Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,851 / Neo

Posted by duncanshiell on November 15th, 2011


As scchua hinted in his blog last week, he is off on a break, so I am blogging in his place during his holiday.  Next week, though, the blogger will be a stand-in for a stand-in.



There was a clear theme to this puzzle, although I didn’t get the theme word itself, at 11 across, until quite late on in the solving process.  The first theme word I got was DINGBAT at 19 down, so I didn’t immediately think of money.  Indeed I was thinking fonts.  The next theme word for me was AGORA at 27 across and still I didn’t think money.  The penny began to drop once I got MOOLA and WONGA, and a quick look in the dictionaries showed that DINGBAT and AGORA were also related to money.  COPPERS and LUMP SUM were the next theme words to fall and the solution built up from there.  I had to look up SHINPLASTER to find its link to money.  I suspect I am not alone in doing that.

Once I had solved the theme word – LOLLY – I had a quick look on the internet to see if there was confectionery company called Lambert & Oliver, but regrettably I had no luck. It would have been a superb clue if there were such a company.

There are some abbreviations that only occur in the crossword world, at least as far as my life is concerned.  One such occurrence was included in the clue at 6 down where R is used as an abbreviation of the Latin word ”recipe’ meaning ‘take’.  No doubt someone will tell me that R = ‘take’ has common uage in some trade or profession. (medicine perhaps?)

There was a rare instance of a hidden word spanning 4 clue words at 19 across – DINGBAT

I haven’t blogged a NEO puzzle before but I was able to parse almost all of the clues without difficulty.  The only one I continue to struggle with is 14 across which I have entered in the grid as HIS. I have given a possible parsing of HIS below.  I can’t see why the solution could be any of HAS, HES, HOS or HUS, but I am happy to be shown to be wrong.

I have not solved many Financial Times crosswords before, but I found myself looking in Collins Dictionary and the Shorter Oxford more often than I usually do when researching blogs. Is Collins the dictionary of choice for Financial Times setters, rather than Chambers?

No. Clue Wordplay Entry
1 11 in 10 get "ram with two tails" scene animated (9) TUP (ram) + P (final letter of [tail]  TUP) repeated (two tails) + an anagram of (animated) SCENE TUPPENCES (money [11 across] in small change [10 across])
6 Penning popular letter to Greeks with chargeable 11? (5) RHO (letter of the Greek alphabet) containing (penning) IN (popular) RHINO (money [11 across]; also a rhinoceros is often characterised as a ’charging animal’)
9 11 as single amount for those who sit, uncomfortably at first, in chimney (4,3) (U [first letter of {at first} UNCOMFORTABLY] + MPS [Members of Parliament 'sit' in the House of Commons]) contained in (in) LUM (chimney, a word predominantly used in Scotland. If ever someone says to you ’lang may your lum reek’ they are wishing you long life and prosperity) LUMP SUM (money [11 across] in a single amount)
10 Constabulary with hardly any 11 (7) COPPERS (policemen; constabulary) COPPERS (a small amount [hardly any] of money [11 across])
11 Boiled sweet from Lambert & Oliver (5) L (Lambert, a unit of brightness) + OLLY (reference Oliver Hardy of Laurel & Hardy fame) LOLLY (lollipop; boiled sweet; also a term for money)  
12 Prayer to Mary with kid, one cradles typically (2,7) ONE containing (cradles) (AVE [recitation of the Ave Maria, a prayer to the Virgin Mary] + RAG [tease; kid]) ON AVERAGE (typically)
14 Lord’s where hopeful opener may be found (3) H (First letter of [opener] HOPEFUL) + IS (may be found [?]) HIS (of a male, of a Lord [?]; Lord’s)
15 Star shown about light source in early 11 on paper (11) SHINER (a thing that shines; e.g. a star) containing (about) (first letter of [source] LIGHT, itself contained in [in] PAST [previous; early]) SHINPLASTER (obsolete [early {?}] American term for paper money of low value; a promissory note on brittle paper)  Is ”early’ doing double duty here, or have I missed something obvious?
17 Alien scores out song after service (11) Anagram of (out) ALIEN SCORES RECESSIONAL (a hymn sung during the retirement of the clergy and choir after a service)
19 Sinead O’Connor’s heart surgeon (3) Hidden word in [possesive,'s] SINEAD O’CONNOR Afternote: As Neo points out in the comments @3 below, this is more than just a hidden word, it is actually the 3 letters central to [heart] of SINEAD O’CONNOR. DOC (a colloquial shortening of ‘doctor’.  A ”doctor’ may be a surgeon.  Chambers tells me that a ‘doctor’ is also a fish, the sea-surgeon)
20 Louis mucks around with King going for an urban sound (4,5) Anagram of (around) LOUIS MUCKS excluding (going) K (King) SOUL MUSIC ( the popular music originally and especially of black Americans, typically emotional and earthy, a blend of blues, jazz, gospel and pop elements.) Is it just an urban sound?
22 Wife on game refusing Neo’s 11 (5) W (wife) + ON + GAME excluding (refusing) ME (Neo, setter) WONGA (money [11 across])
24 Whose name is love? (7) IS + ADORE (love) ISADORE (girl’s name)
26 Dignify East German city overthrown by the French (7) E (East) + (BONN [German city] reversed [overthrown]) + LE (one of the forms of ‘the’ in French) ENNOBLE (elevate or distinguish; dignify)
27 11 to Ben-Gurion in silver and gold area (5) AG (chemical symbol for silver) + OR (gold) + A (area) AGORA (an Israeli unit of money [11 across]; David Ben-Gurion [1886 - 1973] was the first Prime Minister of Israel)
28 See artist making 11 for Caligula (9) Anagram of (making) SEE ARTIST SESTERTIA (Roman [Caligula] money [11 across])
No. Clue Wordplay Entry
1 Chemical derivative brings yen into demand (5) TOLL (demand) containing (brings … into) Y (yen) TOLYL (chemical derivative, the group C7H7 derived from toluene)
2 Rash PM takes lift in places like parliament (7) PM reversed (takes lift) contained in (in) PILES (a PILE is a large building or group of buildings – e.g. many Parliament buildings throughout the world.  POssible also a reference to ‘Stately Piles’) PIMPLES (rash)
3 Incomplete system is as unstable for writers (9) Anagram of (SYSTEM excluding the final (incomplete) M and IS AS) ESSAYISTS (writers)
4 Soviets outside party raised desirable quality in resources (11) COMMIES (communists; soviets) containing (outside) (DO [party] reversed [raised] + IT [desirable quality]) COMMODITIES (raw materials; resources)
5 Dry kick-off for Stoke City (3) S (first letter of (kick-off for) STOKE) + EC (postcode for the City of London) SEC ([of wines]dry)
6 11 in Kerala has take-up at two euro (5) R (take; see above)  + UP + (E (Euro[pean]) + E (Euro[pean] – two Euros)  I am not convinced that E is an abbreviation for the Euro currency, but Euro is short for European and E is an accepted abbreviation for European as in E-number RUPEE (currency, money [11 across] of India, location of Kerala)
7 Not precise in topless instance of lovemaking (7) IN + (SEX ACT [lovemaking] excluding the first letter [topless] S) INEXACT (not precise)
8 Crib set to rock in related medical discipline (9) Anagram of (rock) CRIB SET TO OBSTETRIC (relating to the care of women during pregnancy and childbirth, hence reference to crib)
13 Denied heroin, Princess Leah may get herb that finds a high! (6,5) Anagram of (may get) PRINCESS LEAH excluding (denied) H (heroin) ALPINE CRESS ( low white-flowered perennial herb (Cardamine bellidifolia) found on mountain summits and in arctic regions of the north temperate zone [herb that finds a high])
14 Girl to embrace that man after greeting in Honshu City (9) HI (greeting)  + (ROSA [girl's name] containing (to embrace) HIM [that man]) HIROSHIMA (city in Honshu, Japan)
16 11 in certain amount can potentially feed everyone in debt (9) Anagram of (potentially) CAN contained in (feed) (ALL OWE [everyone in debt]) ALLOWANCE (money [11 across] in a certain amount)
18 Significantly cruel and wretched old Magellan’s 11 (7) First three letters of [more than half of; significantly) CRUEL + SAD (wretched) + O (old) CRUSADO (old Portuguese [Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer] coin, money [11 across])
19 11 found in GB athletics park (7) Hidden word in (park) FOUND IN GB ATHLETICS DINGBAT (American slang for money [11 across])
21 11 very good after weaving machine set up (5) LOOM (weaving machine) reversed (set up) + A (very good) MOOLA (money [11 across])
23 One near Barking Stadium (5) A (one) + anagram of NEAR (barking) ARENA (stadium)
25 Nameless compiler gets closer to Hyperion’s daughter (3) NEO (compiler) excluding (less) N (name) + S (final letter of [closer to] GETS) EOS (daughter of Hyperion)

11 Responses to “Financial Times 13,851 / Neo”

  1. Joe says:


    Could someone pl. explain how ‘park’ can be a hidden indicator? I am not sure, but ‘answer fodder parks’ sounds more correct to me than ‘answer fodder park’.

    Had a trouble with proper nouns in this puzzle – City for EC, Olive for OLLY, girl for ISADORE and ROSA.

    Thanks to Neo for a nice theme and to the blogger as well.

  2. Neo says:

    At 19A ‘park’ gets its plural usage from the four fodder elements ‘found’, ‘in’, ‘GB’ & ‘athletics’; but by the same (sort of) token, it could be justified by the string of letters spanning from F in found to S in athletics. In some sense, and whichever way you look at it, these ‘park’ the required word.

    I’m outta here for a while so many thanks to DS for his wonderfully precise blog, and to all who choose to contribute.


  3. Neo says:

    … and ‘Sinead o’Connor’s heart’ are the exact middle letters: it’s not strictly a ‘hidden’.

  4. duncanshiell says:

    Joe @ 1

    POssibly ’11 found in GB athletic parks’ would work just as well, but I’m not a setter.

    However, Chambers does support the word ‘park’, in the singular, as a word meaning ‘put into’ as follows:

    park (verb transitive): to place and leave (a vehicle) in a parking place or elsewhere; to deposit and leave, put (informal); to enclose in a park; to make a park of; to register (securities) under some other name in order to hide their true ownership.

    For OLLY, I think Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were fairly commonly know as Stan and Olly

  5. duncanshiell says:

    Thanks to Neo @2 for explaining ‘park’ better than I could. Thanks also @3 for pointing out ‘heart’. I now realise that I didn’t use ‘heart’ in the explanation of the wordplay.

  6. Hamilton says:

    That was an entertaining and deceptively difficult one – half an hour I thought at first, but it ended up at two hours. Thanks Neo, and duncanshiell for the blog (incidentally, your parsing of 14a seems spot on to me).

  7. Ferret says:

    A rarity where the last part of the theme I solved was the theme word itself?

  8. Dash says:

    Re: 14 across. I assume the ‘His’ in this sense would be the one with the significant capitalisation which would refer to the Christian ‘Lord’.

  9. Sil van den Hoek says:

    This was perhaps the hardest Neo puzzle I’ve solved thus far.
    That said, there was (not so very long ago) another one referring to the financial world that went a bit beyond me.

    That I couldn’t finish this crossword is completely my own fault, writing in ‘obstretic’ at 8d instead of OBSTETRIC, therefore getting lost on 12ac (which was very nice in hindsight) and 15ac.

    The ‘park’ mystery has been unveiled by Neo himself, and I have to say the explanation is very convincing.

    Just like for Ferret, the crucial LOLLY (11ac) was one of my last (but the ‘money’ connection was clear, of course). Nevertheless, not being able to find this one right away, gave me a bit of an unsettled feeling.

    Finally, I want to say something about the point Dash came up with @8.
    For me it was instantly clear that HIS (14ac) was defined by “Lord’s” (of the Lord).
    It did remind me of one of the clues I wrote myself a while ago, and which turned out to be rather controversial.
    In the original version of my first ever crossword I clued CHIME by “Ring God in church”. Alberich didn’t like it nor did the well-respected Eileen. And when asked, a few months ago in Birmingham, Anax wasn’t keen on it either (to put it mildly).
    Even though I am something of an atheist, I know that in the Bible “He” (with a capital H) stands for “God” (Our Lord). In my native country it is quite normal to equate “He” or “Him” with “God”, but apparently not here in the UK.
    Despite all the negative comments, I still like the clue, even increasingly so – in particular, because of its imagery.
    And so today, I was very pleased to see “Lord’s” leading to “His”.
    Sorry, if you think I am self-indulgent now, but I drank a glass or two to it tonight! :)

    Many thanks, duncan, for your unbelievably detailed blog.
    And the same to Neo, who produced (as ever) a precise, fair and challenging crossword which was this time more Tees than Neo.
    No problem with that though.

  10. Neo says:

    Thanks all – back from the sticks now, so tooled up accordingly.

    I forgot to clarify that ‘Lord’s’ gag whilst I was scurrying around packing my country cap, wellies and blunderbuss, but Sil gets it in one: I put His at the beginning of the clue to conceal the fact that for the idea to work, it needs a cap. Looks like a cricket clue, but ain’t.

    As to possible controversy I’m not in any way religious, so tend to take our language, in whichever text, as I find it without worrying too much about offending others so long as I wouldn’t be miffed myself kinda thing, but it is most definitely one to watch out for. I have given cause for offence in this regard once before, but it was a very particular circumstance, and quite a technical point even within that, and so, ultimately a bit of a surprise. But there ye are. We aim to please, but sometimes miss.

  11. Keeper says:

    (I’m catching up on two weeks’ worth of crosswords, so my late post here probably will go unread. Nevertheless…)

    Re: 11 across. I think Oliver Hardy was know as “Ollie” rather than “Olly.” So I think we’re looking at the use of “Olly” as a diminutive form of a non-specific Oliver (unless NEO had Oliver “Olly” Steeds in mind, though that probably is a bit too obscure).

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