Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,134 by Mudd

Posted by Pete Maclean on October 25th, 2012

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of October 13, 2012

Oh my but this was a tricky one! Some clues were flat-out difficult, for me notably 11A (CLASSLESS), 7D (GREBO) and 20D (BRITPOP). Some others were easy to guess but challenging to fully understand, such as 20A (BOOBOO) and 25A (EAVESDROP). And a couple of others took me a while even though, in retrospect, they do not seem especially hard: 17D (COBBLERS) and 28A (EPHEMERA). For sure, it was the hardest Mudd puzzle I have encountered in a good while.

My top clues are 27A (SOLVER) and 16D (MOONSCAPE).

Across
1. RICOCHET – CO (commander) in RICH (loaded!) + [rifl]E + [shootou]T
5. FRIGID – F (strong) + RIGID (stiff)
10. GARBO – O (love) + BRAG (game)
11. CLASSLESS – C (chapter) + LASSLESS (describing a stag party perhaps!)
12. UNSPOTTED – double definition
13. IMOLA – hidden word
14. HAZARD – [n]AZ[i] in HARD (tough)
15. DYNAMIC – MANY (numerous) in CID (investigators) backwards. Do we really like ‘boomerangs’ as a reversal indicator?
18. ORPHEUS – anagram of HEROS UP
20. BOOBOO – OOOO (homophone “four O’s”) in B[lack] B[egonia]
22. BINGO – BIN (discard) + GO (work). The definition is intended to refer, I fancy, to a call of “bingo” to indicate a full card rather than the name of the game. “House” in this context means “full house”. Nevertheless, as the Encyclopedia Britannica confirms, the game in some quarters has been called simply ‘house’. I quickly guessed the answer for a slightly different reason: that I knew bingo is (or used to be) also known as housy-housy.
24. TRIPLE SEC – anagram of REPTILES + C[arafe]
25. EAVESDROP – [l]EAVES DROP (truth about autumn not beginning)
26. TRACE – CART (vehicle) + [lan]E all backwards
27. SOLVER – anagram of LOVERS
28. EPHEMERA – EP (record) + HEM (bit of skirt) + ERA (time)

Down
1. RAGOUT – RAG (newspaper) + OUT (published)
2. CARDSHARP – R (right) in CAD (rotter) + SHARP (clear)
3. CHOCOLATE MOUSSE – COLA (drink) in anagram of SOME TOUCHES
4. EXCITED – EX (old lover) + CITED (mentioned)
6. RUSSIAN ROULETTE – cryptic definition
7. GREBO – O (old) + BERG (composer) all backwards. I did not know this word and had some trouble finding it! Grebo was, apparently, a musical subculture of the late 1980s and early 1990s, largely based in the English Midlands.
8. DISTANCE – ID (I’d) backwards + STANCE (position)
9. CANDID – CAN (vessel) + DID (pulled off)
16. MOONSCAPE – anagram of COMPOSE AN
17. COBBLERS – double definition
19. SATURN – AS (as) backwards + TURN (spin)
20. BRITPOP – RIT (slowing) + P (piano) together in BOP (dance). ‘Rit’ is a musical term, an abbreviation of the Italian ritenuto (which I actually knew).
21. SCLERA – hidden word
23. NAVEL – NAVE (church body) + L (left)

3 Responses to “Financial Times 14,134 by Mudd”

  1. John Newman says:

    Many thanks, Pete. As always with Mudd I need you to explain the reason for a couple of answers I put in – 20A and 20D. And I couldn’t get 7D. Thought the answer must be Greco.

    Not entirely happy with 27A. The definition “you will make” doesn’t really work for me.

    “Boomerangs” works ok for me. Although we usually use the word in the singular as in “that can boomerang on you” “careful it doesn’t boomerang on you!”.

  2. Pete Maclean says:

    John, I don’t recall seeing boomerang(s) used as a reversal indicator before and it seemed wrong to me because I understand boomerang to mean to come back to a point of origin. But I take your Australian judgment on the issue as settling it — thanks.

    In 27A, I see just ‘you’ as the definition. But now I think about it more, perhaps ‘will make’ is a bit intrusive.

  3. John Newman says:

    Ah well Pete! You perhaps have a point there – boomerangs are meant to come back to from where they were thrown. Another common expression in Australia is when you lend something to someone, particular say a book, you say “Remember, it’s a boomerang.”

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