Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,971 / Gaff

Posted by Gaufrid on April 5th, 2012


It’s now two days in a row, but this time I didn’t know in advance that I was going to be standing-in, hence the delay in publishing this analysis.

We were told in advance that this was “a topical puzzle” and indeed it was, today being the opening day of the 10ac golf tournament, held each year at 11ac. The holes at 11ac each have a name, six of which appeared in the grid and were defined by the hole number. In two cases (21ac & 28ac), two sets of wordplay were provided, presumably because these are less well known 26s in the UK. 26ac gave confirmation of the theme.

Just to confuse solvers, the clue for 2dn included a number but this time it related to an answer in the grid rather than a hole on the golf course. I’m sure that many solver’s, like me, initially thought that all the numbers in clues referred to the answer at that position.

Fortunately, for those of us not familiar with the course, all the thematic answers were gettable from the wordplay, though I must admit that I did think twice before entering 28ac.

1 CAPTOR CA[sh] PT (exercises) OR
4 MAGNOLIA anagram (abused) of A [f]LAMINGO
10 MASTERS double def.
11 AUGUSTA AUGUST (majestic) A
13 PIED-À-TERRE DATE (assignation) in PIERRE (Frenchman)
15 INHALE IN HALE (healthy)
16 EN MASSE anagram (roam) of MEN anagram (rough) of SEAS
21 REDBUD RED (blood) BUD (shoot) and RED (Communist) BUD (friend)
24 WATERTIGHT Spoonerism of ‘taught a wight’ (instructed a spirit)
26 TREE def. & cryptic def. – ‘embraced by environmentalist’ refers to a tree-hugger.
28 NANDINA NANA (Darling dog {Peter Pan}) around DIN (row) and hidden in ‘barbicaN AND IN Apollo’
29 TRUNDLE anagram (out or badly) of L[ettuce] TURNED – two anagram indicators?
30 EXCELLED EXCEL (exhibition hall) LED (light) – ExCeL is an exhibition centre in London
31 PAMPAS homophone of ‘pampers’ (spoils)
1 CAMELLIA CAMEL (desert ship) AIL (pain) reversed
2 PISTACHIO anagram (roasted) of ASPIC I HOT – this time the number does refer to another clue.
3,12 OVERLEAF cryptic def. & def.
5 AWARDING anagram (change) of GUARDIAN with U (posh) replaced with another letter
6 NIGHTMARES anagram (injury) of [minut]E HAMSTRING
7 LASER L[ifting] A S[lightly] E[larged] R[oof]
8 AZALEA A Z (final) ALE (beer) A
9 ASPIC AS (when) P (quiet) I[ce]-C[ream]
14 FLOWER GIRL FLOWER (river) GIRL (maid)
17 SOBERED UP SOUP (starter) around anagram (mixed) of BEER D[istillery]
18 COGITATE anagram (renovated) of COTTAGE I
19 IDLENESS anagram (wandering) of SENILE D[og]S
22 TWINGE W (with) in TINGE (shade)
23,20 WHITE DOGWOOD HIT (struck) in WE DOG (trail) WOOD (club)
25 TONIC hidden in ‘iT ON ICe’
27 PUMA def. & cryptic def. – Argentina’s Rugby Union team has the nickname ‘The Pumas’ and a ‘back’ is one of the players.


7 Responses to “Financial Times 13,971 / Gaff”

  1. crypticsue says:

    Gave up on this one. A theme too far and the cryptic brain matter had already had a pasting from young Nimrod. Enjoyed what I got and am grateful to Gaufrid for explaining those I didn’t.

  2. Sil van den Hoek says:

    When I saw that Gaff presented us “a topical puzzle”, I thought: Wow.
    Today is my birthday, and there you are: at long last! A puzzle about me …. :) :)

    Of course, it wasn’t like that.
    It took me a while to figure out what was going on.
    The surface of 11ac suggested “Golf”, confirmed by the wording in 10ac. But my real way in was a misinterpretation of 26ac, which was TREE, but one that I saw as IRON (hidden in “environmentalist”). Given another ‘club’ in 23,20 and the theme seemed to be cracked.

    Then I found MAGNOLIA, AZALEA and CAMELLIA – and I thought, maybe there’s some Flower Show starting today.
    I had NANDINA and PAMPAS early on (from construction), but only after Googling the penny dropped.

    So, a clever crossword?
    Well, the idea was, even though I could not be bothered too much by golf (or rugby, which worked against me in 27d, the one I couldn’t parse apart from the cat-bit).

    Gaff must have put a lot of thought in his puzzle, which I admire, but unfortunately there was too much iffiness to my taste.

    Like in 1ac: ‘a bit of cash’ for half of cash?
    And why the misleading ‘A’ in the clue for 11ac?
    Why two definitions in both 21ac and 28ac? – for me it’s ‘padding’.
    And indeed, Gaufrid, as you say, what about these anagrind/s in 29ac?
    And Gaff is a bit minimalistic in 5d and 7d, in my opinion.
    “with posh replacement” meaning “W replaces U”?
    “starts lifting a slightly etc” for “starts OF lifting etc.”?
    Perhaps, I am nitpicking, but there was a discrepancy between potential and work-out.

    Unlike crypticsue, I didn’t give up – in fact I got them all right. (BTW, I am on the point of giving up Nimrod – why is he always so different?]

    Thanks, Gaufrid for stepping in (the second day in a row, well well).
    Thanks to Gaff, too, despite my critical notes.

  3. Ernie says:

    I did not think the ‘A’ in 11a was misleading.

    It gives us the final ‘a’ in Augusta with august (majestic) coming first.

  4. Sil van den Hoek says:

    OK, Ernie, you’re absolutely right.
    I was too much focused on A perhaps meaning ‘first’ (which is hardly justifiable anyway).
    Apologies to Gaff.

  5. Tony Welsh says:

    I am not a golfer but I heard on the radio that there was a tournament at Augusta, so I got this pretty quickly. Problem is I had no idea that the holes had names, so many of the clues were lost on me. I got them all in the end but had no idea why in many cases!

    Still don’t get 26ac; why is tree a theme? Oh yes, now I see, it is the theme of the puzzle!

    Never have I finished a puzzle with less understanding of why!

  6. Chandamama says:

    A dull day today with no FT Cryptic. Alas, FT does not publish on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

  7. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Indeed, you’re right Chandamama.
    That is, about today.
    But I think there will be a puzzle on Easter Monday as I am sure that there was one last year on that occasion (a Falcon crossword, 25 April 2011).

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