Posted by Pete Maclean on December 29th, 2012
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)