Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times No. 13,787 by ALBERICH

Posted by Ringo on September 1st, 2011


Apologies for the lateness this morning. I’m logging in from the north-east outpost of scenic Whitley Bay, which is good for purveyors of ice-cream and coffee but less good  for purveyors of the FT.

After the newspaper-hunt, I was hoping for something easy from Alberich… but it was not to be. This was an excellent puzzle, but a real struggle for me. But it might just be that the sea air has done something to my brain.


1. MATERIAL  MA [scholar, Master of Arts] + trial [test] incorporating E [poor grade]

5. AMULET  A + Mul(l)et [hairstyle]

9. SLIPPERY  That is, ‘like a slipper’ [shoe]

10. VIRTUE  Virtú [love of fine arts] + (literatur)e

12. RUDDY  Rudy [chap's name] incorporating d(egree)

13. DISTORTED  Died [suffered?] incorporating reversal of trots [jogs]

14. SEWAGE  SE [south-east, the location of England's Home Counties] + wage [payment for work]

16. INDULGE  Anagram of I end ugl(y)

18. AIR RAGE  Air [broadcast] + rag [tabloid] + e(ditor) - great definition

20. WORTHY  Reversal of row [argument] + t(hrow) + h(iss)y

22. JOE BLOGGS  Joe(y) [young kangaroo ('Australian native')] + Bloggs [sounds like 'blogs', web pages]

23. BENIN  Ben [mountain] + in

24. IGUANA  Anagram of Ni(car)agua

25. PASSPORT  Pass [succeed] + port [drink]

26. TENDER  Lovely quadruple definition

27. CLEMATIS  Anagram of met s(o)cial to give the climbing plant


1. MYSORE  My [Lord? - don't know why, any ideas?] + sore [wounded] to give the Indian city

2. THIRD DEGREE BURN  Third degree [grilling] + b(eef) + urn [vessel]

3. REPLY  Rely [bank] incorporating p(ence)

4. ABRIDGE  A + bridge [i.e. something that spans...]

6. MAIL-ORDER  Cryptic definition

7. LET IT ALL HANG OUT  Double definition

8. TRENDIER  Anagram of I rented ’housing’ r(ake) to give a word meaning ‘more in’

11. ASTI  A guess, this – stumped, sorry – can anyone help?

15. AT A GLANCE  A tag [a label] + Lance [fellow's name]

17. BANJOIST  Ban(d) [orchestra] + joist [means of support] – a great clue

19. ERGO  Again, I’m stumped – thought it might be orge [one who orgies?] with the ‘sides’ switched, but can’t find orge in the dictionary…

20. WASSAIL  W(on) + assail [set about]

21. UNITES Uni(versity) + reversal of set [group]

23. BESOM  Double definition: a lazy woman and a sweeping brush


Sorry I wasn’t able to give a very good puzzle the time it deserved…




9 Responses to “Financial Times No. 13,787 by ALBERICH”

  1. Yank says:

    I think on 11d the “drink” is “pastis” minus second thoughts (“p.s.”) leaves “asti”. Somewhat obscure…Also perhaps “ogre” swapping sides (reversing?) yields “ergo”, although I wasn’t aware of an ogre being called a promiscuous sort.

  2. crypticsue says:

    I think I enjoyed this one, but there were a lot to think about.

    19d If you change the R in ERGO for an L (swapping sides) this would be a reversal of OGLE which would, of course, be related to promiscuity.

  3. Thomas99 says:

    I agree with Yank for Pastis/asti in 11d – my last in.

    For 19d I had GOER (promiscuous sort) with the two halves (sides) swapped – ERGO.

  4. Alberich says:

    A double dose of me today – what have you all done wrong to deserve that! I can confirm the PASTIS minus PS interpretation, though it is somewhat strange that this clue appeared as I was asked to provide a simpler one and did so. As always, thanks to the bloggers and commenters for this and the Klingsor puzzle.

  5. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Ringo for this blog.

    Some very nice clues here. My favourites were 14ac and 8dn.

    I think Yank@1 has sorfted 11dn for us.

    19dn: I was just writing a long message about how unconvincing I found the previous explanations when the answer jumped into my head: It is GOER swapping sides.

  6. Pelham Barton says:

    Thomas99 @3: Thanks for getting in first with this. I spent so long typing my message I should have checked that nothing new had appeared before posting. I should exempt your answer from the unconvincing “previous explanations”.

  7. jmac says:

    Thanks for the blor Ringo. Re 1 down, I think “my” is equivalent to “lord” in the sense of “oh my” or “or lord”. Great puzzle. Thanks Alberich.

  8. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thank you, Ringo, for the blog which made clear that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t understand ASTI (11d).
    The problem with the final explanation is, that PASTIS is also unknown to me (and probably to a few other people elsewhere).

    Also many thanks for enlightening me about VIRTUE (10ac).
    Although the clue reads very well, I think there is a chance that VIRTU and VIRTUE are words that have something in common, more than just five letters – so, not my Clue of the Day.

    27ac, however, came very close.
    And while I liked the quadruple definition of 28ac, my Award of the Day goes to 8d (TRENDIER), a clue in which everything’s not what it seems to be but falls into the right place, eventually.

    Haven’t done the Klingsor yet – time wasn’t on my side – but tomorrow’s another day.

  9. Pelham Barton says:

    Sil @8 re 10ac: virtu and virtue both come ulimately from the Latin virtus. However, the first has come into English through Italian and the second through French and they are given as different headwords in Chambers (1998, p.1859). It would be more satisfying if they had come from completely different roots, but one cannot always have everything in a crossword. See also my views on double definitions in comment 5 on today’s FT crossword at this link:

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