). But surely the proper name of the novel is “The Grapes of Wrath”?
10. SCRAPER – double definition. An economist is one who scrapes? Of course it makes for a less shiny clue but I fancy that should be an economiser.
11, 12, 16, 1, 31. THE BEST LAID SCHEMES OF MICE AND MEN – THEBES (ancient city) + anagram of IS CLAD in THEMES (subjects) + OF MICE AND MEN (novel). This reinserts the name of Steinbeck’s book into the line of Burns’ from which it was originally taken.
13. OTHER IDEAS – hidden words. This clue cleverly hides the answer but seems a bit of a mess. Is “taken-for-granted” the definition? Or “taken-for-granted opponent”? I do not see how either works. And I see no clear hidden indicator unless we allow one that overlaps with the fodder.
15. THREAT – anagram of HATTER
20. ISOTOPE – I (one) + SO (like this) + TOP (highest) + E (note)
21. SCOTIA – double definition
24. INDEFINITE – FIN (swimmer’s organ) in INDITE (write)
28. DECIDER – DE (of French) + CIDER (drink)
29. ICONIUM – ICON (picture) + I (one) + UM (some hesitation). This was the hardest clue for me. It works well but it took me a while to find a connection between St. Paul and this city.
30. SATANIST – A (a) + TAN (sunburnt complexion) both in SIST. My thanks to EB for explaining this — see comments below. “Diabolical fellow” seems a close but not a precise definition of satanist.

Down
1. OBSOLETE – SOLE (fish) in anagram of TO BE. This is probably my favourite clue of the puzzle.
2. MARDI GRAS – DIG (like) + RA (artist) both in MARS (planet)
3. COPE – COPE[nhagen]
5. RETRENCH – re-trench (dig again)
6. PRESIDENCY – anagram of DENIS PERCY
7. SCENE – homophone (“seen”)
8. FETISH – FE (iron) + anagram of THIS
14. EAST OF EDEN – TO (to) + FED (FBI man) both in EASE (leisure) + N (pole)
17. EXTREMIST – anagram of STRIMME[r]
18. OPEN ARMS – OPEN (begin) + ARMS (weapons)
19. MARKSMAN – MARKS (boy’s) + MAN (island)
22. HINDUS – [alla]H[abad] + INDUS (river)
25. DUCAT – hidden word
27, 23, 26. JOHN STEINBECK – anagram of KENNETHS JOB IC (in charge)

8 Responses to “Financial Times 13,777 by Cinephile (the John Steinbeck puzzle)”

  1. EB says:

    Thanks Pete and Cinephile.

    Thoroughly enjoyed this as usual with Cinephile (and his Guardian alter ego.)

    For 30ac he has used a device that seems to be being used more and more – it tends to be referred to as the ‘indeed’ trick.

    View ‘insist’ as ‘in sist’ and put ‘a tan’ in ‘sist’ and you get ‘satanist.’

  2. scchua says:

    Thanks Pete and Cinephile for the themed puzzle.

    Got into the theme quite easily with EAST OF EDEN, then the author’s name. Favourites were 22D HINDUS, 30A SATANIST, which I parsed the same as EB@1, and 19D MARKSMAN.

    BTW, I’m sorry to say this, but I think your header is a bit of a spoiler – any visitor to the home page will see it on the left together with headers for the other puzzles.

  3. EB says:

    Looking at this thread again I’ve noticed something I missed the first time – your problem with 13ac.
    My ‘take’ on it is – if ‘opponent’ is read as an adjective rather than a noun it can mean ‘contrary to or opposite to’ then ‘other ideas’ can be contrary to ‘taken for granted’ and the same ‘trick’ as in 30ac has been used ie. ‘in t(o the ride a s)hort ……’

  4. Pete Maclean says:

    EB, Thanks for the “indeed” tip. I realize now that I have come across this device before but failed to spot it here. I still think 13A is a bit murky but not as bad as I had previously thought.

    sschua, True, for anyone who has yet to do the puzzle, the headline would be a big spoiler. But would there be many such people? I guess I should not make any assumptions about that and will try to remember not to do this again. Thanks for making the point.

  5. Bamberger says:

    I look forward to the Saturday FT puzzle but my heart sank when a) I saw it was by Cinephile and b)it had one enormous clue that covered 5 clues .
    a)Cinephile (or Araucauria) seems to be a marmite character judging by comments in the Grauniad whenever he sets-mainly because he is not Ximean. He seems to get more than his fair share of crosswords to the detriment of the younger solvers (and setters) Have I just done the crossword equivalent of shooting Bambi?
    b)get the clue and you are well away-don’t get it and you have large gaps.

    I can’t imagine that many people will bot have a crossowrd nearly two weeks old and come here before attempting it so not a spoiler in my book.

  6. scchua says:

    Hi Bamberger, I happen to be one of those who delays doing the FT prizes until Thursday when the answers come out here (Not doing it for the prizes). In the meantime I might just have completed current puzzles (Thursday’s or even Wednesday’s if I have a backlog), the order of completion not necessarily chronological. It is when accessing the home page (as mentioned) for these other completed puzzles that one can see the spoiler, not that one is looking for this particular puzzle.

    Thanks Peter for your understanding.

  7. Wil Ransome says:

    Agree with you Pete about various things: there is no Steinbeck novel ‘Grapes of Wrath'; Scraper = economist is dodgy; 13ac is messy, with no good definition. And two things not mentioned so far: ‘Indefinite’ is not an article — it’s a description of a type of article; and where is the hidden indicator in 25ac? (To have simply the word ‘for’ is surely not enough).

  8. Pete Maclean says:

    Wil, I noticed that issue with ‘indefinite’ but decided to give Cinephile a little cruciverbal license with it. I also noticed the lack of a hidden-word indicator in 25D (DUCAT) but wondered if there might be some excuse that I was unaware of for omitting that when the answer is hidden within a single word. I guess not now.

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