Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13992 Phssthpok

Posted by scchua on May 1st, 2012


This was one of the more difficult Phssthpoks I’ve completed.  Without the help of the anagrams, I think I would have found it even harder.  Some tricky clues to be had here.  Thanks Phssthpok.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  Each picture at the bottom has an unidentified link with the crossword.


1 See 20

4 Money one lost to small, mischievous being – the compiler (6)

MYSELF :  MY{“moneyminus(lost) “one”} plus(to) ELF(small, mischievous being).

Answer:  The compiler,writer,setter referring to himself.

8 Law court at end outwardly (7)

DICTATE :  DIE(to end) containing(outwardly) [CT(abbrev. for “court”) + AT]. 

Answer: As a noun, something which is dictated,laid down as the law.

9 Bowling initially for a short time, puffs hard and quickly, perhaps (7)

ADVERBS :  “Adverts”{puffs (as a noun),advertisements that unduly praise or exaggerate} with “b”(initial letter,initially of “bowling”) replacing(for) “t”(abbrev.,short of “time”).

Answer: Examples of which,perhaps are “hard” and “quickly”.  Trickiest clue, I found.

11 Won the deal – might be broke? (4-2-4)

DOWN-AT-HEELAnagram of(might be) WON THE DEAL.

12 Phoned and spoke (4)

RUNG :  Double defn: 2nd:  As in a spoke of a wheel.

13 Hot ingredient for foodstore in Indian city (5)

DELHI :  H(abbrev. for hot) contained in(ingredient for) DELI(short for “delicatessen”,foodstore}.  Nice surface of curry powder being sold in Delhi.

14 See 20

16 Party line goes round in circles, to people’s amusement (8)

CAROUSEL :  CAROUSE(as a verb or noun – party, to say the least, more like a noisy or drunken feast} + L(abbrev. for line). 

Answer: A merry-go-round or roundabout in an amusement park or fair.  Not to be confused with “carousal”, which is another name for abovementioned party.

What you gain on the swings, you lose on the roundabouts??

18 Openings of songs can influence fans in this genre (3-2)

SCI-FI :  Initial letters,openings of Songs Can Influence Fans In.

20,14,1 Team playing scrabble win with “moo” (4,8,6)

WEST BROMWICH ALBIONAnagram of(playing) SCRABBLE WIN WITH “MOO”.  An ingenious anagram. 

Answer: For those not familiar with English football, the team from West Bromwich, often refered to as WBA or the Baggies.  Are we learning something about Phssthpok?

21 Groom has wit and style (5,5)

DRESS SENSE :  DRESS(to groom,tend carefully to one’s appearance including dressing) plus(has) SENSE(intelligence,understanding,wit)

23 Lay armour by post far away (3-4)

AIR-MAIL :  AIR(a tune,lay) + MAIL(chain armour of old). 

Answer: Descriptive of say, a letter in the post to be sent to a far away place using air transportation, hence an airmail letter. The references give it without the hyphen, which would have made it harder without the enumeration hint?

24 It is healthy to consume contents of Ovid before the majority of training (7)

VITAMIN :  VI(inner letters,contents ofOvid”) placed before(before) TAMIN(most of the letters,majority of “taming”,the training of a wild animal).

25 One pierces and flips fighter plane before barrier (6)

GIMLETReversal of(flips) MIG(Russian fighter plane) placed before(before) LET(a barrier, as in the legal term “without let or hindrance”). 

Answer: A hand tool for drilling small holes.

26 Loudly demands massages (6)

KNEADSHomophone of(loudly) “needs”,demands.


1 Is crossword an ancient game or a foreign friend? (5)

AMIGO :  AM I?(as the clue is in the crossword, it can refer to itself in the first person pronoun, thus “is crossword….?”,”am I….?”) + GO(an ancient Japanese board game of strategy). 

Answer: What a friend would be called in Spanish,foreign lands.  Another tricky clue.

2 In top half of missile, burn oxygen fuel (7)

BUTANOL :  [TAN(to burn by being in the sun) + O(symbol for oxygen in chemistry)] contained in(in) BUL(first half,top half in a down clue, of “bullet”,missile). 

Answer:  Aka butyl alcohol.  It may substitute for petrol in motorcars, and can be produced biologically.

3 Reveals misjudgments in trumps (9)

OUTSTRIPS :  OUTS(reveals,brings out into public knowledge) + TRIPS(misjudgements,mishaps). 

Answer: Outdoes or surpasses.

5 Loftily call for peasant after heart transplant (5)

YODEL :  “yokel”,peasant with “k”(middle letter,heart) replaced by(after….transplant) “d”. 

Answer: To call, or even sing, in the manner of those Swiss or Tyroleans living in the lofty Alps.

6 Feature to view on top of hill (7)

EYEBROW :  EYE(view) plus(on, in a down clue) BROW(ridge,top of hill)

7 Story about account I put together for mathematician (9)

FIBONACCI :  FIB(a lie,story) + ON(about, as in “on the subject of”) + ACC(abbrev. for account) + I

Answer: Leonardo, Italian mathematician of the Middle Ages, after whom the Fibonacci numbers were named, although the sequence had been described earlier.


10 In lab, heater brewed liquid concoction (6,3)

HERBAL TEAAnagram of(in, or brewed doubling up) LAB HEATER.

13 Loud hiding place is beside a fen in grassland (9)

DEAFENINGHidden in(hiding place is) besiDE A FEN IN Grassland.  Very well hidden.

15 Thing for sitting on board starts first (9)

OBSESSION :  OB(initial letters,starts of “on” and “board”) placed above(first) SESSION(a sitting of eg. a committee or parliament). 

Answer: A fixation, as in “he has a thing for …”.  Well misdirected.

17 I’m up to top of my potential? (7)

OPTIMUMAnagram of(potential?) [I’M UP TO] + M(initial letter of,top of, in a down clue “my”). 

Answer: The best,top that could be achieved,potential.  A WIWD (wordplay intertwined with definition) clue.

19 President to forbid a Japanese arrangement (7)

IKEBANA :  IKE(nickname for Dwight Eisenhower, former USA president) + BAN(to forbid) + A

Answer: The Japanese art of floral arrangement.  Literal meaning is “living flowers”.


21 Energy tax demand for chauffeur (5)

DRIVE :  Triple defn:  1st: The energy a person has to push for things; and 2nd: As in “he drives his workers to the point of collapse” – I’m not totally sure about this one; and 3: An order,demand to a chaueffeur.

22 From coasts, see child aboard ship (5)

SKIDS :  KID(child) contained in(aboard) SS(steamship). 

Defn: and Answer: To continue to move with little or no effort.  Although, when driving a vehicle, skidding is very different from coasting, the former without and the latter with wheel rotation in the direction of the movement. 



One Response to “Financial Times 13992 Phssthpok”

  1. Ferret says:

    Thanks scchua and Phssthpok, a challenge indeed.

    I needed the blog to resolve 13d, I was looking for anagrams of a fen, hiding place being a den….

    Slightly thrown at first by entering frisks for 26a.

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