Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13915 Neo

Posted by scchua on January 31st, 2012


Every so often the FT will start its week (Monday being a prize puzzle, it doesn’t count) with a more-than-usually difficult one eg. a Neo.  So I thought, on seeing the setter and the presence of a theme, that I could write in the anti-cliche “not a gentle start to the week” :-) .  But it turned out to be not so ungentle – the theme was something I could readily handle, and the non-thematic solutions weren’t difficult to work out.  Thank you Neo for the enjoyment.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  The 2 picture sets at the bottom each has an unidentified link with the puzzle.


8 Rummage about for days (6)

FORAGEFOR + AGE(a period of innumerable days)

9 Lively in dancing at Medina (8)

ANIMATEDAnagram of(dancing) AT MEDINA

10, 19 Stagnant lake to swell river in movie (4,4)

DEAD CALM :  DEAD(stagnant,unmoving) + [L(lake) contained in(to swell) CAM(the river in Cambridgeshire, flowing through – no surpise – Cambridge)]

Defn: Movie starring Sam Neill, Nicole Kidman and Billy Zane

11 Seth foolishly slept with women into big pop group (3,7)

THE SHADOWSAnagram of(foolishly) SETH + HAD(slept with, similar to the Biblical “knew”) + [W(abbrev. for ­women, or woman?) contained in(into) OS(abbrev. for ­outsize,big)

Defn: The late 50’s instrumental pop group backing Sir Cliff when he and they first started out

12, 23 King and bishop likewise frail in movie (4,4)

KILL BILL :  K(king, as in chess notation) and B(bishop, likewise), each of them(likewise) + ILL(frail)

Defn: A Quentin Tarantino movie, in 2 volumes, starring Uma Thurman and a host of others

13 People’s Princess accepting love note (10)

ELECTORATE :  ELECTRA(in Greek, Elektra, princess of Argos in Greek mythology, daughter of King Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra) containing(accepting) O(looks like 0,zero,love in tennis scoring) + TE(musical note, also spelled “ti”, what “I drink with jam and bread”)

17, 28 Daughter appearing in new airport movie (4,4)

ROAD TRIP :  D(daughter) contained in(appearing in) anagram of(new) AIRPORT

18 Water-monster partial to filthy drains (5)

HYDRAHidden in(partial to) filtHY DRAins

Defn: Many-headed water-monster from Greek mythology (again)

19 See 10

21 Punch might get this measurement! (10)

HORSEPOWER :  HORSE(the Suffolk Punch, an English breed of draught horse) + POWER(might,strength).  Alternatively, I considered a cryptic defn., in keeping with the movie theme, exemplified by the punch delivered by Mongo on a horse, knocking it down – not much power in the horse there – in Blazing Saddles.

Defn: In physics (and Top Gear :-) ) the measurement of rate of energy output, ie. units of energy per unit of time.


23 See 12

24 FT users’ fan letters in post (5,5)

STAFF NURSEAnagram of(… letters) FT USERS’ FAN

Defn: A job position,post in a hospital

28 See 17

29 M1 carries a vehicle loaded with pasta (8)

MACARONI :  [M + I(Roman numeral for 1)] containing(carries) [A CAR(a vehicle) + ON(loaded,put on)

30 Poseidon shunning east and north winds to find crustacean (6)

ISOPODAnagram of(winds) POSIDO[“Poseidonminus(shunning) “e”(east) and “n”(north)]


1 Barking order, Neo leaves with dissolute Venetian (8)

RODERIGOAnagram of(barking) ORDER + [I GO(first person pronoun,Neo,the setter leaves)]

Defn: The dissolute Venetian lusting after Desdemona, Othello’s wife, in Shakespeare’s play

2 Light on transparencies will show displacements in soil (10)

LANSDSLIDES :  LAND(light,land on) SLIDES(hard copy transparencies shown on projector)

3 Lose job yet bring home the bacon? (3,3,4)

GET THE CHOP :  Cryptic defn: Get fired,get the sack,axed (hence the chop).  “Get the chop” could be an instruction to bring meat,chop,bacon from the butcher’s on the way home.

4, 25 Some phobia about Batman movie? (4,4)

CAPE FEAR :  Cryptic defn: A phobia,fear of capes as worn by Batman, the Caped Crusader

Defn: Two movies actually, a 1962 original starring Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum (playing a convincing villian) and Polly Bergen, and a 1991 Martin Scorsese remake starring Robert DeNiro (playing an even more convincing villain), Nick Nolte and Jessica Lange.

5, 26 Drunk on time for movie (4,4)

HIGH NOON :  HIGH(drunk,intoxicated on drugs or alcohol) NOON(time of day when the sun is at its highest)

Defn:  Movie starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly, and its just-as-famous theme song.

6, 27 Almost has right channel for movie (4,4)

HARD RAIN :  HA[“hasminus last letter(almost)] + R(right) + DRAIN(channel)

Defn:  A heist movie starring Christian Slater and Morgan Freeman, and lots of water

7 Bird in depression’s little upset (6)

PEEWIT :  PIT(depression,hole in the ground) containing(….’s) reversal of(upset) WEE(little)

Defn:   Aka the lapwing or plover; “peewit” derived from an imitation of its call

14 Provide with permanent income (accepting old penny’s enough for Spenser) (5)

ENDOW :  ENOW(old word for enough, as might be used by Edmund Spenser, English poet c.1552-1599) containing(accepting) D(abbrev. for old English penny, as in £ s d)

15 Hard to leave playhouse Eloi built for helpful agent (3-4,3)

TEA-TREE OIL :  TEATRE[“theatre”(playhouse) minus(to leave) “h”(hard)] + anagram of(built) ELOI

Defn: A natural essential oil from the leaves of a tree native to New South Wales, Australia.  A sort of multipurpose disinfectant (I can personally vouch for this), but also reported to be antiviral and antifungal.

16 Fish on seabed finds lowest possible level (4,6)

ROCK BOTTOM :  ROCK(another name for the striped bass, a marine game and food fish) placed above(on, in a down clue) BOTTOM(the seabed)

20 Run with bounce to grab onepenny sweet (8)

LOLLIPOP :  LOLLOP(run with bounce – nice sounding word) containing(to grab) IP[Roman numeral for one + P(abbrev. for the current English penny)]

22 Criminal rights of openly gay people? (6)

OUTLAW :  LAW(collective noun for that which define rights) placed after(of) OUT(descriptive of openly gay people, derived from “come out of the closet”)

25 See 4

26 See 5

27 See 6





6 Responses to “Financial Times 13915 Neo”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Scchua & Neo

    This was very enjoyable!

    However, ROAD TRIP was also a (not very well known) movie:

  2. Bryan says:


    I now see that you already had it!

  3. Eileen says:

    Thanks, scchua, for the blog.

    Like you, I didn’t know all the films. I found DEAD FALL for 10, – it works perfectly, [see 6dn in today’s Anax!] except that it’s one word, but then I told myself that sometimes the enumeration’s wrong! I was put right by 16dn.

    I really liked the clue for ELECTORATE. scchua, you may not know that, at the time of Princess Diana’s death, Tony Blair famously referred to her as ‘the People’s Princess’ and, as ‘Princess’ in crosswords has for so long led to DI, this was a double piece of misdirection. Nice one, Neo – thanks for the puzzle!

  4. Neo says:

    Pleasure ma’am. Thanks to scchua too!

  5. scchua says:

    Hi Eileen, I think you meant “Unlike you, I didn’t know…”? :-)
    I did remember ‘the People’s Princess’, but given the backlash to using DI (or even DIANA?), I had shelved it while exploring other possibilities. But it does make for a sort of nice surface.

  6. Eileen says:

    Many apologies, scchua, on both counts. I did mean ‘unlike’, of course, and I’m never sure how much of our news is familiar to our overseas solvers. 😉

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