Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,177 – Gaff

Posted by Sil van den Hoek on December 13th, 2012

Sil van den Hoek.

Monday Prize Crossword/Dec 3

When there’s something special going on in the World Of Whatever the FT has its very own cryptic reporter: Gaff.  Unfortunately, the theme of Gaff’s puzzle was given away on beforehand which was a real shame. On top of that, a kind of weird was the fact that the preamble revealed the solution for 8d. While this crossword was perhaps more ‘exciting’ than the usual Monday fare, there were certainly pluses but a few minuses too.

WISDOM (9ac) stumped me as did 19d (STASIS) for a different reason.  Help’s therefore most welcome.

Definitions are underlined wherever possible/appropriate.


1   NUANCE Shade of Vishnu ancestor (6)
    Hidden solution:   [Vish]NU ANCE[stor]
4 RICOCHET A lot of cheese has revolutionary bounce (8)
    RICOT[ta] (a lot of cheese) around CHE (revolutionary)
9 WISDOM Wit (6)
    Non-cryptic definition
    Either this is a silly non-cryptic clue or it is perhaps a moment of genius from Gaff referring to something that has to do with the Turner Prize. However, I don’t know.                                        
10 TWISTER Tie wrist loosely with more turns (8)
    (TIE WRIST)*
12 EDWARDIAN After Victoria and Albert debut, I drew differently (9)
    (AND E[dward] I DREW)*
    This was my favourite clue by a mile or two.
13 LATHE 8 piece of flat heathland (5)
    Hidden solution:   [f]LAT HE[athland]
    Several definitions in this crossword were ‘8 piece’. Here it was just ‘8’ with ‘piece of’ the hidden-indicator. A nice touch.
14 HOME OF THE INCAS Cusco replaced honest chief Mao (4,2,3,5)
20 TEMPO Procedure assembled over time (5)
    Reversal of {OP (procedure, operation) + MET (assembled)}
22 NON-EXEMPT Subject to zero mark – nearly void (3-6)
    NONE (zero) + X (mark) + EMPT (EMPTY (void) minus the final letter)
    Well-constructed clue, but couldn’t find the solution in eg Chambers (with or without hyphen).
24 SOBRIETY Refraining from covering cheese and piece of toast with sauce (8)
    SOY (sauce) around {BRIE (cheese) + T[oast]}
25, 18       CATTLE IN FORMALDEHYDE Description of 8 piece jazz fan let out of French park keeping relaxed (6,2,12)
    {CAT (jazz fan) + (LET)* + DE (of, in French) + HYDE (park)} around INFORMAL (relaxed)
    Damien Hirst
26 SEDATEST Most cool assignations are in class (8)
    DATES (assignations) inside SET (class)
27 OSTYAK Khanty – East German beast (6)
    OST (east, in German) + YAK (beast)
1 NEW DELHI Capital H in treat for foodie (3,5)
    H inside NEW DELI (treat for foodie)
    Very nice nod to the foodie who’s looking for something new, but from a cryptic point of view I would have liked a question mark here.
2, 5 ARSEWOMAN IN WONDERLAND 8 piece band owner’s destination following success taking country seat first (9,2,10)
    WONDERLAND (band owner’s destination, linking the band Alice wore in ‘Through The Looking Glass (1872)’ with the other story Lewis Carroll (and not C.S. Lewis, as I first said) published seven years earlier) coming after {WIN (success) around OMAN (country)}, and all of that preceded by ARSE (seat)
    Phew, very complicated clue – almost Araucarian. And it’s all about Fiona Banner.
3 CHOIR The end missed by heroic confusion of warblers (5)
    Anagram of HEROIC minus [th]E
    Some may not like E for ‘the end’. I am a bit inconsistent when it comes to that. Sometimes I feel that it’s fine, sometimes I find it less attractive. Here I’m not very impressed, but it’s perhaps just a matter of taste. The same applies to the use of the word ‘of’ here.
7 HOIST Raise one in a million, maybe (5)
    I (one) in HOST (a million, maybe)
    Simple construction, but a clue that did the trick for me.
8 TURNER Prize potter (6)
    Double definition (given away by the pramble)
11, 6 SIXTY MINUTES OF SILENCE 8 piece mini cutlery set arranged not right with foxiness (5,7,2,7)
     I’m afraid Gaff is a bit imprecise here. It is really Sixty Minutes Silence by Gillian Wearing. Without the ‘of’.
15 OTOLOGIST Visitor to Oz returns to cover French hotels as The Listener’s expert (9)
    OTOT (reversal of TOTO (visitor of Oz)) around LOGIS (hotels, in French)
16 ASYMMETRY Since award was rejected, attempt with different faces (9)
    AS (since) + YMME (reversal of EMMY (award)) + TRY (attempt)
    I have trouble with the definition here. ‘With different faces’ is surely the wrong part of speech, ‘something with different faces’ doesn’t work either for me, while ‘different faces’ must be ruled out too. Sloppy, in my opinion.
17 NEXT WEEK Reporter kisses jerk after Sunday (4,4)
    Homophone of  ‘NECKS (kisses) TWEAK (jerk)’
    Nice surface, and therefore I understand that Gaff wants ‘reporter’ to be homophone indicator. But placed immediately before the fodder it doesn’t work for me at all.
19 STASIS Inactivity is the way to disclaim warranty (6)
    ST (the way, street) + AS IS
    Here, boys and girls, I need your help!
21 MY BED 8 piece drum-kit playing uninhibitedly affects coldest hearts (2,3)
    The central letters (‘hearts’) of [dru]M[kit] – [pla]Y[ing] – [uninhi]B[itedly] – [aff]E[cts] – [col]D[est]                       Where would we be without Tracey Emin ? 
23 X-RAYS Insightful images (1-4)
    Cryptic definition
    Only one cryptic definition today, and it wasn’t a bad one.

5 Responses to “Financial Times 14,177 – Gaff”

  1. Ilippu says:

    there is a typo.
    23dn should be x-rays?

  2. Alan says:

    Many thanks Sil for the blog.

    As regards stasis, I hope I’m not misunderstanding your question. Stasis is a state or condition in which there is no action or progress (inactivity) and when something is sold “as is” (i.e. “as it is” the state in which you see it), then if you find any fault with it after the purchase, you can’t take it back,as it was up to you to see the fault before agreeing to buy. Hence there is no guarantee offered (the vendor is disclaiming any warranty). Hope I’m not missing something.

  3. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks, Ilippu (and a warm welcome to this site!), the answer’s now tweaked.
    Yes Alan, the definition is not a point, but is “as is” well defined by “(to) disclaim warranty”? Thinking of the right part of speech, for example.

  4. Keeper says:

    Thanks for the blog. FYI, in your explanation for 2,5d, you have C.S. Lewis as the author of the Alice stories; those were written by Lewis Carroll. C.S. Lewis, of course, wrote The Chronicles of Narnia, as well as a host of nonfiction works.

  5. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Oh oh, I always mixed them up … Lewis & Lewis :)
    Thanks, Keeper, now corrected.

    BTW, I am a bit surprised by the low number of comments, given the fact that this was a puzzle that was quite thought-provoking (in my opinion).
    But it is as it is.

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