Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14166 Phssthpok

Posted by scchua on November 20th, 2012


A tricky puzzle, with clues requiring the solver to break them in the appropriate places, eg. 17a, 19a, 24a, and 5d.  But all fair and enjoyable.  Thanks to Phssthpok.  Definitions are underlined in the clues. [[The pictures at the bottom have unidentified links to the puzzle.]]

1 Wallowing in obsession with airline (7)

BATHING : THING(an obsession;fixation, as in “he’s got a thing for blondes”) placed after(with) BA(abbrev. for British Airways).

5 Protection from sky or land (3,3)

AIR BAG : AIR(space above earth;sky) + BAG(to land, eg. a prize). I’m not sure of the significance of “or” as opposed to, say, “and”.

Answer: Protection, in case of collisions, for vehicle drivers and passengers on land, and also for aircraft pilots in the sky, and even for spacecraft.

8 Ruler courts mark of approval (9)

YARDSTICK : YARDS(courts;open spaces surrounded by buildings) + TICK(the mark, ? , to indicate correctness;approval as opposed to an “x”).

Answer:  Literally, a measuring stick, well, a yard long.

9 Throws up boundary for discussion (5)

SICKS : Homophone of(for discussion) “six”(the score in cricket resulting from a hit where the ball crosses the boundary without hitting the ground. It could also mean a score of 4 runs if the ball touches the ground on its way, but “four” obviously doesn’t fit).

Defn: Vomits as a verb.

11 Knot of love in bouquet (5)

NOOSE : O(the letter that looks like 0;love in tennis scores) contained in (in) NOSE(the bouquet;the characteristic aroma or fragrance of a wine or liquer).

12 Mine chases red stone (6-3)

CHERRY-PIT : PIT(a hole in the ground for extracting minerals;a mine) placed after(chases) CHERRY(the red colour).

13 Without resistance, rotated to different beat (8)

TATTOOED : Anagram of(different) {“rotated to” minus(without) “r”(abbrev. for electrical resistance in physics)}.

Answer: Past tense of “to tattoo”;”beat” on a drum, formerly used to signal soldiers to return to their quarters.

15 Ticket to stunt performing (6)

COUPON : COUP(a stunt;an act of outstanding skill or daring) + ON(performing, as in “who’s on at the Old Vic?”.

17 Artificial sweeteners last three times foremost ingredient of extreme characters (6)

ERSATZ : ERS(the last three letters of “sweeteners”) + [T{the first letter of(foremost) "times"} contained in(ingredient of) A,Z(the 1st and last letters;extreme characters of the English alphabet)]. A very tricky clue.

19 Spooky sorceress beheaded after draining energy from tribal chief (8)

ELDRITCH : ITCH{“witch”(sorceress) minus 1st letter(beheaded)} placed after(after) ELDR{“elder”(tribal chief) minus(draining) its 2nd “e”(abbrev. for “energy” in pyhsics).

Answer: A poetic Scottish word.

22 Move for dance to be a square dance (9)

ARABESQUE : Anagram of(dance) BE A SQUARE.

23 Protection for film gangster losing highest card (5)

SCARF : “Scarface”(nickname for the gangster in the Al Pacino film of the same name) minus(losing) “ace”(the highest score card in the deck).

Answer: Another protective piece, this time from the cold.

24 Below par, score drugs with silver left inside (5)

EAGLE : E,E(2 x abbrev. for the drug, Ecstasy) containing(with … inside) [AG(chemical symbol for the element silver) + L(abbrev. for "left")].

Answer: A score that is two strokes below par for the hole in golf, the sport where to be “below par” is to be above par.

25 Love a party piece (9)

ADORATION : A + DO(a party;a social function) + RATION(a piece;a share of).

26 Afterthought to cage horse with lions (6)

PRIDES : PS(abbrev. for a “postscript”;an afterthought) containing(to cage) RIDE(a means of transportation, a horse in this case).

27 Chemical affecting frequency of lice infestation? (7)

NITRATE : A whimsical term for the rate(frequency) of nits(lice) infestation.

1 Unthinkable to go after the feeble (6,3,4)

BEYOND THE PALE : BEYOND(after;past) + THE + PALE(faint;feeble, as in “a pale rendition”).

Answer: Beyond the limits of propriety;beyond contemplation;unthinkable.

2 Eject from horse racing abroad (4,3)

TURF OUT :  I only got this one from consulting a higher authority on crosswords.  It’s TURF(“the turf” being the metonym for “horse racing” as a sport or industry, as in the euphemistic “Turf Accountants”) + OUT(abroad;out of the country).  I got hung up trying to explain TURN OUT.

Answer:  As in “we were turfed out of the bar”.

3 Is Susan bonding with children? (5)

ISSUE : IS plus(… bonding with) SUE(short for Susan).

4 Good locust irritates bugs (8)

GLITCHES : G(abbrev. for “good”) + L{initial letter of(head) “locust”} + ITCHES(irritates).

Answer: Errors in software code that prevent it from running properly;bugs.

5 Joint centre for costume jewellery (6)

ANKLET : ANKLE(the joint in your leg) + T{the middle letter of(centre for) “costume”}.

6 Internal parts for spare servo I rescued from depot (9)

RESERVOIR : Hidden in(internal parts for) spaRE SERVO I Rescued.

Answer: A place where one stores (a reserve quantity).

7 Coppola directed spirits with youthful appeal (7)

ALCOPOP : Anagram of(directed) COPPOLA.

Answer: Alcoholic drinks;spirits premixed with fruit juices or soft drinks, making them look and taste more like soda pop and more appealing to younger drinkers.

10 Be unable to decide how to detain criminal? (3,2,3,5)

SIT ON THE FENCE : Another whimsy of how to literally detain a criminal receiver of stolen goods.

14 Continously (sic) sheltering those people in recovery (2,3,4)

ON THE MEND : ON END(continuously, as in “the honeymoon couple did it for hours on end”) containing(sheltering) THEM(those people).

16 Fluorescent crystal goes down toilet (4,4)

BLUE JOHN : BLUE(down;depressed) + JOHN(slang for a toilet).

Answer: Derbyshire Blue John in full, a semi-precious ornamental crystalline form of the mineral feldspar.

18 Boast of success with bet winning a grand (7)

SWAGGER : S(abbrev. for “success”) plus(with) WAGER(a bet) containing(winning) G(abbrev. for a grand;slang for 1000 pounds or dollars).

20 Empress poisons soldiers with nerve gas (7)

TSARINA : TA(abbrev. for the British Territorial Army;soldiers) containing(poisons … with) SARIN(a nerve gas).

Defn: Of Russia.

21 Peers at sign (6)

EQUALS : Double defn: 1st: Members of equal rank in a group; and 2nd: The sign “=” for the LHS “equals” the RHS.

23 Old wound takes time to plug (5)

SCART : SCAR(old wound) plus( ) T(abbrev. for “time”).

Answer: Abbrev. for Syndicat des Constructeurs d’Appareils Radiorécepteurs et Téléviseurs (translated as Radio and Television Receiver Manufacturers’ Association), which gave its name to the French-originated plug to connect audio-visual equipment designed in the 1970s. Now obsolete.



3 Responses to “Financial Times 14166 Phssthpok”

  1. James says:

    An excellent puzzle, I thought- I am trialling the FT (usually a Guardian man) and this is my favourite crossword in the week or so of my trial.

    I got BASKING for 1a (parsed as “BA’s king), so ended up guessing SORT OUT for 1d. Other than that, an enjoyable and fair diversion, certainly no walk in the park, and with a lot of variety in clueing devices. Excellent.

  2. scchua says:

    Welcome James, to the FT category of the site. I hope you’ll keep on doing the FT – I’ve always wondered why the number of FT solvers pales in comparison to that of, say, the Guardian.

  3. rowland says:

    I normally laud the FT, which is now right up there with the best I think. Certainly giving The G a good run for its money! Today’s had some annoying link words, the ‘or’ that was mentioned, and ‘goes’ just for two.

    Cheers and thanks to scchua and setter.

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