Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,806 / Loroso

Posted by shuchi on September 23rd, 2011


Many delightful solving moments today. The puzzle opened with the line “Definitions in all across clues have something in common”, which was easy enough to decipher.

I started with 8a and wondered how ‘reduce’ could mean ‘enhance’ – my mind briefly drifted to dessert recipes that use reduced milk for enhanced flavour. Then it struck: the opposite of the definition must be the answer.

It was smooth sailing through 3/4th of the grid till I reached the top-right corner. 4a, 9a, 12a were my last answers in.

My favourite clues today: 10d, 13d for the natural surface, 12a for seeming intractable till it was unsolved and blindingly obvious thereafter, 22d for raising a smile.


1 ASSIST ASS (behind) I (single) ST (road). block =x= assist.
4 WARMTH (WHAT)* around RM (marines). cold =x= warmth. Did you, like me, dismiss “What’s” as a filler and struggle with this clever clue till the end?
8 ENHANCE E, N (points) [c]HANCE (risk losing head). reduce =x= enhance.
9 NOURISH N (an unknown number) OUR-ISH (of us, sort of). starve =x= nourish.
11 EXCITEMENT EX (old) CEMENT (glue) around IT. quiet =x= excitement.
12 HATE H (the letter fronting ‘Heaven’) ATE (worried – answer of 17d). be besotted with =x= hate.
13 FINAL starting to ‘Find’ + NAL (a river in Pakistan), around I (current). starting =x= final.  Is ‘starting’ doing double duty? // Update: Gaufrid and Eileen have a better parsing that avoids the double duty: FAL (a river in UK) around IN (current)
14 VIRULENT RU (sport – Rugby Union) in VILE (horrible) NT (books – New Testament). harmless =x= virulent.
16 GROWN UPS GROUPS (families) around W (with) N (new). children =x= grown ups.
18 PUSHY retiring =x= pushy, but how does the wordplay work? // Update: UP (wrong {as in ‘what’s wrong/up’}) reversed, SHY (retiring). Thanks to Bhavan and Gaufrid for the explanation.
20 FAIR A (area) in FIR (wood). dark =x= fair .
21 BROADSHEET (HAS TO BE RED)*. tabloid =x= broadsheet, though in India the difference between the two, at least in terms of content, has started to blur.
23 ZANIEST ANI (exotic bird) in ZEST (spice).  most normal =x= zaniest.
24 FAILURE FA (footballers – Football Association) I (one) LURE (attract). success =x= failure.
25 MUDDLE sounds like “Mudd’ll” (an FT setter will). make things clear =x= muddle.
26 NEARBY BRAE (Scot. word for ‘bank’) reversed, in NY (Gotham – a nickname for New York City). miles away =x= nearby.


1 ANNEX ANNE (princess) X (location of treasure)
2 STATION (ITS NOT A)*. I didn’t get this right away as I was looking for a proper name ending in “-NIA”.
3 SACRE BLEU (BLAIR EXCUSE)* – I (one) X (kiss); French expression meant as a cry of surprise, the same as the English “My!”
5 ALOFT ‘A LOT’ (much) around F (force)
6 MARSHAL RAM (sheep) reversed, SHAL[e] (fragile rock, mostly)
7 HESITANCY HE’S (the man’s) ICY (bitter, as in intensely cold) around TAN (bronze)
10 PERVASION PER (a) (VISA)* ON (upon)
13 FIRE ALARM FIRM (concern), around REAL (what hoax is not) A. 999 is an emergency telephone number in UK.
15 REPUDIATE AID (help) reversed, in REPUTE (celebrity)
17 WORRIED R (Romeo, from the phonetic alphabet) IE (that is), in WORD (promise)
19 SCHOLAR CH (companion) in SOLAR (star, as adjective)
21 BASIL BAIL (security) around S[moke]
22 EARLY like a nobleman = earl-y

10 Responses to “Financial Times 13,806 / Loroso”

  1. Bhavan says:

    18 A
    Retiring = x = pushy
    What’s wrong = up (amiss as per chambers)
    about = pu
    retiring = shy

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks shuchi
    18ac is UP (wrong {as in ‘what’s wrong/up’}) reversed (about) SHY (retiring).

    I had a different parsing for 13ac which avoids the double duty: IN (current) in FAL (river).

  3. Eileen says:

    Thanks, suchi, for the blog, and anax for a highly entertaining puzzle. I really did lagh out loud when I saw what you were up to.

    As usual, too many excellent clues to mention but I think 3dn has to be my top favourite.

    Not having heard of the river in Pakistan, i read 13ac as Gaufrid did.

  4. shuchi says:

    Thanks everyone. wrong = UP is new to me, but I should have seen retiring = SHY and worked it out backwards.

    Loroso probably intended 13a as Gaufrid parsed it, the double-duty didn’t look convincing when I posted it. Will update that too.

  5. Eileen says:

    Oops, sorry, Loroso, for the misnaming! :-(

  6. anax says:

    No worries Brenda XXX

  7. crypticsue says:

    Very enjoyable, particularly when I had worked out the significance of the instructions. Thanks to Anax for the fun and to Schuchi for the explanations (some of which I did need today).

  8. Pelham Barton says:

    When I saw the name Loroso in the left-hand column (from another page on this website) I started to expect a good and pleasant puzzle. The reality was far more than this. Thanks Loroso for a wonderful puzzle and shuchi for the blog.

    Having been understandably baffled by the across clues, I got a start with the excellent clue at 13dn, followed by another good clue at 17dn. This gave me 20ac from which the theme became apparent, confirmed by 25ac.

  9. Lenny says:

    I’m feeling very pleased with myself, having finished a Loroso for the first time. On the four other occasions that I have tried I failed miserably. Strangely, I seem to find them harder than Anaxes.

    Often, the hardest part of a Loroso clue is finding the definition but they did rather stand out today in the across clues, albeit as antonyms so our task was made that much easier.

    It was touch and go at the end before I got Pervasion, the only word in the English language that fits the checked letter pattern. For a long time I was fooled by the old A/Per trick. Thanks to Shuchi and Loroso.

  10. MikeC says:

    Thanks Loroso and shuchi. Great fun and an excellent challenge. I’m in pretty much the same boat as Lenny: hugely pleased to have finished, though I needed shuchi to explain the parsing of pervasion. A minor quibble: is entry a good definition of the (rare) noun “pervasion”?

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