Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times no.14,186 by Cinephile

Posted by Ringo on December 13th, 2012


I think this makes it two Cinephiles in three weeks for me – what a treat. I thought this was a delight and at the same time (and at risk of being hit with another peacocking charge) rather a doddle. But then, I’m a sucker for a festive-themed puzzle, and the Master has pulled out all the Christmassy stops here. I’m sure, however, that not everyone will have been as happy as I was to bowl tolerantly along with Cinephile’s trademark liberties…


1. MY WORD  Double definition – but can anyone tell me what ‘the gift’ is doing here? A triple definition, alluding to “the gift of the word of wisdom” (Corinthians 2:6)?

4. PALPABLE  B [second (letter)] within pal pal [friends] + E [(compass) point]

9, 7. JINGLE BELLS  Jingle [Alfred Jingle is a roguish actor in Dickens’ Pickwick Papers] + Bells [brand of whisky]: here’s a version of the song that seems appropriate to me, as I sit in an icy office listening to the cricket in India…

10. CAROLLER  [caught] + aroller [wave]

12. SPECTRUM  P [piano, quiet] within sect [religious group] + rum [funny]

13. CRUSOE  Anagram of course

15. YULE  Sounds like you’ll [solver’s going to]

16. SANTA CLAUS  Anagram of Catalans + US [America]

19. COS LETTUCE  Anagram of soul etc etc

20. IBIS  [1, first] + b(irds) + is

23. MALADY  Lad [boy] within May [spring]

25. AUTOCRAT  Au [chemical symbol of gold] + anagram of to cart

27. INSTANCE  In [fashionable] + stance [attitude]

28. HEARTH  Heart [one of a suit in a deck of cards] + H [abbreviation of same]

29, 2. GOOD KING WENCESLAS  Anagram of soc(iety) gains knowledge

30. FOSSIL  SS [vessel] within foil [counterweight]


1. MAJESTY  Jest [joke] within May

2. See 29ac.

3. RELATE  Double definition

5. ADAM  A dam [mother]

6. PROTRACT  Pro [expert] + tract [piece of writing]

7. See 9ac.

8. EARLESS  Looks like ear-less [apparently deaf]

11. KUWAITI  Reversal of UK [this country] + wait [Christmas singer] + I [one]

14. STUCK UP  Double definition

17. AMBERGRIS  Anagram of GM [Grand Master] Barries

18. FEEDBACK  Fee’d [professional, paid] + back [footballer]

19. CAMPING  Rather dismal pun on in tent

21. SATCHEL  Hidden in flowerS AT CHELsea

22. BOLERO  Reversal of lob [throw] + (h)ero [protagonist]

24. LASSO  Lass [girl] + O [zero, love]; I think the same clue was in the Guardian not long since

26. ICON  I + con [study]

7 Responses to “Financial Times no.14,186 by Cinephile”

  1. morphiamonet says:

    Thanks Cinephile and Ringo.

    At the easier end I thought, except, could someone explain “wait” christmas singer for me?

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Hi morphiamonet
    From Chambers under ‘wait':

    6. (in pl) people who welcome in Christmas by playing or singing out of doors at night
    7. A member of a Christmas band or town band of waits

  3. JollySwagman says:

    @m #1 – I didn’t twig that until it was explained to me on the G thread. It does indeed mean a Christmas singer and can equally mean an instrumental musician. Various dictionaries have it and my old Collins Encyclopedia of Music has it, but I’d never come across the term myself despite having worked in that field.

    Initially I thought it was an error for Tom Waits but that left Christmas as a spare word – googling didn’t help but googling “wait definition” takes you to some entries.

  4. Alan says:

    Thanks for the blog!

    As regards “the gift”. I though it was a reference to the expression “I give you my word”, meaning “I promise”, and since one always gives a word, then it is a gift

  5. Brian M says:

    I could never get to grips with Cinephile, to the extent that if his name appeared above the crossword I stopped even trying. But after I got 1 ac at first glance today I thought I’d persevere, and I did pretty well! I’d never come across ‘wait’ in that context either, and I didn’t think that ‘Earless’ was a real title, but nothing else fit!

    For the first half of the ‘Bells’ answer, I was racking my brain to come up with the name of the old Jethro Tull Christmas song, but eventually remembered it was ‘Solstice Bells’, so that was no good. I should have thought of ‘Jingle’, even without having read Pickwick Papers!

    Thanks Ringo

  6. Ringo says:

    Thanks for the comments, all. I thought ‘wait’ might have tripped a few up; I had to double-check it myself.

    Jolly Swagman @3: the inclusion of a Tom Waits mention is the only thing that could have improved this puzzle (not very Christmassy though!)

    Alan @4: aha, yes, that makes sense – thanks for clearing it up.

    Brian @5: if ‘Solstice Bells’ came to mind before ‘Jingle Bells’ you must really be a hardcore Tull fan!

  7. fearsome says:

    thanks Ringo and Cinephile, I remembered “wait” from an old crossword possibly an Araucaria Xmas special but then could not parse the “fee’d” of feedback. Tom Waits references are always welcome in my house, he is currently singing about being it being colder than a well digger’s ass….

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