Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times no.13,893 by GOZO

Posted by Ringo on January 5th, 2012


A real wrong ‘un (or, if you prefer, curveball) from Gozo here. I think this is the first FT puzzle I’ve blogged that comes with special instructions; the theme may well have a few non-sports-savvy solvers tearing their hair, and even those au fait with card games and cricket jargon might find themselves taking issue with some of Gozo’s liberties and contrivances – but, for all that, I thought it was a really enjoyable solve.


All of the Across solutions are either the names of sports or games or terms associated with sports or games.

1. KARATE  Ra(t) [rodent] within Kate [the ‘shrew’, Katharine, in Shakespeare’s The Taming Of The Shrew]

4. LACROSSE  La [‘the’ in French] + anagram of scores

9. TENNIS  Reversal of s(ervice) + in net [in the net, i.e. where you wouldn’t want your first serve to go in tennis]

10. CRIBBAGE  Anagram of big caber

11. BREAKS  Double definition

12. BASEBALL  Base [low class] + ball [dance]

13, 25. LEG BYE  Leg [member] + bye [farewell]; in cricket, a leg bye is a run earned through a deflection off the batsman’s pads, and is classified as an ‘extra’

14. SQUASH  S + quash [crush]; a very odd clue – I suppose we’re intended to think of the definition, crush, in the sense of a fruit drink, or ‘squash’, but we might just as well take squash and quash to be synonymous

17. TOURNEY  Tour [trip] + reversal of yen [desire] to give a US term for a sports tournament

21. PELOTA  PE [Physical Education, exercise] + lot [patch of ground] + a [amateur] to give the Basque ball game

25. See 13ac.

26. DOMINOES  Double definition: a Venetian mask and cloak often worn to masquerades, and a mistake in music (the latter was a new one on me)

27. BRIDGE  Double definition, referring to the card games and the floating bridge known as a pontoon

28. ROULETTE  Let [give the okay] within route [journey]: two slightly questionable usages there, I think

29. HAZARD  (M)az(e) within hard [severe]; ‘hazard’, as well as being a difficulty, is a dice game

30. SPEEDWAY  Speed [amphetamine] + way [will: perhaps as in where there’s a will…]

31. HOCKEY  Hock [a German white wine] + e(arl)y; the nameless artist is David Hock(n)ey


1. KATE BUSH  Anagram of teak + Bush [former US president George ‘Dubya‘] to give the pop singer

2. RUNNER-UP  Runner [fugitive] + up [in court, on trial]

3. THICKEST  Hick [rustic] within test [international match]

5. AIRBAG  AI [A1, top-quality – posh?] + anagram of garb

6. RUBBER  Double definition: an eraser, or a game of bridge (see 27ac.)

7. SEAMAN  Seam [join] + an [one]

8. EVENLY  Eve [girl] + n(e)l(l)y

12. BETRAYS  Bet [young girl?] + ray [boy’s name] + S(unday)

15. HOT  Slang term for ‘stolen’ hidden within pHOTograph

16. REP  Reversal of per [for each]

18. YEARS AGO  Anagram of yore saga

19. HOLD BACK  Double definition

20. BAKER DAY  Anagram of drake within bay [inlet] to give a term for a teacher-training day or inset day derived from the name of the former Education Secretary Kenneth Baker

22. ADORES  Anagram of oreads

23. IMPURE  I [single, 1] + MP [Member (of Parliament)] + Ure [river]

24. INDEED  In [popular] + deed [act]

25. BERTHA  Anagram of the bar; the allusion is to ‘Big Bertha’, a large-bore mortar in the first World War


4 Responses to “Financial Times no.13,893 by GOZO”

  1. duncanshiell says:

    I think you have the clue and the answer out of synch at 27a!

    A pleasant puzzle, but a fairly odd mix of indoor and outdoor sports and games. I started off thinking Olympic sports, but CRIBBAGE and DOMINOES soon put an end to that idea. LACROSSE and BASEBALL have featured in the Olympics in the past.

  2. Ringo says:

    Oop, well spotted Duncan! Corrected now – thanks.

    As for the sports and games, yes, my thoughts exactly.

  3. scchua says:

    Thanks Ringo for the blog and Gozo for an enjoyable puzzle

    Was at a loss at first with the across clues, wondering what the theme was, then got LEG BYE, and thought it was going to be things cricket, but was glad it turned out to be much broader than that.

    BTW there’s another sporting connection to HAZARD, which is golf, eg. A water hazard where one can easily lose one’s balls.

  4. Tony Welsh says:

    Got Karate straight out of the box so to speak. Finished all but 20d. Never heard of Baker day so I thought it was Break Day. But then I knew 27a had to be bridge, so I knew I was in trouble.

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