Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,788 / Redshank

Posted by shuchi on September 2nd, 2011


Multiple linked clues hinge on 6d and it took me a while to get there. I started with the bottom-right of the grid and had most of the non-linked answers filled in before I cottoned on to the pivotal word and then the rest fell into place.

6d takes on an array of avatars throughout the crossword, meaning the human torso at one place, crash at another; acting as the definition in one clue, the indicator in another. I enjoyed this puzzle at many levels, it remained exciting till the end and brought back some pleasant memories such as that of playing Cluedo during schooldays.


1 PENNILESS (NEIL SPEN[t])*, with “bust” (6d) as the anagrind.
6 BOSOM BOOM (from 24d) around S (small)
9 UNCLE (CLUE)* around N (northern) – slang for pawnbroker.
10 CHRYSALIS hidden in “Pitlochry’s A-list”. The ‘emperor’ is a brightly colored butterfly of the family Nymphalidaechrysalis; a ‘chrysalis’ is the pupal stage of a butterfly. A difficult word for the setter to hide in the clue, easy work for the solver.
11 BANKRUPTCY BY, around KRUP[p] (steelmaker, almost) in (CAN + T)*. The Krupp family is a 400-year-old German dynasty from Essen, famous for their steel production – a fact I didn’t know till I landed here and had a tough time parsing this clue.
12 ROAR RO[yal] AR[tillery]. The definition is the answer of 24d: BOOM.
14 ENCLAVE CL (150) in E NAVE (part of basilica). Vatican City is an enclave within the Italian Republic.
15 NO CAN DO CON (Tory) reversed, AND O[pposition]
17 POSSESS POSSE (group) SS (bodyguard) – Hitler’s personal bodyguard, the Schutzstaffel.
19 SURPLUS S[q]U[a]R[e] PLUS (and)
20 ONCE ONE around C? I can’t work this out and am prepared to kick myself, go ahead and tell me please. // Update: ON ICE (suspended) – I (one). Thanks to jmac and Pelham Barton for the parsing.
22 PROSPERITY PROSPER[o] (Duke of Milan from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, not fully) IT [da]Y
25 INAMORATA AT A ROMAN I (institute), all reversed, with “bosom friend” as the definition.
26 EXILE E (English) XI (team) [ang]LE[sey]
27 NAHUM (HUMAN)* – this prophet.
28 MANY-SIDED MD (doctor) around ANY SIDE (team)


1 PLUMB PLUM (Professor on board) B (bishop). Professor Plum is a character from the board game of Cluedo.
2 NICKNACKS NICK (pinch) [s]NACKS (quick bites, heading off). A variant spelling of ‘knickknack’.
3 INEBRIATED IND (Indian) around (A BEER IT)*
4 ESCAPEE (CASE)* PEE (wee); the definition is ‘runner’. A new meaning of the word ‘wee’ for me. We live and learn.
5 SARACEN SCEN[e] (part of play, cut) around ARA[b]
6 BUST bosom (6a), bankruptcy (11a), crash (21a), penniless after boom (1a after 24a), all point to the answer.
7 SALVO SEVERAL – EVER (always) V (very) O (old). “Rounds at once” in the sense of simultaneous discharge of artillery.
8 MUSHROOMS MOMS (US mothers) around (HOURS)*
13 SCARCENESS S (small) CARS (vehicles), around (C + SEEN)*
14 EXPLOSION EX (one-time) PLO (Arafat group, Palestine Liberation Organization) IS< ON (about)
16 NULLIFIED IF + ILL (sick) reversed, in (NUDE)*
18 SARCASM [t]SAR (Russian boss, doesn’t start) CASM (sounds like ‘CHASM’ (split))
19 SUSTAIN SIN (wrong), around US (American) TA (Reserves i.e. the Territorial Army or reserve forces)
21 CRASH CR (credit) (HAS)*
23 YIELD dd; ‘yield’ is a measure of energy from a (nuclear) explosion (14d).
24 BOOM BOO (show contempt for) M (money)

21 Responses to “Financial Times 13,788 / Redshank”

  1. jmac says:

    20 ac. “on [i]ce”. Thanks Shuchi for a hlepful blog.

  2. Rishi says:


    Re anno for 20a.

    I will try, doesn’t matter if it turns out to be incorrect.

    One – one person – ONCLE (uncle).

    Deleting L (left suspended), we get ONCE (in the past).

  3. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Redshank for an enjoyable puzzle with an interesting theme and shuchi for the blog. As is often the case with thematic puzzles, my favourite clue is one of the non-thematic ones: in this case, it was 9ac, simply for starting with the words “Cryptic clue”.

    20ac: I had it the same way as jmac @1.

    1ac: I think 6d is meant as the definition and “Poor” as the anagram lead, but it could be taken either way. Maybe it is even intended to be ambiguous.

    My only moan at this puzzle is 23dn: it may technically be a double definition, but to me it is really two versions of the same meaning of the word.

  4. Paul B says:

    Verb and noun surely?

  5. Pelham Barton says:

    Paul B @4: It is still essentially two forms of the same root word. For me a truly satisfying double definition should be based on two words of different origins whose spellings have converged – for example 6dn is based on the convergence of bust1 from the French buste with bust2 which is a variant of burst: here the numbers should be superscripts and I am basing them on Chambers 1998 (p. 218).

    I might add that I see 23dn as a very small blemish in a generally good crossword.

  6. shuchi says:

    @jmac, @Pelham Barton: Thanks for explaining 20ac. I’m not kicking myself after all – the expression ‘on ice’ is not commonly used in India (where I live).

    @Rishi: Well tried. ;)

  7. Paul B says:

    Ref 5 yes, that is true: and you would have had a field day with the Rover (when he roved) I’m sure. But mysteriously you seem to be FT-ring-fenced! Any reason?

  8. Pelham Barton says:

    Paul B @7 at the risk of going off-topic:

    I have a full time job as an academic at Birmingham University which leaves me time for one daily crossword in my lunch break, but usually allows me the freedom to check these pages from time to time during the afternoon. I used to do the Guardian on line, but decided recently that I was spending too much time on the Guardian comments page, so have migrated to the Financial Times, which suits me at least as well.

  9. Lenny says:

    This was an amusing, and none too taxing offering from Redshank. For the second time this week we had a puzzle that contains vocabulary that is specifically targeted at the FT readership. I liked No Can Do and the hidden Chrysallis. Once went in on definition only. I finished with Prosperity where I was looking for wordplay along the lines of D Di for Duke of Milan before I twigged the Shakespeare connection. Thanks schuchi.

  10. Paul B says:

    No can do? (6,5)

    Remember it? Fans of the wonderful Albie surely will.

    (Cheers Pelham, btw.)

  11. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Today felt like a special day for me.
    At last a day that had a summery feel.
    So we went off to Granchester, The Orchard, to have a tea and a scone ánd an Araucaria.
    Three years ago a similar thing happened – my first encounter with cryptic crosswords in Jeffrey Archer’s backyard.

    As the Big Man’s crossie was a kind of Lite one today, it didn’t that much time (but a lot of wasps, keen on our raspberry jam). So we made a start with this Redshank.
    I finished it tonight with one eye on the tele (Germany’s game against Austria) and the other on this DELIGHTFUL puzzle.

    A very apt FT theme – but some setters would have made more or a different use of 6d … :)

    14d was really a missed opportunity: both the combination of PLO and SION and/or the link of the solution with 24d (being BOOM!).

    Not sure, shuchi, whether your explanation of 11ac is right.
    Why is it: (BY around KRUP) in CANT?

    Apart of that, we/I (in that order) really enjoyed it.
    Very good puzzle.

  12. Sil van den Hoek says:

    … it didn’t TAKE that much time …
    … Apart FROM that …
    Sorry – I’m just a bloody foreigner :)

  13. Rishi says:


    Re 11a

    Probably there is no container-content. It might be just an anagram.

    By – BY
    engaging – (mere connector suggesting an add-on)
    steelmaker almost – KRUP[p]
    can, – CAN
    with – (another add-on)
    time, – T
    — so we have BYKRUPCANT —
    spread – anag ind
    6d – def (BUST)

    The surface reading is tortuous.

  14. Pelham Barton says:

    Sil and Rishi: You are right, there is definitely a problem with 11ac, now I look at it again. I think the clue needs at least one more containment indicator.

    Rishi’s explanation requires us to identify a steelmaker, remove the last letter, and then include that as part of the anagram fodder. I find it hard to accept that Redshank would ask us to do that, given a comment he made (as Radian in the Independent) in July of this year. See comment 15 at this link:

  15. shuchi says:

    @Sil: Re 11a

    I read ‘engaging’ as the outer container indicator, and ‘can, with time, spread’ as ‘CAN+T spread (around KRUP[p])’. That gives:

    BY around { (CANT)* around KRUP[p] }

    @Rishi: Wouldn’t that make it an indirect anagram?

  16. Pelham Barton says:

    shuchi @15: crossing comments. I am sure your construction is the intended one, but you seem to be using ‘spread’ as indicating both anagram and containment.

  17. Redshank says:

    Rishi/Sil/Shuchi/PB: in defence of what now looks like a less than felicitously worded clue, all I can say is that at the time it seemed OK – ‘By’ containing (‘engaging’) an anagram (‘spread’) of ‘krup(p)’ and ‘can t’. PB’s recall of what I said in another place is frighteningly forensic, but it isn’t quite what I meant then. Nonetheless that statement may indeed turn out to be a hostage to fortune.

    Sil: not all thematic answers have to have clues that include cross-references. So 7d, 14d and 21d don’t, making them tougher, I think. Anyway, isn’t it nice sometimes to chance on a connection you weren’t expecting?

    Lenny: so far I’ve tried to keep the FT’s readership in mind when setting puzzles, but sometimes wonder if they’d prefer ‘something completely different’ to divert their minds from such currently depressing subjects. What do you think?

  18. Pelham Barton says:

    Redshank @17: Thank you for clearing that up. The statement I quoted suggests a line that is more purist than I would expect – and I tend to think of myself as towards the purist end of the spectrum. I am quite happy with T for time as part of the anagram fodder, for example.

    Having said that, I do think that asking us to find the name of a steelmaker and then include that in an anagram is too much for a daily newspaper crossword, even when there is no doubt about the intended answer, and even when the letters taken from that name stay together in the same order.

    Paul B @10: Would it be BOTTLE PARTY? This sort of clue can be fun as a very occasional relief from more orthodox clues, and in a real crossword one would have the checked letters to help, but I would not want to see more than one such clue in any crossword.

  19. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thank you, Redshank, for explaining 11ac.
    From a construction POV it had to be like that. Many solvers might see it as a kind of indirect anagram. Personally, I cannot be bothered too much about things like that when the solution is so very clear (as it is here).
    And yes, what you say about Explosion etc sounds fair enough to me.

    In the meantime, I hope this mini-discussion doesn’t take us away from the fact that this was another highly enjoyable Redshank puzzle.
    Many thanks for that.

  20. Pelham Barton says:

    Sil @19: We can certainly agree to differ on where our preferences lie, but I agree that we should not lose sight of the fact that this was a very enjoyable puzzle.

  21. Paul B says:

    Yes Pelham, BOTTLE PARTY is correct. Perhaps as a setter I’m more forgiving towards such techniques, which for better or worse I regard as excellent, in that the standard way of doing things can get boring. Plus of course I was weened on Perkin-era Grauniad puzzles, whose more able cluepersons departed the norm with pneumatic regularity.

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