Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times no.13,865 by MONK

Posted by Ringo on December 1st, 2011


I really struggled with this, and was prepared to wreak mighty vengeance on Monk in this post – but, on reflection over a cup of coffee, I can see that most of the faults lie with my sub-par brain, rather than with the setter. True, many of the clues seem desperately over-complicated to me, but, on the whole, a fairly fair puzzle, I think.


1. CRATERS  R(ecorded) within C [Conservative] + rates [estimates (value of)]

5. POTASH  Play on pot [cannabis] ash [burnt remains] to give the fertilising chemical

9. IVANHOE  Ho(use) within I [1, one] + vane [part of a windmill] to give Walter Scott’s swashbuckling hero

10. HAIRCUT  Air [atmosphere] + c(aught) within hut [small house]; the definition is ‘bob[,] for one’

12. REJUVENATE  Anagram of Janet + revue [see 2dn]

13. ANEW  Wane [decline] with w(ife) ‘delayed’, i.e. moved to later in the word

14. PIECE  I think this alludes to the fact that piece can follow show-, after-, work- and party- to make new words

15. TOODLE-OO  O(ld) and Leo [a rather obscure Roman ruling dynasty] within to-do [commotion]

17. COQUETTE  Croquette [potato cake] minus r(uns); ‘mash’, a slang term meaning to flirt or coquette is the definition

19. TUBED  Reversal of debut [start]; one on the London Underground could be said to be ‘tubed’

21. LEAR  Real [true] with both sides (L and R may represent the left and right sides, but the clue would also work with other letters) switched to give Shakespeare’s most tragic hero

22. BARBER-SHOP  Bar [pub] + ER [Elizabeth Regina, queen] + sh ['keep mum', be quiet] within bop [dance]

24. EYELASH  Eye [attitude?] + lash [flog]

25. BRONCHI  Br(itish) + on [working] + chi [letter of the Greek alphabet] to give the tubes of the lung

26. EXOCET  Reversal of CO [Commanding Officer] within Exet(er) [west-country city] to give a kind of guided missile

27. STRIKER  Double definition, with ‘match’ not attached to ‘football’ but, rather, meaning a safety match, which might be ‘struck’


2. REVUE  (Gri)ev(ing) within rue [regret]

3. TONSURE  Sure [certain] following ton [weight] to give a monk’s haircut (see 10ac)

4. ROOSEVELT  Eve [Biblical first lady] within anagram of lost or to give either Teddy or FDR

6. ORATE  Not sure about this one: rat is ‘informer’, but how does ‘a pair of shoes’ relate to O and E? Surely it doesn’t just mean ‘a pair of letters from ‘shoes”?

7. AIR-MAIL  Irma [girl's name] within ail [be sick]

8. HOUSEHOLD  House [shelter] + hold [stay]

11. SALTPETRE  Saltire [type of cross, a day late for St Andrew's Day] with I replaced by pet [stroke] to give the chemical compound

14. PROSELYTE  Anagram of polyester to give a term for one who converts from one religion to another

16. ON THE TROT  (M)onth + reversal of torte [tart]

18. UTRILLO  Anagram of illustration minus the letters of stain to give the French painter

20. BASENJI  N(o) j(oy) i(n) beneath (‘oppressed by’] base [vile] to give a species of dog

22. BASTE  Double definition: to baste can mean ‘beat’ [clobber] or ‘stitch loosely’ [sew]

23. OCHRE  Hidden in enOCH REacted

6 Responses to “Financial Times no.13,865 by MONK”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks Ringo
    In 15ac I took LEO to be ‘house’ as in one of the twelve divisions of the heavens in astrology (zodiac).

    My reading of ‘a pair of shoes’ in 6dn was as you indicated, [sh]OE[s].

  2. Ringo says:

    Thanks Gaufrid. I actually wrote in the astrological definition first, but then a Google double-check brought up the House of Leo; I think you’re probably right, though.

    ‘A pair of shoes’ still seems a bit unsatisfactory…

  3. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for the blog – it must be daunting to draw Monk. He has an almost equally hard one in the Independent today.

    Can anyone help with the apparent ninas? It says CIRCLE down the left hand side but TWO PIR down the right. Does it mean something?

  4. Ringo says:

    Very well spotted, Thomas! I misssed that completely. The circumference of a CIRCLE is TWO PI R (twice pi times the circle’s radius) – and the words appear in the circumference of the puzzle. Is there any more to it than that?

  5. Thomas99 says:

    2 pi r – of course! Well done for interpreting it, Ringo (I suppose your doubly circular name makes it more appropriate that you should crack it)! Tonsures and craters are round-ish but I don’t see a pervasive theme.

  6. Lenny says:

    Thanks Ringo. It helps if you did today’s Monk in the Independent as this one in the FT is slightly less convoluted. I put ticks next to the clues for Coquette, Saltpetre, On the trot and Utrillo which I would describe as brilliant rather than convoluted. I’m hopeless at dogs so I am relieved that Monk gave us fairly straightforward wordplay for Basenji. It goes without saying that I missed the Nina.

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