Fifteensquared

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Financial Times 13,943 by Cinephile

Posted by Pete Maclean on March 15th, 2012

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of March 3, 2012

Cinephile is back with a puzzle that is a little harder than his usual, has a bunch of unconventional clues and has a few darned good ones. My favourites are 21, 14, 11, 20 (TURN OVER A NEW LEAF), 9A (METONYMY), 16A (WOLFISH) and 17, 10 (VEGETABLE MARROW).

Across
1. PSALMIST – anagram of MAIL in PSST (surreptitious summons)
5. ISLAND – IS (is) + L (left) + AND (with)
9. METONYMY – “ME TONY” (Blair introducing himself) + “MY” (his)
12. CAMPER VAN – PERV (deviant) in CA[y]MAN (unknown leaving tax haven). One could be picky and complain that Cayman is not a tax haven; the tax haven alluded to is the Cayman Islands. But I am okay with this.
13. ECOLI – hidden word
16. WOLFISH – LOW (sound of Taurus) backwards + FISH (Pisces). Three constellations in one clue! Stellar!
19. ILLEGAL – LOG (member) in anagram of I (one) ALL
21, 14, 11, 20. TURN OVER A NEW LEAF – TURNOVER (apple pudding) + ANEW (again) + LEAF (homophone of “lief” meaning gladly)
24. NONET – NO NET (so tennis impossible). Unconventional but I think it works well.
25. ARAUCARIA – AU (golden) + CAR (chariot) together in ARIA (song). One might hope that John Graham would do a specially good job of cluing his other pseudonym but I find this one rather lacklustre. The surface reading is poor and ‘from’ gets in the way a bit.
28. STRAINER – S (S) + TRAINER (shoe)
29. TOTTER – double definition
30. BRADSHAW – BRAD (fixer) + SHAW (playwright). It took a while before the penny dropped for me. I understand that Bradshaw still exists in some form but it is best known as a British railway timetable of old, much mentioned in novels including the stories of Sherlock Holmes.

Down
1. PUMICE – UP (up) reversed + MICE (little creatures)
2, 27. AS TIME GOES BY – ASTI (sparkler) + MEG (girl) + anagram of BOYES
3. MANGE – [blanc]MANGE (sweet when rendered white). Another unconventional clue.
4. SAMOVAR – MO (doctor) + V (opposed) together in SAAR (German region)
6. SHOVELLER – double definition. I cannot decide if this clue is a good one or not. The issue is what role ‘said’ plays in it. Its presence is devious in that it suggests a homophone but it seems to spoil the purity of a double definition. (See comments below for more…)
7. AMBROSIA – BROS (relatives) in AM I (is setter) + A (first)
8. DAYLIGHT – double/cryptic definition
15, 23. VEGETABLE MARROW – anagram of WORM EAT GRAVEL BE
17, 10. MIDNIGHT COWBOY – MIDNIGHT (in the dark) + COWBOY (incompetent operator). Hmm. ‘In the dark’ cluing MIDNIGHT is a bit rough. Midnight is a time; ‘in the dark’ is not. (See comments below for more…)
18. PLANGENT – PLAN (scheme) + GENT (man)
21. TRACTOR – ROT (rubbish) + CART (vehicle) all backwards
22. BRUNCH – BRUN (coloured French) + CH (companion). This is another clue I am unsure about. Okay, ‘brun’ is a French colour (brown) but can it mean coloured? (Perhaps as in describing skin colour?) I don’t know.
26. CLAUD – C (number) + LAUD (praise)

2 Responses to “Financial Times 13,943 by Cinephile”

  1. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for the blog. Like you a appreciated the odder clues. He’s still pushing at the boundaries! I do think 17 10 is fine, though. I think it’s a double definition; “Film” is the first and “Incompetent operator in the dark?” is the second. A midnight (cowboy) builder would be operating in the dark. If you split it up like a charade it doesn’t work, but you don’t have to.

    Also, re 30 Bradshaw may be familiar to a lot of solvers as Michael Portillo is seemingly never off the TV this year, brandishing his copy.

    And I think you’re right that “said” in 6d indicates a homophone. It’s needed as I think the duck can only be spelt with one ‘l’.

  2. Pete Maclean says:

    Thomas99, thanks for your comments. Yes, I see now that if one looks at 17,10 as a double definition rather than a charade it works perfectly.

    Regarding 6d, I suspected that and looked up the word in my Chambers. It told me that the duck can be spelt either way. But I missed something! I just looked again and noted that while in the US the duck can have either one ‘l’ or two, in the UK it normally has one. So, yes, the homophone works. Thanks again.

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