Fifteensquared

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Financial Times 13,931 by Cinephile

Posted by Pete Maclean on March 1st, 2012

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of February 18, 2012

It helps to know some British new towns for this puzzle. I was well aware of Milton Keynes but, while I had heard of Skelmersdale, I had no idea it was a new town. Fortunately, Wikipedia has a list. As usual with Cinephile, we have a mix of very pedestrian clues (1A, 26A, 4D, 17D, 22D) and some inspired ones, 13-14A (CATCH TWENTY-TWO), 21A (EARDRUM), 6D (UPSTART) and 15D (EGREGIOUS).

Across
1. STRADIVARIUS – I (one) + DARTS (moves quickly) both backwards + VARI[o]US (different sorts of, loveless)
8. HEARTEN – HEAR (listen) + TEN (2200 hrs). Hmm, I think that ‘listen’ does not strictly mean ‘hear’. Does the question mark somehow make this okay?[
9. LUMP SUM - UM (uncertainty) in LPS (records) + UM (uncertainty). Well, 'um' is an expression of uncertainty more than uncertainty per se but I think this is okay.
11. BERLIOZ - BERLI[h] (capital reduced) + OZ (little weight)
12. TRAVAIL – AV (voting system) in TRAIL (track). AV stands for Alternative Vote. Where does ‘new’ come in? Is AV a considered a new voting system?
13, 14. CATCH TWENTY-TWO – double definition, the first referring (I assume) to cricket and the second Joseph Heller’s famous novel and the movie based on it.
16. TOWN CRIER – CROWN TIER (one restricting the monarchy) spoonerized
19. TRACK – T (bone) + RACK (lamb dish)
21. EARDRUM – ‘EARD (‘as received sound) + RUM (funny)
23. GOSSIPY – anagram of YOGIS PS (postscript)
24. HEIRESS – H[ibernian] + EIRE (his country) + S (ship)
25. OVERDUE – O (oxygen) + VERDU[r]E (greenery right away)
26. SKELMERSDALE – K[i]D + ELMERS together in SALE (auction). “Elmer’s Tune” is a less well known number performed by Glenn Miller.

Down
1. SEA FRET – anagram of SET FARE
2. RUTTISH – TT (refusing booze — i.e. TeeTotal) + I (one) together in RUSH (hurry)
3. DONIZETTI – [recog]NIZE in DOTTI (crazy-sounding — homophone of ‘dotty’). I think this is a poor clue because it gives no indication of what part of RECOGNIZE is required.
4. VALET – VALE (farewell) + T (time)
5. REMNANT – anagram of MAN in RENT (payment)
6. UPSTART – P[arvenu] in US (America) + TART (bittersweet)
7. THE BACK TEETH – anagram of BET THAT CHEEK
10. MILTON KEYNES – I (first) + LT (lieutenant) together in MONKEY (primate) + NES (three points)
15. EGREGIOUS – EG (for example) + anagram of ROGUE IS
17. WARWICK – WAR (fighting) + WICK (burner)
18. CORNELL – CORN (grain) + ELL (measure)
19. TESSERA – TESS (novel heroine — i.e. Tess of the D’Urbervilles) + ERA (period)
20. ARIADNE – ARIA (song) + END (finish) reversed
22. MASSE – ASS (fool) + ME (setter). Despite having devoted much time in my student years to snooker, I was unaware of this term. It refers to a steep curve or complete reversal of cue ball direction without the necessity of any rail or object ball being struck, due to extreme spin imparted to the cue ball by a steeply elevated cue. And the E properly has an acute accent.

3 Responses to “Financial Times 13,931 by Cinephile”

  1. Lenny says:

    Thanks Pete. When I did this a couple of days ago I thought some of the clueing was a bit loose but, looking at it now, most of it seems just about justifiable. I agree with you about Donizetti. Using random chunks of words as wordplay seems to be a trademark of late-period Cinephile and to make it worse he splits an alleged homophone in two. It also appears to me that the adjective Overdue is the wrong part of speech for the clue at 25.

    Pedants’ corner: Joseph Heller’s book is quite popular amongst crossword setters. Unfortunately for them he called it Catch-22.

  2. Pete Maclean says:

    Hi Lenny, thanks for your comments. Ah yes, Catch-22; I remember now that that is the true title. And I should have caught that off-definition of OVERDUE. That is, I think, another example of a liberty frequently taken by Cinephile these days and one we have to accept — although it still deserves a comment in the blog.

  3. Wil Ransome says:

    One or two good clues as always from Araucaria, but also as always a few loose things. Apart from those already mentioned I didn’t think much of 19ac (Way with bone for lamb dish? — TRACK): The definition is ‘Way’, so the ‘with’ is less than elegant, although it does appear occasionally. But, much worse, what is the ‘for’ doing? It links ‘T’ and ‘rack’, but how on earth?

    Nor did I like 1dn (Set fare provided with onshore mist — SEA FRET): The answer is easy enough to see, but how can anyone justify ‘provided’ or ‘provided with’ as an anagram indicator?

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