Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,115 by Gaff

Posted by Jed on September 21st, 2012


This was very 24 across





All dwarves from The Hobbit marked with +


1 HAY BALING (making stacks) Y (unknown) BALI+ in HAG (witch)

6 SCOOP dd

9 MAESTRO (conductor) MAE’S (West’s) T[he]R[ight]O[rientation]

10 SKI LIFT (way to top) S[now] KILI+ FT (us)

11 NUDGE (jog) G[rand] in NUDE (naked) not quite what clue indicates

12 FACEPLATE Spooner PLACE FATE cannot match meaning with switchback

14 NOD (indicate yes) (drift off to sleep)

15 SALVADORIAN (of American Republic) SAL[i]VA (discharge) ORI+ AN

17 SPINNING TOP (child’s toy) instruction to (OPT)*

19 TAD (a bit) hidden in [cour]T AD[vantage]

20 ANTIPASTO (course) ANTI (opposed to) PAST (over) O[f]

22 SLUSH dd

24 GRISTLY (tough) T in GRISLY (bloody)

27, 26 ANGLO-INDIANS (mixed race) GLOIN+ in AND IANS (with Scots)

28 SIGNORINA (Italian address) NORI+ in SIGN A (notice a)


1 HUMAN (being) HUMAN[e] (compassionate)


3 ART LESSON (painting study) ARTLESS (honest) ON (working)

4 IRON FILINGS (evidence of attraction) FILI+ in (SNORING)*

5 GAS (fumes) SAG<

6 SKIMP (mean) KIM (Rudyard Kipling) in SP (odds)

7 ORIGAMI (paper folding) ORI+ (I MAG)< (single paper up)

8 PATTERNED (checked) TERN (bird) in PATE (terrine) D[ish]

13 CO-AUTHORING (writing together) CO (superior) THORIN+ in AUG (month)


16 OPPOSED TO (against) POSE (sit) in OP (work) [wes]T in DO (act)

18 IN THING (fad) (NIGHTIN)*[gale] (blow away)


21 PATIO (area outside) hidden in [occu]PATIO[n]

23 HOSTA (lily) HOST (entertainer) A[llen]

25 YES (confirmation)

( )* = anagram    dd = double definition    [ ] = omit    < = reverse

11 Responses to “Financial Times 14,115 by Gaff”

  1. crypticsue says:

    24a indeed. I managed to solve it without ever knowing what the theme was, and if I had, I would have had to investigoogle (lovely new portmanteau word just right for having to look up themed cryptic answers) to find out the Ds. Thanks to Gaff and Jed

  2. Paul B says:

    Investigoogle is good, crypticsue.

    1ac D should be BALIN. Full list is Fili, Kili, Oin, Gloin, Thorin Oakenshield, Dwalin, Balin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Nori, and Ori.

    Great stuff, Gaff.

  3. mike04 says:

    Thanks Gaff and Jed.

    In 11ac, I think ‘- grand!’ means ‘subtract G’. Then the answer, NUDGE, becomes ‘naked’.
    I like the surface reading!

    13dn: Superior = Commanding Officer = CO?
    25dn: Thursday opening = YESterday?

    I was hoping somebody might be able to explain switchback and FACEPLATE in 12ac.

  4. DickW says:

    I too did not identify “D” until Googling some of the names when I finished the puzzle – made it extra challenging. The funny thing is that I speculated early on that D might mean “dwarf” because I seem to remember that it’s the 75th anniversary of Disney’s “Snow White and…” Right word, wrong source.

    I saw 11ac as: NUDGE is “G in the NUDE” the dash being a distraction.

  5. DickW says:

    Oh, and a faceplate is the plastic (usually) plate on a light switch. Technically, it is in front of the switch (which is inside the wall), but it’s behind the toggle, so I forgave Gaff.

  6. Thomas99 says:

    Typically challenging, eccentric and amusing stuff from Gaff. I haven’t read the hobbit but could just get everything before googling to find out what these strange little “D” words were – like DickW and crypticsue above. Two other commenters on the Guardian blog also had the same experience, so I think Gaff has been pretty clever at making this fairly mad undertaking accessible to the ordinary solver. I’m planning to get round to finally reading the book some time this year, before the film comes out.

    I agree with DickW re 11a – “in the nude”: got a smile from me at the time. Roll on the next Gaff!

  7. mike04 says:

    Thanks for the FACEPLATE explanation, DickW. Of course!

  8. verbose says:

    Thanks Gaff and Jed. I still don’t understand 25d. Confirmation = YES, but I can’t parse the rest of the clue.

  9. flashling says:

    Fairly sure that as this was the Friday puzzle, Thursday was certainly yesterday…

  10. Gaff says:

    All the analysis is correct including flashling’s spot that YESterday was Thursday, a device not available except in a date-stamped puzzle!

    The 75th Anniversary in the preamble is of the publication of The Hobbit – not sure if anyone investigoogled their way to the theme from this. 

    While this was fun, and yes a little mad, to compose, I did recognise that not everyone would have read the book, so I tried to make it solvable even without connecting the D’s. My brother, who checks my puzzles for me, parsed every single D exactly and still had no clue what they were – he hasn’t read the book and is under instructions not to investigoogle!

    The Lord of the Rings trilogy was a big family Christmas day out to the cinema for 3 years in a row – we were bereft when it ended. Can’t wait for the new film. 

    Finally, apologies to Bifur(cate) whom I couldn’t fit in. 


  11. Paul B says:

    In my view, Jackson overdid it for length, not to mention CGI, in LOTR by some considerable margin – and still failed to get some of the seminal stuff in, like Tom Bombadil. And now, three more from the much shorter (as it were) Hobbit? Who knows what it will be.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

+ four = 12