Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,051 – Falcon

Posted by Sil van den Hoek on July 19th, 2012

Sil van den Hoek.

Monday Prize Crossword/Jul 9

It’s a well-known fact that Monday Prize Crosswords can be found at the easier end of the spectrum. This Falcon puzzle was no exception, but I hasten to say that it is quite a gift to write crosswords that are so smooth and elegant as this setter does on this particular level.

At least once a month in the FT, week in week out at another place as Everyman.  I liked this puzzle very much and was delighted to be fooled by the German opera at 5d.

Definitions are underlined wherever appropriate.


1 ANCHOR TV presenter may get a new job shortly
    A + N (new) + CHOR (job shortly, ie CHORE minus the final E)
4 OMISSION Neglect old religious settlement
    O (old) + MISSION (religious settlement)
9 CABLE Message a bishop left inside church
    {A + B (bishop) + L (left)} inside CE (church)
10 MARMALADE     Spoil mother and son with English jam
    MAR (spoil) + MA (mother) + LAD (son) + E (English)
11     PALADIN Peer, the French duke, in agony
    {LA (the, in French) + D (duke)} inside PAIN (agony)
    To avoid duplication with the previous clue, Falcon turned this LAD into a ‘the French duke’.
12 INITIAL First home, one with tail wagging
    IN (home) + I (one) + (TAIL)*
13 NOEL Christmas verse taken from book
    V (verse) taken away from NOVEL (book)
14 AFTER ALL Last, in spite of everything
    Double definition
17 OUTWEIGH     Exceed available balance
    OUT (available) + WEIGH (balance)
    ‘Available’ like in ‘the book’s out now’.
19     NOAH Japanese drama about a Hebrew patriarch
    NOH (Japanese drama) around A
    Initially, I was pretty sure that the Japanese drama was NO and that H stood for Hebrew, but that left me with not understanding ‘about’. Then I found out that NOH was an alternative spelling for NO (and also, that NOAH was a Hebrew patriarch (of course, I’ve heard of Noah (recently in connection with The Whales), but I’m a atheist, ya know …. :) )
22 ON BOARD Riding with us
    Double definition
24 ARTISAN Smith supporter? Not initially
    PARTISAN (supporter) minus the P at the start
25 COURT CARD     Curry favour with eccentric king, perhaps
    COURT (curry favour) + CARD (eccentric)
26 KNAVE Unscrupulous fellow, 25, maybe
    Double definition (25 referring to the previous clue)
27     MANDRAKE Male duck exposes poisonous plant
    MAN (male) + DRAKE (duck)
    A drake is actually a ‘male duck’. And while MANDRAKE perhaps is poisonous, Mrs Chambers tells us that it’s “thought to have magical powers” and that its root was “formerly used to make sleep-inducing drugs”.  So, perhaps a bit harsh on MANDRAKE? :)
28 TROPHY Left back extremely happy to get cup
    TROP (reversal of PORT (left)) + H[app]Y
1 AL CAPONE Gangster, unaccompanied, pinching crown
    ALONE (unaccompanied) around CAP (crown)
2 CABALLERO Spanish gentleman’s unusual role in support of secret plot
    CABAL (secret plot) + (ROLE)*
3 OVERDO Exaggerate concerning party
    OVER (concerning) + DO (party)
5    MERRIE ENGLAND   Lame rendering, unfortunately, of a German opera
    I think, this was very clever. I know a bit about music, so I thought turning ‘lame rendering’ into a German opera shouldn’t be too hard. Well, boys and girls, I had to google. The German here was no German at all – he was the English, perhaps Welsh, composer Edward German (1862-1936) .
6 STAMINA Sustained energy at mains somehow
    (AT MAINS)*
7 IMARI Damage inside two Roman pieces of porcelain
    MAR (damage) inside II (two, in Roman numerals)
    Just a bit of a pity that Falcon used MAR again here, the first time being in the crossing MARMALADE (10ac).
8 NEEDLE Pointer in joint with no lead, led off
    NEE (joint with no lead, ie KNEE minus the K at the start) + (LED)*
10     MANSFIELD PARK      Guy’s line, connected with mean king, is novel
    MAN’S (guy’s) + FIELD (line) + PAR (mean) + K (king)
15 LOOK SHARP     Be quick to appear keen
    Double definition
16 CHANCERY Dishonest opportunist, nobleman leaving county court
    CHANCER (dishonest opportunist) + [count]Y
18     TRACTOR Tower in area of land ahead of soldiers
    TRACT (area of land) + OR (soldiers)
    The ‘tower’ here is ‘something that tows’.
20 DOTCOM Internet trader’s fortune probed by elevated court
    Reversal of CT (court) inside DOOM (fortune)
    Not sure whether every ‘dotcom’ is a trader, also not sure whether ‘fortune’ is always doom – but it’s all right.
21 STOKER Author, one adding fuel to the fire?
    Double definition
    The author being Bram Stoker of Dracula fame.
23     BRUIN Name for a bear, black one in stream
    B (black) + {I (one) inside RUN (stream)}
    BRUIN is in fact a Dutch word meaning ‘brown’. In Holland ‘Bruintje Beer’ (little brown bear) is the name of the cartoon character known to the rest of the world as Rupert Bear.

6 Responses to “Financial Times 14,051 – Falcon”

  1. Richard says:

    Thanks for the blog, Sil.

    We found this an entertaining Monday lunchtime solve, although IMARI & MERRIE ENGLAND were outside our general knowledge.

  2. Richard says:

    Good of you to place a link to the crossword pdf in your itntroduction, by the way. Thank you.

  3. Bamberger says:

    I couldn’t get 25a and therefore I couldn’t get 26a.
    Not having 20d -I was convinced it was e something or other- was one reason why I couldn’t get 25a
    Also failed on 18d where I was looking for a tall building but wouldn’t have got tract either.
    I have done easier FT crosswords than this one.

  4. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks for the comments.

    Richard, when I started blogging just over a year ago, I was aware of the big time span between publication and blog.
    I thought, why not include a link to the puzzle in the first part of my preamble (of course, without giving anything away) to give solvers the opportunity to tackle the puzzle as if it were a daily before looking at the rest of the blog.

    You are the first person to say something about this, which is much appreciated.

  5. Keeper says:

    I surprised no one else has commented on the appearance of repeat answers (clued similarly) in consecutive FT puzzles.

    14ac: In FT 14,052, Jason clued AFTER ALL as “Last in spite of expectations.”

    27ac: In FT 14,050, Mudd clued MANDRAKE as “Two males discovering plant.” What’s more, the answer appeared in the same location in each grid (bottom left corner).

    Isn’t it the editors’ job to try to avoid such repetition?

  6. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Interesting point, Keeper.

    Normally I would have done the puzzles you mentioned, but as I was abroad I restricted myself to the crossword I had to blog.

    Personally, I cannot be bothered too much as long as it doesn’t happen too frequently and as long as the clues are not too similar.

    But just last week we had another duplication as Styx and Falcon both clued BLUDGEON, on two consecutive days.

    And coincidentally, in this week’s Guardian blogs there was a similar discussion due to the fact that both Qaos and Tramp made clear that they had to re-write one of their clues for this reason.

    “Isn’t it the editors’ job to try to avoid such repetition?”
    Good question, don’t know the answer yet.
    Editors could also try to change the order of publication of cryptics with duplications. At least, in that case, the setter’s brainchild wouldn’t be affected – which for me, personally, is more important than the negative effects i.e. a solver saying “oh, I’ve seen that one before”.

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