Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14010 Jason

Posted by scchua on May 22nd, 2012


An easy going puzzle with some good surfaces from a regular starter for the FT week.  Thanks Jason.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  [[Each picture at the bottom has an unidentified link to the crossword.]]


1 Trim Christmas tree, perhaps (6)

SPRUCE :  Double defn: 1st: Trim,neat in dress or appearance; and 2nd: A conifer that could,perhaps be used as a Christmas tree.  Nice surface of 2 things one can do to a Christmas tree, “trim” being a Janus (two-faced) word meaning to add trimmings,ornaments,etc. and to remove surplus material to make it look neat.

4 Unknown barge sailing for Croatian city (6)

ZAGREB :  Z(symbol in maths for an unknown quantity) + anagram of(sailing) BARGE.

8 Tradesman’s soft wood (7)

PLUMBER :  P(abbrev. for piano,musical instruction to play softly) + LUMBER(cut pieces of wood)

9 Queen is playing during a spring month (7)

MONARCH :  ON(is playing, as in “what’s on at the Palladium?”) contained in(during) MARCH(a month during the spring season)

11 Crazily it arrived around ten with a cabby (10)

TAXIDRIVERAnagram of(crazily) IT ARRIVED containing(around) X(Roman numeral for ten).

12 Marks cut over test (4)

EXAMReversal of(over) [M(abbrev. for “marks”) + AXE(to cut,hew)]

13 European beast nearly got its teeth into lad (5)

BISON :  BI{“bit”(got its teeth into) minus its last letter(nearly)} + SON(lad). 

Answer: An ox-like beast found in Europe, distinguishable from the related American bison, which the Americans also call buffalo.  Interesting trivia:  they may not look it, but they’re good swimmers.


14 Notice book in catalogue (8)

REGISTER :  Triple defn: 1st: To notice,register in one’s conscience; and 2nd: A book in which records are kept; and 3rd: A list of items as in a catalogue.  This could very well be a double defn. instead, with 2 and 3 above combined, as a verbal phrase.

16 Hustlers kissed loudly causing a scene (8)

PROSPECT :  PROS(short for prostitutes,hustlers,the oldest professionals, with apologies to other professionals, also called pros) + PECT{homophone of(loudly) “pecked”(kissed in a quick impersonal way)}.  An interesting surface image, though I imagine there could be more intense scenes than pecking.

18 A bit of Camembert is what causes a warm glow (5)

EMBERHidden in(a bit of) camEMBERt.

20 Gathered round a grub, say (4)

MEAT :  MET(gathered) containing(round) A

Answer: An example,say of food,grub in slang.

21 Aargh, typo’s spoilt my theorem (10)

PYTHAGORASAnagram of(spoilt) AARGH, TYPO’S

Answer: Of Samos, to be more precise, the ancient Greek mathematician, philosopher and founder of a religious movement, after whom that famous theorem is named – there is some evidence that knowledge of it predates him.  Another trivia:  This theorem has more proofs than any other mathematical theorem. 

23 Deal with a daughter and a mini, say (7)

ADDRESSA + D(abbrev. for daughter) plus(and) DRESS(an example of which,say, is the “mini” which first appeared and was popular in the 60s).

24 Turn the cheek in front of threatening wayfarer (7)

PILGRIMReversal of(turn) LIP(impudence,cheek) placed before(in front of) GRIM(threatening,doesn’t look good, as in “things could look grim this winter”).

25 South African animal knocking over a drink with approval (6)

REEBOKReversal of(knocking over) BEER(a drink) plus(with) OK(the okay,approval). 

Answer: A South African antelope, from Afrikaans from Dutch for “roebuck”.  The animal’s association with speed inspired the naming of that line of running shoes.

26 Wife services pens (6)

WRITES :  W(abbrev. for wife) + RITES(services,ceremonies, usually religious). 

Answer: As a verb.


1 This could be hot dance (5)

SALSA :  Double defn: 1st: The hot sauce in Mexican cuisine, containing chillies; and 2nd: The lively vigorous dance originating from Puerto Rico.  Nice surface as the dance can also be described as hot – here

2 Stays behind and engineers gas pipes? (7)

REMAINS :  RE(abbrev. for the Royal Engineers) + MAINS(the system of pipes, or its principal pipe, through which eg. gas or water, is distributed to households)

3 Mixed cereal can cause an evacuation (9)

CLEARANCEAnagram of(mixed) CEREAL CAN.  Think of this when you’re next having breakfast. :-)

5 Romance is what protects when resistance is laid low (5)

AMOUR :  “armour”(what protects) minus(when … is laid low) “r”(in physics, the symbol for electrical resistance).

6 Senior lecturers could be cheaters (7)

READERS :  Double defn: 1st: At a university or other institution of higher learning; and 2nd: Playing cards that are covertly marked on their reverse sides to indicate the suit or denomination, things to cheat with or cheaters.

7 Pirate with a pair of $1 earrings, we hear (9)

BUCCANEERHomophone of(we hear) (with a) “buck”($1 in American slang) “an ear” – whimsical desciption of one sporting a pair of $1 earrings

Answer: It sounds more like “buck a near” to me though.  But nice surface.

10 Exaggerate ancient history on nation (9)

OVERSTATE :  OVER(and done with,ancient history) placed above(on, in a down clue) STATE(a nation).

13 I should have talent in booze up? (9)

BARTENDER :  Cryptic defn: ART(talent,skill) contained in(in) BENDER(a drinking binge,booze up).  A WIWD (wordplay intertwined with definition) clue.

15 Dire anger could be what makes me a bomb-thrower (9)

GRENADIERAnagram of(could be what makes) DIRE ANGER

Answer: Formerly meaning a soldier who is a grenade-thrower.

17 Release kit with no price (3,4)

SET FREE :  SET(kit) plus(with) FREE(no,zero price)

19 Hot grub’s ordered and delivered (7)

BROUGHTAnagram of(ordered) HOT GRUB.

21 Some recipe’s tomato sauce (5)

PESTOHidden in(some) reciPE’S TOmato.

22 A young lady’s out of order (5)

AMISSA + MISS(young lady).


Jodie Foster   

11 Responses to “Financial Times 14010 Jason”

  1. Jan says:

    Thank you, scchua, for your, as ever, informative blog. Thank you also to Jason – I found this fairly easy but with sparkly delights.

    I was too feeble (lazy) to lift the dictionary off the shelf so I looked to the blog for the other definition of ‘readers’. I’ve never met that before.

    With 3d, the Highland clearances came to mind.

    I loved the clue for BUCCANEER. I have just re-watched the film, Stardust, with the pirate captain, Robert de Niro, prancing in drag.

    This theorem has more proofs than any other mathematical theorem.

    We were once asked to bring our favourite proof of Pythagoras’ Theorem to a department meeting. Inspired by Frank Muir’s story: “The squaw on the hippopotamus … “, I produced my own story which ended with …

    … “The squire on the hyper tan horse is equal to the squires on the other two rides.”

    Now, back to look at the quiz pictures. Boom, boom!

  2. Jan says:

    I’m hopeless at putting names to faces but I’ve just checked and that fast thing is a Buccaneer.

  3. scchua says:

    Hi Jan, haven’t read a comment from you for quite a while, so thanks for dropping in and sharing. [[And you’re right about that fast thing.]]

  4. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Jason for the puzzle and scchua for the blog. Enjoyed this puzzle. Regarding the other pix: Jodie Foster played in the movie Taxi Driver (11ac) and Bryan Brown played a bartender (13d) in the movie Cocktail. I’m glad Jan got the other one; I didn’t have a clue (so to speak).


  5. mike04 says:

    Thanks for the blog, scchua, and thanks for the puzzle, Jason.

    Jan @ 1
    I looked up Chambers and the COD just for you!
    Under READERS, I couldn’t find ‘playing cards’, but under CHEATERS, I found ‘spectacles’.

  6. Thomas99 says:

    I was assuming the spectacles connection too for READERS (6d). That was new to me, but seems to be less obscure than the cards connection. An odd clue to find in such an easy puzzle, I thought, but perhaps “cheaters” for glasses is better known than I realised.

  7. Jan says:

    Bless you, Mike. :-)

    You made me drag Chambers off the shelf – cheaters = ‘spectacles’ is a bit better than ‘falsies’, another definition, I suppose.

    Where did scchua find the bit about marked cards?

    Hi, grandpuzzler, @4. Well done for identifying the faces and films. I love Jodie Foster but didn’t recognise her in that photo. I couldn’t bring Bryan Brown’s name to mind.

  8. mike04 says:

    Hello Thomas99 and Jan.
    This was my speediest Jason yet, so yes, 6dn seemed rather out of place today.
    Thanks for the updates. Mike.

  9. scchua says:

    Hi Jan et al, thanks for your comments.
    Re READERS, I got my defn from:
    #12 here:
    Under “readers” here:
    Second para here:
    and other gambling sites by googling “readers cards cheaters”.

    Whilst “cheaters”=”glasses”, I’m not sure of “readers”=”glasses”. Intuitively, it seems possible, by extension of what glasses are used for, but I can’t find it in the (online) references I have access to.

    It could be one of those things where there’s more than what the setter intended, though we don’t know which he/she intended.

  10. Jan says:

    Hi, again, scchua. Thank you for those links. I found the middle one to be most useful – the cardshark one. It does seem to be a very obscure definition in what was, otherwise, a very straightforward crossword.

  11. Agentzero says:

    Hi Scchua

    Thanks for the blog. In the US at least, reading glasses (you know, the ones we all get as we get older) are specifically known as “cheaters.” They are also referred to as “readers.”

    I was hoping for a Tampa Bay footballer (US style) as the “buccaneer.” 😉

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