Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times N° 14,172 by Crux

Posted by PeterO on November 27th, 2012


If I had not been told otherwise, I might have taken this for a Rufus – or should I say Dante? – and none the worse for that.

Maybe there is a difference of tone, but the cryptic definitions are there in force,  and there is even the nautical reference at 16A. 7D and 27D are rather familiar.

1 PASSED Failed to bid spades, surprisingly (6)
An anagram (‘surprisingly’) of ‘spades’.
4 SEASCAPE Watercolour? (8)
Cryptic definition.
10 GESTAPO Men in black exposed in postage fddle (7)
An anagram (‘fiddle’) of ‘postage’.
11 EXAMINE Investigate test in English (7)
A charade of EXAM (‘test’) plus ‘in’ plus E (‘English’).
12 ACER One starts roosting in a maple tree (4)
A charade of ACE (‘one’) plus R (‘starts Roosting’), for the maple genus.
13 AT THIS TIME Items that I need to reorder right now (2,4,4)
An anagram (‘need to reorder’) of ‘items that I’.
15 LADIES Main concern of young man with odd ideas? (6)
A charade of LAD (‘young man’) plus I[d]E[a]S (‘odd ideas’). Semi-&lit, but what’s so odd about that?
16 TRIREME Empty tanker takes on one army corps for Greek warship (7)
A charade of TR (’empty TankeR‘) plus I (‘one’) plus REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanichal Engineers; ‘army corps’).
20 WRITERS Bookmakers work in them risk picking the odds (7)
Alternate letters (‘picking the odds’) of ‘WoRk In ThEm RiSk’.
21 ACCRUE A number of men told to mount up (6)
A homophone (‘told’) of A CREW (‘a number of men’).
24 ALCHEMISTS Gold prospectors once, doomed to failure (10)
Cryptic definition.
26 PART Yet it means everything to an actor (4)
Cryptic definition.
28 MARCONI Polo ponies’ centre supplying famous Italian (7)
A charade of MARCO (‘Polo’, the explorer) plus NI (‘poNIes centre’).
29 CARDIAC Jack possibly needs one on account of his heart (7)
A charade of CARD (‘jack possibly’) plus I (‘one’) plus AC (‘account’).
30 SHINDIGS Noisy parties in lodgings start off quiet (8)
A charade of SH (‘quiet’) plus ‘in’ plus DIGS (‘lodgings’).
31 BEFELL Happened to be cut down (6)
A charade of ‘be’ plus FELL (‘cut down’).
1 PIGTAILS Queues for stories like Animal Farm, you could say (8)
A homophone (‘you could say’) of PIG TALES.
2 SUSPENDER Shopaholic needs us to provide material support (9)
An envelope (‘needs’) of ‘us’ in SPENDER (‘shopaholic’).
3 ELAN An antelope’s short dash (4)
A subtraction (‘short’) of ELAN[d] (‘antelope’).
5 EYECHART One’s letters get harder to read (8)
Cryptic definition. I was not put off by the enumeration as a single word, although I can only find it as two. The getting ‘harder to read’ bit might refer to the progressive reduction in letter size, or the increasing difficulty with age. Having renewed my driving licence today, I will go with the latter!
6 STARSTRUCK Thrilled by celebrity, or attacked by one! (10)
Definiton and literal interpretation.
7 ALIBI First person to uphold a liberal defence (5)
A charade of ‘a’ plus LIB (‘liberal’) plus I (‘first person’ singular).
8 ELEVEN Sporting side appearing in Mexico (6)
A sort of hidden answer (‘appearing in’) in ‘MeXIco’.
9, 18 POTTY TRAINING Crazy instruction the young must sit through (5,8)
(Cryptic) definition and literal interpretation.
14 CENTREFOLD Where nude models may appear with body piercings (10)
Cryptic definition; I take it that the ‘body piercing’ refers to staples.
17 MARGARINE Fat horse fed with special grain (9)
An envelope (‘fed with’) of GARIN, an anagram (‘special’) of ‘grain’ in MARE (‘horse’).
18 See 9
See 9
19 VERTICAL Not laid down by Article V, possibly (8)
An anagram (‘possibly’) of ‘article V’.
22 PATMOS Greek island, quiet, with atmosphere – not half! (6)
A charade of P (‘quiet’) plus ‘ATMOS[phere]’ (‘not half’).
23 STICK School punishment once applied to staff! (5)
Double definition.
25 CORGI Queen’s favourite company with right sort of soldier (5)
A charade of CO (‘company’) plus R (‘right’) plus GI (‘sort of soldier’).
27 BRAE Bank of Scotland needs support introducing euro (4)
A charade of BRA (‘support’) plus E (‘introducing Euro’). Brae seems to be the flavour of the month among setters.

4 Responses to “Financial Times N° 14,172 by Crux”

  1. MikeC says:

    Thanks PeterO and Crux. Not too hard but enjoyable. Nevertheless, I failed on 5d. Even with all the crossing letters, I couldn’t see it, and the Word Wizard didn’t bring it up.

  2. mike04 says:

    Thanks Crux and PeterO.

    I thought the CENTREFOLD/ALCHEMISTS crossing was quite tricky today and I didn’t feel
    very confident about EYECHART. EYECHART (or EYE CHART) seems to be in common usage.
    Does it appear in any of the usual paper dictionaries? If so, I haven’t found it yet.

    Clutching at straws to defend 15ac: for a “young” man – GIRLS?

  3. Sil van den Hoek says:

    “If I had not been told otherwise, I might have taken this for a Rufus – or should I say Dante?”

    I have blogged many puzzles by Crux, but I always considered his weak point to be cryptic definitions. And rightly so. There are too many of them today, and some are pretty poor: 4ac, 24ac, 5d, 14d.

    Usually, Crux isn’t like Dante at all. Crux is a setter who – unlike Dante – goes for (often original) constructions.
    Not hard, but elegant and, as I said, original.

    I didn’t like this crossword.
    ACER (12ac): One starts roosting? Starts?
    In 30ac, why is “lodgings” equal to “digs”?

    To be fair to Crux, I did like some clues.
    20ac (WRITERS) and LADIES (15ac). Also MARCONI @26ac.
    But it is just not enough to convince me of the quality of this crossword.

    Thank you, Peter O.

  4. Musca says:

    Just one very late comment, in answer to Sil: “Digs” is an informal word for “lodgings”!

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