Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,802 – Falcon

Posted by Sil van den Hoek on September 29th, 2011

Sil van den Hoek.

Monday Prize Crossword/Sep 19

An elegant puzzle by Falcon, the FT’s very own Everyman. Yes, most of us (including me) would perhaps call this an easy ride but when a crossword is so immaculately clued as this one, there is no reason for serious complaints. Highly enjoyable!

1 STREAM Master struggling to divide pupils into ability groups
    Great starter of this crossword: simple anagram but a very fine surface.
5 JETTISON Spray is not working, so discard
    JET (spray) + (IS NOT)*
9 CUL-DE-SAC Copper left having made a careful inspection over in blind alley
    CU (copper) + L (left) + reversal of CASED  (made a careful inspection)
10 EASTER Opening of exhibition, flower festival
    E[xhibition] + ASTER (flower)
11 HAVE ON Tease Oscar in shelter
    O (Oscar) inside HAVEN (shelter)
12 POMANDER Pardon me for breaking a pouncet
    (PARDON ME)*
    Having “???AN?E?” I wasn’t initially sure whether this was an anagram of “pardon me” or “a pouncet”, the latter eventually being the definition (according to Chambers an abbreviation for “pouncet-box”). Btw, POMANDER is also an anagram of “namedrop”.
14, 18     HEALTH WEALTH AND HAPPINESS Toast with the dean as hall happens to collapse
    Splendid anagram. I think I am in good health and I am mostly happy too – but wealth, mwah, ….. :)
22 MISTRESS The other woman showing tension on English motorway
    MI (motorway, the famous M1) +STRESS (tension)
25 THE AGE Article about English silver in a Melbourne newspaper
    THE (article) around {E (English) AG (silver)}
    A pity that THE is not only part of the construction, but also clearly visible in the clue. I wasn’t familiar with THE AGE but according to our friend Wikipedia it is “a daily broadsheet newspaper, which has been published in Melbourne, Australia since 1854”.
26 VERONA Girl carrying on in Valentine’s place?
    VERA (girl) with ON inside
    I would almost say ‘of course’ a reference to Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Valentine being one of them.
27 OVERDOSE Take too much round Cape, having very large load
    O (round) + {VERDE (Cape) around OS (very large)}
28 MONTROSE Conservationists in gloomy Scottish resort
    NT (Conservationists, ie the National Trust) inside MOROSE (gloomy)
29 SUMMIT Top decoration got in action
    MM (decoration, ie Military Medal) inside SUIT ((legal) action)
2 TOUCAN Bird out, unwisely perched on chimney pot
    (OUT)* + CAN (chimney pot)
3 EDDIE SHAH Newspaper proprietor headed his after a struggle
    Never heard of the man, but the answer was clear enough.  After reading about who he is, not sure whether this is a gap in my education. 
4 MASON WASP   Insect from swamp a silly boy brought in
    (SWAMP A)* with SON (boy) inside
5 JACKPOT Sailor on vessel gets top prize
    JACK (sailor) + POT (vessel)
6 THERM Word describing element of heat
    TERM (word) around H (element (Hydrogen))  (first letter (‘an element’) of ‘heat’)
    This was perhaps my Clue of the Day. I know “element” could be anything and “describing” does most certainly double duty – fine it is, though. (Well that was how I initially looked at it, but yes, Pelham Barton, your explanation is a much better one, making this a wonderful &Lit)
7 IBSEN Children’s author almost upset dramatist
    Reversal of NESBI[t]
8 OPERETTA Arranged to repeat a G&S production, perhaps
    (TO REPEAT)*
13 ACE One unit of highest quality
    Double definition (even a triple one, as Pelham Barton pointed out in comment #2)
15 WRESTLERS Sumo types with ones taking it easy round lake
    W (with) + {RESTERS (ones taking it easy) around L (lake)}
16 AMSTERDAM Master at sea heading for Dubrovnik, a medium-sized port
    (MASTER)* + D[ubrovnik] + A + M (medium-sized)
    The second (MASTER)* in this puzzle.
17 ANTIHERO On the air, weird central character, say
    (ON THE AIR)*
    This has probably been done before, but as I haven’t seen it in recent years, I will give full marks today.
19 AIR Tune from couple with no piano
    PAIR (couple) less P (piano)
20 IN STORE Approaching popular retail outlet
    IN (popular) + STORE (retail outlet)
21 AGASSI One’s story upset tennis star
    Reversal of {I (one) S + SAGA (story)}
23 TROUT Solicitor protecting right of grumpy old woman
    TOUT (solicitor) around R (right)
24 ERATO Who may have inspired poetry from reader at Oxford?
    Hidden solution: [read] ER AT O [xford]
    Very very nice hidden for a very very familiar crossword entry.

6 Responses to “Financial Times 13,802 – Falcon”

  1. John Newman says:

    Thanks Sil. While I filled all the squares I don’t think I had a puzzle with so many “why”‘s written next to my answers. So am happy to get your solutions. Part of the trouble I now see is the excessive use of one letters standing for words. Not a very clever setting practice, surely?

    I had written “Take In” for 11 across. A pretty good answer except for Oscar. How do you get “O” for Oscar?

    And “w” for with? (I remember using c when note taking from teachers’ lectures at school. Can’t remember why. Probably con = with in latin as well as Italian)

    I agree with you about Eddie Shah. Never heard of him either. But then I do not live in England. The Age was easier for me.

    Finally can you explain 13 D for me? Highest quality, yes. One, yes. But which definition does “unit” apply to?



  2. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Falcon for a pleasant crossword and Sil for the blog. This looks to be fairly standard Monday lunchtime fare – perhaps we should expect a bit more of a challenge for a prize crossword, but as a rule I will not criticise a crossword for being too easy, as long as all the clues are genuinely cryptic.

    25ac: I found the clash between the THE as the first word of the answer and the THE given as “Article” in the clue to be a nice piece of misdirection.

    6dn: I think you can take “element of heat” = “first letter of heat” = H, in which case the clue is a complete “& lit”.

    13dn: I think this is actually a triple definition, although all three meanings are under the same headword in Chambers 1998, albeit noun (One) + noun (unit) + adjective (of highest quality).

    My one grumble with this crossword is that the long answer at 14, 18 completely divides the rest of the crossword into two halves. I prefer my crosswords more fully interlocked, but I realise this is purely a matter of personal preference.

  3. Pelham Barton says:

    John @1: I wrote my previous comment wihout having seen yours, but hope I have answered your question about 13dn.

    In 11ac, O for Oscar is the NATO phonetic alphabet, (Alpha, Bravo, etc.)

    In 15dn, W for with has the authority of Chambers. Incidentally the Latin is “cum”, preserved in English in place names like Chorlton-cum-Hardy, although it changes to “con-” as a prefix.

  4. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Many thanks, JN and PB, for your comments.
    A special ‘ta’ to Pelham Barton for answering John Newman’s questions (which normally I should have done …. :)).

    John, there are indeed quite a few abbreviations in this puzzle, but it didn’t seem to be ‘excessive’ to me. Many of them were very familiar. That said MM (decoration) was one that I hadn’t encountered before.

    Pelham Barton, thanks for your views on ACE and the now even more fabulous THERM.

  5. Bamberger says:

    Got stuck in the SW. I do not like clues such as 26a which rely on Shakespearean knowledge. Is Montrose really a resort?

  6. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Well, Bamberger, Wikipedia starts its story on Montrose with “Montrose (Scottish Gaelic: Monadh Rois) is a Scottish coastal resort town and former royal burgh in Angus”.

    And Shakespearean references? As one from abroad, Shakespeare wasn’t part of my education. But my journeys in Crosswordland have made clear that in the UK for many he was/is. That said, a crossword relying heavily on Shakespeare can still not let my heart beat faster. I guess that will never change. However I accept that, at least in Crosswordland, I need to have some minimal knowledge of WS. But only minimal … :)

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