Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,790 – Crux

Posted by Sil van den Hoek on September 15th, 2011

Sil van den Hoek.

Monday Prize Crossword/Sept 5

A very enjoyable crossword by Crux who is mostly clever (eg 8d) and inventive (eg 20ac) but at times also chestnutty (like in 13ac or 5d).  Plus that I think what happens at 21d is a real letdown. However, I would like to stick with Crux because there are too many clues here that I really like.


1 SMOKER He’s good-hearted yet banned from pubs
    The heart of SMOKER is OK (good), that’s basically it, but ….
    …. there are a lot of words with OK at their heart. However when the definition is so clear as it is here I’m more than fine with it.
4 KICKBACK Pass to goalkeeper, perhaps, displays a special gift
    You might KICK a ball BACK to the goalkeeper, leading to KICKBACK which is indeed a special gift, often being a bribe.
9 ALBEIT Consort lost right to one, even though . . . .
    ALBERT (the Prince consort of Queen Victoria) with the R (right) replaced by I (one)
10  TEENAGER . . . . English regent took in a troublesome youth
    A inside (E (English) REGENT)*
    Unfortunately there is no link with the previous clue other than that Albert may be called an English regent. In fact, the surface here doesn’t need 9ac at all.. Moreover, as a result, the insertion indicator (‘took’) is now (because of 9ac) in the past tense – something that purists do not like.
12 TIDEMARK It goes round country (not north) as line on beach
    TI (reversal of IT) + {DENMARK (country) less N (north)}
13 TSETSE Set off more than once and finally fly
    (SET)* + (SET)* , so ‘more than once’
    One of a few obvious chestnuts in this crossword.
15 ELMO Saint associated with fire, wood, and love
    ELM (wood) + O (love)
    It did remind me of a typical (American) 80s song “St Elmo’s Fire” by John Parr – title track from the film of the same name.
16 STAGEHOUNDS A hunt’s dogs might be if properly trained
    (A HUNT’S DOGS)*, probably an &Lit
19 TANK ENGINE Possibly Thomas, Ken and Ian get name confused
    (KEN + IAN GETS N[ame])*
    Our friend Thomas the Tank Engine
20 ABBA They used to record blood groups
    Three blood groups: AB, B and A
23 TYRANT Twenty ran this, including Stalin, of course
    Hidden solution: [twen]TY RAN T[his]
25 CATHOLIC General gripes about new style of hat
    COLIC (gripes) around (HAT)*
27 INACTIVE Still popular and on the go
    IN (popular) + ACTIVE (on the go)
28 LESSON Period for wearing skimpier garments?
    LESS ON (wearing skimpier garments)
    For a long time I was focused on the answer being SEASON (for no cryptic reason). When I asked my PinC to help me on this one, she answered within 10 seconds: LESSON. Yep, that was it, although we both weren’t (fully) convinced by ‘Period’ as the definition.
29 ETHYLENE Girl is told directions for manufacturing gas
    (Homophone of ETHEL (girl)) + E,N,E (directions)
    Even if the surface is not that bad,  I initially found this a bit of an inelegant construction with ‘ so many directions’, but as scchua points out @1 it could also be seen as E,NE.
30 HEARTS He acquires skills playing cards
    HE + ARTS (skills)
1 STARTLE Rattles, surprisingly, can do this
2 OMBUDSMAN Commisioner gives order then shoots somebody
    OM (order) + BUDS (shoots) + MAN (somebody)
3 ENIGMA Mystery game in which you must change
    (GAME IN)*
    Chestnutty solution, although the anagrind is quite nice (and grammatically correct).
5 IDES Dies out around mid-month for the Romans
    Another chestnut.
6 KINGSTON Top royals not raised in the capital
    KINGS (top royals) + reversal of NOT
    Not sure whether ‘Top’ is of any use here [see also: comment #1]. The answer is of course ‘the’ capital of Jamaica, but the clue doesn’t really need ‘the’ in my opinion. That is, apart from the surface, of course.
7 ARGOT Barbarians at heart understood this secret language
    [barb]AR[ians] + GOT (understood)
8 KERNELS Senior officers, it’s said, could be 30
    Homophone of COLONELS (senior officers), the definition being ‘hearts’ (=30ac)
11 PROTÉGÉ Ward specialist needs time, say, and energy
    PRO (specialist) + T (time) + EG (say) +E (energy)
14 UGANDAN African with a gun violation also locked up
    AND (also) inside (A GUN)*
17 NEBULISER Blue rinse, restyle and spray
18 NEONATAL Anyone on a talent show of newborn babies!
    (ON A TALENT)*   Hidden answer:  [anyo]NE ON A TAL[ent]
    Here I was completely wrong, carelessly assuming that the answer was an anagram of ON A TALENT, which of course cannot be right because of the two Ts. Thanks to scchua (again!) to correct me.
19 TITMICE Little birds time it badly and catch cold
    (TIME IT)*  around C[old]
21 ACCENTS They stress a dollar’s value
    A + C CENTS (100 cents = dollar’s value)
    Sometimes Dante repeats himself, but Crux doing this is a relatively new phenomenon. This is the second time recently that Crux has a clue that is exactly the same as one in his previous crossword.
22 CHEESE A last word before being shot?
    Cryptic definition
24 ROACH Bird leaves hated insect for fish
    COCKROACH (hated insect) less COCK (bird)
26 OVEN Place for burning witches after beheading
    [c]OVEN, ‘coven’ being an assembly of 13 witches – oh, those were the days!

One Response to “Financial Times 13,790 – Crux”

  1. scchua says:

    Thanks Sil and Crux.

    As you say, an enjoyable puzzle, chestnuts, repetition and all.


    Re: 29A ETHYLENE, I considered E(east) and NE(northeast) as being only 2 directions, and therefore perhaps not “too many”
    6D KINGSTON, I thought that “top” signified the highest of the royals, ie. kings (and queens of course)
    18D NEONATAL: I think this is hidden(“show”) in “AnyoNE ON A TALent”, hence why “anyone” is in the clue.

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