Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,828 / Dogberry

Posted by Gaufrid on October 19th, 2011


I was not expecting to see Dogberry today as it is only a month since his last appearance and normally he only turns up about once every three months. However, I’m not complaining. For the most part I found this quite straightforward, making steady progress and thinking that it would be all over rather quickly. That was until I came to my last unsolved clue, 9ac, which took me as much time to parse as the rest of the puzzle put together (and I’m still not sure that I have it right).

A wildcard search of Chambers using the checked letters revealed two possible answers, the one I plumped for and harmala (the so-called African or Syrian rue of the bean caper family). It was impossible to get the latter from the wordplay so SAWMILL it had to be. SAW as an old chestnut or saying was fairly obvious but ‘thinker’ to give MILL was another matter. Chambers does give ‘to mill’ as meaning ‘to turn over in the mind or to mull [over]’ but then a ‘thinker’ would surely be a ‘miller’.

Fortunately I paid a visit to Oxford on-line which had, under MILL, a reference to an English philosopher of whom I’d never heard. As I could find no other way of parsing the clue I reluctantly decided that this must be the intended wordplay. However, I would be more than happy if someone comes up with an alternative answer/parsing because, as I said above, I have little confidence in my solution.

1 DIRECT double def.
4 SCARAB SCAR (mark) AB (sailor)
8 FRAGILE RAG (scrap) in FILE (rank)
9 SAWMILL SAW (16 {saying}) MILL (thinker) – John Stuart Mill, English philosopher and economist.
11 ORDINATION DIN (racket) in ORATION (speech)
12 DUPE P (quiet) in DUE (expected)
13 SHEEN SHE (woman) EN (space)
14 INSANITY S[hakespearean] in INANITY (vacancy)
16 CHESTNUT cryptic def. & def.
18 PLUSH PLUS (bonus) [share]H[older]
20 FLEE E ELF (f-fairy) reversed
21 MARGUERITE ARGUER (disputant) in MITE (arachnid) – the ox-eye daisy or other single chrysanthemum.
23 TANDOOR TAN (beat) DOOR (entrance)
24 BAGGAGE double def.
25 TURNER triple def.
26 PESTER S (saint) in PETER (another {saint})
1 DÜRER RU (sport) in RED (colour) reversed – Albrecht Dürer
3 COLCANNON COL (pass) CANNON (artillery) – an Irish dish consisting of boiled cabbage and potatoes mashed with butter.
5 CHAIN CHA (drink) IN
6 RAMADAN A MAD (loony) in RAN (fled)
7 BALD PATCH BALD (unsubtle) PATCH (repair)
10 MINIATURE IN I (Italy) in MATURE (grown-up)
15 SUPPURATE SUP (drink) U (university) in PRATE (talk rubbish)
17 SLENDER L[etter] in SENDER (active correspondent)
19 UPRIGHT PRIG (puritan) in UHT (sterilisation) – I would have thought that UHT equated with sterilised rather than sterilisation.
21 MOOSE MOO (low) S E (points)
22 TIGER G[iraffe] in TIER (row)


9 Responses to “Financial Times 13,828 / Dogberry”

  1. Eileen says:

    Hi Gaufrid

    I think you need have no qualms at all about thinker = MILL, who was a very influential philosoher. I would have a rather bigger question mark over CHESTNUT [‘an old or stale joke’] = SAW ‘a wise saying’] – both Collins – but, as you say, nothing else seems to fit.

  2. anax says:

    John Stuart Mill, of his own free will
    On half a pint of shandy was particularly ill

    So, thanks to Monty Python’s Philosophers song I knew of JSM!

  3. scchua says:

    Thanks Gaufrid and Dogberry.

    Like you, 9A SAWMILL was my last one. In my case ignorance (of harmala) was bliss. Agree with you on your parsing.

    I liked 1D DURER and 13A SHEEN for their unusual reversal indicators.

  4. scchua says:

    Hi Gaufrid, btw, UHT is the acronym for the process, ultra high temperature treatment or ultra heat treatment, so it can be synonymous with sterilisation.

  5. Gaufrid says:

    Hi scchua
    Chambers, Collins and COED all give UHT as an abbreviation for “ultra heat treated” so I think my comment is valid.

  6. Alan Connor says:

    Yes, I only got back to 16ac once I’d twigged that SAWMILL wasn’t *that* kind of plant.

  7. Brian Bollen says:

    Maybe I’m one breast-fixated, but I have ‘mammary’ for 9ac.

  8. Bamberger says:

    Failed on 16ac as well.
    For 21a had marguerita which was, of course, the well known mita spider surrounding arguer. Pure coincidence that there is a drink of that name.
    Enjoyable if tough for me

  9. PeeDee says:

    Thank you for the blog today Gaufrid. Like you I found it mostly easy with a few much harder clues. Oddly enough I was reading about John Stuart Mill just yesterday, so no problem there, but ‘plant’ was a great red herring that sent me down the wrong track completely.

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