Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13833 Gaff

Posted by scchua on October 25th, 2011


An entertaining puzzle from Gaff.  The theme subject was wide enough, though to be honest, it didn’t enter into my solving of it, as I took 11A literally as it was.  Almost on completion, I spotted what Gaff was pointing to.  Thanks Gaff.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  There is a hidden connection in the picture montage at the end.  Also, pardon the late posting, interrupted because I had to run an errand.


1 Horrific house tool (6)

HAMMER :  Double defn: 1st: Hammer Film Productions is a UK production company,house which is best known for making ground-breaking horrific movies in the late 50s, a genre known as “Hammer Horror” – such as a “Frankenstein” series – The Curse of, The Revenge of, The Evil of, – you get the picture, and a “Dracula” series.

Answer:  Also Mike Hammer, PI created by American author Mickey Spillane

4 Soldier that would take flight (6)

ARCHER :  Cryptic defn:  An old-time soldier with a long and light arrow,flight designed for long-distance shooting

Answer:  Also, Lew Archer, created by American Ross McDonald

8 I led Orange Revolution in historical period (4,3)

IRON AGEI placed before(led) anagram of(Revolution) ORANGE

9 Seasons mess mixed with rum (7)

SUMMERSAnagram of(mixed with) [MESS + RUM]

Answer:  Also, I think, but I may be totally wrong, the last of the 11s.  Found real-life ones with that name, but only a fictional one here.

11 See preamble (7,3)

PRIVATE EYE :  The satirical magazine celebrates its 50th birthday today.  The answer, in a different sense, is an alternative defn. of 10 other solutions.

12 Towering installation (4)

TALLHidden in(in) sTALLation – a tricky, splitting device.

13 Get the better of church shrink (5)

WINCE :  WIN(get the better of,beat) CE(Church of England)

14 Wheat product reportedly grown in Sussex (3,5)

RYE BREADHomophone of(reportedly) {“rye”(a resort town in East Sussex) hyphenated with “bred”(past tense of breed,grown)}

16 State artist is 4’s supplier (8)

FLETCHER :  FL(abbrev. for US state Florida, used in postal codes) ETCHER(an artist making designs or pictures by etching metal, glass, etc. with acid)

Answer:  One who makes,a supplier of arrows for ARCHER(answer to 4A).  Also, Jessica Fletcher, amateur detective in American TV series, Murder She Wrote

18 Does this suit a gardener’s needs? (5)

SPADE :  Cryptic defn. of a gardener’s tool which, in the plural, is also a suit in a deck of playing cards.

Answer:  Also, Sam Spade, tough guy detective, created by American Dashiell Hammett.

20 Computers returned in swindle (4)

SCAMReversal of(returned) MACS(short form for Mackintoshes, Apple computers)

21 Renunciation destroyed pithead from Mendips town (10)

DISOWNMENTAnagram of(destroyed) “MENDIpS TOWNminus “p”(first letter,head of “pit”, split from “pithead”)

23 Thames town finishes the playwright (7)

MARLOWE :  MARLOW(town on the river Thames) E(last letter,finishes of “the”)

Answer:  Christopher, the playwright, amongst other things, of the Elizabethan period, a contemporary of Shakespeare.  Also, Philip Marlowe, PI created by American Raymond Chandler

24 In cosmic event, Uranus seen from Californian boulevard (7)

VENTURAHidden in(in) eVENT, URAnus

Answer:  A primary thoroughfare,boulevard running east-west in the San Fernando Valley, California.  Also, Ace Ventura, Pet Detective in the film of the same name, and the sequel Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.

25 Roundhead hid in tree in northern town (6)

MARPLE :  R(first letter,head of “round”, split from “roundhead”) contained in(hid in) MAPLE(common name for the genus of trees and shrubs, of which the sugar maple produces the sap that is made into syrup, sugar or toffee)

Answer:  A large village,town in Greater Manchester, northern England.  Also, Jane Marple, an amateur detective from Agatha Christie

26 Man liberates your leaders gradually (6)

GENTLY :  GENT(gentleman,man) [L + Y](initial letters,leaders of “liberates your”)

Answer:  Also, Dirk, main character in Douglas (THHGTTG) Adams’ Dirk Gently’s “Holistic Detective Agency”, a “thumping good detective-ghost-horror-who dunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic”, as described by the author.


1 He’ll pay for using anger in time (5)

HIRER :  IRE(anger) contained in(in) HR(short for hour,time period)

2 Least terrible Russian transporter (7)

MINIVAN :  MIN(short for minimum,least) IVAN(the Terrible, first Tsar of All Russia)

3 Desert army having commitment for final day of circumnavigation (9)

EIGHTIETH :  EIGHTH(reference to the 8th Army of the British Army, best known for their north African desert campaign in WW2, especially the Battles of El Alamein) containing(having) TIE(bond,commitment)

Answer:  Reference to the final day of Phileas Fogg’s and Passepartout’s global circumnavigation in Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days.  

5 Wake to sound of arguments (5)

ROUSEHomophone of(sound of) “rows”(arguments,quarrels)

6 Small pet-wash was left a lot of capital (7)

HAMSTER :  H{“wash”, split from “pet-wash”, minus(left) “was”} AMSTER(most,a lot of the letters of “Amsterdam”, capital of the Netherlands – I was under under the impression that The Hague was the capital, but apparently not, even though the latter is the seat of the government)

7 How to make more from a single recording? (9)

RERELEASE :  (Not so?) cryptic defn.  Reference to a popular music recording that is released,issued again, to catch another wave of popularity.

10 Mistake is concealed in race for Bin Laden, maybe (9)

TERRORIST :  [ERROR(mistake) IS] contained in(concealed in) TT(Tourist Trophy, the motorcycle races run annually in the Isle of Man)

It’s definitely déjà vu, as this is what I blogged 5 days ago – ERROR(mistake) IS] contained in(to interrupt) TT(Tourist Trophy, the motorcycle races run annually in the Isle of Man)

13 With 49 650 a 999 12 story (4,5)

WILD CLAIM :  W(with) IL(49 in Roman numerals, incorrectly) DCL(ditto for 650, but correctly) A IM(ditto for 999, incorrectly)

Answer:  TALL(answer for 12A) story

15 Wheels spin before getting away (9)

ELSEWHEREAnagram of(spin) WHEELS plus ERE(poetic for before)

17 Crusading barrister (7)

TEMPLAR :  Cryptic defn:  A barrister who has chambers in the Inner or Middle Temple, London which were originally established by the crusaders, the Knights Templars.  Edit.note:  Reminded by comments #1&2 – Also a halo-ed white knight detective, Simon Templar aka The Saint, created by Leslie Charteris.  Left out in my hurry :-)

19 Turns timid at demand made by 11? (5,2)

ADMIT ITAnagram of(turnsTIMID AT.  Nice surface

Answer:  What a PRIVATE EYE(answer to 11A) might demand of a suspect.

21 Prosper without large pin (5)

DOWEL :  DO WELl(prosper) minus(without) “l”(large)

22 Anxious entertainer vying for part (5)

NERVYHidden in(part) entertaiNER VYing.  Nice surface.



12 Responses to “Financial Times 13833 Gaff”

  1. Wanderer says:

    Thanks scchua for blogging an entertaining puzzle.

    I think 17, TEMPLAR, is thematic — Simon Templar, The Saint, a creation of Leslie Charteris.

    Like you it took me a while to understand the preamble. Was expecting references to Lord Gnome etc and it took me a long time to see what was going on.

  2. MikeC says:

    Thanks scchua and Gaff. Good fun. I suppose 19d is connected to 11, although I doubt that this is what the preamble means. My candidate for the tenth connection would be 17 – Simon Templar, aka “The Saint”, in novels by Leslie Charteris. Although you don’t mention this in the blog, your final line of pictures suggests you did spot the connection!

  3. Steve says:

    Thanks scchua and GAFF.

    Re 10d, it makes no difference to the outcome, but I usually think of TT as short for Time Trial.

  4. scchua says:

    Thanks Wanderer and MikeC. Yes I had 17D as the ninth connection to 11A (my tenth is 9A SUMMERS, of which I’m not absolutely sure). In my hurry to submit an already late post, I didn’t do a proper final check. Will correct the gap.

  5. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Many thanks, scchua.
    I found out quite quickly that it was all about the Private Eye magazine, which I [unlike many Brits] find something of bygone days. Revolutionary in the Seventies, bit outdated in Modern Times [well, that’s just my opinion, sorry].
    And then I thought, perhaps all these people are current or former employees of PE. Well, I couldn’t be bothered too much.

    I found this a pretty easy crossword (apart from one or two in the NE), but to be fair to Gaff, it was very well constructed. And indeed a nice twist to make use of ‘the other meaning’ of PE.

    Just like others, I counted only 9 private investigators.
    SUMMERS doesn’t seem to be one of them, although it’s quite tempting to include him.
    Or is it perhaps ROUSE? Jack Rouse is an actor who played Superintendent Jack Meadows in ITV’s The Bill. That said, ROUSE is nót the character himself.
    Maybe there is an Inspector Elsewhere, or one called Terrorist … :)

  6. scchua says:

    Hi Sil, I’m not entirely sure about SUMMERS, but – in PI jargon – there doesn’t seem to be a more likely suspect. The field of enquiry is reduced (?) as we’re looking for private/amateur sleuths and policemen/public servants are ruled out as suspects.

    Perhaps Gaff himself might drop in to give us the denouement. That would be the icing on the cake and would be much appreciated.

  7. Sil van den Hoek says:

    What about Andy Summers?
    He was the guitarist of the Police …. :)

  8. Peter says:


  9. Richard says:

    ARCHER could be Miles Archer, Sam Spade’s partner in the Maltese Falcon

  10. Jim T says:

    FLETCHER might be reference to “B.J. Fletcher, Private Eye”, a popular Web series produced in Canada.

  11. Gaff says:

    The 10th private eye is Buffy Summers, the vampire slayer. Rather different investigative methods to Miss Marple, maybe, but you have to admit she would make a welcome addition to Scchua’s gallery! Others are as per Scchua’s thorough analysis, for which congratulations.

  12. scchua says:

    Thanks Gaff for dropping by. Your comment, as is your puzzle, is most appreciated. I just realised this is the first one of yours that I’m blogging, and I look forward to the next one.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

eight + = 16