Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,902 – Crux

Posted by Sil van den Hoek on January 26th, 2012

Sil van den Hoek.

Monday Prize Crossword/Jan 16

A fine offering from Crux. The level of difficulty just right ‘for a Monday puzzle’, but, having said that, no hint of routine cluing. A crossword full of elegant surfaces. My PinC’s verdict when I showed her the puzzle after completion: “this setter’s got finesse”. I totally agree!


1 EXTENSION LEADS        They should add to current output
    Cryptic definition
10 TENET Either way, you may believe in it
    A palindrome (‘either way’)
11 AMSTERDAM Stream diverted by blockage in the city
    (STREAM)* + DAM (blockage)
12     EXPLAIN Account for small European vote – simple!
    E X (European (E) vote (X), indeed in its simplistic version) + PLAIN (simple)
13 SCRUPLE Reservation that doesn’t carry much weight
    Double definition
    A ‘scruple’is a unit of weight equal to 20 grains, used by apothecaries.
14 TWINS Sign time conquers all
    T (time) + WINS (conquers all) , with ‘Sign’ as in sign of the Zodiac (Gemini)
16 TRIBUNALS Troubles keep follower of Chelsea in the courts
    TRIALS (troubles) around BUN (which may follow ‘Chelsea’ to become a ‘Chelsea Bun’)
19 PIECRUSTS Part almost goes stale like pastry toppings
    PIEC[e] (part, almost) + RUSTS (goes stale)
20 DEPTH Measure hospital department put first
    DEPT (department) placed before H (hospital)
    No ENT this time for ‘hospital department’, but a nice and original twist from Crux.
22 REDCAPS MPs’ reckless capers involve old money
    (CAPERS)* around D (old money)
    MPs should be seen as the plural of MP (Military Police). No Members of Parliament, no Monty Python either.
25 LOWBROW Violent blow ends in fight – so uncultivated
    (BLOW)* leading to (ends in) ROW (fight)
    Initially, I was rather confused by the meaning of ‘ends’ here. It could have pointed in the direction of TW (ends of ‘Violent blow’) or TO (ends of ‘fight so’) or BW (both ends of ‘blow’) or …
27 INTUITION In teaching, women are known for it
    IN TUITION (teaching)
    Certainly not the first time we had this in a crossword. And it won’t be the last time either, I presume.
28 OGIVE There’s nothing to collapse in a Gothic arch
    O (nothing) + GIVE ((to) collapse)
29     SHOTGUN WEDDING     Armed alliance one member wishes to escape!
    Cryptic definition
2 XENOPHILE Foreign lover
    Cryptic definition
3 EXTRA Possibly a bad ball to boot
    Double definition
4 STAGNATES Brown, retiring in stages, becomes inactive
    NAT (reversal of ‘tan’ (brown)) inside STAGES
    One of two clues [the other one being 18d] in which a complete word reappears in the solution.  Normally, not always a plus, but here it suits the surface very well.
5 OUSTS Replaces leader dropped from knightly tournaments
6 LIE AROUND     Tell stories about what the idlers do
    LIE (tell stories) + AROUND (about)
7 ADD UP Do sums make sense?
    Double definition
8 SIMMERS Cooks need dieters to lose pounds
    SLIMMERS (dieters) minus L (pounds)
    Another nice surface.
9 ATTEST Swear while watching cricket?
    When you’re watching cricket, you might be AT [a] TEST [match]
    Perhaps, this has been done before, but I liked the whacky surface.
15     STREAMING Way of classifying the children of emigrants, perhaps
    Simple anagram, but – again – a surface that links construction and definition beautifully.
17 INSOLENCE Lines once correctly translated show a certain freshness
18 ASPERSION     When one appears in person to expose slander
    AS (when) + {I (one) inside PERSON}
    When the surface is so natural, I don’t mind to see ‘person’ reappear in the solution.
19     PARTIES They may be thrown by pirates at sea
    I could write here the same thing as I did at 15d.
21 HAWKER Chapman wants her to take a week
    HER around A WK (week)
23 DITTO Some joined it together just the same
    Hidden solution: [joine]D IT TO[gether]
    I didn’t spot this rightaway, so it was probably well hidden.
24 SCION Branch of science once half ignored
    SCI (short for ‘science’) + ON[ce]
26 WOOED What suitor did – and hopefully did about two loves!
    WED (what our suitor hopefully did) around OO two ‘loves’, each of them being O

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9 + = eleven