Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,032 by Falcon

Posted by Pete Maclean on June 28th, 2012

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of June 16, 2012

I found this puzzle a bit disconcerting. It has a few good clues, such as 17D (PANDA CAR) and 16D (NONENTITY), but also has one that I did not fully understand (27A) and a couple that I have doubts about (12A and 29A).

Across
1. PARAGUAY – PARA (soldier) + A (American) in GUY (oddly dressed figure)
5. SPEARS – E (English) in SPARS (boxes)
10. MEDAL – D[iners] in MEAL (dinner, perhaps)
11. BAGATELLE – GATE (wicket) in BALL (delivery) + [leagu]E
12. CHAMELEON – double or cryptic definition?? While it is eminently solvable, I cannot decide how this clue is intended to work. Is it a cryptic definition or a double definition? I cannot convince myself that it fits the mold of a cryptic definition. But if taken as a double definition then the two meanings defined seem inappropriately close. Well, not in the sense that they mean the same thing but in the sense that one derives directly from the other.
13. UPSET – UP (leading) + SET (group)
14. UPSHOT – UP (increased) + SHOT (exposure)
15. ALMONER – M (miles) in ALONE (unaccompanied) + R (runs)
18. ANTENNA – ANT (social worker) + ANNE (girl) backwards
20. CORONA – COR (cor) + ON (playing) + A[nglais]
22. DRESS – double definition
24. BULLFINCH – double definition. Bullfinch can mean a kind of hedge?! It is news to me but, yes indeed, according to Chambers. In particular it is a high hedge that is hard to jump.
25. COCK-A-HOOP – COCK (friend) + A (a) + HOOP (band)
26. ALIVE – A (a) + EVIL (bad) backwards
27. RELIEF – LIE (story?) in REF (whistle blower). Only I did not see this properly initially and was looking at ELI as the story!
29. BOSS-EYED – BOSS (chief) + EY (old article?) + ED (editor). ‘Ey’ is very obscure. My OED says only that it is an obsolete form of egg and ay. It gives ‘ay’ several meanings but none that I can easily see as being an article.

Down
1. PUMICE – reverse hidden word
2. RED CARPET – REDCAR (seaside town) + PET (dog, perhaps)
3. GOLDEN HANDSHAKE – cryptic definition. I don’t see that this works well. A golden handshake is what one may receive upon leaving work, in the sense of retiring, but I do not see that it indicates a readiness to do so. But see comment #2 below!
4. AMBIENT – AM (morning) + I (one) in BENT (determined)
6. PUT OUT MORE FLAGS – PUT OUT (published) + MORE (again) + FLAGS (fails). Put Out More Flags is a novel by Evelyn Waugh. Which I did not know!
7. ATLAS – AT LAS[t] (finally reduced)
8. SEES STARS – double definition
9. AGENDA – GEN (information) in ADA (girl)
16. NONENTITY – anagram of NINETY NOT
17. PANDA CAR – cryptic definition
19. ALBION – double definition
20. CALYPSO – CAL[l] (nearly phone) + SPY (agent) backwards + O (love)
21. SHREWD – SHREW (vixen) + [fol]D
23. EXCEL – homophone (“XL”)

4 Responses to “Financial Times 14,032 by Falcon”

  1. Tom Johnson says:

    27 Across is explained as follows: REF, round LIE = story; RE-lie-F
    It all depends on which E you choose to create REF!

    I too was unsure about the interpretation of the clue to CHAMELEON.

  2. Bob Cumbow says:

    I agree with you about CHAMELEON, and with Tom about RELIEF. I may be able to offer some help on a couple of others:

    28a. If instead of looking at it as BOSS – EY – ED you look at it as BOSS – E(YE)D, you have “YE” for that old article, being “clutched” by ED for editor.

    3d. A puzzler friend of mine says that “ready” is not just an adjective meaning “prepared” but also a noun referring to the wherewithal to to something; “having the readies” is apparently an expression heard in Britain, and it seems that this meaning of “ready” is what Falcon was getting at.

    And thanks for PANDA CAR! I’d never heard that expression, and just now looked it up. I had the right idea, but I had put down PADDY CAR–working from the American term “paddy wagon” for a police vehicle–and thought no more about it. Now I’ve learned a new expression!

  3. Pete Maclean says:

    Well, that was jolly silly of me, wasn’t it! I mean incorrectly parsing RELIEF. I guess I got fixated on Eli because it seemed plausible that there could be some well known story with that name. Thank you, Tom.

    Bob, thank you for the tip about BOSS-EYED. I think you must be right. So, I actually made the same mistake twice. I was not familiar with that meaning of ‘ready’ and figure that must explain the clue.

  4. onliner says:

    At last a right event at the right place.

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