Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,808 – Dante

Posted by Sil van den Hoek on October 6th, 2011

Sil van den Hoek.

Monday Prize Crossword/Sep 26

Another Monday, another Dante.

Did I enjoy it? Yes, I did. Because I like the way Dante (just like his friend Rufus) uses the English language. As a non-Brit, I learn from it every single week of the year! That said, today, especially the Down clues suffered from some uniformity. A lot of anagrams, cryptic and double definitions – many of them in a row. 

1 SUPINE Flat out, backing American deal
    Reversal of US (backing American) + PINE (deal, here meaning a kind of wood) )
    ‘Flat out’ indicates something energetic while SUPINE is quite the opposite: passive. Therefore, I was, for a long time, thrown by the definition. But Oxford (nót Mrs Chambers) tells us: ‘flat out’ = ‘lying strechted out, especially asleep or in a state of exhaustion’, which is surely justified by SUPINE.
4 MARGINAL Alarming constituents in such an unsafe seat
9 DREADS Fears the end of combined studies
    D (the end of the word ‘combined’) + READS (studies)
10 ARTISTRY Flair shown when skill is added to effort
    ART (skill) IS + TRY (effort)
12 CHASTISE It’s backed in the race to beat one
    Reversal of IT’S inside CHASE (the race)
13   ASSENT Nod when told to go
    AS (when) + SENT (told to go)
15 DROP Desert? Not a lot of water
    Double definition
16 QUARRY TILE   After the game, Scrabble piece may be found on the floor
    QUARRY (game, in its meaning of ‘hunted animal’) + TILE (Scrabble piece)
19 PAST CARING Too old for love, but no longer minding
    Double definition
20 OPEN Yet such a championship may be close
    Cryptic definition
23 UPSETS Hassles with top dentures?
    A straightforward definition (‘hassles’) augmented  by a cryptic one
25 QUOTIENT Result of division not quite correct
    (NOT QUITE)*
    I know, the combination ‘not quite correct’ is a tempting one, but I am not happy with ‘correct’ as the anagrind positioned behind the fodder. In that position, I think, it should have been ‘corrected’, but that would not have made sense within the surface. I know, setters do it like this and perhaps I shouldn’t be bothered, but I am ….
27 EYESIGHT Faculty I mention in speech
    Homophone of  “I cite” (I mention)
28 PURSUE Seek to obtain funds for university admittance
    U (university) inside PURSE (funds)
29 SAPPHIRE Perhaps one is turned to stone
    (PERHAPS + I (one))*
30 ASIDES Remarks we’re not supposed to hear when the team comes in
    SIDE (the team) inside AS (when)
    The second time today AS (see 13ac) is used the same way.
1 SEDUCES Deduces it is wrong to be led astray
2 PREDATORS Teardrops shed for hungry animals
3 NUDITY Untidy heap of discarded clothing
    No problem finding the answer, no problem with NUDITY either. But I guess the anagrind is ‘heap’ and I have to confess that although (after a few glasses of red wine) I am fine with it, it doesn’t really work for me. UNTIDY being its own anagrind, thát would have been a lot more exciting. [Did you read this, anax? – now there’s some potential!]
5 ACRE Israeli port area
    Double definition
6 GAINSAYS Denies a saying’s wrong
    (A SAYING’S)*
7 NITRE Inert form of chemical
8 LAYETTE Set of clothes awaiting a delivery date
    Cryptic definition
11 ESTUARY Water at the mouth
    Cryptic definition
    I think this is a cryptic definition for the sake of it. I spotted the answer right away, but do not like it because I think ESTUARY is more the ‘mouth’ than the ‘water’ [opposite to what the clue suggests].
14 CRANIUM A nut-case?
    Cryptic definition
17 IMPRESSED Forced into service – and unlikely to forget it
    Double definition
18 SCOTTISH Caledonian will be put out by this cost
    (THIS COST)*
19 PAUPERS Poor people take exams outside university
    PAPERS (exams) outside U (university)
    The second time U (university) gets involved in a clue (in the same way – see 28ac).
21 NUTMEGS Little Margaret’s after fruit and spices
    NUT (fruit) + MEG’S (little Margaret’s)
22 STRUTS They support parades with conscious pride
    Double definition
24 SWEEP Clean up in the lottery
    Double definition
    SWEEP was my third effort. Initially I thought this was a hidden (‘helot’), then I considered ‘bingo’ [bin? go!].
26 CHAR Fish for tea
    Double definition


4 Responses to “Financial Times 13,808 – Dante”

  1. Rishi says:

    Re 3d Untidy heap of discarded clothing

    The anagram UNTIDY/NUDITY, like BEDROOM/BOREDOM, excites solvers when they see it first. Anyway, the question here is: is nudity the attribute (if that is the right word) of a person or of clothes that crept rustling to the floor? ‘Nudity’ describes the state of a person who has discarded clothes, I would think. Here Dante, like Keats’s Porphyro, seems to be gazing at “empty dress”.

  2. Rufus says:

    Hi Sil. Thank you for another comprehensive blog.
    Having seen the crossword you provided at the last Midland crossword get-together, I feel you should be blogging more complex puzzles than my simpler efforts – you are more Anax than Rufus, Dante, and it is more exceptional in that you are not using your first language..
    Like the Guardian, I am asked by the FT to provide fairly straightforward puzzles for my Monday puzzles.
    Anax and I agree that you should send your puzzles to crossword editors.
    In defence of my clue for 25 across, the verb “correct” is the anagrind but is using the Imperative Mood of the verb; viz.: “Result of division”=definition; “not quite”=fodder; “correct”= put right (and that is an order!).
    Best wishes! Rufus

  3. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Dear Rufus, maybe I am a bit critical at times, but I am also the last one to complain about the level of your crosswords. We all know that they are on the easy side, but more complex (and therefore perhaps more challenging) puzzles don’t necessarily give the average solver more pleasure.
    As I said in my preamble (and on earlier occasions) it is the way you use the English language (so natural, nice surfaces and an abundant use of idiomatic expressions which I am not always familiar with) which helps me understand the English language even better than I already do.
    I think (and my PinC fully agrees) that many of your clues are brilliant in all their simplicity.
    I am more Anax than Rufus? That’s perhaps true when I try to set a crossword, but not when I am solving. I enjoy the elegant lightness of Rufus/Dante, Orlando/Cincinnus, Crux or Falcon just as much as the more tricky escapades of the Nimrods of this world.
    I am therefore perfectly happy with blogging the FT’s Monday spot – I take these easier puzzles just as seriously as I would have done were I to blog, let’s say, a Saturday Indy.

    As to 25ac, I thought of course that it had to be like that and I am eventually fine with it.
    Many thanks for this crossword – and the previous ones and the, hopefully, many that are still to come!

  4. Rufus says:

    Many thanks! I look forward to thanking you in person – possibly Derby in November? Best wishes! Rufus

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