Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,145 by Gaff

Posted by Jed on October 26th, 2012


Cracking topical theme using lots of clever devices






8 REINVENTS (makes up again) REIN (controller) VENTS (lets off steam)

9 FACET (side) ACE (one) in FT (paper)

11,22 ROGER MOORE (2nd JB) O GERM (no infection) in ROO (small animal) RE (about)



16 AFT dd

17 SAG (sink) GAS< (back chat)

18 SEAN CONNERY (1st JB) [b[ONNE (city) in SÉANCE (communication meeting) RY (line)

21 ESTIMATOR (valuer) hidden in [inter]EST IM A TOR[tuous]

23 SAUNA (NAUS[e]A)*

25 NITRO (explosive) (INTRO)*

26 NEOLOGIST (creator of new words) GEOLOGIST with N for G

27 PIERCE BROSNAN (last JB) PIER (support) CE (church) BROS (group) NAN


1 GERTRUDE STEIN (poet) RUDE (very basic) in (GREETIN[g])*

2 OWING (due) O (no) WING

3 GOVERNESS (Mary Poppins eg) VERNE (Jules) in GOSS (dirt – gossip)

4 LUNATIC (mad) sounds like LUNAR TICK

5 ZOSTERA (marine plants) (STORE)* in ZA (extremes)

6 NIFTY (dandy) IF (providing) T (time) in NY (city)

7 YACHT RACE blow – wind in sail

10 TIMOTHY DALTON (one JB) MOTH (tiger) in (NOT LADY IT)*

14 NIGHT-STOP (place to sleep) NIGH (near) ST (road) in TOP (first)

15 GENUS HOMO GEN (information) US (we objective) HO (house) MO (doctor)

19 ACTINIC (of radiation effect) ACTIN[g] (cut short temporary) IC (in charge)

20 CAR BOMB CAR (banger) BOMB (banger)

24 UNION (mating) UN (a French) ION ?

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


7 Responses to “Financial Times 14,145 by Gaff”

  1. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for the blog. A remarkable grid-filling achievement and a very satisfying puzzle, though it took me quit a while to get into it. All the Bonds were great of course, but only Gertrude Stein truly had the cold-eyed swagger of a killer…

  2. mike04 says:

    Thanks, Jed.
    This was great fun, although it took me a while to crack today’s topic.

    I parsed some of the clues a little differently:
    In 16ac, I read ‘Back’ as AFT and ‘Back of boat’ as (R)AFT.
    In 1dn, I think it’s RUDEST in an anagram of GREETIN(G).
    In 10dn, ‘not lady, it’ is reversed outside MOTH.
    In 24dn, maybe it’s ION for ‘body’ in the sense of a material object – if an ion is material!

    Thanks, Gaff, you got all the official ones in!

  3. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Gaff for an enjoyable puzzle and Jed for the blog. Generally for me a thematic puzzle rates highly when no particular expertise in the theme is necessary. I suppose the list of actors who have played Bond is sufficiently general knowledge: I had certainly heard of all of them although I have not seen a complete Bond film for well over thirty years.

    I also think it is important in a thematic puzzle not to sacrifice quality in the non-thematic clues, and there were plenty of good non-thematic clues here. I especially liked 12ac for wit.

    9ac: Minor grumble here. I am not completely happy that “with” makes an inclusion indicator.

    16ac: I took this as a semi-cryptic definition. Note that the FT does not actually bill its crosswords as cryptic. I like mike’s idea @2 which I would expand into a complete “& lit”, but perhaps it is a bit of a stretch to use “Back of” for the last three letters of a four-letter word.

    18ac: I think there is a typo in the blog here. The German city is just [b]ONN – the E comes from SEANCE.

    21ac: I have a lot of sympathy for the view that “hidden” clues should not contain redundant words, but it is certainly correct to say that the answer is contained within the words including “calculating”, and the redundant word helps the surface reading.

    1dn: I agree with mike@2.

    5dn: Good use of an anagram for an uncommon word.

    10dn: “Turns” could indicate an anagram or a reversal. While every reversal is technically an anagram, I agree with mike@2 that this is better read as a reversal.

    24dn: When solving, I took ION as “body” in the sense of charged particle, but it is quite a stretch. On reflection, I wondered whether the clue parses better as UNI (A French body) + ON (following). From Google, I can find UNI = Union Nationale Inter-universitaire, which certainly is a French body in the sense of a group of people.

  4. mike04 says:

    16ac: Thanks for your help. @2 I meant to write ‘Back of boat’= AFT and (R)AFT.
    As you pointed out, if ‘back of’ is allowed to indicate ‘all but the front’, the clue could be described as
    a complete “& lit”.

  5. PeeDee says:

    I only had time to do one puzzle today so I read the intros on the home page and picked this one. Very glad I did, thank you Jed.

  6. Gaff says:

    Thanks to Jed for the blog and for the other comments. 

    I almost agree with Pelham that thematic crosswords should not require specialist knowledge. 

    However, the peerless Araucaria/Cinephile was quoted as saying of Sudoku that no-one ever learned anything from doing a Sudoku and I’ve enjoyed acquiring  new knowledge from thematic puzzles with two provisos : a) the subject should be interesting and/or entertaining and b) once I’ve had the light-bulb moment, I should be able, if needed, to quickly confirm I’m on the right track and find other possible thematic words. 

    A thematic puzzle featuring the rivers of Guatemala would fail the ‘who cares?’ test, and personally I find puzzles that require, for example, familiarity with the plots or characters of all Shakespeare’s plays tedious, because the research needed to acquire the knowledge necessary to complete the puzzle is out of all proportion. 

    I hope that themes like James Bond, Swan Upping, Thomas the Tank Engine, Augusta National and Hobbit dwarves pass these tests for most solvers. 

    And I do like the additional devices that a thematic puzzle allows, such as the definitions ‘first’, ‘only once’, ‘current’ etc in today’s puzzle. 

    Anyway, we’ve just watched the Skyfall stars on Graham Norton and we have tickets to see the film tomorrow. Hope it’s as good as it’s trailed. 

  7. Gozo says:

    This was a cracking puzzle on a particularly challenging grid. Gaff’s puzzles are always a delight to solve and edit.

    Thematic crosswords (in whichever periodical or newspaper it might be) are a constant source of criticism, as I now only too well from my job as Crossword Editor of the Spectator. Whenever a solver contacts me to complain about a theme chosen for our Spectator puzzles, it is often because the theme is not one that this solver knows much about. The fun of solving is to learn a few new facts along the way, with the proviso that the theme is readily accessible in reference books. I hesitate to recommend online references too much, as I find many are prone to error. I recall the early days of the Spectator series, back in the early 1970s, when Jac was pushing the boundaries of thematic puzzles, when the solutions to his puzzles would regularly carry comments such as “See Oxford Atlas of the World” or “See Larousse” for verification of his themes. One knew what to expect with his puzzles as a result.

    I am now off to compile a puzzle on the rivers of Guatemala for the future publication in the FT ….

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