Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,140 by Cincinnus

Posted by Pete Maclean on November 1st, 2012

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of October 20, 2012

Here we have another brilliant puzzle from Cincinnus. My favourite clues are 18A (LAMA), 4D (DENOUNCE), 13D (LEGERDEMAIN) and 17D (AVENGERS). I also applaud the inventiveness of 14A (BARBECUE), 3D (FRENCH BEANS) and 6D (EL PASO). Curiously, there are two clues that could reasonably lead to alternative fitting answers (11A and 20D).

Across
1. PUFFED UP – “tough pup” (sturdy little dog) Spoonerized. I found this difficult as I was looking for a literal Spoonerism not a phonetic one.
6. ESCUDO – E[uro] + SCUD (move quickly) + O (old)
9. SPLEEN – P (power) + L (line) together in SEEN (witnessed)
10. APPETITE – [hul]A [hoo]P + PETITE (little)
11. ERIC – hidden word (referring of course to Eric Idle). One of my correspondents pointed out that RICH could also work (as in ‘idle rich’).
12. UNRESOLVED – anagram of RUDE NOVELS
14. BARBECUE – homophone (“barber queue”)
16. GRIP – double definition
18. LAMA – L[e]A[n] M[e]A[t]
19. COVERAGE – COVE (old-fashioned fellow) + RAGE (blow a fuse). ‘Cove’ is a slang term for fellow that is seldom heard these days.
21. BASSET HORN – anagram of BRASS ON THE. I am not familiar with basset horns but figured this had to be an anagram, quickly spotted HORN as a likely second word and then confirmed the BASSET part.
22. EDGE – G (good) in EDE[n] (garden almost)
24. STAR TURN – START (open) + URN (vessel)
26. ENAMEL – reverse hidden word
27. FRANCK – C[onservatoire] in FRANK (speaking plainly)
28. RESONANT – SO (about) and AN (article) in RENT (break). But please see comments 1 and 2 below.

Down
2. UPPER – [s]UPPER (meal with no starter)
3. FRENCH BEANS – cryptic definition of an unusual kind. It works well because ‘bean’ can mean head (tete in French).
4. DENOUNCE – E (English) + NO (no) together in DUNCE (one who knows little)
5. PRAIRIE SCHOONER – PRAIRIE (plain) + SCHOONER (glass). I would probably have written this clue as “Plain, glass-covered wagon”. I wonder if there is a good reason to omit the hyphen?
6. EL PASO – anagram of APOS[t]LE
7. CUT – double definition
8. DITHERING – ID (I’d) backwards + THE RING (Bayreuth production)
13. LEGERDEMAIN – anagram of DEALING MERE
15. ALABASTER – A (a) + LAB (little dog) + ASTER (flower)
17. AVENGERS – anagram of NERVE GAS
20. STRUCK – S (small) + TRUCK (vehicle). STRIKE would also work!
23. GREEN – double definition
25. RUN – RU[i]N. ‘Dish’ as a verb can mean to ruin.

5 Responses to “Financial Times 14,140 by Cincinnus”

  1. Sil van den Hoek says:

    For the third time in a row a Cincinnus puzzle that I found harder than usual.

    In my notes, I put a question mark to 3d. Cincinnus hardly ever does a cryptic definition, and this particular one was wasted on me.

    In the same notes I put pluses to 14ac (BARBECUE), 21ac (BASSET HORN) and 4d (DENOUNCE).

    Pete, I agree with you about 20d (STRUCK).
    I even thought of S/TRAIN, but unfortunately it does not equate ‘hit’.

    My parsing of 28ac (RESONANT) is different from yours:
    {ON (about) + AN (article)} inside REST (break).

  2. Pete Maclean says:

    Hi Sil, This is very interesting about 28A! I was thinking of SO meaning ‘about’ in the sense of “a dozen or so”. So there may be two distinct workable interpretations of the wordplay. But I think yours is the better one since ON and AN go together in REST while SO and AN have to go separately into RENT. Thanks!

  3. Bamberger says:

    Having guessed 27a and not really believing that there was a basset horn or a legerdemain, I was left with the first word of 5d p?a?r?e but couldn’t make the connection with a grassy thing.
    I also confidently wrote in rich for 11a .

  4. Wil Ransome says:

    I wasn’t sure about 6ac: perhaps it’s OK to define an escudo as simply currency, which is what it has to be here, since ‘old’ is used in the wordplay, but I can’t help feeling that the solver is being expected to regard an escudo as old currency. And in 18ac I found ‘oddly enough’ a bit odd.

    I think that 11ac could only be RICH if you’re of a certain political persuasion. In 20dn it seems that Cincinnus has made a slip.

    Otherwise excellent as always from Cincinnus. For some reason I was faster on this than usual.

  5. Keeper says:

    Like Bamberger, I quickly wrote in RICH at 11a, which made for some struggles in the NW corner. Fortunately, I got 1a, which led to 2d and 3d and forced me to give 11a another look.

    Wil @4: I don’t see what political persuasion has to do with RICH being a solution to 11a. “The idle rich” seems a common enough (and politically neutral) expression to me (and, as it turns out, the title of a 1929 film).

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