Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,075 – Gaff

Posted by Sil van den Hoek on August 16th, 2012

Sil van den Hoek.

Monday Prize Crossword/Aug 6

When there’s something special going on in the world around us, the FT has its very own crossword specialist to present us a reminder: Gaff .  So, what happened August 5th, 1962?

It was the day Marilyn Monroe said Farewell to the World.  Gaff gave her a place in his puzzle (19,22d) but surprisingly there is not much else related to this sad event. That is, of course, apart from the Nina (its existence given away in 19,22d). Around the perimeter we read “Happy Birthday Mister President”. This Nina (which I saw rather quickly) helped me a lot in completing this puzzle which I did not really find the easiest of Monday crosswords. Did I like it?  Well, perhaps. In case one thinks this is a stupid answer to that question:  while solving I thought this puzzle was a combination of clever and bumpy cluing.  However, in hindsight, there’s not much to complain about. Thanks Gaff!

Definitions are underlined wherever possible and/or appropriate.


8 TABARD Stop wearing a little coat
    BAR (stop) inside TAD (a little)
9 OVERCOAT Ulster, for example, where one normally wears nothing
    A definition by example, and an ‘ulster’ will not be worn over a coat (normally, that is)
10    REABSORB Use sponge again in old barbers’ treatment
    (O (old) BARBERS)*
11 ARCADE Passage from spectacular cadenza
    Hidden solution:  [spectacul]AR CADE[nza]
12 INVENT Cook up a lot of stock
    INVENT[ory] (a lot of stock, ie ‘inventory’)
13 SKIMPIER    Revealing more dock leaf through flip-flop
    PIER (dock) SKIM (leaf through), but then swapped (‘flip-flop’)
    This was one of my last entries which I found hard to parse due to ‘leaf through’ being cut in two by the FT’s typographer.
14 BACK-UPS Copies alternatives
    Double definition
17 PET SHOP Source of leads for musical boys
    Kind of double cryptic definition
    The ‘leads’ here are the ones dogs wear, but I think ‘Source of’ feels a bit uncomfortable. Our musical boys are the Pet Shop Boys.
20 YARMULKA May lurk suspiciously maintaining a cover for prayers
    (MAY LURK)* around A
    A yarmulka is a cap worn by religious Jews.
22 MARTYR Victim of railway transport revolution
    Reversal of {RY (railway) TRAM (transport)}
24 PEANUT From Europe, a nutritional foodstuff
    Hidden solution:  [Euro]PE A NUT[ritional]
25 IN NO TIME    Immediately back issue on tax
    Reversal of:  {EMIT (issue) + ON + NI (tax, National Insurance)}
26 PLUCKILY By chance, I’m in Carry On With Courage
    {LUCK (chance) accompanying I} inside PLY (carry on)
    A nod to those ‘Carry On’ movies – a pity there wasn’t one with that title. Some concerned with cryptic grammar might question the use of ‘m.
27 OCEANS Canoes capsize in big seas
    Simple anagram, nice surface.
1 HAVE ON Wear short distinguished clothing for greeting
    HON (short distinguished, i.e. abbreviation for ‘honourable’) around AVE (greeting)
    One of the best clues, in my opinion, as ‘Wear’ suggests a construction and ‘for’ makes us think the definition will follow after it. Not so.
2 DAYBREAK    Duck under tree with Spooner at dawn
    Spoonerism of {BAY (tree) + DRAKE (duck)}
3    ADROIT Skilful aerobatics start right over the Channel
    A[erobatics] + DROIT (right over the Channel, i.e. ‘right’ in French)
4 YOBBISH Behaving badly, youngster turned to cleric a lot
    YOB (reversal of BOY (youngster)) + BISH[op] (cleric a lot, i.e. most of ‘bishop’)
5 MELAMINE Dishes which form the basis of light meals?
    Cryptic definition
    My last entry. Melamine is a light material which, for example, is used for making dinnerware. Not really a good clue, in my opinion.
6 ICE CAP One hundred step up permanent cover
    I (one) + C (hundred) + ECAP (reversal of PACE (step))
7 SAN DIEGO    Where navy may be found doing sea manoeuvres
    (DOING SEA)*
    The well-known city of San Diego, “home to the majority of the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s surface combatants, all of the Navy’s West Coast amphibious ships and a variety of Coast Guard and Military Sealift Command vessels” (according to our friend Wikipedia)
15    A CAPELLA Noted lack of backing
    Cryptic definition
16 PILOT BIT Driver with slice used for first hole
    PILOT (driver) + BIT (slice)
    A pilot bit is a small bit that drills a first hole to guide a larger drill.
18 STRUTTED Your stuff may be support for father on TV
    STRUT (support) + TED (father on TV)
    I do not really like the use of ‘for’ here, although it’s OK when you read it as ‘given to’. The definition refers to the expression “to strut one’s stuff”.
19, 22    MARILYN MONROE    Perimeter performer remembered yesterday
    Un-cryptic clue referring to the Nina (along the perimeter)
    MM died on August 5th, 1962 – fifty years ago. It didn’t make an impact on me as I was still too young then. My link with MM is through Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind” (although I recently heard that this was a phrase said about Janis Joplin – in fact it was about all those Live Fast, Die Young people).
21 MUNICH Firstly Manchester United, next Israelis, competed here
    M[anchester] U[nited] N[ext] I[sraelis] C[ompeted] H[ere]
    Not sure what to think of this.  They competed here?  Eight of the Busby Babes lost their lives here (in 1958) and we all know what happened to some Israeli Olympians in 1972. Bit macabre, isn’t it?
23 YEMENI Arab currency I found across the Middle East
    {YEN (currency, Japanese) + I} around ME (Middle East)
    Nice clue (of a familiar word) to end this puzzle with.

2 Responses to “Financial Times 14,075 – Gaff”

  1. mike04 says:

    Thanks for the blog, Sil.

    I was quite relieved that the existence of the Nina was given away.
    Up until then, this puzzle had been quite a struggle here. I had to resort to dictionaries,
    but in the case of two of the down clues, they weren’t very helpful.

    One internet site has a nice picture of a MELAMINE plate. I couldn’t find the tableware
    connection in the usual references. I threw in MEGABITE to fill the last gap!
    Another internet site suggests that A CAPELLA is the Latin version of A CAPPELLA.

    Perhaps Anagram Clues would’ve been fairer in 5dn and 15dn?

  2. Wanderer says:

    Thanks Sil and Gaff for a crossword which I mostly enjoyed.

    But I too had reservations about the MUNICH clue, which is a bit macabre to say the least. First, I think it unfortunate to say ‘First M.U. next Israelis competed here’ when what is clearly alluded to is, as you say, ‘first M.U. next Israelis died here in large numbers.’ And second, of course, M.U. didn’t compete there — the Busby Babes refuelled in Munich on their way home from competing in Belgrade, which removes the &littish justification for the wording, as far as I can see. Sorry for the gripe but I did think this was a little questionable.

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