Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,934 by Io, Cincinnus and others

Posted by PeeDee on February 22nd, 2012


No prizes for guessing the subject of the celebration in this puzzle.

Happy 80th birthday to Roger Squires, also known in FT circles as Dante.

This puzzle contains numerous references to Roger Squires’s life.  He was born in 1932 and educated at Wolverhampton Grammar School, leaving at 15 to serve as a rating in the Royal Navy, training at the HMS Ganges base, once notorious for harsh treatment. He eventually became an observer flying in the Fleet Air Arm.  At sea he passed his time setting cryptic crosswords, learning card tricks and joined the Magic Circle.  On leaving the navy he became a professional actor and magician, making hundreds of appearances on British Television.  On the breakup of his marriage he was forced to give up acting to be at home to care for his two children.  To make ends meet he ramped up his crossword output, selling crosswords at some time to almost all the British newspapers, notably including  the FT, Observer, Guardian (as Rufus) and the Glasgow Herald.  He calculated that at the time he needed to produce 40 crosswords per week to survive financially.  This output eventually led to him being recognised in the Guiness Book of Records as the most prolific cryptic crossword setter in the world.  He is a member of Mensa, lives in Ironbridge and has grandchildren called Esme and Oscar.

My apologies for the late posting, but for some reason there was no online version of this puzzle and I had to spend ages driving around trying to find a somewhere selling a paper copy of the FT.

Thank you very much to John H who kindly prompts me to look for words hidden in today’s grid: guru fusillade, period antepost, basillica russet, sharpshod gear and longbow erect.  These are all pseudonymns used by Roger Squires.

7 ROGER double definition
9 SQUIRES Second QU (question) I RES (reserve)
10 SHARP-SHOD SHARP (someone crafty with cards) SH (quiet) ODd (funny, unfinished) – fitted with spiked horseshoes
11 GEAR hidden (secret) in IronbridGE ARtitste – definition is paraphernalia
12 BASILICA B (first letter of boat) and anagram (seen off) of CALAIS and I (one, roman numeral)
15 RUSSET RUfuS (missing much of fun) and SET (compile) – rufous means reddish-brown
17 ITS A KIND OF MAGIC (KING ADMIT FIASCO)* – album and song by the rock band Queen, also reference to Roger Squires membership of the Magic Circle and also his frequently elegant cryptic clues
21 PERIOD EsmE and OscaR (final letters) in POD (school, of whales)
24 ANTE-POST Ace and TEN-SPOT* – a bet placed well before a race
25 GURU  maGic (essence of=centre) with Relax (start of) between UU (two u-turns)
26 FUSILLADE  anagram (preposterous) of DULL (mostly) LIFE A and Stultifying (a little of) – definition is ‘hail’
29 LONGBOW  MeNsa (core of) in LOG (record) and BOW (take a bow=to acknowledge)
30 ERECT  puzzlE (ultimately) and RECT (sounds like wrecked=ruined) – definition is ‘hard’
1 BRASSART BRASS (chutzpah) and ART (trickery) – an arm-piece in a suit of armour
2 PROP PRO (for) Puzzling (a little bit of) – definition is ‘back up’
3 GSOH SO (very) inside Glasgow Herald (leaders of) – abbreviation in the personal columns for ‘good sense of humour’, wit
4 FUND FUN (entertainment) crossworD (end of) – definition is ‘supply’
5 BRUGES BRUtal GanGES (skipping over six letters)
6 ESCAPE APE (take off, copy) after ESC (key on computer keyboard)
8 GRANITA (A RATING)* – an Italian water-ice dessert
13 ILIAD DAILIes (newspapers, two letters missing) reversed (recalled) – epic poem by Homer
14 ALDEA cAlLeD (regularly, every other letter) and EA (each) – a place in Lanzarote, also Spanish for ‘village’
15 REFIT anagram (affecting) of FT IE (that is) Right – definition is ‘refit’
16 SAG gAnGeS* periodicaly=every other letter, planned=anagram – definition is ‘sinking’, as a noun
18 SIR contained in makeS IRonbridge – definition is ‘feted fellow’
19 APPEASE Actor (first letter of) PP (very quiet) EASE (quiet) – definition is ‘quiet’, to quieten
20 INSPECTS INSECTS (flies perhaps) containing (without, going outside of) Parachute (initial letter of)
22 EQUALS E (electronic) QUAiLS (game, birds) missing I=the first bit of incertitutde
23 IGUANA GUArdIAN (missing RD=road, way) – could be a monitor lizard
26 FOBS From One Brilliant Setter (starting letters) – definition is ‘tricks’, old=archaic defiition
27 SEWN EW (bridge partners) in School and Navy – definition is ‘joined’
28 LEEK General Robert E. LEE and Knowledge (part 1=first letter) – town in Staffordshire


14 Responses to “Financial Times 13,934 by Io, Cincinnus and others”

  1. John H says:

    The ‘others’, as in the Guardian puzzle inappopriately credited solely to me, were Cincinnus/Orlando, Arachne, Loroso/Anax (whose own tribute appears in today’s Telegraph Toughie), Lato/Tyrus and Gozo/Doc, who was responsible for the superb anagram forming the Guardian puzzle’s standfirst.

    This puzzle contains a group of ninas, if you fancy a search!


  2. crypticsue says:

    Unless someone persuades the FT site to put today’s puzzle up, I don’t think you are going to get many comments today! And no, I haven’t looked at the review above, I carefully scrolled down the page with my eyes shut as I don’t want to spoil the fun.

  3. Conrad Cork says:

    I second the motion @2. What are the FT up to?

    Of all the days……..

  4. PeeDee says:

    Thanks John H @1 for prompting me to look for the ninas. I don’t normally look out for ninas much, I feel they usually add interest more for the setters than the solvers. However, this time I am clearly amiss as the ninas are a very relevant and important part of the theme.

    I should have twigged by the unusual shape of the grid, but did not get further than looking for a birthday message around the edge.

    Thanks again for the prod. I wonder what else I have missed?

  5. nmsindy says:

    Puzzle is on FT website now

  6. Simon says:

    It’s online now.

  7. MikeC says:

    Thanks to PeeDee and setters. Found this one very tough; I guess there’s some fairly intricate wordplay. Good fun, all the same, and the ninas in the (now) completed puzzle are very apt. How many birthdays will the great man need, with all these aliases?

  8. crypticsue says:

    Got the crossword in the end. Took a while but a very enjoyable tribute to a great setter.

  9. Sil van den Hoek says:

    What a great puzzle!
    Thanks to all of ‘you’.
    17ac is just IT.

    Now you’ve mentioned it, I see in the 6th row ICARUS, in the 10th DANTE and in row no 12 RUFUS.
    The 14th row gives us BOWER. Also relevant?
    Is there even more?

    Bloody hell – this was really a clever crossword.
    And looking at the surfaces, a wholly apt tribute.

    Just great!

  10. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Oops, PeeDee, didn’t read your preamble well enough ….
    Was too much focused on John H’s mentioning of there being a Nina (which didn’t get a follow-up in the posts).
    Still, a fantastic tribute!!

  11. PeeDee says:

    Hi Sil, what do you mean by 17ac is just IT?

  12. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Well, PeeDee, sorry to be a little bit too concise (or confusing) but what I meant was:
    This is the clue that says it all.

  13. Tom_I says:

    The anagram is not quite right at 26a. It’s DUL(l) (largely dull) plus LIFE A and S(tultifying).

  14. PeeDee says:

    Thank you Tom_I, fixed now.

    Sil – I agree!

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