Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,914 – Mudd

Posted by Sil van den Hoek on February 9th, 2012

Sil van den Hoek.

Monday Prize Crossword/Jan 30

It is not very often that Mudd appears on a Monday, but there he was. 

There were several nice clues with matching surfaces (1ac, 15ac, 26ac and 1d, to name a few), but I can’t help the feeling that there were too many double definitions in this puzzle. For a long time I wasn’t a fan of cryptic definitions (perhaps, I find it hard to write them myself), but I have learnt to appreciate them. Nowadays, the double definition is my least favourite device – most of the time, I see it as ‘lazy cluing’ (exceptional exceptions aside).  I know, not every single clue has to be a masterpiece, but clues like 12ac or 16d are just very cheap. Overall, though, I enjoyed solving this crossword. My COD was the simple, but effective POOL (15ac). And my last entry was ALBATROSS (6d), one that I cannot fully explain – help (I need somebody). Fortunately that somebody turned up (jmac @1).

Just like many other bloggers do nowadays, I have underlined the definitions. Not sure whether I like it because (a) there should be something left for solvers to think about, and (b) I prefer blogs that are ‘readable’ and not too ‘densely’ presented.

Across
1 PENALTY AREA    The box Pandora’s opening a year late unfortunately holds the ultimate in sin
    P[andora] + {(A YEAR LATE)* around [si]N}
    Fine starter of this crossword with a nice surface referring to Pandora’s Box.
     
7 ARC Line delivered in sarcasm
    Hidden solution:  [s]ARC[asm]
     
9 BACON Airline fraud, pig
    BA (airline, ie British Airlines) + CON (fraud)
     
10    CLUBBABLE Tragically, Greenland’s seals are so friendly
    (kind of) Double definition
    Not a very nice imagery.  Some might consider the first part cd-like as CLUBBABLE is not a real word  meaning ‘beating’.
     
11 RETREATED Left gift in grass
    TREAT (gift) inside REED (grass)
     
12 TASTE Dash, or style
    Double definition
     
13 WINDSOR House turns gold
    WINDS (turns) + OR (gold)
     
15 POOL In which to see water polo, perhaps
    (POLO)*
    How neat can a simple clue be?
     
18 CROP Reduce yield
    Double definition
     
20 LA SCALA Devil missing lead in Hollywood opera house
    [r]ASCAL (‘rascal’ (devil) with the first letter missing) inside LA (Hollywood)
     
23 CHAMP Bite the winner
    Double definition
     
24 TEST MATCH    Confirm one’s ability to light up game
    (kind of) Double definition
    Another one that might be seen by some as a partial cd, the first part referring to finding out whether one is able to get some light out of a match.
     
26 RIFLE SHOT Bullet sent from holster, if misfiring
    (HOLSTER IF)*
    Not an appealing surface (don’t like weapons), but a wholly appropriate one for a cryptic clue.
     
27 NERVE Bottle still to be knocked back, containing last of liquor
    Reversal of EVEN (still) around [liquo]R
     
28 SEE Understand letter when read aloud
    Homophone of C (letter) when read aloud – some might consider this to be another Double definition
     
29 PERFORMANCE    Show building or farm in the money
    (OR FARM)* inside PENCE ((the) money)
     
Down    
1 PUB CRAWL Fight to keep control, initially, after turning up for social event
    BRAWL (fight) around C[ontrol], after PU (turning ‘up’)
     
2 NICOTINE Hooker taking figure across single bed
    NINE (figure) around I (single) COT (bed)
     
3 LANCE Prick boil, and look to slice top off
    [g]LANCE (‘glance’(look) minus the first letter)
     
4 YACHTER Sailor, hearty at sea, rounding cape
    (HEARTY)* around C (cape)
    A typical Rufus/Dante clue, isn’t it?
     
5 ROUNDUP Assembly’s three minutes of fighting completed?
    ROUND (three minutes of fighting, in boxing) + UP (completed)
     
6 ALBATROSS Tiger’s rare bird, a burden
    I have learned that “an albatross around your neck” may be seen as “a burden”, an expression which found its origins in Coleridge’s ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. And, of course, an albatross is a bird. But the first part of the clue? Is it referring to Jessica Alba in Tiger Beer commercials [but what about ‘tross’ then]? Or do I read the wrong papers and is it about Jessica Alba and Tiger Woods?  Perhaps, Jonathan Ross comes in too. I really, really don’t know! Help. I admire my own imagination, but it is really as jmac explains @1: a golf reference.
     
7 AMBUSH Attack predecessors of PM and Obama
    AM (comes before PM, think ‘time of the day’) + BUSH (came before Obama)
     
8 CLEVER Sharp corner, for starters, atop bar
    C[orner] + LEVEL (bar)
    The construction is easy enough, but I was a bit confused by ‘for starters’. Of course, it means ‘to start with’ which may justify the C, but in Crosswordland it is normally used to give us more than just one starting letter.
     
14   SCRAPHEAP    Pile where rubbish approaches, nothing missing
    (APPR[o]ACHES)* – definition can also be seen as ‘Pile where rubbish’ but then ‘rubbish’ is doing double duty
     
16 CAST-IRON Certain players’ club
    CAST (players) + IRON (club)
     
17 CASHMERE Covering metres, tailor reaches for fine cloth
    (REACHES)* around M (metres)
     
19 PITCHER One throwing a large vessel
    Double definition
     
20 LESOTHO Sign’s welcoming in lush hot country
    LEO (sign) around S + (HOT)*  LEO (sign) around {SOT (lush) + H (hot)}
    The solution was clear, the parsing needed a closer look. It can’t be (LEO’S)* around (HOT)*, so it had to be LEO welcoming in S.  The apostrophe S situation is in my opinion somewhat problematic, but defendable. Yet, I am still not convinced that the clue tells me that S is welcomed in by LEO. I made life too complicated here. Many thanks to Thomas99 @2 for the right parsing of this clue.
     
21 ICARUS Tenor introducing himself, briefly, as foolish high-flier
    I, CARUS[o] (tenor introducing himself, minus the final O)
     
22 WAFFLE Rabbit on crisp golden pancake
    Double definition
     
25 MENEM Yours truly leading people after uprising, as Argentinian politician
    ME (yours truly, ie Mudd) + NEM (reversal of ‘men’ (people) – definition: Carlos Menem
     
     

3 Responses to “Financial Times 13,914 – Mudd”

  1. jmac says:

    Hi Sil,

    Re 6 down, an albatross is a three under par shot in golf, so unfortnately the clue refers to Tiger Woods rather than Jessica Alba.

  2. Thomas99 says:

    20d –
    I think it has to be lush=sot and hot=h. No anagrams.

  3. Sil van den Hoek says:

    jmac @1:
    You must be absolutely right.
    Many thanks for enlightening me [I am not into golf], but your parsing explains it all.

    Thomas99:
    Yes, that’s it, of course.
    Didn’t think of lush=sot.
    So, no hassle with the apostrophe S [and rightly so].

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