Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13909 Dante

Posted by scchua on January 24th, 2012


I said in yesterday’s blog that I was going to have the same again today.  How true!  Visiting family and friends, a blog, and then – a crossword in the same style by the same setter, and to top it, a clue verbatim from yesterday and a definition used twice, as happened yesterday.  (As close as I can get to reliving yesterday?)  Anyway, thanks Dante-Rufus for the usual double and cryptic definitions, anagrams, nice surfaces and nautical references.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  The two sets of pictures at the bottom each has an unidentified link to the blog/crossword.


1 A short time back (6)

SECOND :  Double defn: 1st: A short time period, 60 to a minute; and 2nd: As in “I second the motion”

4 An even chance drunkard turns to drink (4-2)

TOSS-UPReversal of(turns) SOT(the drunkard) plus(to) SUP(to drink)

8 Keep watch (7)

OBSERVE :  Double defn: 1st: To adhere to,comply with, eg. “keep to the law”, “keep the tradition”

9 Penguin noted by Beethoven (7)

EMPEROR :  Double defn: 1st: The largest of the flightless Antarctic birds; and 2nd: Piano concerto No.5 composed,noted by Beethoven simply known as the “Emperor”

11 Sheer – ought to be changed (3,7)

SEE THROUGHAnagram of(ought to be changed) SHEER OUGHT

Defn: Descriptive of fabrics for (day) curtains, and (feminine, usually) clothing.  A wonderful WIWD (wordplay intertwined with definition) clue.

12 Club for evening out (4)

IRON :  Double defn: 1st: A golf club nowadays made of steel, not iron; and 2nd: Cryptic defn: Implement for evening,de-creasing,smoothening out fabric

13 Clever people making gin that is fantastic (5)

GENIIAnagram of(making … fantastic) [GIN + IE(that is,from the Latin id est)] 

Defn: The plural for “genius”, to mean an exceptionally clever person is “geniuses”, whereas “genii” is the plural for when it means a guiding or guardian spirit, or an Arabic demon/jinn.  Is Dante is being whimsical?

14 Sling net around young bird (8)

NESTLINGAnagram of(around) SLING NET

16 Clear and complicated dates listed (8)

CALENDARAnagram of(complicated) CLEAR AND 

Defn: On which one finds dates listed

18 A reason why some people fight (5)

CAUSE :  Double defn: 1st: As in “cause and effect”; and 2nd: Something,a reason for which,why some people fight

20 French town producing optical equipment (4)

LENS :  Double defn.

21 Delayed action with stand-in starting film scene (6,4)

DOUBLE TAKE :  DOUBLE(a stand-in, usually for an actor, to do the dangerous stunts) placed before(starting) TAKE(recording of a film scene without any interruption or break; several takes of the same scene often required before the director is satisfied with the result) 

Defn: A delayed reaction by a person to a remark or a situation, often used by double-acts in comedy, perfectly timed by the likes of Morecambe and Wise, and the Smothers Brothers.  An apt surface to the clue.

23 In such agreement cash, too, is involved (7)

CAHOOTSAnagram of(is involved) CASH TOO

Defn: In conspiracy,in collusion

24 Bank note held, all right for capital? (7)

BANGKOKBANK containing(held) G(a note in a musical scale) + OK(okay,all right)

Defn: The capital city of Thailand.  If you’re playing charades, the most obvious action for this 2-syllable word is probably best given a miss if playing in prim and proper company :-)

25 Maintain a strong company (6)

AFFIRMA + F(abbrev. for forte, a musical direction to play with force,strongly) + FIRM(a commercial company)

26 Docks, where sailors sleep (6)

BERTHS :  Double defn.  The salutary nautical reference


1 Brush a fur coat (5)

SABLE :  Double defn: 1st: An artist’s brush made with bristles from the sable (alternatively from a type of weasel); and 2nd: A coat made with the fur of the sable

2 He can’t love, fake or betray (5,2)

CHEAT ONAnagram of(fake) of [HE CAN’T + O(looks like zero,love score in tennis)]

Defn: Be disloyal,unfaithful

3 Men driven mad? Don’t become concerned (5,4)


5 Go round twice at speed (5)

OOMPH :  OO(round,circle twice) plus(at) MPH(miles per hour, speed in pre-metric units)

Defn: Energy,vitality

6 Though particular, the place is in a mess (7)

SPECIALAnagram of(in a mess) PLACE IS

7 Say it, for example, before church (9)

PRONOUNCE :  PRONOUN(an example of which,for example is “it”) placed before(before) CE(abbrev. for Church of England)

10 Blues, perhaps, at university who never get a first (7-2)

RUNNERS-UP :  RUNNERS(examples of,perhaps blues,sportspersons who represent or have represented their university, derived from the colours of Oxford and Cambridge Universities) + UP(attending,at university, as opposed to being sent down)

13 Country with university team represented in festival (9)

GUATEMALA :  [U(abbrev. of university) + anagram of(represented?) TEAM] containing(in) GALA(festival)

15 One is ill-at-ease when not working on this (4,5)

SICK LEAVE :  Cryptic defn: What one is on when ill and not working.  SICK(ill-at-ease) + LEAVE(what one is on when not working – could it be instead, LEAVE = to let alone,ease off?). I’m not sure about the definition and the explanation.

17 We hear Cockney bloke’s going to relax (4,3)

EASE OFFHomophone of(we hear)  ‘e’s off(Cockney pronunciation of “he’s,bloke’s off, going“)

19 At university, drunk and anxious (7)

UPTIGHT :  UP(attending university, cf 10down) + TIGHT(drunk,plastered) 

Defn: Overly anxious,uptight,anal – interesting etymology)

21 Prevent animal swallowing the tin opener (5)

DETER :  DEER(animal) containing(swallowing) T(the initial letter,opener of “tin”)

22 They secure the going rate, in the main (5)

KNOTS :  Double defn: 1st: What are tied in order to secure,fasten; and 2nd: The units of measurement of the speed,going rate at sea,in the main.  Another nautical reference







8 Responses to “Financial Times 13909 Dante”

  1. Bamberger says:

    Couldn’t get 25a as I had 17d as ease out-silly me.
    For 5d, faced with o?m?h, I decided I msut have gone wrong somewhere as I ran through the alphabet, obviously discounting oo.

  2. crypticsue says:

    A nice puzzle which would be ideal for someone new to the mysterious art of cryptic puzzle solving.

  3. MeicG says:

    7D in this, 7A in yesterday’s Rufus. Even by this setter’s standards this is sloppy.
    Azed prides himself on never knowingly repeating a clue.If only some others did likewise.

  4. MikeC says:

    PRONOUNCE is quite a neat clue but I have to agree that it’s unfortunate to have it twice in such quick succession. I’m sure it’s just a simple mistake – Rufus/Dante takes a pride in his record-keeping and aims not to repeat clues more than once in ten years or so! Must be difficult when you’ve set as many puzzles as he has (somewhere over 80,000). The precise date when a puzzle will appear is also usually unknown to the setter.

    Otherwise, an enjoyable, mostly straightforward solve. I liked OOMPH.

  5. MikeC says:

    Re my post@4, I may have inflated Roger Squires’ output – it was 70,000 puzzles (and over 2 million clues) a few years back, according to Wikipedia.

  6. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Dante and scchua. The first set of pictures are characters from Groundhog Day – Bill Murray as Phil Connors, Andie MacDowell as Rita and the semi-famous Stephen Tobolowsky as Ned Ryerson. I can name the eight people in the second set of pictures but haven’t figured the connection to the puzzle yet. Back to the drawing board.


  7. DeclanOR says:

    Should “see-through” (11a) not be hyphenated in the numeration as (3-7) rather than (3,7), since the sense is that of an adjective rather than a verb? Or am I splitting hairs?

  8. scchua says:

    Hi grandpuzzler, you’re right about the first set (I presume you’ve got the connection with the blog?). The second set is of actors/actress who are known for not using doubles, but perform stunts themselves, contrary to the surface of 21 across.

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