Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,020 by Mudd

Posted by Pete Maclean on June 14th, 2012

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of June 2, 2012

This Mudd presented me with a couple of challenges, especially in the bottom-left quadrant. For example, 24A (AFTERSHAVE) took me a while. My top-rated clues here are 11A (WAGTAIL) and 7D (OVA). I also like 2D (POLTERGEIST).

Across
1. JAPERY – PER (by means of) in JAY (bird)
4. INCHWORM – I (I) + CH[e]W (munch lacking energy) in NORM (standard practice)
10. MOLIERE – LIE (tale) in MORE (Oliver’s request). Now here’s a clue with a great Twist in it!
11. WAGTAIL – reverse clue (G is the tail of wag)
12. OPEN – double/cryptic definition (unable to write with 0 pen). Hmm, not a great clue I think.
13. RUMPY-PUMPY – RUMP (behind) + PUMP (drain) in YY (years). One correspondent told me he was unfamiliar with this term. I understand it to mean fun, normally of the sexual kind.
16. EAGLET – [b]EAGLE (heading off dog) + T[ree]
17. TAPIOCA – PI (good) in A COAT (layer) backwards. In this context, ‘pi’ is short for pious meaning good in that sense. It’s a term rarely heard in ordinary conversation but well worth remembering for crosswords.
20. VIETNAM – [so]VIET (Russian once, not so) + NAM[e] (short title)
21. ASSERT – A (a) + TRESS (hair) backwards
24. AFTERSHAVE – AFTERS (pudding) + HAVE (partake of)
25. OMEN – NEMO (captain) backwards. That’s Captain Nemo as in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
27. ADDRESS – double definition
29. CONQUER – homophone (“conker”)
30. SNOWDROP – anagram of ON WORDS + P (soft)
21. CHEESY – double/cryptic definition

Down
1. JAMBOREE – JAM (pack) + BORE (carried) + [chocolat]E
2. POLTERGEIST – anagram of GIRL SET POET
3. REED – homophone (“read”)
5. NEWSPEAK – NEWS (communication) + PEAK (top)
6. HIGH PRIEST – HI (greeting) + anagram of THE PRIGS
7. OVA – homophone (“over”)
8. MALAYA – M[oroccan] + A (a) + LAY (place above) + A (a)
9. VENUS – double definition
14. MICKEY MOUSE – double definition
15. LETTERHEAD – LETT (European) + anagram of ADHERE. ‘Lett’ is a rather archaic word for Latvian.
18. MACHISMO – MAC (Scotsman) + HIS (his) + MO (doctor)
19. STINGRAY – anagram of ISNT + GRAY (colour in the US)
22. CALAIS – reverse hidden word
23. EVICT – E (English) + VICT[or] (winner, or not)
26. INCH – [p]INCH (topping little taste)
28. DUO – reverse hidden word

5 Responses to “Financial Times 14,020 by Mudd”

  1. Bamberger says:

    I regard the Saturday and Monday FT crosswords as ones I can reasonably get near to fully solving without recourse to aids-excepting Cinephile who I wouldn’t attempt even if you paid me. Usually I get between 2/3 and 3/4 after say an hour on and off and I may eventually be left with one or two that I simply can’t get. Not so with this one -I only solved 4a,12a,17a,21a,25a ,22d & 28d before giving up and I’ve been looking forward to this blog to see if it really was that hard.
    10a While I got more I simply hadn’t heard of moliere so that sunk me.
    11a Brilliant -I assume that crops up from time to time
    13a I thought that rumpy pumpy was a little stronger than fun…

    6d Too tough for me to realise that you had to substitute hi for greeting to get the anagram fodder
    14a Well done anyone who got that without checking letters.
    15d Lett =latvian was unknown
    19d I just couldn’t see what the clue was about.

    Well done blogger

  2. Pete Maclean says:

    Bamberger, thanks for your comments. I don’t know how true it is for other bloggers but please don’t imagine that I solve every puzzle without assistance. Some I do but I also frequently resort to using pattern-lookup software and occasionally anagrammers. I also happen to have acquired a good trove of esoteric knowledge over a lifetime of 60 years so was very familiar with Lett — but I sure appreciate that this archaism would be unknown to many, if not most people. 19d stumped me for a brief time but eventually it clicked. Just keep practicing and you should develop the same talent. Sometimes I amaze myself at how quickly an answer comes to me, as was the case with POLTERGEIST. And other times I amaze myself at how long I stare at a clue that is really rather easy, as was the case with CALAIS.

  3. exgnome says:

    I also found this tricky in places and was left stumped by 20A. I’d rate 11A as my COD.

    Many thanks for a very clear blog.

  4. Wil Ransome says:

    Agree with you Pete about the weakness of 12ac. 0 pen simply doesn’t mean ‘without a pen’ or ‘with no pen’ or suchlike. And although in 11ac Wag’s tail is g, one might argue that Wag tail is not g and certainly Wagtail is not g.

    Otherwise a nice crossword. I particularly liked 19dn.

  5. Pete Maclean says:

    exgnome, Thanks for commenting. 20A took me a while to figure out! Seems we have a mixed response to 11A.

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