Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,926 – Crux

Posted by Sil van den Hoek on February 23rd, 2012

Sil van den Hoek.

Monday Prize Crossword/Feb 13

The last two Crux crosswords generated a spectacular total of zero comments. That’s perhaps disappointing for me, but even more for the setter who, in my opinion, is one of the more imaginative compilers within the FT area.  In this puzzle once more smooth surfaces, a fine spread of devices (no overdose of cds, dds or anagrams, for example) and occasionally some adventurous cluing (like in 23d).

Definitions are underlined where applicable and/or relevant.


1 TIPTOES Creeps give advice to heartless employers
    TIP (give advice) + TO + E[mployer]S
5 ANAGRAM There can be one of three
    As the clue says, ‘there’ can be an ANAGRAM of ‘three’
9 PITCH Many games require it to toss
    Double definition
10     OURSELVES     What belongs to us little people, Ukip’s prime concern?
    OURS (what belongs to us) + ELVES (little people) – the Ukip being the ‘UK Independence Party’
11 EPICENTRE The most shocking of locations, perhaps
    Cryptic definition
12 DIETS Freak tides causing stones to vanish
    (TIDES)* – the definition being slightly cryptic: one causing stones (think: weight) to vanish
13 SCRUB Cancel clean-up
    Double definition
15 ADDRESSES Talks to commercial outfits
    AD (commerical) + DRESSES (outfits)
18 ON HOLIDAY     Not working, I only had love, unfortunately
    (I ONLY HAD O (love))*
19 THETA Soldiers compose letter from abroad
    ‘The TA’ (Territorial Army)
21 EERIE Spooky l-lake
    E-ERIE (l-lake, lake with a stammer)
23 LIFE RAFTS Some convicts hiding behind emergency gear at sea
    LIFERS (some convicts) around AFT (behind)
25 ATTRIBUTE Quality attire but looking out of place
26,27     PRESS RELEASE     How to work ejector seat? It’s meant to be printed
    When you are a pilot and in trouble, you may like to PRESS the button ‘RELEASE’ after which you will be launched into safety
28     TIRADES     Businesses employ one to make angry speeches
    TRADES (businesses) around I (one)
1 TOPLESS Revealing how Mandy appears to change sex
    If ‘Mandy’ were TOPLESS, she would become ‘Andy’ and therefore change sex
2 PATRIARCH Irishman, mostly cunning, like Abraham was
    PATRI[ck] (Irishman, mostly) + ARCH (cunning)
3 OCHRE Colour regularly found among coach-horses
    The even letters of [c]O[a]C[h]-H[o]R[s]E[s]
4 SHORTHAND Understaffed, editor’s off – secretary can take it!
    SHORTHAND[ed] (understaffed) with the deleted letters representing ‘editor’ – SHORTHAND is a method of writing rapidly (useful for eg a secretary)
5 AGREE Suit a particular colour? Not quite
    A + GREE[n] ((particular) colour, not quite)
6 AMENDMENT     “Correction” – last word many people have time for
    AMEN (last word) + D (many, 500 (Roman numeral)) + MEN (people) + T (time)
7 REVUE Show to see twice, we’re told
    Homophone of REVIEW (to see twice)
8 MISUSES Badly treats a young girl without work
    MISS (a young girl) around USE (work)
14     BALLERINA She performs on 1 across
    She, indeed, might perform on the ‘tips of her toes’ (see 1 across)
16 DAY OF REST     The vicar’s time to relax? Hardly!
    Cryptic definition
17 SHEFFIELD Sounds like Cook lied about where the silver came from
    SHEFF (homophone of CHEF (cook)) + (LIED)*
18 OPEN AIR Start with a song in such a theatre
    OPEN (start (with)) + AIR (a song)
20 ASSISTS Provides help as Jenny sits spinning
    ASS (Jenny) + (SITS)*  – only a pity that the clue already contains the word “as”
22 RATEL Badger some councillor at elections
    Hidden solution:  [councillo]R AT EL[ections]
23 LOUSE One of those bloodsuckers locked up by policemen
    Hidden in ‘policemen’ are LICE, and this is one of them – very original idea
24     ROPER     Endless noise upsets the horse catcher
    Reversal of REPOR[t] (noise, endless)


4 Responses to “Financial Times 13,926 – Crux”

  1. PeeDee says:

    Hi Sil, I have not done a Crux, so I did this one so I could brighten up your day with a comment!

    It was a pleasant crossword, a bit like a Rufus. My favourites were 5ac and 11ac.

  2. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Whoa, thank you, PeeDee!

    What Crux has in common with Rufus/Dante is the smoothness of his cluing. Just like Rufus, Crux has always some cryptic definitions but – as you might guess – no-one can beat this week’s Birthday Child in that area.
    That aside, I think, Crux has a real good sense for judging which devices to use and how often, while keeping a close eye on the surface.
    Most of his clues are based on construction and that’s where he differs from Rufus/Dante.
    I really like the combination of “a light touch” and “thoughtful cluing” in Crux’s puzzles.
    He’s not a hard setter, but certainly not a throwaway setter either.
    And if someone said to me “he’s the FT incarnation of Dac”, I would believe him/her instantly.

    The fact that his crosswords do not attract many comments, is not something that bothers me [I learn from blogging a puzzle, irrespective of how many comments there are].
    But I think, a good setter like Crux deserves more credit than he usually gets here.

  3. Bamberger says:

    Couldn’t get the wordplay for 1d or 23d . Had no idea what Mandy had to do with it. Mandy who I was thinking?
    If I solve the crossword fully (albeit with aids) and fully understand it, I don;t usually comment.

  4. Steve says:

    Hi Sil – thanks for the blog and I don’t think you (or Crux, whose puzzle today was also excellent) should take the low number of comments personally! The same is often true for most of the prize crosswords given the long delay before the blog can be posted. I thoroughly enjoy reading Fifteensquared everyday but by the time the blog for the prize versions comes around have pretty much forgotten those crosswords. My selfish preference (being US-based and never bothering to submit entries) would be to do away with the prize part altogether. Or maybe the FT could move to an on-line solution submission process with much shorter deadlines for entry.

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