Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,814 – Crux

Posted by Sil van den Hoek on October 13th, 2011

Sil van den Hoek.

Monday Prize Crossword/Oct 3

Before I tackle a crossword I always have a first run through the clues. Not to try and find already some solutions but to see whether the surfaces look ‘exciting’. Crux is one of those setters whose cluing style I find consistently attractive.

There is nearly always something going on in his puzzles and this one was no exception. I am still more or less puzzled by 15ac, and 21d had me almost April-fooled …  Many thanks to Crux for another nice and gentle crossword, very enjoyable to solve. 

1 RECREATION Play about Genesis
    RE (about) + CREATION (Genesis)
    Nice little start to the puzzle. Concise and effective.
6 DOPE Drugs advice for the unfit
    DO PE (physical education)
    This was my last one in and a fine clue it was.
9 OVERDRAFTS Excessive withdrawal symptoms?
    Cryptic definition
10   STEP Rear dogs eg for the stage
    Reversal of PETS (dogs, eg)
12 OFF THE RECORD   Deleted from disc, so unprintable
    Double definition, the first being cryptic
15 EARTHLING In translation, ET’s term for “human being”?
    Cryptic definition, or?
    This clue is so wordy that there must be something more to it. Unfortunately, I do not see it.
17 SAUDI Arab’s second German car
    S (second) + AUDI (german car)
18 TAMIL Dog bites Frenchman – the language!
    TAIL (dog, as a verb) around M (Monsieur, Frenchman)
19 ARSENICAL Premiership side has in charge a deadly combination
    ARSENAL (Premiership side) around IC (in charge)
    Oh, they wish they have!
20 ROMANTICALLY   Caesar was so involved with Cleopatra (his empire comes first)
    In the solution ROMAN (Caesar’s empire) comes first
24 ENVY It’s jealousy the ambassador shows, not love
    ENVOY (the ambassador?) less O (love)
    According to the dictionaries an envoy is ranked below an ambassador. Therefore my question mark.
25 FIBROSITIS Lies around, restless, or is it backpain?
    FIBS (lies) around (OR IS IT)*
26 RARE Runs are few and far between
    R(runs) + ARE
27   BELLADONNA Lovely Italian lady brought a sparkle to the eye
    Double definition, the second being cryptic
    A lovely Italian lady is a “bella donna”, but belladonna is also another name for “deadly nightshade”. Poison, medicine and cosmetic in one. According to our friend Wiki the name is originating “either from its usage as cosmetic for the face, or, more probably, from its usage to increase the pupil size in ladies”. Which explains the second part of the clue.
1 ROOK Overcharge a man on board
    Double definition
2 CAEN French city leaders, of course, are elected normally
    Starting letters (leaders) of C[ourse] A[re] E[lected] N[ormally]
3 END OF THE LINE   Where rhyme goes with “buffer”, appropriately
    Double/Cryptic definition
4 TRAIT A renegade lacks or displays this feature
5 OUTWEIGHS Compensates for using antiquated manners, we hear
    OUT (antiquated) + homophone of WAYS (manners)
7 OUT TO LUNCH Dining at the Ritz, twelve-ish? That’s crazy!
    Double definition, the first being cryptic
    The Ritz – the obvious place to have a lunch, of course …..
8 ESPADRILLE It’s made solely of rope
    Cryptic definition
    An ‘espadrille’ is a sandal of which the sole is often made of rope.
11 PERSONALISED Such posh notepaper has old passerine design
13   YESTERYEAR Twenty-ten, poetically speaking
    Cryptic definition
    2010: that was last year, but poets have their own way of dealing with it.
14 PRIME MOVER   Proper English male finished as original author
    PRIM (proper) + E  (English) + M (male) + OVER (finished)
16 ITALICISE Write letters inclined to be wildly idealistic, almost
    When you leave the “d” out, this is indeed “almost idealistic”. Normally, “almost” is used to indicate that the last letter(s) should be deleted. Not here though. My PinC says that it’s all right …. See comment #2 for a parsing that takes away my reservations.
21   APRIL Pair getting sick about springtime
    PR (pair) with AIL (getting sick, as a gerund) around it
    Initially I was convinced that there was something wrong here. I went for (PAIR)* + yes, plus what? An L? Then I thought maybe the final IL has something to do with ‘ill’. But then I saw the light!  I guess ‘ail’ is not just ‘sick’ here (should have been ‘sicken’ then), so I took ‘getting’ into account as well.
22 STUN Shock: Bananas going up!
    Reversal of NUTS (bananas)
23 ASIA One-third of all land held by Vespasian
    Hidden solution: [Vesp] ASIA [n]

5 Responses to “Financial Times 13,814 – Crux”

  1. Rishi says:

    Re 15a

    Let’s say that an ET, an alien, living on some remote planet, wants to refer, while speaking or writing, to a “human being”. The alien may, probably with some contempt, call the human being an EARTHLING. Is this how Crux wants us to interpret the clue?

  2. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Crux for the puzzle and Sil for this blog. I would justify 16dn by forming the anagram as ITALICISED and then dropping the last letter.

  3. Pelham Barton says:

    Further on 15ac: ET would not naturally speak English, so his term for a human would need to be translated – hence “In translation” in the clue. I think that is all there is to this clue, but would happily be persuaded otherwise.

  4. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks, Rishi and PB, for the posts.

    I still find EARTHLING a very strange clue, but so was ET it(?)self. :)

    PB’s justification of dropping the D in 16d is an OK one, I think – and one I would go with now. So many thanks for that.

  5. Agentzero says:

    Hi Sil, I’m coming very late to this puzzle (just printed it out and solved it during a late lunch).

    Thanks for these well done and nicely organised blog posts.

    I had the same reaction as you to EARTHLING, and a similar reaction to 20 across, ROMANTICALLY. Is that all there is to it? Meaning, is there no subsidiary indication for “-TICALLY”?

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