Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 13,991 – Crux

Posted by Sil van den Hoek on May 10th, 2012

Sil van den Hoek.

Monday Prize Crossword/Apr 30

Another charmer by Crux, a compiler who is high on my List B of Favourite Setters [B only referring to the grade of difficulty] because of  (a) the splendid – albeit mostly non-topical – surfaces (5ac, 1d, 6d, 8d, 18d, 21d being some of the very best ‘today’), (b) the lightness of touch and (c) – not unimportant – the precision of his clueing.  A big Thank You to Crux for this puzzle .

Definitions are underlined wherever appropriate.


1 COMANCHE Indian love story about hospital with Charlie, not Romeo
    COMANCE (i.e. ROMANCE (love story) with the R[omeo]  changed into C[harlie]) around H (hospital)
5 ASHRAM A “Keep Quiet!” sign in religious retreat
    A + SH (keep quiet) + RAM (sign, i.e. sign of the Zodiac, Aries)
    This clue reminded me of an episode of Blackadder (II) in which a naive Lord Percy stated: “Vow of silence? Tell me about it”  :)
9 FINE LEGS Fielders with mixed feelings
    How apt can an anagram indicator be!
10 SPASMS Fits in well with texting service
    SPA (well) + SMS (texting service)
12 EATEN Consumed by ecstasy, given a perfect score
    E + A + TEN (perfect score)
    I hope I parsed this clue correctly as I feel slightly uncomfortable with ‘by’ (and ‘consumed’ could also be ‘ate’). Moreover, is 10 a perfect score?  Well, in Dutch schools (for years my working place) a 10 is indeed the best a pupil can achieve. But in the UK?  Thought a score was 20.
13 WALK ON AIR  Go broadcasting to feel wonderful
    WALK (go) + ON AIR (broadcasting)
14     LEGACY Will support a heartless clergy
    LEG (support) + A + C[lerg]Y
    Splendid use of the word ‘will’.
16 GOODMAN Healthy island for a jazz player
    GOOD (healthy) + MAN (island)
    Benny Goodman, clarinettist, of course.
19   AVERRED A small number slipped up, as stated
    A + V (small number, 5) + ERRED (slipped up)
21 CRECHE Odd bits of currency he found in the nursery
    C[u]R[r]E[n]C[y] + HE
23 IPSO FACTO      By that very deed, coming from the lips of actors
    Hidden solution: [the l] IPS OF ACTO [rs]
    It took a while to see that this was a hidden, so I would say: cleverly hidden.
25 TURBO Tailless fish still has source of power
    TURBOT (fish) minus the final T
26   ORDAIN Admit to being a priest
    Double definition or cryptic definition? Or not so very cryptic definition? Take your pick
27 NEUROSIS     Wicked sin hoarding money – could be an obsession
    (SIN)* around EUROS (money)
28 EVELYN Boy’s (or girl’s!) flat, extremely lovely interior
    L[ovel]Y inside EVEN (flat)
    Evelyn Waugh (boy) or Evelyn Waugh (girl, Evelyn’s first wife – phew!), for example. Don’t know why there is an exclamation mark in the clue. Perhaps, my example has something to do with it.
29     GASOLINE Driving force from which Americans take the lead
    Cryptic definition
    ‘Gasoline’ is the American word for ‘petrol’ (from which lead can be taken such that it is lead-free).
1 COFFER Chest of heavy smoker, by the sound of it
    Homophone of COUGHER (heavy smoker)
    Initially I had here COFFIN, a homophone of ‘coughin(g)’ and a much more macabre solution.
2 MONOTREME Metronome-shaped primitive mammal
    Never heard of a ‘monotreme’, don’t know what a metronome-shaped mammal looks like either!
3 NYLON Cable support leaks power – replace with new material
    PYLON (cable support) with the P (power) replaced by N (new)
    Just a week ago we had both ‘pylon’ and ‘nylon’ in Dante’s Prize Crossword.
4 HIGHWAY Such robberies can get you stoned on the street
    HIGH (stoned) + WAY (the street)
6 SOPHOMORE US student hopes room is free
    Another word I had never heard of, but (once more) a splendid surface.
7 RASTA A ruler raised to be Jamaican?
    Reversal of A TSAR (a ruler)
8 MISPRINT Road race could make sinners of the winners!
    MI (road, the M1) + SPRINT (race)
    Probably my Clue of the Day for both construction and definition alike.
11 FLAG Iris or Jack
    Double definition
15 AIRY-FAIRY     Bearded elf going topless? Now that’s fanciful!
    HAIRY (bearded) minus the H at the start) + FAIRY (elf)
17     MAHARISHI     Religious teacher of Amish with hair specially styled
    (AMISH + HAIR)*
18 BARITONE He can sing (apart from one false note)
    BAR (apart from) + I (one) + (TONE)*
    Another contender for Clue of the Day – splendid!
20 DUCE Italian leader about to be excluded from contract
    REDUCE (contract) minus RE (about)
21 CHOLERA Puncture in wrecked car could kill you
    HOLE (puncture) inside (CAR)*
    Another one of these great surfaces (even though it is not a nice image).
22 MOUSSE Maureen uses revolutionary hair product
    MO (Maureen) + (USES)*
24 SEDGE Grass is an advantage after summer starts
    S[ummer] + EDGE (an advantage)
25 TORSO Rubbish turns up like this in a trunk
    Reversal of ROT (rubbish) + SO (like this)

2 Responses to “Financial Times 13,991 – Crux”

  1. mike04 says:

    Many thanks, Crux and Sil.

    EATEN: I parsed this as you did, Sil. Here in the UK, the phrase ‘ten out of ten’ means
    ‘a perfect mark’. A score is twenty of course, but nowadays it’s more often used in the
    sense of ‘about twenty’ in the singular or ‘large numbers’ in the plural.

    ORDAIN: I pick “not so very cryptic definition”!

    EVELYN: Does Crux do risque clues? If so, this might explain the ! before ‘flat’!

  2. Bamberger says:

    Huge gaps in my grid.
    2d,8d (too cunning) , 10a, 14a , 19a ,18d (too clever for me) ,26a ,28a.

    26a & 28a not helped by having sisal for 24d s is a l(ead). I never know when l can be the abbreviation for a word beginning with l.

    Thanks for the enlightenment.

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