Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times no.14,048 by GAFF

Posted by Ringo on July 5th, 2012


The theme at 14ac. took me a little time to crack, and even once I’d got it this was by no means plain sailing. Perhaps I’m just a bit rusty. But it was an excellent puzzle, full of variety, even if there were no stand-out zingers.


1. AMBERGRIS  Amber [gem - see 14ac.] + (reachin)g + reversal of sir [address]

6, 24. PEARL HARBOUR  Pearl [gem - see 14ac.] + harbour [hide] – pedants will note that the correct spelling is Pearl Harbor

9. MINISUB  Reversal of business with ness [head] replaced by nim [mathematical game]

10. ARREARS  Cryptic definition: one who is slow to settle a bill will often be in arrears

11. D PHIL  D [German] + Phil(lip) [prince, consort of Elizabeth II]

12. TOOTHLESS  Double definition: indentures = in dentures, i.e. wearing false teeth

14. See 19ac.

15. EMERALD ISLE  Emerald [gem - see 14ac.] + is + le(ft) to give a fanciful name for Ireland

17. DIAMOND HEAD  Diamond [gem - see 14ac.] + head [top] to give a Hawaiian peak

19, 14. DODGEM  DoD [US Department of Defense] + gem [valuable]

20. OUT OF SYNC  Anagram of county of s(ussex)

22, 5. CORAL SEA  Coral [gem] + initial letters of s(urrounds) E(ast) A(ustralian)

24. See 6ac.

26. NOTHING  Anagram of on night

27. REDID  Red [colourful] + ID [personality, identity]

28. TRENDIEST  Dies [stamps] within Trent [river] to give ‘most in’, most fashionable


1. ARMED  Hidden within lehAR MEDley

2. BINGHAM  Birmingham [city] minus I [one] + RM [Royal Marine, sailor] to give the English novelist

3. RESOLVE TO  Reversal of loser [failure] + veto [blackball]

4. RUBY TUESDAY  Ruby [gem - see 14ac.] + Tuesday [alluding to the rhyme that tells us 'Tuesday's child is full of grace']; Ruby Tuesday was a single by the Rolling Stones

5. See 22ac.

6. PORCH  Hidden in stuPOR CHarmers

7. AWAKENS  Anagram of swan lake minus L [left]

8. LOSE SPEED  Lose [yield] + speed [drug]

13. OPALESCENCE  Opal [gem - see 14ac.] + escence [sounds like essence, meaning]

14. GODMOTHER  (Cal)m within Godot [one awaited in Beckett's play] + her

16. DEDICATED  Edic(t) [pronouncement] within dated [unfashionable]

18. ALTERED  Anagram of related

19. DORMICE  Not-very-cryptic allusion to the sleepy dormouse at the Mad Hatter’s tea-party

21,23. FLOODLIGHT  Anagram of golf hold it

25. RAT  Anagram of art

5 Responses to “Financial Times no.14,048 by GAFF”

  1. crypticsue says:

    I agree Ringo, took a while to find the theme and then had to work to sort it all out. Nice puzzle, thank you Gaff.

  2. Ernie says:

    Dare I say that this was a ‘little gem’ of a puzzle.
    I particularly liked 10A (in) arrears.
    Thanks to Ringo for helping out with part of the word-play for 9A.

  3. JollySwagman says:

    Nice one again Gaff. Cracked the theme about midway.

    Thanks for the blog R. Needed you for 19d – well I got it but without the Alice link it didn’t fully make sense.

  4. Keeper says:

    Thanks, Gaff. Ditto what Ernie @2 said about 9a. I’d never heard of Nim.

    As for 6,24a, there’s nothing pedantic about noting that the correct spelling is Pearl Harbor. As a Yank, I am often forced to embrace various British spellings, slang and idioms when doing the FT crosswords. I don’t think it’s asking too much for the UK setters/editors to reciprocate when referencing places in my native land.

  5. Gaff says:

    I can understand Keeper’s complaint about ‘Harbour’; we Brits are quick to criticise American spellings of ‘our’ words.
    In my defence, I think most would accept ‘Florence’ rather than ‘Firenze’, and I’d have probably got a lot more flak from Disgusted pf East Grinstead for ‘Harbor’.
    As a defence, however, this is rather weakened by the fact that the issue never actually occurred to me when setting the puzzle, so apologies to Keeper and other US friends for the pallor I brought to their cheeks.
    (I suppose I could have used ‘Pu’uloa’ which no-one could have complained about, but which would not have worked quite so well with the theme!)

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