Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14124 Neo

Posted by scchua on October 2nd, 2012


Occasionally, Neo lets us off the hook, with an easier than usual puzzle.  No complaints, though, and there were clues with excellent surfaces today.  Thanks to Neo.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  [[The pictures at the bottom have unidentified links to the puzzle.]]

1 Naturally fitted for role like Hamlet (2,3,6,4)

TO THE MANNER BORN : Cryptic defn: Destined to be suited for something by virtue of birth or custom and practice. As Hamlet said “… though I am native here and to the manner born, it is a custom more honour’d in the breach …”

9 Journey, after dark reportedly, leads to compound (7)

NITRIDE : Homophone of(reportedly) a “ride”(a journey, say, on a horse or in a vehicle) taken in the “night”(after dark).

Answer: A chemical compound containing nitrogen and one other element.

10 23 after hiding at church in disorder (7)

CHAOTIC : Anagram of(after hiding) COATI(answer to 23across) placed after(at) CH(abbrev. for church).

11 In Heraklion I comprehend the Greek tongue (5)

IONIC : Hidden in(In) Heraklion I comprehend.

Answer: A dialect,tongue of the ancient Greeks.

12 Bird keeping me fit – in running order (9)

TIMETABLE : [TIT(a bird) containing(keeping) ME] + ABLE(fit,can do).

Answer: A table showing the times of events in running order.

13 Victor Mature inspires new tipple (9)

CHAMPAGNE : CHAMP(the victor of a contest) + AGE(to mature) containing(inspires, as in to take in, say, air) N(abbrev. for “new“). Reference to Victor Mature, actor of yesteryear.

Answer: An alcoholic drink,tipple.

15 Original retained by the German painter (5)

DURER : UR-(prefix to indicate the prototype,original, as in an ur-language) contained in(retained by) DER(German for the definite article “the“). As “ur-” is derived from German, and the painter is German by nationality, one might say that “German” is used thrice here.

16 American you texted by a lake becomes familiar (5)

USUAL : U.S.(abbrev. for “American“) + U(standing for “you” in texted messages on the ubiquitous mobile phones) plus(by) A + L(abbrev. for “lake“).

18 Unmanned  gun (9)

AUTOMATIC : Double defn: 1st: Not requiring any manual intervention; and 2nd: A type of gun that automatically reloads itself and keeps firing until the trigger is released – a mini-WMD.

20 Witness statement more than halffabricated (9)

TESTAMENT : Anagram of(fabricated) STATE(more than half of the letters in “statement“) + MENT(the unfabricated rest of “statement“).

Answer: Figuratively, as in “his achievements were a testament/witness to his skills”.

23 Senior military man at one with furry animal (5)

COATI : CO(abbrev. for “commanding officer”,a senior military man) + AT + I(Roman numeral for “one“).

24 Saintly glow from northern banker, old Liberal boozers (7)

AUREOLA : [URE(a river,banker in Yorkshire, northern England + O(abbrev. for “old“) + L(abbrv. for “Liberal“, a member of said political party)] contained in(going among) AA(abbrev. for Alcoholics Anonymous, an association of people who are trying to stop being addicted boozers).

Answer: Especially in paintings of Christian saints, a glow of light or radiance enveloping the head or sometimes the whole of a figure.

25 Wilfred: “I have no bananas!” (7)

IVANHOE : Anagram of(bananas) I HAVE NO.

Answer: To give his full name: Wilfred of Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott’s fictional hero-knight.

26 Whose breaking up is necessarily the most enduring? (2,3,6,4)

HE WHO LAUGHS LAST : Cryptic defn: From the proverb “He who laughs(breaks up in laughter) last, laughs longest(the most enduring). I guess that “is necessarily” is to denote that, of course, if you want to laugh longest, then you’ve got to laugh last.


1 Was it sworn at Versailles in a tiebreak situation? (6-5,4)

TENNIS-COURT OATH : Cryptic defn: With upper-case initials, the oath by the representatives of the Third Estate (ie. not clergy nor nobility) in the early days of the French Revolution. It was so-called because it was sworn in a makeshift conference room inside a tennis court in Versailles. In lower-case letters, it could possibly be an oath/swear word uttered by a tennis player (say, John McEnroe in his heyday) in a crucial tiebreak situation.

2 Ariel at the outset, in committing crimes, upset fairy (7)

TITANIA : Reversal of(upset) [A{initial letter(at the outset) of(Ariel) } + IN + AT IT(in the process of doing,committing certain activities, which could include crimes, I suppose, though I associate the phrase more with non-criminal fighting or sex or work or play)]. I hope I’ve read this right.

Answer: Fairy queen in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

3 Energy and power is shown by firm friend of bishop (9)

EPISCOPAL : E(abbrev. for “Energy” in physics) plus(and) P(likewise for “power“) plus(is shown by) CO(abbrev. for firm,a commercial concern) + PAL(a friend).

Answer: Descriptive of things related/pertaining to a bishop.

4 Information brought in by vehicle (5)

AGENT : GEN(information, shortened from “general information”) contained in(brought in) AT(by as in “by/at the door”).

Answer: A means,a vehicle figuratively, for action.

5 Drama with married men together in bed – so wisely did they respond? (2,7)

NO COMMENT : NO(the Japanese form of Drama, also spelled “Noh”) plus(with) [M(abbrev. for “married“) + MEN] contained in(together in) COT(a small bed).

Answer: Very wise to respond like that if they were caught in such a situation! A clever surface/WIWD (wordplay intertwined with definition) clue.

6 Act as opponent in connection with law passed (5)

REACT : RE(with regard to,in connection with) + ACT(a law that has been passed).

Answer: To act as opponent, cf. Newton’s Third Law. I hesitated because of “act” appearing in both wordplay and answer – hope I’ve got it right.

7 It’s nothing to be in credit for the month (7)

OCTOBER : O(the letter that looks like zero,nothing) + [TO BE contained in(in) CR(abbrev. for “credit“, as used by, say, accountants).

8 This consequence certain with a clue CND might compose? (7,8)

NUCLEAR ACCIDENT : Anagram of(might compose)[ CERTAIN + A CLUE CND].

Answer: Something that the CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) was trying to prevent, and would have included it in a clue if they were composing crosswords. Another WIWD clue.

14 Fair admission for university mate changing course, and place overseas (9)

GUATEMALA : GALA(a fete,fair) containing(admission for) [U(abbrev. for “university“) + ATEM{anagram of(changing course) “mate“}].

15 Politicians‘ daughters best travel to the north (9)

DEMOCRATS : D(abbrev. for “daughters“) + reversal of(to the north, in a down clue) [STAR(the best, as in “the star performer”) + COME(to travel to some place, as in “why don’t you come/travel to London”)].

17 Turn off? (7)

UNSCREW : Cryptic defn. and Answer: What one needs to do to remove, say, a screw-top lid off the bottle.

19 Homeless Catharine damaged windpipe (7)

TRACHEA : Anagram of(damaged) CATHARE [“Catharineminus(less) “in”(at home)].

Answer: The tube in humans and other air-breathing vertebrates conveying air to the lungs.

21 From the start sailor loves to embrace diver heartily (2,3)

AB OVO : AB(abbrev. for “able-bodied seaman”,a sailor) + OO(looks like 2 zeros,loves as in tennis scores) containing(to embrace) V[the middle letter(heartily) of “diver“].

Answer: From Latin for, literally, “from the egg”.

22 Obsession with an object (5)

THING : Double defn: 1st: As in “he’s got a thing/obsession for her”.



9 Responses to “Financial Times 14124 Neo”

  1. rowland says:

    Tasty fare from FT Neo, my first solve of the day. As you say, scchua, great surfaces here, and good CDs. The FT is very good these days, I think. NO COMMENT the fave offering for me today.

    Thanks for your intelligent blog, and to Neo for his ‘smart set’.

  2. Robi says:

    Good crossword, although my history didn’t include the Tennis-Court Oath [as practised by Andy Murray.]

    Thanks scchua for your usual comprehensive blog. I lazily put in NUCLEAR inCIDENT and then had to opt for AUTOMATon. For 23, I tried COney at first [Marshal Ney.] I particularly liked GUATEMALA and NO COMMENT. NITRIDE appeared in an Aruacarian crossword a few days ago, clued as:’Compound report of journey in the dark.’ Great minds think alike no doubt.

    [[#1 is Alec Baldwin
    #2 is Kurt Russell who appeared in ‘The Thing.’
    #3 is Bob Hoskins; I’ll have to think a bit more………..]]

  3. Robi says:

    [[Alec Baldwin played Jack Ryan in ‘The Hunt for Red October,’ where a NUCLEAR reactor ACCIDENT was staged???]]

  4. Robi says:

    [[Hunt for red OCTOBER]]

  5. flashling says:

    Thanks Scchau and Neo, really like this even if the tennis court was lost on me a bit.

  6. Robi says:

    [[Can’t get Bob Hoskins link]]

  7. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks, scchua, indeed a comparatively easy Neo today.

    A lot of nice touches, but also a clue (6d, REACT) of which I cannot believe that it’s Neo who wrote it. As you said, because of the use of “act”.

    GUATEMALA (14d), NO COMMENT (5d), IVANHOE (25ac) and TRACHEA (19d) were perhaps my favourites, all for different reasons.
    On the other hand, clues like 18ac (AUTOMATIC) and 17d (UNSCREW) leave me cold.

    The starter of 15d (DEMOCRATS) is D for ‘daughters’. Where can I find that? Plural?
    Since nobody mentioned it, NITRIDE (9ac) is quite tricky. There’s also NITRITE (which I thought it was, just like in the Araucaria, but which is not really a homophone of “night ride”).

    Many thanks, Neo, for today’s ‘light entertainment’.

  8. scchua says:

    Thanks for all your comments.

    [[Robi@6, Bob Hoskins was in the 1996 film version of Joseph Conrad’s The Secret AGENT. Well done on the other 2.]]

  9. Neo says:

    Sil, that one is ‘journey’ (syn. with ride) after ‘dark reportedly’ (nit = hom. of night). D for daughter or daughters is standard, as is S for son or sons, and both are tolerated even by The Times, notoriously choosy as it is about single-letter indication (to protect solvers from the REALLY REALLY obscure stuff, I think: take = R not allowed, are = A not allowed &c).

    RE/ ACT, yes, that’s not really what I should have done! Every so often this happens, dammit, and I know not why, but I deserve a slap. Many thanks.

    Cheers scchua for your usual lovely effort, and to all.

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