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Financial Times 13921 Phssthpok

Posted by scchua on February 7th, 2012


Phssthpok travels a lot in this puzzle, with references and words from abroad (including Scotland? :-) ).  Very nice clueing, with the added bonus of words whose etymology I enjoyed tracking down.  So thank you, Phssthpok.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  The pictures at the bottom have an unidentified link with the puzzle; hint – consider them in pairs.


1 Shoot convict exhibiting sickness from being transported (6)

JETLAG :  JET(as a verb, to shoot out in a stream) LAG(a convict)

Defn: Modern sickness caused by being transported by jet across different time zones

5 Stir milk and oats together (8)

PORRIDGE :  What you get if you stir milk and oats together

Defn: One does porridge,slang for a sentenced term in stir,slang for prison.  Is the former derived from what you get to eat in the latter?  A nice WIWD (wordplay intertwined with definition) clue, though a slight mismatch in meaning, I think, between definition and answer. 

9 This could be a clue to ward’s handicap (8)

DRAWBACK :  “Draw back” could be a cryptic crossword reversal type clue whose solution is “ward

10 Muddy grass bordering nest (6)

SODDEN :  SOD(grass) placed before(bordering,alongside) DEN(an animal’s nest)

11 Quite at home with daring exploit (6)

INDEED :  IN(at home) plus(with) DEED(daring exploit, one sort of exploit, not to be confused with others, like the “dirty deed”)

Defn: An exclamation signifying agreement with what a speaker has said

12 One last night of debauchery, then pray for rehabilitation (3,5)

HEN PARTYAnagram of(for rehabilitation) THEN PRAY

Defn: The female equivalent of the stag night, one last night before the wedding (after which there is rehabilitation?) – debauchery depending on the amount of alcohol and the presence of male strippers and such.  I hasten to add this doesn’t imply that it happens all the time (I think) – might the setter draw some flak for not putting a question mark after “debauchery”?  :-) A great WIWD

14 Diverse variety of sights as epic looked for rejuvenation (12)

KALEIDOSCOPEAnagram of(for rejuvenation) AS EPIC LOOKED

18 Exploding slug sounds doubly stupid when hit by train (6,6)

DUMDUM BULLET :  DUMDUM{homophone of (sounds) “dumb”(stupid) twice,doubly} plus(when hit by) BULLET(train, the Shinkansen in Japan that runs at maximum speeds of 240-300 kph

Defn:  A lethal soft- or hollow-nosed slug,slang for bullet, that expands,explodes on impact and causes extensive laceration, named after Dum-Dum, a town near Kolkata, India where these bullets were made in the 19C.

22 Excerpt from essay on a Rabelaisian farewell (8)

SAYONARAHidden in(excerpt from) esSAY ON A Rabelaisian

Defn: What a Japanese might say to one boarding a Shinkansen, literally “if it is to be that way” from “sayo” – “that way”, and “nara” – “if”

25 Green at former girlfriend’s crown (6)

VERTEX :  VERT(the colour green as used in heraldry) EX(informal term for former girlfriend, if not former spouse)

Defn: Top of the head,crown, as used in anatomy and zoology

26 Part of fish that is a guide for anglers (6)

GILLIE :  GILL(the part of fish that extracts dissolved oxygen from water) + IE(that is,Latin id est,i.e.)

Defn: From a Scottish term for someone who serves as a guide to anglers on a fishing trip.

27 It’s crazy to fool around outside mirrored toilet (8)

DOOLALLY :  DALLY(to fool around,play with, as in a dalliance) containing(outside) reversal of(mirrored) LOO(toilet)

Defn: Originally “doolally tap”, military slang meaning “to lose one’s mind”, supposedly from Deolali, the location of a British military transit camp near Mumbai, India, and “tap”, Urdu for a “malarial fever”, which camp was notorious for its unpleasant environment, boredom and psychological problems of the troops passing through it.

28 Caught snippet of music with adjacent notes (8)

SNATCHED :  SNATCH(bit,snippet of music) plus(with) E D(notes adjacent to each other on the musical scale)

29 Reduce power to interior of display (6)

SPLASH :  SLASH(to reduce, eg. prices in a sale) containing(to interior) P(abbrev. for ­power, especially in physics)

Defn: Eg. across the front page of the newspaper


2 Stumble and trip (6)

ERRANT :  Double defn: 1st: Deviating from the proper course,erring – Sir Lancelot was an errant knight for being intimate with his (or rather, Arthur’s) Queen; and 2nd: Journeying in a quest of adventure – the very same Sir Lancelot was a knight errant searching for the Holy Grail.  Another mismatch in that the answer is an adjective, whilst the definitions in the clues can only be verbs or nouns.  Edit.note: Apologies to all (including setter) for my mistake – I was hung up on it being a double definition, misdirected by the conjunction.  Thanks to George Ashton@1 and mike04@2, the correct answer is ERR(stumble) + AND – a trip to do a chore.  A compact little clue that can really make a solver like me trip and stumble! 

3 Revealing almost new intrusion into mixed wedlock (3-6)

LOW-NECKEDAnagram of(mixed) WEDLOCK containing(intrusion into) NE{“newminus its last letter(almost)}

Defn: Descriptive of ladies’ garments, where the neckline is much lower than where the neck is.

4 Thousands go on strike in major event (5,4)

GRAND SLAM :  GRANDS(plural of grand,thousand in number, especially dollars or pounds) placed above(go on, in a down clue) LAM(hit,strike)

Defn: The achievement,major event in sports like golf or tennis where a player wins in a single year all the major events (including the British Open in golf, or Wimbledon in tennis) in that sport.

5 No time to pick a hot recipe for cabbage (3,4)

PAK CHOIAnagram of(recipe) [PICK A + HO(“hotminus(no) T(time)]

Defn: Brassica rapa chinensis, aka Chinese cabbage, Chinese chard, Chinese mustard and pak choy or bok choi – from the Cantonese dialect for the Mandarin words for “white” and “vegetable” respectively

6 It’s sticky to misbehave once more (5)

RESIN :  RE-(prefix indicating a repeat,once more) + SIN(to misbehave, in a serious manner)

7 Home help raised in Asian country (5)

INDIA :  IN(at home) + reversal of(raised, in a down clue) AID(help)

8 Gorilla, perhaps, to feed with skin of fruit (5,3)

GREAT APE :  EAT(to feed on) contained in(with skin of) GRAPE(fruit)

Defn: An example of which,perhaps is the gorilla

13 Discharge Manx cat? (3)

PUS :  “Puss”(cat) minus its last letter,tail, like a Manx cat which has no tail

15 Flip contents in clear out (9)

OBLIVIOUS :  LI(inner letters,contents of “flip”) contained in(in) OBVIOUS(clear,plain to see)

Defn: Not aware of,not conscious of,unconscious,knocked out

16 Disturbed at a curlew’s screech (9)

CATERWAULAnagram of(disturbed) AT A CURLEW.  Another WIWD clue

17 Fraction split tax period (8)

DURATION :  RATIO(fraction,a number divided by another) contained in(split) DUN(to demand, usually for payment,tax as in “to tax one’s patience,to place a demand on)

19 Make noise in vessel (3)

URNHomophone of(noise) of “earn”,make as in “how much do you make for doing that?”

20 Even extracts from quinoa and birdseed are combined without any help (7)

UNAIDEDEvery second letter of(even extracts from) “qUiNoA” + “bIrDsEeD

21 Men were killed when thrown together (6)

FELLAS :  FELL(were killed, as in battle) placed above(thrown together) AS(as and when)

23 It hurts to go along with baby bird (5)

OWLET :  OW(exclamation to signify “It hurts!”) + LET(to go along with,allow,permit)

24 Abroad, a measure of acidity in alcohol? (5)

ALEPH :  ALE(alcohol) PH(measure of acidity; in a scale from 0 to 14, pH 7 is neutral, neither acidic nor basic, less than 7 is acidic, and more than 7 is alkaline)

Defn: The first letter in the Hebrew alphabet, a foreign,abroad equivalent to A in the English alphabet




7 Responses to “Financial Times 13921 Phssthpok”

  1. George Ashton says:

    Many thanks for detailed descriptions, I struggled with a couple and needed your assistance but had an alternative for 2 down.

    2 Stumble and trip
    Stumble – make a mistake to ‘ERR’ with ‘AND’ from the clue giving ERRAND as in journey or trip? thoughts appreciated.

  2. mike04 says:

    Thanks scchua.
    I think 2dn is ERRAND, a short journey or trip: err (stumble) + and.

  3. scchua says:

    Thanks George Ashton@1 and mike04@2 – you’re right, and the blog’s been amended.

  4. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Phssthpok for an enjoyable puzzle and scchua for the blog.

    5ac Chambers 2008 gives porridge as “jail, or a jail sentence”.

  5. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Phssthpok and scchua. Learned about porridge and interesting etymology of dum-dum so thanks for that. Regarding the pairs of pictures: Marlon Brando and Miyoshi Umeki were in Sayonara (22ac); Jean Reno and Juliette Binoche were in Jet Lag (1ac); Janet Leigh and Edward G. Robinson were in Grand Slam (4d); Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah were in Splash (29ac); Richard Beckinsale and Ronnie Barker were in Porridge (5ac). Warren Beatty and Julie Christie were three movies together but I can’t tie them to puzzle – McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Shampoo and Heaven Can Wait.


  6. scchua says:

    Well done, grandpuzzler for 5 out of 6. That wasn’t Julie Christie but Susannah York, pictured in uniform in The Battle Of Britain. She and Warren Beatty were in Kaleidoscope (14ac). I knew I should have made it more difficult by shuffling the pictures! And I also wonder if Phssthpok was aware that 6 of his chosen lights were exact matches to titles of movies/TV series.

  7. Steve says:

    Thanks scchua. I’m sure that Phssthpok was indeed aware of the movie connection (Porridge was a movie as well as a TV series). In addition to the 6 you identified, Drawback, Sodden (a short film), Bullet, Snatched, Resin, Oblivious (a short film), Unaided (another short film), and quite possibly more that I’ve missed, also fit the theme.

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