Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times Prize 13891 Crux

Posted by scchua on January 12th, 2012


This is my first crack at blogging a Prize Puzzle, and an enjoyable one it is.  Not many problems, just slightly in the SE corner; the last one in was 29A, after having figured out who Jonathan was.  And there were nice surfaces throughout.  Thanks Crux.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  The 2 picture sets at the bottom each have an unidentified link with the crossword.

P.S.  As I’ll be out of town when this appears, I may not have the time nor facility to respond to queries myself, but I’m sure I’ll have willing and able subs to stand-in for me, and thanks to them  :-)


1 Cryptic clue brains need time to unravel (11)

INSCRUTABLEAnagram of(to unravel) [CLUE BRAINS plus(need) T(­time)].  Nice WIWD (wordplay intertwining with definition) clue.

7 Pull heads off tulips or wallflowers (3)

TOW :  Initial letters of(heads off) “Tulips Or Wallflowers

9 Drunk, withholding name, may be punished (5)

CANED :  “canned”(drunk,plastered) minus(withholding) “n”(name)

Defn:  A now obsolete form of punishment, that used to strike fear into the hearts of errant children, including yours truly

10 Room the Queen gives the field marshal (9)

KITCHENER :  KITCHEN(room) ER(Elizabeth ­Regina, the Queen)

Defn:  Field Marshal Herbert Horatio Kitchener who later became an aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria, which Queen gave him a room, I presume, as the clue says.

11 It’s eccentric of Crux to keep frogs, primarily (3-6)

OFF-CENTRE :  OF + CENTRE(core,as in “the crux of the matter”) containing(to keep) F(initial letter,primarily of “frogs”).  A WIWD clue.

12 Female duck not recorded (5)

OLIVE :  O(looks like 0,zero,duck, a non-score eg. in cricket) LIVE(actually happening in realtime as you are watching, say a game or a performance and not recorded at an earlier time – well, not always everything) 

Defn:  Name for a female, eg. Olive Oyl.  Nice surface not applicable to the music industry nowadays?

13 Chapter of endless saga does, in translation (7)

EPISODE :  EPI[“epic”(saga) minus its last letter(endless)] + anagram of(in translation) DOES.  Is “does” used in the sense of “suffices” for the surface reading?

15 Brad, say, last in cabin to go sick (4)

NAIL :  N[last letter of(last in) “cabin”] + AIL(to go,get sick)

Defn:  A type(say) of nail, not to be confused with Brad, the last of the landlubbers to throw up in the ship’s cabin.

18 Part of speech dropped nowadays, for another (4)

VERB :  “adverb”(a part of speech that is any word, group of words, clause that modifies a verb, an adjective, another adverb, in fact, anything other than a noun – as in “They could probably easily envy the very happily married couple”, a sentence that has 4 adverbs) minus(dropped) AD(anno Domini,nowadays since the birth of Christ)

Defn:  Another part of speech

20 Run with the pack, like Tory at his best (7)

CONFORM :  C(abbrev. for a member of the Conservative Party,Tory) ON FORM(performing at his/one’s best, said of a performer or sportsman)

Defn:  Figuratively, of a member of a group,pack,herd following what the rest of the pack does, eg. relating to dress, speech and thought

23 Faint circle in fresh snow (5)

SWOON :  O(shaped like a circle) containing(in) anagram of(fresh) SNOW

Defn:  To faint - what Victorian and Mills & Boon heroines did on seeing, say, a naked male chest, or less – perhaps with the Victorians, a naked piano leg.

24 Hold up progress, partly thanks to new alliance (9)

STONEWALLHidden in(partly) thankS TO NEW ALLiance.  Very cleverly hidden.

Defn:   To obstruct,block,hinder progress of business, be it passing of a bill in parliament, or play in the cricket field.  The former by excessive or prolonged debate, and the latter by the batsmen’s defensive play, which I hazard is what has given cricket a bad name as a spectator sport.  A WIWD clue.

26 Quality credit (9)

ATTRIBUTE :  Double defn: 1st: A trait,characteristic; and 2nd: To give credit where credit is due,to identify the originator of,source of,reason for something or other

27 Tasteless play ends after short 15 (5)

TACKY :  Y(last letter with which “playends) placed after(after) TACK(a short nail,answer to 15 across)

28 Press for payment to be completed, we hear (3)

DUNHomophone of(we hear) “done”(completed)

Defn:  A demand, pressing for payment, especially a written one, possibly ending with the ultimatum “…or else you will be hearing from our solicitors.”

29 Could be Jonathan’s original sin (6,5)

EATING APPLE :  Cryptic defn(?):  Reference to Jonathan Hasbrouck who “discovered” the apple named after him.  He must have been eating not a few of those apples in his time.  Original sin is the Christian theological doctrine of humanity’s state of sin, resulting from the Fall of Man, an event symbolised by Adam and Eve eating of the fruit, symbolised by an apple, of the Tree of Knowledge.

Or if you like it’s a double defn: 1st:  An example(could be) of an edible(eating) apple is the Jonathan; and 2nd: Original sin symbolised by apple eating.


1 Having a ball, including one’s sweetheart (2,6)

IN CLOVER :  INC(abbrev. for “including”) LOVER(one’s sweetheart)

Defn:  Having an enjoyable time,living in luxury, comfort and ease.  Apparently derived from the use of clover to fatten cattle – picture fat happy cows grazing in clover (if only they knew how to dance :-).

2 Swingeing fines involving the pub party (4,4)

SINN FEINAnagram of(swingeing,punishing) [FINES plus(involving) INN(pub)]

Defn:  Irish political party present in both North and Republican Ireland

3 Remove part of bird’s crest (5)

RIDGE :  “Partridge”(bird) minus(remove) “part

4 ,19 Have a chocolaty snack, perhaps, to beat everything (4,3,7)

TAKE THE BISCUIT :  Cryptic defn: To take the cake,to surpass,beat everything, especially in terms of stupidity, folly or just being extreme, eg. “His last statement takes the biscuit!”

5 A little bird, a bigger bird (7)

BITTERN :  BIT(a little) TERN(a sea bird, related to the gull)

Defn:  A bigger bird related to the heron

6 African piano, the one that’s playing (9)

ETHIOPIANAnagram of(that’s playing) [PIANO THE + I(Roman numeral for one)

7 Game of numbers, including 15, oddly (6)

TENNIS :  TENS(numbers) containing(including) NI[“n” and “i”, first and third letters(oddly) of “nail”(answer to 15 across)]

8 Drawback taking exercise? It gets you out of shape! (6)

WARPEDReversal of(back) DRAW – splitting “drawback” – containing(taking) PE(abbrev. of “physical ­education”, taken to represent “exercise”).  A WIWD clue.

14 20% like Pinky, for instance (3,2,4)

ONE IN FIVE :  Double defn: 1st: One item,eg. a point score, out of,in five,20%; and 2nd: The pinky, littlest finger – one of the five fingers in each hand.  The finger which must be pointed straight out when you’re holding your cup of tea.

16 Cold weather headgear, apparently, much reduced (5,3)

POLAR CAP :  Whimsically(apparently), CAP(headgear) you might wear in the POLAR regions(in cold weather)

Defn:  That which is much reduced,melted as a result of global warming

17 Use drugs? He’d have a job! (8)

EMPLOYEE :  EMPLOY(use) EE(the abbrev. for the drugs Ecstasy and Ecstasy)

19 See 4

20 Nearly finish working (5,2)

CLOSE ON :  CLOSE(finish,end) ON(working,as in “on duty or on shift”)

Defn:  As in “It must have taken you close on thirty minutes to finish the crossword”  (“Of course, it didn’t!… took me longer!” :-) )

21 Yet Man, pace Donne, really is one! (6)

ISLAND :  Cryptic defn: With due respect to,pace (Latin) English poet John Donne who wrote “No man is an island…”, the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea, is in fact one (an island)

22 US city leader, short and overweight (6)

BOSTON :  BOS[“boss”(leader) minus its last letter(short)] placed above(over, in a down clue) TON(a unit of weight)

25 More like one of the crowd (5)

EXTRA :  Double defn: 2nd: In a movie set, he/she plays the role of one of the crowd




      Haile Gebreselassie celebrates after finishing the men's 10,000 metre final at the Beijing Olympics.

2 Responses to “Financial Times Prize 13891 Crux”

  1. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Crux and scchua. 6D – Ethiopian: I thought I was onto something here with the second set of pictures. Abebe Bikila and Haile Gebrselassie were Olympic marathoners from Ethiopia. Haile Selassie was emperor. Peter Ustinov’s father was Ethiopian. However, I find that Iman was born in Somalia so maybe I am missing something. I suspect the other set of pictures may have something to do with singing or lip-syncing.


  2. scchua says:

    Hi grandpuzzler, my apologies, you’re right of course about Iman. I’m the one who missed out. Pic now deleted. Thanks. The rest are Ethiopians/part Ethiopians.

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