Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,825 by Mudd

Posted by Pete Maclean on October 27th, 2011

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of October 15

I found this puzzle a bit hard overall and the top-left quadrant especially tricky. My top clues are 10A (NOVELIST) and 8D (BASTINADO), and I also applaud the inventiveness in 24A (BUS DEPOT) and 3D (BELLIGERENT). Unless I have missed something or (heaven forfend!) got the wrong answer, there is a broken anagram in 4D (OVENBIRD).

Across
1. FRABJOUS – A (a) + anagram of JOB both in SURF (move effortlessly) backwards
6. SNOBBY – S (second) + NOB (aristo) + BY (through)
9. ATTLEE – [b]ATTLE (fight lost at the front) + E (English)
10. NOVELIST – anagram of LOVE ISNT with a nice cryptic definition referring, presumably, to Muriel Spark
11. TOPI – TOP (cap) + I (one)
12. BOILER SUIT – Spoonerism (“soil a boot”)
14. REHEARSE – HEAR (try) in RESE[arch]
16. EDAM – MADE (produced) backwards
18. EDGE – [s]EDGE (mown plant)
19. NATATION – AT (at) in NATION (country). My first thought was FINLAND but it did not fit — and would have called for a question mark on the clue.
21. CRETAN BULL – anagram of TRANCE + BULL (nonsense)
22. ROSE – double definition
24. BUS DEPOT – S[werving] in BUDE (Cornish town) + POT (pool)
26. NAILED – [pai]N + AILED (was sick)
27. SKIPPY – KIP (forty winks) in SPY (mole). I note that this clue would have worked just as well — perhaps even better — for 20D (SNAPPY)!
28. YEARLING – NIL (nothing) backwards in anagram of A GREY

Down
2. RETRO – reverse hidden word
3. BELLIGERENT – BE (be) + LIGER (hybrid) in LENT (fast). A liger is a cross between a male lion and a tigress.
4. OVENBIRD – well, not quite an anagram of RIND DOVE. How about “Flier scattering RNIB with dove”?
5. SUNRISE INDUSTRY – anagram of STUDY INSURERS IN
6. SOVIET – SO (thus) + I (one) in VET (check)
7. OWL – [h]OWL
8. BASTINADO – anagram of AINT SO BAD
13. SWEATER GIRL – EATER (diner) + G[et] both in SWIRL (spin). I was unaware of this term but Wikipedia tells me that it described a look made popular in the 1940s and 50s by Hollywood actresses such as Lana Turner and Jane Russell which wore tight sweaters that emphasized their bustlines.
15. EIDER DUCK – cryptic definition
17. ATALANTA – A (a) in ATLANTA (US city)
20. SNAPPY – double definition
23. SKEIN – [hous]E in SKIN (hide). I managed to get this one wrong! I had STERN as the answer and actually managed to justify it to a considerable extent. I was corrected — see the first comment below.
25. DIP – double definition

6 Responses to “Financial Times 13,825 by Mudd”

  1. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Many thanks, Pete, for your blog of a nice Mudd.
    That is, except for 4d (OVENBIRD) which is clearly a mistake. Some mistakes are worse than others, but for me this one is not really a slip of the pen (as there is clearly no B involved) – wonder what happened.

    My answer to 23d is SKEIN, being “a V-shaped group of geese or swans in flight”. Wordplay: SKIN (hide) around [hous]E.

  2. Pete Maclean says:

    Aha! SKEIN, eh? To me a skein is a ball of wool or yarn; I have not come across it in the sense you define but that is clearly the right answer. Thank you! It is curious how I managed to twist the clue to fit my answer to such a degree.

  3. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Mudd for the puzzle and Pete for the blog.

    I have dug out my solution and see that I left 4dn incomplete.

  4. Coffee says:

    FRABJOUS?! Good grief, no wonder that corner never got finished. Loved BUS DEPOT and NOVELIST though.
    Thanks!

  5. Cosafina says:

    Skein is a group of geese flying. If they’re on the ground, they’re a gaggle.
    As far as I know, geese are the only creatures to have two collective nouns (one for if they’re in the air, another for if they’re on the ground).
    Unhappy with ovenbird, because, as already pointed out, the B wasn’t in the letters for what was otherwise clearly an anagram.
    Not like Paul/Mudd to be so careless – maybe he was on his honeymoon when he wrote it?

  6. Pete Maclean says:

    Ah, yes, I just checked and found that on page 44 of James Lipton’s excellent book, “An Exaltation of Larks”. (That is, it names the two collective terms for geese and no more than one for any other bird.) I have not looked at my copy of this book for a few years but on revisiting it now I also note that the word “kindle”, as well as meaning to start a fire and referring to Amazon’s e-book reader, serves as a collective noun for kittens!

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