Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14142 Alberich

Posted by scchua on October 23rd, 2012


Approached this with trepidation as I didn’t have much success solving previous Alberichs, much less blog them.  Started off okay with the NE quadrant, then the SE, then considerably slowed down.  14across defeated me, and I had to call on the fairy godmother (godfather) of crossword bloggers.  So I can’t claim credit for all of this.  Thanks to Alberich for the challenge.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  [[The pictures at the bottom have unidentified links to the puzzle.]]

1 Printed details of meeting Queen perhaps needing new introduction (8)

RACECARD : “face card”(of which the Queen is an example;perhaps, in a deck of playing cards) with initial letter “f” replaced by “r”(needing new introduction).

5 The Sun was responsible for his fall from elevated position (6)

ICARUS : Cryptic defn: Reference to the mythic Greek trying to escape Crete with wings of feathers and wax, but flew too close to the sun, which melted the wax, causing him to drop into the sea. Not Murdoch nor any of his crew.

9 Discuss résumé covering Old Norse language (8)

CONVERSE : {CV(abbrev. of curriculum vitae;a résumé of your achievements and background, a must for job applications) containing(covering) ON(abbrev. for Old Norse;the language of medieval Scandinavia and Iceland)} + ERSE(any of the Gaelic languages).

10 Vile allegation circulates, upsetting United manager – for starters, there’s nothing in it (6)

VACUUM : Initial letters of(for starters) “Vile allegation circulates, upsetting United manager “. Amusing surface – one of many allegations about MUFC players and manager that upset Ferguson?

12 Eccentric patient finds housing in automobile (9)

CRANKCASE : CRANK(eccentric) + CASE(what a patient in a hospital is referred to by the staff).

Answer: The housing enclosing the crankshaft, connecting rods and allied parts in the engine of an automobile. Apologies to the less mechanically-minded.

13 He scored half-century, getting attention around close of match (5)

LEHAR : L(Roman numeral for 50;half-century) plus(getting) [EAR(getting attention, as in “to gain a person’s ear”) containing(around) H{last letter of(close of) “match”}].

Answer: Franz, Austro-Hungarian composer/scorer of mainly operettas, including “The Merry Widow”.

14 Without coat, appear to be cold in store (4)

HIVE :  “shiver”(appear to be cold) minus its 2 outer letters(without coat).  The Yoda-esque construction defeated me; but fair enough.

Answer:  To store, as bees do with pollen and honey in a hive.  Can also be used as in eg. “he used to hive away a small sum each week”.

16 Not married, Samantha IS free woman (7)

NATASHA : Anagram of(is free) “Samantha minus(not) “m”(abbrev. for “married“). I guess, but I’m not sure, the IS in capitals is a reference to Samantha Fox’s 1998 single “Let Me Be Free”?  Or is it merely “not married” = “IS free”.

19 With injection of drug, stop American passing away (7)

QUIETUS : E(abbrev. for the drug Ecstasy) contained in(with injection of) QUIT(to stop) + US(abbrev. for American).

Answer: Death.

21 Dressing gown at last is found in René’s sack (4)

LINT : N{last letter of(at last) “gown “} contained in(is found in) LIT(the Frenchman René’s word for “bed”;English slang for which is “sack“).

Answer: The soft material for dressing wounds.

24 Ancestor, one with roots (5)

ELDER : Double defn: 2nd: The tree.

25 After a fight, force champion to have complete change of attitude (5-4)

ABOUT-FACE : [F(abbrev. for “force “, especially in physics) + ACE(a champion)] placed after(after) A BOUT(a fight, especially in the sport? of boxing).

27 Threatening look from firefly? (6)

GLOWER : Double defn: 1st: As a noun; and 2nd: The firefly is an insect that gives out a glow of light, and could be called a glower.

28 Stop working after energy relief gets withdrawn (8)

DIAPASON : ON(working, as in “what days are you on next week?”) placed after(after) reversal of(gets withdrawn) [SAP(energy;vitality) + AID(relief, say, for victims)].

Answer:  A stop in an organ.

29 Book‘s tense, set in Surrey town (6)

ESTHER : T(abbrev. for “tense” in grammar) contained in(set in) ESHER(the Surrey town).

Answer: A book in the Old Testament.

30 Cézanne painting’s heading off for port (8)

PENZANCE : Anagram of(off) [“CÉZANNE ” + P{initial letter of(…’s heading) “painting“}].

Answer: A port in Cornwall, England.

1 Runs rings round strutting chief, largely in extravagant style (6)

ROCOCO : R(abbrev. for “runs” in cricket) + OO(letters that look like pair of rings) containing(round) “cock”(a strutting chief, figuratively, from the literal rooster and his harem of hens) minus its last letter(largely).

Answer: Florid and excessively elaborate.

2 John put an end to dance (6)

CANCAN : CAN(like John, slang for the toilet) + CAN(put an end to;stop, as in “will you can the noise?”).

3 Oral language examination (5)

CHECK : Homophone of(oral) Czech(a Slavic language) – in which language our setter, living in the Czech Republic, has set a crossword(s?).

4 Once more affirm right over property (7)

RESTATE : R(abbrev. for “right“) placed over(over, in a down clue) ESTATE(collectively, one’s property or possessions).

6 Woman trains regularly, with husband imprisoned for fraud (9)

CHARLATAN : [CARLA(a woman‘s name) + TAN{the 1st, 3rd, and 5th letters of(regularly) “trains“}] containing(with … imprisoned) H(abbrev. for “husband“).

Defn: As a noun.

7 Extremely choppy at sea: huge storm that’s unending (8)

ROUGHEST : Anagram of(at sea) “huge stormminus its last letter(that’s unending).

8 One who lived long ago raised northern songbirds? (8)

SUMERIAN : Reversal of(raised) [N(abbrev. for “northern“) + AIR(a song) + EMUS(flightless birds)].

11 One clergyman or another eschewing company (4)

DEAN : “deacon”(another clergyman) minus(eschewing) CO(abbrev. for company).

15 Plead for season with crop yield (9)

INTERCEDE : “winter”(one of the 4 seasons) minus its initial letter(with crop) + CEDE(to yield;surrender).

17 Window cleaner gets to look around best part of royal dwelling at last (8)

SQUEEGEE : SEE(to look) containing(around) [“queen”(the main royal) minus its last letter(best part of) + G{last letter of(at last) “dwelling“}].

Answer:  Used by the human window cleaner.

18 Last one month, struggling to keep daughter and son apart (8)

HINDMOST : Anagram of(struggling) [I(Roman numeral for “one“) + MONTH]containing(to keep) [D(abbrev. for “daughter“) + S(abbrev. for “son“) but not together(apart)]

20 Hiding in drinks cabinet, he refuses to come out (4)

SCAB : Hidden in(hiding in) “drinks cabinet“.

Answer: A worker who refuses to come out;go on strike.

21 Descriptive of pride one developed in ancestry? (7)

LEONINE : Anagram of(developed) ONE contained in(in) LINE(of descent;ancestry).

Answer: Descriptive of a pride of lions.

22 Judge‘s refusal to break almost backfired (6)

SAMSON : Reversal of(backfired) [NO(a refusal) + “smash”( to break) minus its last letter(almost)].

Answer:  A judge of the ancient Israelites, famous for his hairy strength.

23 Some may arrive late to this meeting, from which a scene could result (6)

SEANCE : Anagram of(could resultA SCENE.

Defn: Cryptic – the purpose of the meeting is to call for the spirits of the dead,the late.

26 The best street map is a valuable item (5)

TOPAZ : TOP(the best) + A-Z(a London street map;more a directory).



9 Responses to “Financial Times 14142 Alberich”

  1. Steve says:

    Thanks scchua – like you, I was apprehensive when I saw that Alberich was the setter. And I wasn’t ‘disappointed’ – this was a real return to earth (in terms of my solving ability or lack thereof) after the straightforward weekend and Monday prize crosswords! As for your picture puzzle, I’m not doing too well there either other than that the female is Hedy Lamarr who starred in ‘Samson (22d) and Deliah’. I realize that the other pics are Dante, a kangaroo (or is it a wallaby?) and Tolstoy but not sure of the links to the puzzle.

  2. POS says:

    I must admit that I found this slightly easier than the Guardian today but it was still tough. I had “Samarian” for 8D thinking that “amas’ was some sort of European bird I had never heard of . Seeing the actual bird was an emu is somewhat annoying considering I am an Aussie.

    Thanks scchua and Alberich.

  3. Eileen says:

    Thanks, scchua, for the blog, and Alberich, for a lovely puzzle, as always.

    I’ve seen both ESTHER and ROCOCO clued several times, I think, but never better. [I liked DIAPASON, as my late husband was an organist.]

    I also loved the ingenious ‘window cleaner’in 17dn – I’m a fan of ‘lift and separate’ clues, so spent some time on this! – but my favourite has to be PENZANCE – wonderful!

  4. MikeC says:

    Thanks scchua and Alberich. Those (50 year) old dears Alberich and Anax have done us proud today. Must confess that I failed on 22d: my biblical knowledge was just not up to the challenge.

  5. scchua says:

    Thanks for your comments. (Before I went to bed last night, I thought I was going to set the record for the 15sq. blog with the least number of comments, viz. Zero.)

    [[Steve, you’re right about SAMSON. The marsupial is a red kangaroo whose scientific name is Macropus rufus. Dante, Rufus and ICARUS are pseudonyms of crossword setter Roger Squires. One of the central characters in Tolstoy’s War and Peace is NATASHA Rostova.]]

  6. Klingsor says:

    Just to add my thanks for an excellent blog and the kind comments which follow.

    I’ve been called an old (insert abusive word here) many times but never an old dear before. I rather like it!

  7. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Finished this puzzle only tonight. Since I have a new job, my rhythm of the day has slightly changed – no time for Guardian + FT + Indy [the ones I can’t do now, I save for a rainy day].

    Another top crossword from Alberich.
    Immaculate constructions, executed with great precision.
    And, as ever, a musical reference, Franz Lehar (of whom my late father was a big fan, especially in combination with the tenor Richard Tauber).

    I found this crossword somewhat harder than recent puzzles by this setter (who seems to be fully back after a break), so it was not really surprising that I failed on two clues.
    The one you mentioned, scchua, HIVE – I tried to make MINE work but it didn’t make sense.
    And just like for MikeC, SAMSON was one step too far for the non-biblican in me.

    I had hoped to find an explanation for the capitalisation of IS (in 15ac), but perhaps it was just a slip of the typographer.

    Good value.

  8. Alberich says:

    Re that pesky Klingsor at 6 – only just realised my mistake. That’s the problem with having a split personality…

    Thanks Sil and to answer your question about 15 across, I was wondering about the capitalisation of IS too. The version I sent off had no capitalisation so either it was a last minute editorial change or more likely, as you suggest, a typesetting error.

  9. anax says:

    Slightly late into the fray as yesterday evening was my first opportunity to print off and solve. Top quality stuff as always, and perhaps this is a decent point at which to mention a particular skill Alberich has applied to this puzzle.

    It’s ‘one of those grids’, a real Marmite job. Its design creates four distinct, almost separate quarters, and many solvers hate it because getting stuck in one quadrant can leave you helpless as there’s no way to get cross-checking letters from longer, interlocking answers.

    The setter’s real art – displayed superbly here – is to make each segment solvable with a bit of thought and without sacrificing the entertainment value of the clues. It’s a tough trick to pull. I had the right-hand side done fairly quickly and, for 10 minutes or so, ground to a halt on the left, but the answers gradually fell into place. What could have been a nightmare turned into a very satisfying solve.

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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

4 × = twelve