Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times no.13,823 by MONK

Posted by Ringo on October 13th, 2011

Ringo.

After a flying start, I’m afraid my fellow Leodensian Monk has left me stumped this morning… Some very nice clueing, including some pleasing cryptic definitions (and several excursions to Scottish outposts), but I need help with that damned north-east corner…

ACROSS

1. OFFICER  I [1] + C(onservative) within offer [proposal]

5. GIMMES  First letters of G(olfing) i(nexperience) m(eant) m(issing) e(asy) s(hots) to give golfing jargon for very easy putts

10. FREELANCE  Reversal of lee [sheltered] within France [historical foe of 'Harry', or King Henry V]

11. Beats me. Anyone? EDIT: With grateful acknowledgements to Conrad below the line… RILLE  Re [about] incorporating ill [poor-quality] to give a term for a channel or groove on the moon [hence satellite channel... groan]

12. ROSSINI  Rossi [the former Italian footballer Paolo] + reversal of in  [concerned with] to give the composer, i.e. one who wrote scores

13. DESKILL  Ski [runner] within dell [valley]

14. YOURS SINCERELY  Anagram of coy nurse is + rely [depend upon] to give a formalised way of saying ‘ so long’ or ‘goodbye’

16. CLOAK AND DAGGER  Oak [tree] within clan [family] + d(aughter) within dirk [dagger]

20. ARRANGE  Arran [island] + reversal of e.g. [for example, 'say]

21. EVICTEE  E(nglish) + Vic [chap's name] + tee [a little support - for a golf-ball]

23. PEEVE  P(residential offic)e + Eve [first lady]

24. ASSENTING  A sting [an undercover operation] incorporating the compass-points S(outh) E(ast) N(orth)

25. ESSAYS  Sounds like the letters S A [ess ay, i.e. South Africa's]

26. SADDLER  Double Cryptic definition, a ‘hacker’ in this case being a horse-rider (thanks to Pelham below the line for pointing out my earlier error)

DOWN

1. OFFERS  (C)offers [chests]: can’t decide if this double-use of offer [see 1ac.] is lazy or playful…

2. FEELS  Fees [charges] incorporating ['boxing'] l(iberal) 

3. COLLIER  Collie [sheepdog] + r(uns) to give a collier, one who works underground

4. RENAISSANCE MAN  Anagram of in Saracens mean(t)

6. Again, I’m stuck. Help! EDIT: Again, thanks to Conrad… IVRESSE  Anagram of revises to give a French term for drunkenness

7. MILLIPEDE  Lovely cryptic definition [members being legs] for a lovely little creepy-crawly

8. SHELLEY  Fling [shy] incorporating Elle [women's magazine] to give the poet Percy Bysshe

9. WEDDING DRESSES  Another great cryptic definition

15. ODOURLESS  Anagram of euros sold - lovely surface

16. CHAPPIE  Sounds like ‘chappy’, chapped or cracked

17. KENNEDY  Kenned ['knew' in Scottish dialect - but why Inverness, particularly?] + y [algebraic unknown] to give the assassinated US president

18. GRINNED  GR [George Rex, former king] + inn [boozer] + Ed(ward)

19. BEGGAR  Egg [crucial element of a full English breakfast] within bar [pub] to give one in need of ‘bread’, or money

22. TWILL  Fabric hidden within forT WILLiam

11 Responses to “Financial Times no.13,823 by MONK”

  1. Conrad Cork says:

    11 is rille, ill inside re, and refers to a channel or a valley on the moon or Mars.

    6 is an anagram of revises, ivresse, meaning drunkenness.

  2. Ringo says:

    Conrad, you’re a life-saver. Thank-you! Even my best efforts at cheating didn’t bring those up…

  3. crypticsue says:

    Great fun, thank you Monk. I thought all those double letters were a brilliant device and I have to admit that realising each solution would have them did help me in one or two places but not with the dreaded 6d. Thanks to Ringo too.

  4. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Monk for the crossword and Ringo for the blog.

    I did not spot the device identified by crypticsue @3 and left 11ac incomplete.

    Is 26ac a double definition or a cryptic definition?

  5. Ringo says:

    Hi Pelham and CrypticSue. Have to admit I didn’t spot the double-letter motif, either… and 26ac. is, of course, a CD, not a DD. Sigh. Not one of my more impressive mornings…

  6. Monk says:

    Thank you all for the blog and comments. Just to add that the double-letter motif extended to all clues too. Because of the theme, it was surprising how much active rejection of “difficult” words was required.

  7. Pelham Barton says:

    Monk @6: Thank you for that comment. Now we know why you used “Inverness” in 17dn.

  8. MikeC says:

    Thanks Monk, Ringo and others. Three excellent crosswords today (Nimrod, Paul and this one). All challenging but fair. I totally failed to spot the double-letter motif here, the ingenuity of which merely adds to my admiration of the setter!

  9. Alan Connor says:

    I reckon that, if the horse I rode around Normandy a few years ago had not been called Ivresse, I might have left this unfinished. Perhaps I would have alighted on Inverness as a help after staring for a few… years?

  10. Keeper says:

    Like others, I found this to be an enjoyable puzzle, though I completely missed the double letter motif. One potential quibble: What purpose does “once” serve in the clue for 10ac?

  11. Ringo says:

    Hi Keeper – I think “once” is there to differentiate the archaic sense of “freelance” (i.e. a soldier for hire, literally a “free lance”) from the sense in which we use the term today – some of us modern-day freelances might not like to think of ourselves as “mercenaries”! (although of course that’s what we are…)

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