Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,882 by Cinephile

Posted by PeeDee on December 21st, 2011



Can anyone solve this clue, we don’t have the foggiest what is going on here:  “Christopher Robin went down with Alice”? Say “down” probably means “underground” (9)

Answer: C _ R _ S _ L _  S

I found this a strange mix, ranging from very easy to very hard.  At the one extreme I was already writing in the answer before I finished reading the clue, whilst at the other there is one clue that even now has has me completely stumped.  Any help on 20 across gratefully appreciated!  Thank you Cinephile.

Clue of the day – click the ‘vote’ link to vote for your clue of the day. See the results so far here

Hold mouse over a clue number to read the clue.

6 COMET vote COME (to arrive) on Time
9 vote See 1
10 GROWN UP vote W and N (directions) in GROUP (set) – definition is ‘mature’. I’m not sure why ‘directions’ is plural here, my reading of the clue suggests it should be singular.
11 ALARM vote À LA RM (in the style of the Royal Marines)
12 SECESSION vote CE (Chruch of England) in SESSION (sitting) – definition is ‘a form of schism’
14, 6 down, 19 across HOT CROSS BUN vote HOT CROSS (variously angry= more than one word for angry) BUNny (a bit of rabbit)
15 THE OLD ORDER vote Definition and cryptic definition – gerontocracy is rule by old people
17 INSECTIVORE vote IN (belonging to) SECT (religious group) IVOR (Russian prince, Ivor=Igor?) English – a shrew is an example of an insectivore. I can find Prince Igor the opera by Borodin and Prince Igor a historical Russian noble, but no refernces to Prince Ivor.
19 vote See 14
20 CHRYSALIS vote Chrysalis is the only word I can find that fits – ‘chrys’ and ‘alis’ are homophones (say) of ‘Chris’ and ‘Alice’. Beyond that I have absolutely no idea what is going on here.
22 ANZAC vote bonANZA Can’t – Anzac Day, 25th April is the Australia and New Zealand day of remeberance
24 ENVELOP vote DaVid (heart=centre of) inside pENELOPe (heart of) – definition is ‘wrap’
26 ERITREA vote IT has RE (about, regarding) in ERA (time)
27, 25 MINCE PIE vote MIN (minute, small time) CEP (mushroom) IE (that is)
28 EASTER EGG vote ASTER (flower) EG (for example) inside EG (for example)
1 COPRA vote Copra is the dried flesh of coconuts and ‘Cop RA’ would provide a cryptic clue for ‘Constable’ – Cop RA would be a policeman member of the Royal Academy of Arts, i.e. ‘Constable the painter’
2 RADIANT vote DIANA (goddess) in RAT (rodent)
3 STIGMATIC vote I (1 Roman numeral) GM (genetically modified) in STATIC (still) – definition is ‘marked man’
4 MAGISTERIAL vote anagram (toying) of TIGER and SALAMI
5 SAG vote SAGa (long story) missing letter A – definition is ‘sink’
6 vote See 14 across
7 MANKIND vote KIN (family) in MAN (what we are) D (500, a number) – the definition could be some sort of &lit, possibly ‘a number’ meaning there are many of us?  M (one thousand, a number) with KIN (family) inside (included in) AND (with) – definition is ‘we’.   Thanks to Wanderer
8 TIP AND RUN vote AND (connection) inside TURNIP* – old schoolboy game played with sticks
14 HAIR CREAM vote HAIR (1960s musical) and CREAM (elite)
16 OPERATIVE vote Double definition
18 STRIVEN vote ST (street, way) RIVEN (divided)
19 BIZARRE vote BIZ (business) and RARE* (anagram=the characters, the letters of) – definition is ‘strange’
21 SOLVE vote V (vide, see) in (entry) SOLE (fish) – do crosswords
23 CLANG vote CLAN (tribe) G (a grand, £1,000)
25 vote See 27


22 Responses to “Financial Times 13,882 by Cinephile”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks PeeDee

    I’m afraid I was waiting for your explanation of 20ac!

    You appear to have a typo in your answer for 10ac: it’s GROWN UP, so the directions are W and N.

    Please tell me, someone, that I wasn’t the only one to have initially entered CLANK for 23dn. :-(

  2. Wanderer says:

    Thanks PeeDee and Cinephile.

    I’m another bamboozled by 20ac. No idea.

    In 7d, I read the number as M, followed by KIN in AND (‘with family included’) which leaves We are as the definition.

  3. PeeDee says:

    Thanks for the correction Eileen. I had CLANK too. I also had HAIR SPRAY the musical for 14dn, though in hindsight this was due to me not reading teh clue carefully before writing in the answer, so that served me right I suppose.

    I am still stuck on 20. Christopher and Alice travel to Buckingham Palace by the Underground? Did Christopher Robin go down the rabbit hole with Alice?

  4. jmac says:

    Thanks PeeDee. Re 20 across, I wondered whether Cinephile was confusing the butterfly pupa (chrysalis)with that of the moth which can be found underground in a cocoon (

  5. Steve says:

    Re 20ac – agree with homophones, Robin is dropped (went down) and maybe underground = tube = a definition of chrysalis?

  6. PeeDee says:

    ‘Robin went down’ (went underground) could mean that ‘robin’ is dropped from something, but dropped from what? It isn’t dropped from ‘Christopher’, and if it is dropped from ‘Christopher Robin’ then this doesn’t work since Robin can’t be both the thing being dropped and the thing it is being dropped from.

    down=underground=tube=chrysalis is inventive too, but pretty far fetched?

    Cinephile is usually fairly restrained in his clueing, but even in his notoriously libertarian alter-ego as Araucaria he doesn’t go this far.

    Does anyone have any idea what is going on here?

  7. Eileen says:

    Hi PeeDee

    I share your frustration!

    [Presumably the one person who has voted for 20ac as Clue of the Day knows?]

  8. Eileen says:

    PS: I’m almost equally intrigued by Russian Prince Ivor. 😉

  9. MikeC says:

    Thanks PeeDee and Cinephile. I’m as lost as others on the explanation of 20a but apparently (Russian) Igor comes originally from (Scandinavian) Ivor, so they are essentially equivalents.

  10. Tom_I says:

    I wonder if it could be a reference to the 2008 film Chrysalis, based on a story by Ray Bradbury, where the action takes place in an underground research facility?

    Or would that be too much of a “cinephile” answer? :)

  11. JollySwagman says:

    @PeeDee I think you were right with your first shot #3. Alice (in Wonderland) goes down the rabbit hole (underground).

    There is a scene where she talks to a caterpillar about what it will be like to turn into a chrysalis, just before the poem “You are old father William… .

    It’s a conflation of two Alices.

  12. JollySwagman says:

    But I must admit that’s a bit of a stretch – maybe Tom_I (#10)is closer.

  13. PeeDee says:

    Thanks JollySwagman, Alice makes only a passing reference to a chrysalis in the Advice From a Catapillar section, it doesn’t seem enough to constitute a definition, not even a crptic reference really.

  14. mlega says:

    As a child I was convinced that there were underground caverns at Buckingham Palace, since the poem says: “They’ve great big parties inside the grounds/I wouldn’t be king for a hundred pounds/ says Alice”

    But I am as mystified as everyone else about how the clue works.

  15. mike04 says:

    Hi PeeDee.

    The question mark at the end of the quotation may be emphasising the word DOWN.
    I think it can mean ‘in a comatose state’ after, say, an anaesthetic.
    UNDERGROUND can mean ‘concealed and done in secret’.

    Both of these seem to describe a CHRYSALIS quite well.
    I’m not sure how to connect this with the noun in the solution though!

  16. PeeDee says:

    Hi mike04

    I like the idea of splitting “down probably meaning underground” into either “down” and “probabbly meaning underground”, or “down probably” and “meaning undergound”.

    The latter would be the definition and the former would be part of word play.

    There may be a usage of chrysalis that means ‘a hidden body’ i.e. ‘underground’, in the sense of sub-culture or resistance fighters. It is not in my Chambers, but some other dictionary may have it.

    Possibly, as jmac suggests, this definition would be accentuated if Cinephile has confused a chrysalis (definitely suspended above ground) with a cocoon that may be buried underground, and which conveys a greater sense of ‘hidden’ in its meanings and usages.

    I still can’t work out how “down” or “down probably” works though.

  17. mike04 says:

    CHRYSALIS looks like a noun. If any noun can be used as an adjective …
    Now I’m confusing myself. Mike

  18. PeeDee says:

    I can image being “cocooned in the warm glow” but I can’t imagine “chrysalised in the warm glow”, just dosn’t work as anything other than a noun.

  19. PeeDee says:

    I have an idea!

    If ‘went down’ were to mean reduced or shortened, then “Christopher Robin went down” would be Chris, ‘with Alice’ would give Chris-Alice, and ‘say’ indicating a homophone gives CHRYSALIS.

    This would leave the definition as “down probably meaning underground”, which I am still stumped on, but at least it gives a well constructed wordplay.

  20. mike04 says:

    I like your idea for the wordplay in *19.

    With a butterfly/moth confusion and a hint of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,
    the definition could be the one you’ve suggested.

    Maybe some sort of clarification is just understood?
    “down” probably means “underground” (for the creature you enter as your answer)

  21. PeeDee says:

    Unless Cinephile choses to drop in I think it is the closest to an answer we are ever going to get.

  22. Wanderer says:

    PeeDee, many thanks for your heroic efforts to get to the bottom of the mystery. It’s either Cinephile dropping in (unlikely, I think) or someone in fifteensquaredland who knows the FT crossword editor persuading that person to explain…

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