Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,968 – Dante

Posted by Sil van den Hoek on April 12th, 2012

Sil van den Hoek.

Monday Prize Crossword/Apr 2

A Dante puzzle that I completed in two sessions, which probably makes clear that I didn’t find this the easiest of Dantes. Some real gems in this puzzle (1ac, 30ac, 1d – to name a few).

Definitions are underlined and/or referred to in the blog.


1 HAMLET Poor actor allowed role beyond his capabilities
    HAM (poor actor) + LET (allowed)
    Fantastic surface – is this what we call an &Lit?
4 HANDICAP In which all entrants won’t come up to scratch
    Cryptic definition
10 MINUSCULE Without a clue perhaps? That’s fine
    MINUS (without a) + (CLUE)*
    Great clue!
11    SUPER Police officer’s half-hearted meal
    I must admit, I half-heartedly tried ‘dinner’ and ‘copper’ before the penny finally dropped. Doh!
12 SHED Outhouse made redundant
    Double definition
13 OPPOSITION     Not the government’s workplace
    OP (work) POSITION (place)
15 CAVE MAN Club retainer who used to drag his wife along
    Cryptic definition
    Many ‘clubs’ (jazz and pop) were to be found in ‘caves’ (or cellars), especially in the 60s and 70s. Not sure whether that’s still the case in the UK, but in Prague (a city I know quite well) it is.
16 ENLIST Enrol recruit
    Double definition
    Double definition? I think this is one of the weaker clues in this crossword.
19 SEVERS Parts always carried by a seagoing vessel
    EVER (always) inside SS (a seagoing vessel)
21 FANATIC In fact a wild enthusiast
    (IN FACT A)*
    Simple, but oh so neat.
23 DETRACTION     Not a direct form of slander
25 ESAU He sold his birthright in the sausage factory
    Hidden solution: [th]E SAU[sage factory]
    I am a convinced a-biblical person, but I knew one called ESAU. If you want the full story,  click here .
27 RABBI Teacher to talk for ages, short of time
28    HAIRSHIRT An annoying habit of the conscience-stricken
    Cryptic definition
29 SET MEALS Fixed menus that could be meatless
30 SELDOM When models that have lost their shape are employed?
    Another of these brilliant surfaces (with the longest anagrind I have ever seen). Is this another &Lit?
1 HOMESICK Missing persons in the family?
    Cryptic definition
    Now this is what I call a Cryptic Definition!
2 MANOEUVRE     Chap getting work in France has to move smartly
    MAN (chap) + OEUVRE (work in France – French for ‘work’ (as a noun))
3 EASY It’s not difficult to name a novel midshipman
    Double definition
    “Mr. Midshipman Easy” is a 1836 novel by Frederick Marryet, brought to the Big Screen in 1935 (featuring Margaret Lockwood and a young Hughie Green, who later starred as a TV host (remember “Opportunity Knocks”?)).
5 AWESOME Shocking in respect to certain individuals
    AWE (respect) + SOME (certain individuals)
    I had to come to terms with the definition (‘shocking’) as it is rather more negative than what AWESOME normally stands for, but it’s OK, I guess.
6     DISCIPLINE One who follows another about in training
    DISCIPLE (one who follows another) around IN
7 CAPRI Grain leaving a tropic island
    CAPRICORN (a tropic) minus CORN (grain)
    A clue that reminded me of one in a recent Araucaria puzzle (themed around the signs of the Zodiac), in which he used a similar idea.
8 PARENT Tear after father – or mother
    RENT (tear) coming after PA (father)
    I decided to take “mother” as the definition, but it could have been “father or mother”. Perhaps, that’s even better, but when I can avoid double duty, I will. So there you are :).
9 JUMP ON Bound to be working to scold someone vigorously
    JUMP (bound) + ON (to be working)
14 IMPERATIVE     Essential mood
    Double definition
17 SATISFIED Pleased to have met
    Double definition
18 ACCUSTOM Sounds like a habit to get used to
    Homophone of A COSTUME (habit)
    Not sure what the Homophone Police thinks of this one.
20     SATCHEL Schoolchild’s book case
    Cryptic definition
    The only word in this puzzle I had never heard of. In hindsight, I cannot see anything cryptic or do I miss something?
21 FLORID Lord, if drunk, becomes flushed
    (LORD IF)*
22 ADORES Loves someone so dear, madly
    (SO DEAR)*
    Simple, but such a good surface. Make love, not war.
24 TIBET High place for a bird to live in
    TIT (a bird) with BE (to live) inside
26 ISLE Is half left in the water
    IS + LE[ft] (half left)
     The definition is a bit loose, but still a ‘different’ clue for a familiar solution.

4 Responses to “Financial Times 13,968 – Dante”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Sil. I agree with you re the gems – but I think 18dn is a homophone of A CUSTOM. ;-)

    Many thanks. Dante, for a nice puzzle.

  2. Pete Maclean says:

    Hi Sil, thanks for the blog. My favourite clues were 28, 29 and 30 across. I failed to get 12A as a result of spelling MANOEUVRE wrongly — argh!! And I am with Eileen on 18 down.

  3. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Of course, both of you are right about 18d.
    Silly me.
    I couldn’t say this earlier because I was abroad [which wasn’t abroad in those days when the UK was abroad].
    Didn’t do any crossword in the last two weeks, leaving me now with a back catalogue of some 30 interesting challenges ….

  4. Petrus says:

    Thank you Sil for the blog. This postscript comes even later than yours, and for the same reason.

    And thank you to Dante for a great puzzle, sparkling with real gems. See above.

    Re 15 across: I thought your linking of ‘club retainer’ to cave de jazz ingenious, but a bit of a stretch. Isn’t it more likely to be a Dantesque reference to the cartoon cliché: stone-age man dragging his wife along by the hair with one hand … holding a club in the other?

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