Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,009 – Crux

Posted by Sil van den Hoek on May 31st, 2012

Sil van den Hoek.

Monday Prize Crossword/May 21

By now, readers of my blogs will know that I like Crux crosswords very much. This one was no exception, but for some reason I’m always hoping that Crux will gear up a bit. He is very creative, writes beautiful surfaces, nothing wrong with that – it is just a tad too easy. Or in technical terms, there is a discrepancy between the level of difficulty and the quality of writing.  Today one clue (2d) stumped me, so “won’t you please, please, help me” (courtesy of Lennon/McCartney).

Definitions are underlined whenever and wherever possible.


1 TAHITI A success in Treasure Island initially leads to another
    A HIT (success) inside T[reasure] I[sland]
4 BARONESS     Individuals in pubs for Lady Thatcher?
    ONES (individuals) inside BARS (pubs)
    Yes, she was! And let’s leave it there.
9 EASTER England’s first flower festival
    E[ngland] + ASTER (flower)
10    ETHEREAL     Late back holding present, but it’s heavenly
    ETAL (reversal of LATE) around HERE (present)
12 OPPOSITE Face conceals it? The reverse, in fact
    OPPOSE (face) around IT
13 ACCENT It could be acute stress
    Double definition, perhaps
    Perhaps, because when it comes to linguistics the two are more or less interwoven. That said, as a verb ‘accent’ can also mean ‘to accentuate’ which is a more general definition for ‘to stress’.
15 DOPE Take some exercise, stupid!
    DO PE (exercise)
    I am pretty sure that I have seen this clue before. And it would not surprise me if it was Crux himself who was the magician.
16 RHYTHMS They’ll be beaten in time
    Cryptic definition
20 ENTRAIN Net deployed by Water Board
    (NET)* + RAIN (water)
21 BRAE Bank of Scotland needs support introducing economies
    BRA (support) + E[conomies]
25 STANCE Pakistan certainly hold this position
    Hidden solution:  [Paki]STAN CE[rtainly]
26    BEDSORES     They trouble those who lie a lot
    Cryptic definition
28 ONE-PIECE Slimmer’s chocolate ration, perhaps, if she’s to look good in it!
    Double definition, both of ‘em a bit loose/cryptic
29 ADAGIO Slow movement gets a soldier into trouble
    A GI (soldier) inside ADO (trouble)
30 TRAVESTY     Server holding underwear – what a farce!
    TRAY (server) around VEST (underwear)
31    ASTERN Oriental doesn’t start at the back
    EASTERN (oriental) minus its starter E
1 THE LORDS House shortlisted for demolition, it’s not needed
    (SHORTLISTED minus ITS)*
    Initially, I was completely on the wrong track, thinking that Crux was in such a devious mood that we had to separate short/listed, leading to an anagram of HO[use] + LISTED with the last part of the clue as the definition. How wrong I was!
2 HOSEPIPE Playing it on grass may be banned
    Cryptic definition, or double?
    I don’t know what to make of this one (yet). The ‘hosepipe’ in relation to a ban on making the grass even greener, is clear. And ‘playing it’ points in the direction of ‘pipe’ as a musical instrument. It would have made sense to me if ‘hose’ could be ‘grass’ or vice versa. Any help is much appreciated here!
3 TSETSE Having set off twice to fly
    (SET)* + (SET)*
5 ASTI Wine that in test appears most palatable
    When inside TEST, one will get TASTIEST(most palatable)
6 OVERCOME     Speechless in defeat
    Double definition
7 ELEVEN Sporting side appearing in Mexico
    XI (eleven) is at the heart of Mexico
8 SALUTE Kind of welcome that makes us late
    (US LATE)*
11    ETCHERS They do impressions and such for the lady
    ETC (and such) + HERS (for the lady)
    I think this was quite a clever clue, the definition being slightly cryptic.
14 STRIVES Last miner in Cornish town works hard
    [mine]R inside St IVES (Cornish town)
    One of these fine surfaces (Crux is a specialist), but purists might object to ‘last miner’ for R.  I do not, unless people like Anax or Neo say I should :) . The definition is, of course, someone who works hard (but I cannot underline that because it is not there). Tricked by my own typo!
17 INACTIVE Still popular stage show I’ve taken on
    IN (popular) + ACT (stage show) + I VE
18 PROROGUE     Suspend meeting with professional villain
    PRO (professional) + ROGUE (villain)
19 TEASPOON Most of the side kiss and cuddle, which causes a stir!
    TEA[m] + SPOON (kiss and cuddle)
22 ESCORT Sector at sea giving protection
    Would you believe, I first entered here ‘corset’. Also something that gives a certain protection …. :)  Again the definition cannot be fully underlined as it is something that gives protection.  Of course, you’re right, Mike04 (again!).
23    PAMELA Girl friend takes me in on April 1st
    {PAL (friend) around ME}+ A[pril]
    If Crux were a devious setter, he would have written ‘Girlfriend’ as one word. I am not Ximenean nor Libertarian, but I probably would have done that. I think it is the influence of the Guardian that reigns over me.
24 ASIDES A party’s words softly spoken
    A SIDE (party) S
27    SCUT Possibly old Rover’s disheartened with short tail
    SCOUT (a scout car, which might be a Rover) minus O (i.e.disheartened)

5 Responses to “Financial Times 14,009 – Crux”

  1. Yank says:

    Is it possible that 2d is “hashpipe”? That would fit with the “grass” theme. Still a bit of a stretch…

  2. mike04 says:

    Thanks for the blog, Sil.

    Yes, I think 2dn is a Cryptic Definition referring to a Hosepipe Ban.
    For PLAY, Collins gives “to discharge or cause to discharge: he played the water
    from the hose onto the garden”.

    Definition in 14dn – a verb: works hard = ST(R)IVES (rather than STRIVER).
    Definition in 22dn – a noun: protection (rather than ‘giving protection’) = ESCORT.

  3. PeeDee says:

    Thankyou Sil.

    My take on 2dn is –

    surface reading: to play this pipe (musical instrument) whilst taking drugs (grass) is illegal

    cryptic reading: sprinkling (playing) a hosepipe on the lawn (grass) may be illegal (during a hosepipe ban).

    Not the greatest clue ever written IMO.

  4. Bamberger says:

    I’m happy with the level of difficulty. Of course I’m at the lower end of the ability level but my view is that if anyone finds it too easy , they have 5 others to choose from.

  5. Sil van den Hoek says:

    OK, Bamberger, I will not mention it again – promise (er, try to)! :)
    It is just how I feel about Crux crosswords.
    And I am perfectly happy with so-called ‘easier’ crosswords when they are so well-written as the puzzles this fine setter produces, time after time.

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