Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,937 by Mudd

Posted by Pete Maclean on March 8th, 2012

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of February 25, 2012

First I must apologize for the late posting of this blog. Fact is I simply and completely forgot about it until someone poked me this morning in reminder. So, sorry.

I found this puzzle a bit difficult and I know from emails that others had an even harder time with it. If you had trouble with 14A (JERSEY), 25A (PEACE) or 28A (GANTRY), you were not alone. My favourite clue is 18D (CRACKING) — a real cracker! — and I also like 19A (REFRAIN) and 1D (DOCILE). I find fault with 21D because ‘between’ is used in an unusual way. My dictionary suggests that this usage is not strictly wrong but ‘between’ normally fits with two items, not a group of three (or more), so makes the surface reading unnecessarily jarring.

1. DIMINISH – MINI (little) in DISH (preparation of food)
5. FLIGHT – F[all] + LIGHT (easy)
9. CAPSICUM – CAP (top) + anagram of MUSIC
10. MAROON – ROO (Oz’s jumper) in MAN (piece)
12. LEECH – LEE (shelter) + CH (church)
13. FREEMASON – anagram of ENEMAS FOR
14. JERSEY – double/cryptic definition, the cryptic one referring to a Jersey cow
16. PRUSSIA – P (quiet) + RUSSIA (country)
19. REFRAIN – double definition
21. RODENT – RODE (went) + N[u]T[s] (nuts regularly)
23. CRAB LOUSE – ARC (line) reversed + BLOUSE (women’s garment). I was unfamiliar with this particular parasite but with some crossing letters to help quickly guessed the LOUSE part and the rest followed.
25. PEACE – PE ACE (expert at gym perhaps — i.e. at Physical Education)
26. INSTEP – INS (inches) + PET (chosen) reversed
27. SEMOLINA – anagram of either IS A LEMON or IS A MELON. This is an interesting clue — I cannot decide whether it is very clever or a bit weak. There is no explicit anagram indicator. Is one supposed to deduce the requirement to anagram from the fact that MELON and LEMON are anagrams?
28. GANTRY – NAG (horseback) + TRY (go)
29. ORIGINAL – GIRO (payment) backwards + IN (in) + A (a) + L (pound)

1. DOCILE – anagram of COILED
2. MAPLE LEAF – P (one page) in MALE (bloke) + LEAF (another one)
3. NEIGH – NEIGH[bours] (half of soap [opera] gone)
4. SQUIFFY – QUIFF (style of teddy boy) in S[hrewsbur]Y
6. LEAF MOULD – U (uranium) in anagram of OLD FLAME
7. GROSS – double definition
8. TENON SAW – ONE (soloist) in WASNT (wasnt) all backwards
11. PEEP – palindrome (however it’s seen)
15. SMALL BEER – cyptic definition with “half, say” referring to a half pint
17. SENSATION – anagram of ESTONIANS
18. CRACKING – double definition
20. NOUS – NO (refusal) + US (FT)
21. ROE DEER – O[n]E in R DEE R (three rivers)
22. DETAIL – double/cryptic definition referring to ‘dock’ in the sense of de-tail
24. ARSON – hidden word
25. PRONG – [inciso]R in PONG (stink)

8 Responses to “Financial Times 13,937 by Mudd”

  1. Steve says:

    Thanks Pete – re 27A, could ‘Pudding’ be doing double duty as both the definition and anagram indicator? One definition of pudding is a mixture…

  2. Steve says:

    Also – there are a couple of minor typos: 4D is QUIFF in SY and 6D is LEAF MOULD

  3. Pete Maclean says:

    Thanks, Steve. I have corrected the typos which came from rushing out the blog and, maybe also, from being a bit fuzzy-headed with a cold. It had occurred to me that ‘pudding’ might be intended to do double duty in 27A; could be although, it seems to me, the clue still does not work well.

  4. Bamberger says:

    My problems were in the SE though I also couldn’t get 7d.
    I can see why gross=ugly but how does well over a ton =gross? 144 is larger that 100 but well over?

    25d Not sure about tooth =prong. I have a thing to fish pickled onions out of a jar which I call a prong but I don’t think I’d call it a tooth.

    Glad you managed to finish it.

  5. Pete Maclean says:

    Bamberger, I am unclear how ‘well over a ton’ works in 7D. I wondered about it as I was working on the puzzle and thought maybe I should look it up but then never did. Can someone enlighten us?

    I do think ‘tooth’ is an okay clue for ‘prong’. Gear teeth can be much like prongs.

  6. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks Pete.
    A while ago I had complaints about Mudd using too much definitions.
    And guess what?
    In this puzzle I found that some of the very best were double definitions …
    I also liked 25d (PRONG) – great surface.

    I think 7d should be seen as GROSS being ‘repulsive’ and a ‘figure well over a ton’ (a gross is 144).

  7. Sil van den Hoek says:

    A while ago I had complaints about Mudd using too much DOUBLE definitions.

  8. Pete Maclean says:

    Ah, I looked up ‘gross’ and I should have looked up ‘ton’. I had not known that it can mean a score of 100.

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