Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times by Gozo 13,975

Posted by PeeDee on April 11th, 2012


Another lucky week for me.  I get to blog the Guardian Easter Special at the weekend and now this really super themed puzzle from Gozo today.  I recomend having a go at this one, the puzzle can be downloaded here.

The theme is of couse birds. I had heard nearly all of them (except solan), but even so finding the solutions was still not easy.  I made life harder for myself by incorrectly writing LINNET as the answer to 31 ac, which then had repercussions across the rest of the puzzle.   Thank you Gozo for a very enjoyable morning.

Hold the mouse pointer over any clue number to read the clue.

1 PUFFIN PUFF (biscuit) IN (is popular) – I think the ‘s following biscuit might be a misprint
9 AVOCET CE (Church of England) in AV (Authorised Version, bible) OT (books of the bible)
10 NIGHTJAR JAR (a pint of beer) following NIGHT (the dark)
12 TERN winTER Nest – I’m not sure where ‘first’ fits in here ERNE is also a hidden bird here, so TERN is the first of two.  Thanks to pandean.
13 SOLAN ALSO* and Name
14 KITE KIT (young ferret) Eating (start of)
17 MANDARIN DUCK AND (as well as) A (one) RIND (outside) in MUCK (manure)
20 CAPERCAILLIE CAPER (frolic) and CAILLIE sounds like “ceilidh”, a Gaelic evening of music and dance
23 HAWK Henry A WK (week)
24 CAPON CAP ON – wearing a cap
25 SMEE SiMpErEd – oddly=every other letter
28 DOTTEREL OTTER (a carnivore) in LED (was first) reversed
29 LINNET TEN-NIL (crushing defeat at football) reversed (setback)
30 WHEATEAR English in WHAT (which) EAR (listener)
31 ORIOLE IO (ten) and L (fifty, Roman numerals) in ORE(aggregate).I originally wrote in LINNET here, which is an anagram (aggregate) of TEN L (fifty) IN. This seemed a pretty solid answer to me, which then messed up various other parts of the crossword, especially 29ac and 5dn.
1 PLAY TIME double definition
2 FLOORING sounds like “flawing”, making defective
3 IVES LIVES (is) without L=left – Charles Ives (1874–1954), American composer
5 ANIMAL DOCTOR I’m not sure on this one. I think by giving an extra E (a touch of expertise) to ANIMAL DOCTOR you get an anagram of TEND MACAw and ORIOLe (macaw and oriole being tailless) – the definition is &lit
6 ACHE AC (account, bill) HE
7 ENJOIN JOE NINety* (90 missing half) – definition is ‘impose on’
8 TERCEL LECTERn* (cut short) – a male hawk
11 MOBILE CAMERA MOBILE (state capital of Alabama) CAME (arrived) before RA (artist) – updated: the capital of Alabama is actually Montgomery, not Mobile.  Any ideas for an explanation anyone?
15 MACAW AM (in the morning) reversed and CAW (squawk) – a sort of parrot
16 ACRID ACRID or ACID – with or without R=right, both mean bitter
18 FLAMINGO FLAMING (gaudy) O (circle) – wading bird
19 NEPENTHE NE (direction) PEN (to write) THE (article) – fabled drug that banished sorrow
21 SHADOW AD (advertisement, notice) in WHOS* – a member of the Shadows, Hank Marvin for example
22 SWATHE SWAT (hit mercilessly) and HE (high explosive)
26 FEET some of cofFEE Table
27 PIER PIoneER (pathfinder) missing ONE


14 Responses to “Financial Times by Gozo 13,975”

  1. Pelham Barton says:

    Hi PeeDee. It is a non-working day for me today, so I had time to do both FT and Indy. This is not the type of puzzle I normally like, but it is good of its type, so thanks Gozo for the puzzle and PeeDee for the blog.

    1ac: I am inclined to agree that the first “‘s” is a misprint, but the wordplay at least does work if you take “‘s” = “has”.

    12ac: I could not account for “First” either.

    13ac: Maybe I am showing my ignorance of the theme, but I class this as an obscure answer. The anagram does not really help, as LOSAN would also fit, although SOLAN seemed more likely, so that was my guess.

    23ac: I wonder if Gozo forgot about the theme when cluing this one, as he has given us a non-thematic definition to go with the fairly straightforward wordplay. Nothing wrong with it whether it was deliberate or not.

    31ac: Interesting that LINNET does fit here. I had already got NEPENTHE in place before I got to this clue, so was not misled.

    5dn: I think your explanation must be correct.

    27dn: This is the one where I had a wrong early guess. With ORIOLE in place, I guessed STAR (which I persuaded myself could be defined as pathfinder) with wordplay STAIR (landing-stage) missing I. When I got LINNET (in the right place), it became clear that PIER had to be right, but thanks for the parsing.

  2. rulei says:

    11a. Montgomery is the capital of Alabama, not Mobile. Do we think Gozo made a mistake or is there something clever we’re missing?

  3. PeeDee says:

    rulei @2 So it is! I thought the capital must be Mobile, but didn’t bother to check.

    I spent a while trying to make POLICE CAMERA fit, but that seemed unlikely.

  4. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for the nice full blog (clues & all) of a difficult, satisfying puzzle.

    I see Mobile (11a) used to be the capital…

    I wondered if some of 5d got lost somewhere:
    “With a touch of expertise he may be ordered to tend…” (for example) would make it a comp. anag. but as it stands I can’t really see an indicator, or find a proper cryptic reading. Such a pity as it’s nearly brilliant!

  5. PeeDee says:

    I don’t think Mobile has ever been the captal of Alabama. Montgomery has been the capital since 1846 and before that it was Tuscaloosa.

  6. Robi says:

    I am in awe at the ability of the setter to put so many birds in one grid. Excellent work!

    I think the TERN in 12 might relate to: ‘a prize for drawing three winning numbers.’ [Chambers]

    Not sure I understand Pelham Barton’s remark about 23; surely HAWK is thematic?…… or have I missed the point.

  7. Robi says:

    …….. sorry, meant to thank PeeDee for the blog.

  8. PeeDee says:

    HAWK, SMEE (and possibly TERN) get a definition, whereas the other across clues are undefined. I wondered why HAWK got the extra definition too. Smee was a pirate in Peter Pan.

  9. Pandean says:

    Thanks for the blog PeeDee.

    I thought Gozo may have included the word ‘first’ in the clue for 12ac because there are two birds hidden in ‘winter nest': TERN and ERNE (the sea-eagle). TERN is the first one of the two.

  10. Robi says:

    Pandean @9; that sounds like the correct parsing.

  11. Robi says:

    According to Wiki: ‘Mobile, then known as Fort Louis de la Louisiane, started in 1702, at Twenty-seven Mile Bluff on the Mobile River, as the first capital of the French colony of Louisiana.’

  12. PeeDee says:

    Alabama didn’t come into existence as a state until 1819, so it couldn’t have a state capital before then?

  13. Robi says:

    I meant Louisiana state capital

  14. Keeper says:

    The Mobile/Montgomery error is pretty egregious, in my view. The editor shares culpability with Gozo.

    Robi @13: Mobile was never the captial of the State of Louisiana.

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