Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,011 by Monk

Posted by PeeDee on May 23rd, 2012


I found this difficult, there is one clue I still have no idea about.  Very enjoyable regardless, solved with much use of the dictionary.  Thank you Monk.

Yet again I fail to spot the aphabetical jiggery-pokery usually Monk hides within the completed grid.  I am sick of staring at it and seeing nothing, can someone put me out of my misery?  All is now clear – the phrase HERBACEOUS BORDERS can be read along the top of the grid and reversed along the bottom.

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

9 OIL WELL sOIL (earth) missing S=spades WELL (rightly) – definition is ‘a drilled shaft’
10 NUOC MAM COMMUNAL* (mostly) – a Vietnamese fish sauce
11 TOPIC I (one, Roman numeral) Caught by (next to) TOP (very good)
12 ELECTORAL LECTOR (reader) in English FAILS (regularly=alternate letters)
13 SHAVUOT SHAVE (cut, almost) OUT* (anagram=happy, drunk)
14 TAKE OUT STAKE OUT (survelillance, missing leading letter)
16 IN THIS DAY AND AGE (DETAINING A SHADY)* anagram=criminal – definition is ‘now’
19 OSSETER COSSET (fondle) missing its head ELVER gutted=insides removed – a type of Sturgeon
21 RE-ELECT REEL (dance) ECHT (genuinely) missing H=hard
23 ANDALUSIA VANDAL (old German) I (one, Roman numeral) in USA (America) missing first letter (heading off)
25 CHILL CH (children) with ILL (difficulty) – definition is ‘start to relax’
26 ESTONIA S (succeeded) in AI (A1, excellent) NOTE (record) reversed (about)
27 TOUTING BOAT (last letter of) OUTING (trip)
1 HOSTAS YOUTHS? I’m completely stuck. Any help? My guess is that ‘internittently’ shown in the online version is a typo, or is it? Can anyone check to see if this appears in the printed version too? embedded irregularly in HOusing eSTAteS &Lit – flowers often found in gardens of houses.  Pretty obscure!  Apparently the original clue was altered by someone before publication, see comments from Monk below.
2 ELEPHANT PELE (legendary footballer) reversed N (new) in HAT (cap) reversed – African and Indian elephants, from two continents. The Elephants is the nickname for the Ivory Coast national side, but I can’t find any Asian elephantine footballers yet.
3 REACQUAINT (ANTIQUE CAR)* anagram=under the hammer, smashed up
4 BLUEST sLUt (naked=clothing letters removed) in BEST (suitable) – Chambers does not give best as a definition for suitable, I may have missed something here.
5 ANCESTRY cryptic definition
6 COOT O (old) in a COT (sleeping like a baby)
7 EMBRYO ME (the setter) is reversed (lifts) BRYO, sounds like brio (spirit, discussed) – definition is ‘the begining’
8 OMELETTE TT (time, two of) in Old MELE (scuffle) – one begins making an omelette by beating eggs
15 KENNEL CLUB cryptic definition – body organising dog shows, judging the best dog (man’s best friend)
16 IDOLATER I DO (marriage vow) LATE (dead) Right
17 DARK STAR ARK (chest) STAR (brilliant) following D (diamonds) – 1974 spoof sci-fi film by John Carpenter “the spaced out oddessy”
18 ADENITIS SANITISED* (top removed) cast=anagram
20 SEDATE Died in SEA (ocean) THE (empty) – definition is ‘grave’
21 RIALTO MORALIST* with MS (manuscript) removed, anagram=novel – What news on the Rialto? is quote from The Mechant of Venice
22 TELUGU LUG (to pull) in THE SUN (regulars=alternate letters) – language from the SE India
24 LAND L (line) AND … (left hanging, nothing to follow) – definition is ‘secure’. I am not 100% certain about this one.


14 Responses to “Financial Times 14,011 by Monk”

  1. Conrad Cork says:

    PeeDee, I’m in the queue right behind you to find out about 1 down. (And to find out about any jiggery-pokery.)

  2. Nestorius says:

    Nope! The print version has internittently as well.

  3. Wanderer says:

    I also went for youths, without being able to parse it — but I don’t think it’s right. If the word starts with an H, then we have HERBACEOUS BORDER reading across the top and bottom perimeters, (reading back to front along the bottom). I can’t find a suitable word, though!

    Thanks PeeDee and Monk, great challenge

  4. anax says:

    I’m guessing HOSTAS.

  5. Nestorius says:

    @Wanderer and @anax: you cracked it!
    HOusingeSTAteS does give HOSTAS “variously intermittently”, that is, at irregular intervals.
    Hostas are herbaceous plants frequently used for borders. I have never seen such a thing before: a nina as an almost essential part of a clue whcih in itself is a one-in-all.

  6. crypticsue says:

    You know that other post about which daily cryptic is the hardest? Well this one wins the prize by a very very long distance. I needed to look at the blog to cheat to get going and then struggled through. Thanks Monk, I think, I’ll let you know when I re-emerge from the darkened room. Well done PeeDee, if I had to blog this one they’d have been waiting a very long time.

  7. Monk says:

    Thanks to PeeDee for comprehensive blog and to others for joining in.

    The typo at 1D appears to have arisen through changes made to my original clue, “What might be found planted in housing estates?“, for which the note was “ho(u)s(ing es)ta(te)s & Lit“. Thus Wanderer, Anax and Nestor(ius?) have indeed “cracked it!”, and the second clause in N’s final sentence is spot on.

    Apologies for 4D, which appears to have emanated from a senior moment. COED has best (adv.) = “most suitably”, so I must have incorrectly extrapolated and truncated this to best (adj.) = “(most) suitable”: I’m not able to confirm the device today (help?).

  8. Paul B says:

    During the rant of a foolish person, how one might get a word in edgeways is shurely INTERNITTENTLY.

    Re HOSTAS, you’re evil, M on K.

  9. PeeDee says:

    Thanks Monk. I liked your original clue much better, given the difficult parsing and cryptic definition having ‘planted’ in the clue at least gives one a chance! I wonder why it was changed?

  10. Lynette says:

    This is the worst FT crossword I’ve come across for a long time.

  11. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Lynette
    “This is the worst FT crossword I’ve come across for a long time.”

    Why do you say that? I’m sure Monk would appreciate feedback as to why you feel this way and in any case the Site Policy requests that the reason for any dissatisfaction should be clearly indicated.

  12. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Well spoken, Gaufrid.

    One may argue about HOSTAS, one may be annoyed by the typos in 19ac (since nobody mentioned it) and 1d, one may not like too many obscure solutions, one may not like that Monk wasn’t able to realise a pangram this time, one may not have noticed the nina (like me), but …

    But, dear Lynette, please tell us what was really wrong for you.
    I think that Monk – since his return to Crosswordland [well, I wasn’t there when he left :)] – is one of the finest setters around.
    Solvers like you and me may disagree, but tell us at least why.
    If you say “it’s the worst crossword etc” it is about the quality of clueing – therefore, please, explain.
    In this place, Monk has shown to be very open to solvers’ comments, so don’t hesitate.

  13. PeeDee says:

    We don’t know Lynette means to be critical, could simply be an expression meaning it’s the hardest FT yet.

  14. Molly says:

    I’m still a fairly newcomer to cryptics and perhaps manage to finish about 50% of the FT puzzles. I found this one very difficult indeed and gave up with lots of gaps. I hadn’t had much sleep (flying in from Toronto) but even that doesn’t offer too much of an excuse. Not complaining though. One day I may be able to finish a puzzle like this. All the best.

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