Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,778 – Crux

Posted by Sil van den Hoek on September 1st, 2011

Sil van den Hoek.

Monday Prize Crossword/Aug 22

After two consecutive Dantes we were likely to have a Crux this time. I know (therefore admit) that I was a bit critical about his recent offerings, but here he was certainly on form.

Some very inventive cluing along the way, notably in 18ac, 3d and 23d. Not hard, but (de)light(ful) and elegant with nice surfaces and plenty of sparkle.

Across
1 DANGER SIGNAL     Alarm for pilot when landing gear’s out of order
    (LANDING GEAR’S)*
     
10 ASPIRIN Hopeful reduction in supply of drug
    ASPIRING (hopeful) reduced ie less the final G
     
11 ENVYING Showing one’s green?
    Cryptic definition
     
12 EMAIL Send message via Englishman, say
    Homophone of ‘E (English) MALE (man)’
    The first of two clues in which a word had to be split: English/man. I am not always a fan of this kind of device, but it here (and in 23d) it works well for me.
     
13 STAR RUBY “Ray-burst” transforms a sparkling gem
    (RAY BURST)*
     
15 EASY STREET Financial security the simple way
    EASY (simple) + STREET (way)
     
16 MENU List of people in the top class
    MEN (people) + U (in the top class)
     
18 LEAD Sort of poisoning empty pub might indicate
    Referring to ‘lead poisoning’, indicated by P[u]B (empty pub) being the chemical symbol for lead
    The answer’s not hard to find, but this is surely inventive cluing!
     
20 PETIT POINT In fine tapestry it appears in favourite place
    IT inside {PET (favourite) POINT (place)}
    Shouldn’t the enumeration be (5,5) instead of (10)?
     
22 ANCESTOR Ascent or, bizarrely, descent comes from one
    (ASCENT OR)*
    Easy, but another nice find!
     
24 LOCUM Not well treated by this deputy?
    Cryptic definition
    The definition (this deputy) made the answer clear enough, but it is the first part of the clue that is nicely misleading (in my opinion).
     
26 TENFOLD Juliet’s last embrace means so much more
    [Julie]T + ENFOLD (embrace)
     
27 SPONSOR Poles stuck in trail for support
    N,S (poles (North, South)) inside SPOOR (trail)
     
28   SOLAR BATTERY     Energy supplier, almost alone, takes a right beating
    SOL[e] (almost alone) + A R (right) + BATTERY (beating)
     
     
Down
2    APPEARS Looks like a soft fruit
    A + P (soft) + PEARS (fruit)
     
3 GORMLESS Unfortunate groom without love – or brains!
    (GRO[o]M)* + LESS (the minus sign: – )
    Perhaps some might argue that a minus-sign isn’t the same as a dash, typographically, but I thought this was a splendid clue! Highly original.
     
4 RAND Currency starts to recover after near disaster
    R[ecover] A[fter] N[ear] D[isaster]
     
5 IN EXTREMIS Facing death I then get mostly careless
    I + NEXT (then) + REMIS[s] (careless)
     
6 NEVER One version shows us when pigs fly
    [o]NE VER[sion]
    Never?  Are you sure?
     
7 LEISURE Lie around on certain days off
    (LIE)* + SURE (certain)
     
8 FAREWELL PARTY     Do, before leaving work finally
    Cryptic definition
     
9 UGLY CUSTOMERS     Dangerous antagonists must trouble a beautician
    Cryptic/Double definition
     
14 ORDER ORDER Two-part harmony request MPs often hear
    Cryptic definition
     
17 SPELL OUT Explain in detail, by writing letters?
    Double definition
     
19 ACCENTS They stress a dollar’s value . . .
    A + C CENTS ( = 100 cents = dollar’s value)
     
21 INCISOR . . . . including one’s gold tooth!
    INC (including) + I S (one’s) + OR (gold)
    I was hoping that this would be a real ellipsis, but it wasn’t. That is, I cannot see a causal link with 19d.
     
23 SCOWL Sainthood’s gloomy expression
    S (Saint) COWL (hood)
    One has to split Saint/hood, which, as I said before, works again very well for me here.
     
25   ASIA Land of Isaiah, perhaps, without borders
    (  [I]SAIA[h] )*
    Great surface and therefore ‘Land’ is acceptable as the definition. But I wouldn’t call ASIA ‘land’. Well, it is not ‘sea’, of course … 
     

3 Responses to “Financial Times 13,778 – Crux”

  1. scchua says:

    Thanks Sil, and Crux for an enjoyable puzzle – lots of clever misdirections and definitions.

    Favourites were 9D UGLY CUSTOMERS, v. amusing, 24A LOCUM, great misdirection, and 5D IN EXREMIS. I think you’re right about PETIT POINT – perhaps an error a la Guardian?

  2. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Sil & Crux this was very enjoyable.

    I have only one quibble … Surely, beauticians would be delighted to welcome UGLY CUSTOMERS?

  3. Bamberger says:

    I guessed both in extermis and scowl but couldn’t get the wordplay -haven’t seen that trick for saint and hood needing ot be separated

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