Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,879 by Cincinnus

Posted by Pete Maclean on December 30th, 2011

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of December 17

Here is another outstanding puzzle from Cincinnus with some spectacular clues and a few devious cross-clue references (and non-references). My favourites are 1A (KNIGHT), 9A (SPARTANS), 11A (ALCOCK), 27A (REHOUSED), 5D (AUSTRIA) and 19D (THINKING). And while applauding this puzzle’s brilliance, I am also tickled because I can point out an error. Cincinnus’ work is usually impeccable but, assuming that 14A refers to the famous poem by T.S. Eliot, the given enumeration (3,9) is wrong! The proper title of the poem is “The Waste Land”, not “The Wasteland”, so that enumeration should be (3,5,4).

1. KNIGHT – G[alahad] in anagram of THINK
5. ACROBATS – ROB (fleece) in A (a) + CATS (musical)
9. SPARTANS – TAN (7, i.e. 7 down ‘brown’) in SPARS (fights)
10. SPOT ON – T (time) in SPOON (old club)
11. ALCOCK – (brilliantly!) hidden word. Alcock and Brown made the first non-stop transatlantic flight in 1919.
12. RITENUTO – anagram of TUNE TRIO. ‘Ritenuto’ is a musical term meaning gradually decreasing in tempo. Musical terms coming from Italian are good to know for crosswords; I figure they crop up a lot because they have a lot of vowels and so fit well into grids. I knew this one but had to look it up to remind myself of what it means.
18. SHARPSHOOTER – SHARPS (notes) + HOOTER (audible signal)
22. ANNELIDS – ANNE (girl) + LIDS (covers)
25. ENSURE – ENDURE (last) with D (daughter) replace by S (son)
26. VIAGRA – VI (6) + AGRA (Indian city)
27. REHOUSED – anagram of HORSE DUE
28. AGGRIEVE – anagram of RAGE GIVE
29. MUSCLE – homophone (“mussel”)

2. NAPALM – PAL (friend) in NAM (Asian conflict)
3. GARROTTER – GAR (fish) + R[epel] + OTTER (fish eater)
4. THANKLESS – HANK (Henry) + L (left) both in TESS (Theresa)
5. AUSTRIA – US (American) + T[ennessee] both in ARIA (song)
6. RESIT – I (one) in REST (break)
7. BROWN – double definition (referring to Capability Brown and G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown)
8. TROTTING – T[rainer] + ROTTING (going off)
13. EYE – double definition (20 referring to 20 down ‘observe’)
15. TOTTENHAM – anagram of THAT MONET
16. LARKSPURS – LARK (bird) + SPURS (its, i.e. Tottenham’s, players)
17. THINKING – “thin king” (unlike Henry VIII)
19. PAL – double definition
20. OBSERVE – double definition
21. ORWELL – O (nothing) + R (right) + WELL (fortunately)
23. EAGER – EG (for example) backwards in EAR (listener)
24. INANE – hidden word

4 Responses to “Financial Times 13,879 by Cincinnus”

  1. John Newman says:

    Thanks Pete as usual. I agree with you that this was a brilliant Cincinnus, but some of the brilliance was lost on me because apart from 9A I could not get any of the top left corner. 1A and 11A were too clever for me. I am surprised that as an Australian and in view of my recent visits to Vietnam that I have never heard of the Vietnam war being called the NAM.

    I didn’t realise Hank was a version of Henry – I was looking at HAL for the solution.

    I should have got 4D because the word is a favourite one in crosswords isn’t it?

    17D made me laugh and I really liked 7D. It is nice to feel smug about what one read and learnt at school. When I watch shows like “How to be a Millionaire” on BBC World, I wonder what young people learn in schools these days.

  2. Bamberger says:

    The electronic hlep was sought much earlier than usual.Without it I would never have got:
    12a Knew it was an anagram of tune and trio but even with r?t?e?t? I had no idea where to put the i,u & o.
    22a I wonder how many wrote that straight in.
    4d I didn’t know Henry=Hank.

    Thanks for the blog.

  3. Pete Maclean says:

    Here in the US and, if memory serves, especially back in the 1970s, one often heard the Vietnam war referred to as ‘Nam. I can believe this abbreviation is not so well know elsewhere and when. I fancy Henry=Hank is also primarily an American thing.

    22A (ANNELIDS) was difficult. I knew that there were worms called something ending in “lids” but had to do a word search (“*lids”) to get the answer.

    I managed to dredge RITENUTO out of my memory. Such musical terms often crop up in crosswords and are handy to know.

  4. Wil Ransome says:

    But as you say, Pete, if a musical passage is played ritenuto it gradually decreases in tempo. Why then does the clue say ‘coming to a sudden slowdown’? Ah, I see from Chambers, and obviously Cincinnus has used this, ‘… a sudden slowing-down of tempo’. Is this really true? Yes, it seems to be: The Oxford Companion to Music’ says that it is immediate, not gradual like rallentando. One lives and learns.

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