Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times no.13,805 by SLEUTH

Posted by Ringo on September 22nd, 2011


Not at my brightest this morning, despite the sunshine; this took me ten minutes longer than it really should have. A boozy little number from Sleuth: not hugely inspired, but neat enough. And it’s pangrammatic (something that I’m usually too dense to notice, but that for some reason jumped out at me today).


1. BOUZOUKI  B [Belgium] + ouzo [liqeur] + UK [Britain] + i [1] to give the Greek musical instrument

5. POWWOW  POW [Prisoner Of War] + wow [amazed expression]

9. VOCATION  Vacation [break] with o [0, nothing] replacing a

10. CAREER  Sounds like ‘Korea’ – the ‘old’ referring to the country before it was split along the 38th parallel

12. IONIC  Icon [one much admired] minus c(aught) + I(n) C(harge) to give one of the orders of ancient Greek architecture

13. AUBRIETIA  A + U(niversal) + anagram of tribe + reversal of AI [A1, fine] to give the widely mis-spelt plant (I love it when the OED gets all sniffy: ‘Also very freq. in erron. form aubretia’ )

14. SEQUEL  Sounds like see [witness] + quell [crush]

16. TEQUILA  Anagram of quite + la ['the' in French]

19. FINESSE  Fine [oustanding] + reversal of ess [the letter S]

21. RHEIMS  He [man] within R(eligious) I(nstruction) + Ms [woman's address] to give the French city

23. PARAMEDIC  Anagram of aid camper

25. VODKA  O(ld) D(uke) K(ing) within V(irgini)a

26. SQUINT  Squit [contemptible fellow] incorporating n(ame)

27. JUBILANT  Jubilee [royal celebration] with ant [worker] replacing the ‘final couple’ of letters

28. EXHORT  Hidden in complEX HORTiculture

29. CEMETERY  Cryptic definition


1. BOVRIL  B(ook) + O(ld) + V(erse) + pilla(r) + I + l(eft to give the tasty beef extract

2. UNCONCERN  UN [peacekeepers] + c(ountry) + once [in the past] + RN [Royal Navy, service]

3. OPTIC  Op [work] + tic(k) [credit]

4. KNOW-ALL  Sounds like no awl [boring thing]

6. ODALISQUE  O(ld) + Dali [Salvador, the surrealist artist] + square [open space] minus Ar [Arab?] to give a female slave

7. WHEAT  W(omen) + heat [passion]

8. WORKADAY  Reversal of row [argument] + DA [District Attorney, lawyer] within Kay [woman's name]

11. ABET  A + bet [punt]

15. URSA MINOR  Anagram of in armour incorporating (Spartacu)s to give the constellation

17. IMMEDIATE  Media [papers, etc.] within anagram of time

18. OFF-PISTE  Anagram of poet is incorporating ff [fellows]

20. EDDA  The ancient Icelandic texts are hidden in collectED DAftly

21. RECLUSE  Rec [park, short for 'recreation' - a term you don't hear much nowadays] + l(iking) + use [exercise]

22. PALTRY  Sounds like poultry (rather a hackneyed pun, that)

24. ROUGH  Trough [channel] minus (smu)t

25. VOICE  Vice [fault] incorporating o(rder)






16 Responses to “Financial Times no.13,805 by SLEUTH”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Ringo, and Sleuth for the puzzle.

    I didn’t finish this – couldn’t get 7 and 8dn and now I know why: I had CONFAB for 5ac. I can see now that ‘Fab!’ is not such a good ‘amazed expession’ as ‘Wow!’ but it seemed to work at the time. :-(

  2. Ringo says:

    Hi Eileen. I started out with CONFAB, too. Great minds, etc.

  3. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Sleuth for the puzzle and Ringo for the blog.

    Perhaps I was lucky not to see CONFAB, and so already had the W from 7dn before I solved 5ac. To my shame, I only got 24dn after reading your preamble with four clues to get: then it was the only place for the G to complete the pangram.

    Very slight moan about 1ac. I had to guess this and opted for an A at the end. I have nothing against obscure words provided that they can be built unambiguously from the clue and checked letters – here perhaps writing the clue as “Source of music I found …” would be kinder to the solver. No similar problem with 13ac as the correct answer was much more likely than the alternative AUBEIRTIA.

  4. Lenny says:

    Thanks Ringo, I enjoyed this more than you by the sound of it. Doing it in the evening with a glass of sauvignon blanc was possibly more suited to the boozy theme than your morning solve: Ouzo, Tequila, Vodka…and Bovril. Probably Optic was also thematic with all these spirits. Getting the correct but unusual spelling of Aubrietia and the usual but incorrect spelling of Rheims required some care, as did the avoidance of confab. I finished with my two, least favourite clues, the dodgy homophones Paltry and Career.

  5. Pelham Barton says:

    Lenny @4:

    Is “Rheims” really an incorrect spelling or is it not better thought of as the correct English Language name, a bit like Munich or Rome?

  6. Lenny says:

    Pelham, I knew as I was writing it that this was a subject that I should avoid. I meant that, if you live in Reims, Rheims is certainly an incorrect spelling. There is perhaps, as we become more well-travelled, a tendency to use local names rather than their anglicised versions. However, you are quite right, Rheims is perfectly acceptable in current English. Now, as to the pronunciation of Reims…

  7. Pelham Barton says:

    Lenny @6: I think we are basically in agreement: it is more a question of terminology than substance.

    I also agree with your comment @4 about the imperfect homophones. One could argue that a clue with wording such as “sounds like” would allow this type of imperfect homophone, and at least 22dn has a question mark. However, the wording actually used by Sleuth in 10ac (“by the sound of it”) seems to me to require a more exact homophone.

  8. James says:

    I wonder if the homophone for 10ac. might be Caria which is more properly an “old country” than Korea.

  9. Ringo says:

    James – you’re a more learned man than me! Had to Wikipedia it (, but you could well be right there.

    Lenny – you wouldn’t want to serve Bovril through an optic, it’d be hell to clean…

    And the eternal homophone debate continues… Have to admit, PALTRY/POULTRY sounds very dicey to my ear. No real problem with CAREER/KOREA/CARIA, though.

  10. Pelham Barton says:

    James @8: Apart from grounds of obscurity, I can agree that Caria might be better than Korea for the old country.

    That is of course a separate issue from whether the homophone is good enough for the way the clue is worded. I would pronouce Caria or Korea almost identically, with three clear syllables, while Career only has two.

  11. Lenny says:

    Can anyone suggest a name for a Bovril/Ouzo/Tequila/Vodka cocktail. Bazooka perhaps?

  12. Ringo says:

    Or Bovzilla?…

  13. Hypnos says:

    Thanks to Ringo for the blog and all for comments.

    That cocktail sounds as if it packs quite a punch! The alcoholic theme was in fact quite
    unintentional so maybe next time I’ll have to try to introduce a mellower coffee house theme.

    Re the homophones, Korea was certainly the reference (not Caria). Korea/career brings to mind
    the classic Grauniad solecism “Korea diplomat”. If it’s good enough for the Grauniad, it’s good
    enough…. Chambers gives two phonetic spellings for paltry and poultry, one of which is identical,
    so I think the homophone is valid. I recognise that homophones tend to be contentious given regional
    variations and personal preferences in speech but I think it would be a shame if setters became
    inhibited from using them.

    Anyway, on to my nightcap of Bovzilla….

  14. Sleuth says:

    Apologies- the above should be by Sleuth

  15. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Ringo.
    Good puzzle from Sleuth and I must agree with his comment above.
    I feel where a ‘homophone’ is indicated, solvers should think of it as ‘sounds similar to’.I often find corny/dodgy ‘homophones’ to be the most amusing parts of a puzzle(little things/little minds perhaps…).
    Keep ‘em coming,I say!

  16. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Sleuth for clarifying the homophones. Of course you are right about PALTRY/POULTRY having the approval of Chambers – something I could (and therefore should) have checked myself before commenting.

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