Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,188 by Cinephile

Posted by Pete Maclean on December 29th, 2012

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of 15 December, 2012

I found the upper half of this puzzle to be easy and the lower half difficult. And overall, I find it rather unsatisfactory. I grant that it has one very fine clue, 18D (TOCCATA), but it also has three obscure answers (OENOTHERA, PHTHALATE and EWE-LAMB) which are made all the more difficult by the fact that they intersect. I was lucky enough to know PHTHALATE, and OENOTHERA was one I easily found in a pattern-matching dictionary but EWE-LAMB took me a while being complicated further by a definition (“precious possession”) that is, I believe, not the term’s most common meaning (i.e. “female lamb”). And there are a couple of other definitions and devices that may be somewhat questionable.

1. JAUNDICED – JA (German agreement) + UNDICED (not divided into little squares)
6. MET UP – ME (setter) + TUP (ram)
9. REBECCA – REBEC (old fiddle) + CA (accountant)
10. SPUMOUS – UPS (good times) + MOUS[e] (docked animal)
11. ZORRO – anagram of RAZOR with O replacing A
12. INSATIATE – anagram of TEA STAIN
14, 15. HOT WATER BOTTLE – HOT WATER (trouble) + BOTTLE (courage)
17, 19. CORPORATION TAX – RP (standard) + ORATION (speech) + TA (thanks) all in COX (navigator). I am unsure but assuming that RP here stands for Received Pronunciation which, if correct, means that ‘speech’ seems to be doing double duty.
20. NINETIETH – I (I) + NET (catch) + I (one) in anagram of THEN
22. TACIT – hidden word
24. YEAR DOT – anagram of READY TO
26. EWE LAMB – [j]EWEL (stone topped) + AMB[er]
27. DITTY – TT (on wagon, i.e. teetotal) in DIY (homework)
28. PHTHALATE – anagram of HEALTH APT

1. JEREZ – J[ust] + ERE (before) + Z (the last)
2. UNBURNT – [s]UNBURNT (tanned topped)
3. DOCTOR WHO – DOCTOR (third degree) + WHO (question)
4. CHARIOT RACE – RIO (South American city) in CHAT (talk)
5, 6. DISMOUNT – ??? + MOUNT (Erebus). Mt. Erebus is a volcano in Antarctica and probably the best known mountain on that continent. But it is not clear to me how DIS is clued.
7. TWO-PART – WOP (Latino offensively) in TART (bad girl)
8. PAS DE DEUX – anagram of USED + DE (notes) in PAX (peace)
13. STRAIGHTEST – anagram of ART in SIGH (express regret) + TEST (exam)
14. HACKNEYED – NEY (marshal) in HACKED (acquired information). The acquisition of information may be a result of hacking in the sense that this verb is used today but does it properly mean ‘acquire information’?
16. OENOTHERA – anagram of ONE + OTHER A (different one, again). Oenothera is a genus of flowers in the Evening Primrose family.
18. RENT ACT – [child]REN + TACT (diplomacy)
19. TOCCATA – O (round) in anagram of ACTACT (two acts)
21. TEDDY – T (model) + EDDY (revolver)
23, 25. TABLE TOP – TABLET (pill) + OP (work)

5 Responses to “Financial Times 14,188 by Cinephile”

  1. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks, Pete.
    Unlike you, I liked this Cinephile very much – one coming close to his Guardian offerings (as Araucaria).

    In 17,19 – for me – RP equals “standard speech”.

    As to DISMOUNT (5,6d), I see it as follows. Erebus is not just a Mount, but also the Greek God of the Underworld (DIS) [or even DIS itself]. So Erebus could be a DIS MOUNT, then becoming DISMOUNT (“in a (ie one) word”). And there is a question mark at the end of the clue.

  2. Bamberger says:

    I don’t like using aids but I decided that there was no point in trying a Cinephile without them. I got most of the answers but even then failed on 1d, 9a, 11a, 7d and 26a.

    Enjoyment factor low, irritation factor high for the reasons that Pete has set out. No doubt the Araucaria fan club will dismiss them as the wily old devil taking liberties despite being criticising similar “liberties” in clues by other setters.

    Thanks for the blog .

  3. Pete Maclean says:

    Sil, Thank you for that explanation of DISMOUNT. I had missed that DIS is a name for the ruler of the underworld although I have come across that before. So it is a cleverer clue than I had imagined although still not totally clear.

  4. fearsome says:

    Thanks Cinephile and Pete
    I remember struggling with this crossword and think Phthalate was my last in – which annoyed me as I am a chemist so I should have got it earlier. As a fully paid up member of the Araucaria fan club (= I get 1 across magazine) I don’t complain about his liberties even when it means that the clue defeats me. I see it as the price to pay for when his imaginative cluing pays off with a wonderful clue.

  5. Pete Maclean says:

    Fearsome, Thank you for commenting. I was rather proud of myself for getting PHTHALATE. And, lest anyone derive a different impression, let me say that I am a fan of John Graham too and have been enjoying Cinephile puzzles for decades. All the same, I am not impressed by everything he does and I am a fan who is very ready to criticise.

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