Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,147 – Dante

Posted by Sil van den Hoek on November 8th, 2012

Sil van den Hoek.

Monday Prize Crossword/ Oct 29

I have to confess that, despite some very easy clues, I found this the hardest Dante crossword  I’ve ever solved, or better: tried to solve. Probably due to the fact that a third (yes, a third !!) of the clues fell into the category “Cryptic Definition”, I could, after a few sessions, only get about 75%. But then there’s always my PinC.  With her invaluable help, I  made some progress, even though two clues were still lost on me/us (19d, 22ac).

Dante/Rufus always being (too) easy?  I would say, RCW (at another place) eat your heart out! As usual, The Dictionary had the final word. So, I hope everything’s fallen into place.

Definitions are underlined wherever possible/appropriate.


1 LAPTOP Aid for businessman likely to go in cut (6)
    APT (likely) inside LOP (cut)
4 OCEAN-BED    Yet it’s not the place for a deep sleep (5-3)
    Cryptic definition
    Dante alludes to ‘the deep’ being the sea (or, as here, the ocean) which is a rather nice in combination with ‘sleep’. But I do not see the need for the first part of the clue. I think I would have preferred “Place for a deep sleep?”
9 BEREFT Deprived – due to faulty beer measure! (6)
    (BEER)* + FT (measure, foot)
10    MISTRESS I’m set back by the strain of being a teacher (8)
    MI (reversal of I’M) + STRESS ((the) strain)
12 ACCOLADE Royalty’s own touch of honour (8)
    Cryptic definition (or perhaps a Double definition)
    The OED tells me: “A touch on a person’s shoulders with a sword at the bestowing of a knighthood”, while an ACCOLADE can be some kind of praise in general too.
13 SMOKER The object of his match is a draw (6)
    Cryptic definition
    Some cd’s are quite good, aren’t they? And if you don’t like this one, I challenge you to come up with a better one for it – they’re so hard to write (IMO).
15 SLUG Live ammunition? (4)
    Cryptic definition
    One of our last entries. My beloved PinC knew that slugs were ammunition. So there you are, not just shooting at living creatures, also with them! :)
16 PROMONTORY    Head ball on to right winger (10)
    PROM (ball) + ON + TORY (right winger)
    Another one that my PinC helped me with. I did not know this word. On second thoughts, I see TO and R (right) here after The Dance which could be avoided by hyphenating right-winger (as I think it should have been anyway).
19 PHENOMENON    Men on phone exchange will be a rarity (10)
    Nice anagram.
20    IFFY Sheriff yet to catch suspect (4)
    Hidden solution:   [sher]IFF Y[et]
22 ERE NOW This has been used poetically in the past (3,3)
    Cryptic definition
    My penultimate entry – Can you blame me?
24 BELABOUR Beat this for a political slogan (8)
    BE  LABOUR could be ‘a political slogan’
27 GO TO SEED    Get blooming old? (2,2,4)
    Cryptic definition (or Double definition with a cryptic flavour)
28 BOGOTA Capital of Tobago? Wrong! (6)
29 SNAPSHOT A picture of vessels returning gunfire (8)
    SNAP (reversal of PANS (vessels)) + SHOT (gunfire)
30 BAY RUM    Something the barber may rub around? (3,3)
    (MAY RUB)*
    The definition is meant to be the clue as a whole.
1 LIBRANS According to their horoscope their life is in the balance (7)
    Cryptic definition
    An allusion to those born under the sign of Libra (meaning: balance).
2 PARACHUTE    Used for getting in the drink – after opening time? (9)
    Cryptic definition
    It took a while to get this. “The drink” is the sea. That said, I think most paras like to land on Mother Earth. The word “time” was a bit don’t-know-how-to-say-it, but I can see where Dante’s coming from. Nice idea.
3 OFFAL Refuse of autumn left out (5)
    OF + FAL[l] (autumn, minus the final L (left))
5 COIF Firm provided headgear (4)
    CO (firm) + IF (provided)
6 ANTIMONY    One element that may be split into many (8)
    (INTO MANY)*
7 BLEAK Novel house, but starting to let rain in (5)
    B[ut] + LEAK (to let rain in)
    The definition referring to “Bleak House”, a novel written by Charles Dickens 170 years ago.
8 DESTROY Make converse? (7)
    Cryptic definition
    “To destroy” is the opposite of  “to make”. Phew!
11 ADORNED Put on finery and rode out (7)
    (AND RODE)*
14 EMPOWER Give authority to mounted soldiers to secure prisoner (7)
    EMER (reversal of REME (soldiers)) around POW (prisoner, Prisoner Of War)
17    OFF-COLOUR    Away from business, look gloomy and out of sorts (3-6)
    OFF (away from business) + COLOUR (look gloomy)
18 COLOSSUS Company with deficit states huge figure (8)
    CO (company) + LOSS (deficit) +US (states, United they are)
19 PLEDGES Loyal toasts drunk in hock, presumably (7)
    Double/Cryptic definition
    My last entry. I didn’t know about these toasts but the dictionaries are clear about it. As to the second part, “in hock” means “in debt”. And PLEDGES can be “deposits for a personal property as security for a debt”.
21 YARD-ARM    Where a suspended sentence was carried out for old sailors (4-3)
    Cryptic definition
    Not really an attractive imagery.
23 EXTRA Run out of pictures to put up (5)
    EX (out of) + TRA (reversal of ART (pictures))
25 AROMA A Roman nose initially put off the scent (5)
    A ROMA[n] (the letter deleted being the first one of ‘nose’)
26 VETO New vote for prohibition (4)


5 Responses to “Financial Times 14,147 – Dante”

  1. Pelham Barton says:

    Hi Sil. I think in 4ac, Dante is suggesting that if you fall asleep on the ocean bed, you will not do yourself a lot of good.

  2. Bamberger says:

    I only failed on the first word in 4a, 22a (would never have got that) and 23d.
    Must be a wavelength thing because I thought this was one of the gentler Dante’s.

    But it isn’t me suddenly getting better -I had a miserable experience with Dogberry 14152.

  3. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Well, Bamberger, it’s perhaps I am someone who likes crosswords based on constructions more than those based on allusions (ie cryptic definitions). There were really too many of them today, IMO.
    For the same reason, Dogberry (aka Shed in the Guardian) was more my cup of tea. But then, I know what to expect.
    As I always say “we are all different, aren’t we?”

  4. John Newman says:


    I have been on holidays so missed this blog, which is a pity becaue I have a bit to say. So I will lodge this and draw your attention to it when your next blog appears.

    I agree with your sentiments entirely. This is the hardest Dante I have seen. But it is hard because a couple of the cryptic clues are ridiculous. 4A. Ocean bed is a nonsense of an answer to the clue. It doesn’t work in any way you look at it. The sensible answer is Water bed. It is a place to sleep. But it doesn’t work with the down clues. I wondered whether in England, water beds are called acqua beds. That would give me COIF for 5D but left me with no clue how to get 6d. 6D is another clue which simply does not work.

    15A. SLUG. How does this work? A slug is a bullet but these two-word clues are meant to provide an answer which fits both words. How does Live = Slug? I had wondered wheter SHOT might work in a peverse sort of way given the question mark.

    I can’t see 24A. Doesn’t maske sense to me.

    I didn’t have a problem with PROMONTORY. But, like you, 13A was a problem for me. Yes I can come up with a better answer – Hooker. i.e. the little guy in the middle of the front row of a scrum. It is a rugby match and he has to draw the ball into his pack.

    And finally we come to 2D. Like you I thought PARACHUTE a poor answer as a parachutist defintely doesn’t want to end up in the drink. A better answer is PERISCOPE. But of course it doesn’t fit with the across clues.

    I like DANTE and I love his wicked sense of humour. Little girl holding little boy’s pencil is my absolute favourite followed by Two girls one on each knee. You would like these because they are constructed clues. But I also like the cryptic ones. Get Blooming Old is very good. But if Mr Squires wants to use cryptic clues, and please I hope he continues to do so, despite the fact that they are hard to write, he should perhaps check that they do not hamper our efforts to get the interlocking clues when there is more than one answer to them.

  5. John Newman says:


    I should add that I do not have difficulty with 19D and 22A. The definition you give for Pledges is just so. The use of the word hock aluding to a drink is a clever misdirection.

    22A I think works this way: “This has been used poetically” is a definition. And “In the past” is another definition – i.e. it is what ere now means.

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>

2 × = eight