Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,135 – Dante

Posted by Sil van den Hoek on October 25th, 2012

Sil van den Hoek.

Monday Prize Crossword/Oct 15

A pleasant enough Dante puzzle with some very nice touches (9ac, 16ac and 25ac, to name three), but …..

….. having said that, I wasn’t happy with two duplications. ‘Rest’ as the anagram fodder in 13ac and 3d, plus two more or less identical anagram indicators in 7 and 8d. The fact that the latter are even two consecutive clues makes it even less elegant.

Definitions are underlined wherever appropriate and/or possible.


1 GATHER Understand articles in Greek (6)
    A, THE (articles) inside GR (Greek)
4 ASTEROID A fashion editor’s heavenly body (8)
    A + (EDITOR’S)*
9 UMLAUT Dotty pair from Düsseldorf? (6)
    Cryptic definition
    Quite a nice clue with the ‘umlaut’ itself actually present on top of the u in Düsseldorf. 
10    DECIPHER Explain crack? (8)
    Double definition
12 BLOATERS A lobster is mistaken for fish (8)
    (A LOBSTER)*
13 STREWN Scattered the rest around two quarters (6)
    (REST)* + W,N (two quarters, West and East)
    One of two clues in which REST is the anagram fodder, the other being 3d.
15 ENDS Destroys ambitions (4)
    Double definition
16 JUST IN CASE   As a precaution the judge needs to be (4,2,4)
    Cryptic/Double definition
    For some reason I initially entered ‘Just in time’ here, which of course didn’t make sense – in fact, it prevented me from getting 17d. As I said many times before, I do not have a good antenna for CDs, but I really liked this one!
19 SURRENDERS    Gives up on French supplies (10)
    SUR (on, in French) + RENDERS (supplies)
20 STIR Can make a move (4)
    Double definition, ‘can’ here being a prison
23 RACINE Nation embraces popular French dramatist (6)
    RACE (nation) around IN (popular)
25 TEA CHEST During exam a head leaves in this (3-5)
    EACH (a head, ie per person) inside TEST (exam)
    One of my favourites today.
27    PORRIDGE Breakfast for bird? (8)
    Double definition, ‘bird’ here (after 20ac) one more prison (or prison sentence)
28 ERASER It enables a writer to eliminate unwanted characters (6)
    Cryptic definition
29 SPACEMEN    Out-of-this-world advertising agents (8)
    Cryptic definition
    Well, I assume this is the right answer [indeed it was], and a DD [probably not, after reading John’s comment @1]. I had never heard of ‘Spaceman’ being an advertising agent, and dictionaries weren’t helpful either. The closest I came to some sort of explanation is a quote by Fred Allen I found on the Internet: ‘The advertising world had spacemen in it before spacemen existed’. Maybe I got it all wrong. For a better view on this clue, see comment #1.
30    CRISES Many pay increases result in disasters (6)
    C (many, 100) + RISES (pay increases – well, not just pay, I guess)
1 GRUMBLE Note doctor breaking a regulation and complain (7)
    G (note) + {MB (doctor) inside RULE (regulation)}
2 TALL ORDER    Difficult task for brotherhood of high standing (4,5)
    A religious ORDER can be seen as ‘brotherhood’ and when they’re standing high, they’re TALL – therefore a TALL ORDER
3 ERUPTS Breaks out, but the rest somehow holds up (6)
    (REST)* around UP
    There’s the second REST. Just as in 13ac, I also do not like the word ‘the’ in this clue, but that’s perhaps a matter of taste.
5 SEEP Watch money dribble away (4)
    SEE (watch) + P (money, a penny)
6 EXISTENT    Obtaining one’s degree externally (8)
    I’S (one’s) with EXTENT (degree) on the outside
7 OCHRE Unusual chore for painters (5)
    There’s not much of a clear definition here, is there? That said, ‘ochre’ can be ‘a paint’, hence something for painters.
8    DERANGE Unusually angered and upset (7)
    And here is ‘unusual(ly)’ once more used as the anagram indicator. Dante should have avoided this. Apart from that, this clue could also have led to ‘enraged’ which is just as legitimate. Actually, it was my entry in the grid until I found out that it raised a conflict with the acrosses.
11    GROUNDS Instructs, but doesn’t allow to fly (7)
    Double definition
14 STARTER One who begins a race but doesn’t finish it (7)
    Cryptic definition
17 ACTRESSES     Lock in the experts, they only pretend to work (9)
    TRESS (lock) inside ACES (the experts)
18 MEANTIME    No occasion for generosity in the interim? (8)
    When it’s no occasion for generosity, it’s probably a MEAN TIME
19 SCRAPES Close shaves? (7)
    Cryptic definition
21 RETIRES Pulls out or turns in (7)
    Double definition
22 SCORER Music right for one making records? (6)
    SCORE (music) + R (right)
    Not a bad clue alluding to two different meanings of ‘record’ – nice surface.
24    CIRCA Bill rises after I get in credit – it’s about time (5)
    CA (reversal of AC (bill)) after {I inside CR (credit)}
26 OGRE When upset, go on about a monstrous person (4)
    OG (reversal of GO) + RE (about)



4 Responses to “Financial Times 14,135 – Dante”

  1. John Newman says:

    Many thanks for this, Sil. Some people have criticised Dante at times for being too easy. This one should satisfy them because it was pretty hard. I couldn’t get anywhere in the bottom right hand corner. Probably because I put the more common English word RUBBER in 28 across instead of ERASER. Also I couldn’t get 3D perhaps for the reason you were unhappy with it and I had never heard of BLOATERS as a fish. I wonder whether it is fair to mislead us with more than one possible answer to a clue or whether that is all part of the fun? Cincinnus on Saturday had a clue which had two answers depending on whether you interpret “HIT” as being in the present tense of past tense. This held me up for quite a while.

    With 29A, I don’t think it is a double definition. In fact I thought this a clever cryptic clue. I took the definition to be “out-of-this-world”. And space men is a reference to the fact that advertising agents sell space. i.e. in newspapers or on billboards.

  2. Radler says:

    For 8d
    Angered, enraged and upset
    …might have been quite nice, and you could have taken your pick as to the indicator and fodder.
    It’s unusual for an anagram clue to be ambiguous. It’s much easier with cryptic defs and double definitions, (and with reversals if the indicator’s not positioned carefully).

  3. Bamberger says:

    I couldn’t get 6d, 23a & 25a.
    I still don’t get 6d . I can’t think of a sentence where existent can be swapped for obtaining. I’d be grateful for an example.

  4. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Hi Bamberger,
    I had the same as you (when I wrote the blog).
    Then found out that ‘obtain’ can mean ‘be valid, applicable or true’ – for which the Chambers Thesaurus gives us ‘exist’ as an alternative.
    But don’t ask me to give a sentence in which both are interchangeable – I’m just a B#$%*& foreigner anyway. :)

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