Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,843 by Cincinnus

Posted by Pete Maclean on November 17th, 2011

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of November 5

Here’s another fine although uncharacteristic puzzle from Cincinnus. I especially like 1A (DICTION), 19A (MOPED), 5D (BATES), 7D (VAGUE) and 17D (APPLIANCE). And I missed something in 4D (NIGHTBIRD).

Across
1. DICTION – DICTION[aries] (unsigned reference books)
5. BEHAVES – H[oly] + AV (Bible – i.e. Authorised Version) both in BEES (workers)
9. ALTOS – hidden word
10. GETTING ON – double/cryptic definition
11. THE STATES – ESTATE (country property) replace ‘I’ in THIS (this)
12. SPEKE – homophone (“speak”)
13. CLIMB – C (Conservative) + LIMB (member)
15. INQUORATE – anagram of NEAR QUITO. I did not know the word “inquorate” but guessed the answer was some word with the same root as “quorum”.
18. ALEXANDRA – ALEXANDR[i]A (where many Egyptians are ignoring one)
19. MOPED – MOP[p]ED
21. ACT UP – double definition
23. MUTTERING – UTTER (say) in MING (China)
25. HARDLINER – HARD LINE[s] (commiseration not quite) + R (right)
26. FENCE – double definition
27. DROPS IN – “drop sin” (be a reformed character)
28. YONKERS – ER (British leading lady) in YONKS (a long time). I wonder how many Brits know of Yonkers — I suspect not all Americans know of the place. I happen to be very familiar with it as it was the birthplace of the great love of my life. In case you don’t know, it is a suburb of New York City.

Down
1. DRASTIC – [summe]R + ASTI (wine) both in DC (president’s place). While working in “last of summer wine” is jolly clever, I think that otherwise this clue is a bit weak — especially in cluing DC in this way.
2. CATHERINE – anagram of TEACHER IN
3. INSET – IN (popular) + SET (group)
4. NIGHTBIRD – NIGH (almost) + T[he] + BIRD???. Assuming this answer is right — and I can see no other — what clues BIRD? Seems it must be “time” but I don’t understand how that works. But see the comments below for the the lowdown!
5. BATES – [knif]E in BATS (crazy) — referring of course to the Bates Motel in Hitchcock’s “Psycho”.
6. HAILSTORM – anagram of HIS MORTAL
7. VAGUE – V[est] + AGUE (fit)
8. SINCERE – SINCE (as) + [t]R[u]E (true, ignoring the odds)
14. BEANPOLES – anagram of PLAN OBESE
16. QUARTERLY – QUARTER (lodge) + [on]LY
17. APPLIANCE – I (one) + anagram of CAN both in APPLE (fruit)
18. ABASHED – A (a) + BASHED (hit)
20. DIGRESS – GI (serving man) reversed in DRESS (groom)
22. TORSO – T[ree] + OR SO (more or less). I think this clue is okay but suspect some people might raise an eyebrow at “or” being in both “or so” and “more or less”.
23. MANON – O (old) in MANN (German novelist, Thomas)
24. ELFIN – F (female) in NILE (river) backwards

11 Responses to “Financial Times 13,843 by Cincinnus”

  1. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Another nice one by Cincinnus.
    Uncharacteristic, Pete?

    To answer your query, in 4d we have BIRD which has as one of its definitions (in Chambers): “A prison sentence, prison (slang; from bird-lime, rhyming slang for ‘time’)” – which explains it all.

  2. Pete Maclean says:

    Ah, I am indebted to you once again, Sil. Thank you!

    I do think this puzzle is uncharacteristic, one I would not confidently have recognized as a Cincinnus if it had been anonymous. It is certainly good enough to be a Cincinnus and I cannot say that any single clue stands out as being un-Cincinnus-like, but the style and tone seem a little different from the usual.

  3. John Newman says:

    Thanks again Pete.

    As I was doing this crossword I thought to myself “Has Cincinnus contracted this one out?”. So there is something about it isn’t there? BIRD was beyond me. Why is it that Chambers always has an answer? Is there a new one printed every couple of months? If I am going to keep doing cryptic crosswords it seems I will have to buy myself one one day.
    John

  4. Wanderer says:

    Thanks Pete and Cincinnus.

    To my shame I had not heard of the explorer Speke, but the homophone was obvious. So I looked him up and found out that what he explored was the source of the Nile. Then when I got to 24, and needed to find a river to construct Elfin, I thought: nice touch.

  5. Pete Maclean says:

    I don’t know if the FT or other papers have made official proclamations about this but Chambers does seem to be generally considered as the reference for British cryptics. I have a copy myself and often use it. Even so I missed the bird-lime thing which is in my edition. I also missed the connection between Speke and the Nile.

  6. Cincinnus says:

    Thanks, Pete, for the excellent blog, as always. Thanks also to others who have commented.

    You wonder, Pete, if many Brits have heard of Yonkers. I should think it’s fairly well known, if for no other reason, than as the setting for the musical Hello Dolly, and for being mentioned in the song from that show, Put On Your Sunday Clothes:
    “Out there, There’s a world outside of Yonkers, Way out there beyond this hick town, Barnaby”

  7. Pete Maclean says:

    Cincinnus, Thank you for contributing here.

    Having lived in New York City for many years, in addition to the reason I cited in the blog, I thought I knew plenty about Yonkers. However I had not realized that it was the setting for Hello Dolly. I know the title song very well but have never seen the whole musical.

  8. Bamberger says:

    I couldn’t get 12a and had to google the answer. Ditto 23d.
    26a I know a fence is a criminal but a guard?
    17d Very hard -you have to get apple for fruit as well as anagramming
    20d Would never had got serving man =gi.

    Hardest Cincinnus I can remember -didn’t get much of rhs out -though did get inquorate and Yonkers.

  9. Pete Maclean says:

    Bamberger, I found this harder than the average Cincinnus but not exceptionally so. I remember one particular Cincinnus puzzle that was much harder. The clues I had trouble with were, like you, 17D (APPLIANCE) along with 22D (TORSO) and 24D (ELFIN). GI is frequently used in cryptic clues and a valuable term to keep in mind. Typically it is clued by something a bit more precise than “serving man” though — “soldier” perhaps.

    Chambers defines “fence” as a verb as “to guard”.

  10. John Newman says:

    Wanderer, I found your blog interesting because unlike you, once I had seen from the google search that there was an explorer named Speke I looked no further. So I missed the Nile connection. Doubly interesting for me as I am presently living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I see though that Speke explored the source of the White Nile. Here in Ethiopia we have the source of the Blue Nile which is well worth a visit if you enjoy that feeling of awe one has when you are looking at something so significant.

    As I write this I am struck once again by how much we learn by doing an enjoyable Cincinnus puzzle.

  11. Wanderer says:

    Thank you for pointing this out, John. Such serendipity is what makes this site such fun. Hats off to Cincinnus.

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