Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14217 Crux

Posted by scchua on January 22nd, 2013


Though quick, solving this was quite enjoyable with some clever surfaces and devices.  Thank you to Crux.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  [[The pictures at the bottom have unidentified links to the puzzle.]]

1 Generosity displayed by leader of Samaritans, say (8)

LARGESSE : Homophone of(say) “large S”, the uppercase letter that’s the initial letter of(leader of) the word “Samaritans”. And of course, Samaritans, by definition, display generosity.

5 Not quite accurate summary (6)

PRECIS : “precise”(accurate;exact) minus its last letter(not quite).

9 How to impress a sailor in the big city (8)

SHANGHAI : Double defn: 1st: To coerce;impress someone, as done by the once Press Gangs, into naval service – I guess “how” is there for the surface, since to shanghai is to impress; and 2nd: The big (and most populous) city and seaport in China, which gave its name to the 1st defn., presumably because a lot of those shanghaied sailors ended up on ships sailing there (or at least in that direction).

10 Clever bit of songwriting that Sting does (6)

SMARTS : SMART(clever) + initial letter of(bit of) “songwriting”. Nice surface as Sting has done a bit (in fact, quite a bit) of songwriting.

Answer: What a bee (or wasp or any of various insects) sting does.

12 Animal more excited if given head’s start (5)

OTTER : One gets “hotter”(more excited, as in “getting hot under the collar”, especially on encountering an exciting hot bod) if “otter” is given the initial letter of(…’s start) “head”.

13 White rose cultivated differently (9)

OTHERWISE : Anagram of(cultivated) WHITE ROSE.

14 Soar aloft, like Chelsea’s first goal (6)

ASCEND : AS(similar to;like, as in “good as gold”) + initial letter of(…’s first) “Chelsea” + END(goal;objective;that which “justifies the means”?).

16 Sails south to conduct survey (7)

CANVASS : CANVAS(collective word for ships sails, from the material used for making them) + S(abbrev. for “south”).

Answer: To conduct a survey, as in “to canvass the voters’ opinions” – and to solicit their votes.

19 Social climber put off acquiring celebrity (7)

UPSTART : Anagram of(off) PUT containing(acquiring) STAR(a celebrity).

21 Mark time in one’s declining years (6)

DOTAGE : DOT(a small roundish mark, eg. in “fifteensquared dot net”) + AGE(a length of time).

Answer: Increasing in age, but declining in faculties, and hopefully not becoming too dotty.

23 Period of confinement, apparently, enjoyed in America! (6,3)

LABOUR DAY : Cryptic defn: LABOUR DAY(cryptically;apparently, the period of confinement for a would-be mother at imminent delivery of the baby, which period could possibly stretch into a full day).

Answer: The first Monday in September, a holiday in America to celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers. On the other hand, Labour (as opposed to Labor) Day is celebrated in many countries on 1 May regardless what day it falls on, hence the specific reference to America’s enjoyment of the long weekend break.

25 Only solution that contains disinfectant (5)

LYSOL : Hidden in(that contains) “Only solution“.

Answer: The trademark for the solution of cresols in water used as a disinfectant and antiseptic.  Lysol advertising then (1940s) and now:


26 Middle Eastern relations go into digs (6)

TAUNTS : The middle letter of “Eastern” + AUNTS(relatives;relations).

Answer: Snide remarks;gibes.

27 Widespread female fighting force about to take a breather (3-5)

FAR-FLUNG : F(abbrev. for “female”) + anagram of(about) RAF(the British aerial fighting force) plus(to take) LUNG(the organ that takes in the air you breathe;a breather). Which reminds me:

Doctor (putting stethoscope on chest): Big breaths!

Patient: Yeth, thank you! And I’m only thigthteen.

28 Nonentity who can square the circle? (6)

NOBODY : Cryptic defn: Reference to the mathematical problem of constructing a square equal in area to a circle in a finite number of steps with a compass and ruler. Now proven to be impossible and therefore nobody can or ever will do it.

29 Some actors follow directions when making 18 (8)

NEWSCAST : CAST(some actors;those in a film or play) placed after(follow) N,E,W,S(the four compass directions).

Answer: A news bulletin(answer to 18down) made over the radio or on television.

1 Learning experience we might have with global warming? (6)

LESSON : Cryptic defn: A literal interpretation of global warming;a worldwide temperature increase might mean that we go around having less covering/clothing on.

2 Heaps will fail them (4,5)

ROAD TESTS : Cryptic defn: Reference to test drives in road vehicles performed by the likes of Jeremy Clarkson, and the jalopies;heaps that will be found wanting.

3 Agree to differ, like one who can’t wait (5)

EAGER : Anagram of(to differ) AGREE.

Answer: Like an eager beaver.

4 Ordeals suffered by naval man (3,4)

SEA LORD : Anagram of(suffered) ORDEALS.

Answer: Either of 2 senior serving naval officers sitting in the UK Ministry of Defence.

6 Old master to take class in new term (9)

REMBRANDT : BRAND(a class;a kind;a type of persons or things with common attributes, characteristics, qualities, etc. regarded as forming a group) contained in(in) anagram of(new) TERM.

Answer:  van Rijn, 17th century Dutch master painter, with biblical and mythogical scenes the subject of many of his paintings.

(I’m sure they didn’t have Lysol in those days, so what did she use?)

7 HM’s best friend? (5)

CORGI : Cryptic defn: If a dog is man’s best friend, then the corgi is Her Majesty the Queen’s.

8 Old poet endlessly us around causing anxiety (8)

SUSPENSE : “Spenser”(Edmund, 16th century English poet) minus its last letter(endlessly) placed after(follows) reversal of(around) “US “.

11 With it a bird lacks perception (4)

CHIC : “chicken”(a fowl) minus(lacks) “ken”(perception;knowledge;understanding).

Answer: Fashionable;with it.

15 Caveat due for revision is abandoned (9)

EVACUATED : Anagram of(for revision) CAVEAT DUE.

17 Rabbit with some stuffing in adds that special favour (9)

ANGOSTURA : ANGORA(a breed of rabbits raised for its long silky hair) containing(with … in) first 3 letters of(some) “stuffing”.

Answer: The drink, bitters, made from the bark of certain citrus trees, originally made in the town of the same name in Venezuela. It is often added to cocktails for that special flavour – and tasting nothing like stuffed rabbits.

18 What loaded gun had, shown in report (8)

BULLETIN : Cryptic defn: A loaded gun would have had a bullet (or more) in its chamber/clip.

Answer: A report;statement issued for the information to the public.

20 Substantial  order (4)

TIDY : Double defn: 1st: Quite a bit, as in “her ring must have cost him a tidy sum”; and 2nd: To (put in) order.

21 24-hour supervision – what some mothers need! (3,4)

DAY CARE : DAY(a period of 24 hours) + CARE(supervision;protective control, as in “someone in doctor’s care”).

Answer: What working mothers need for their children during the workday.

22 Minor  insult (6)

SLIGHT : Double defn: 2nd: A snub;an act or omission showing disrespect;an insult.

24 Obscure blood group printed on jacket (5)

BLURB : BLUR(to obscure;to make something indistinct) + B(one of the blood groups into which human blood is classified according to the presence or absence of certain antigens. And it’s all determined by your genes).

Answer: What’s printed on a book jacket, that promotes the author or book.

25 Holds up  free transport (5)

LIFTS : Double defn: 2nd: Free rides in transportation going the same way/to the same place as you.



Answer to Pic#2 please click here

7 Responses to “Financial Times 14217 Crux”

  1. fearsome says:

    thanks Crux and scchua
    Angostura was my last one and it took me a while to convince myself of it.
    I thought there was ….gas…. in the middle for rabbit

  2. NormanLinFrance says:

    [[Barbara Feldon was in Get Smart (TV series), middle one escapes me, Tippi Hedren made several films with Hitchcock, the Master of Suspense]].

    And thanks for the ever-entertaining blogs.

  3. scchua says:

    [[You’re right NormanLinFrance! Well done. The answer to the middle one is not far off from, in fact it’s very close to one of the others. I’ll put a link to the answer below the pictures.]]

  4. NormanLinFrance says:

    [[Of course! I knew I’d seen the picture somewhere]]

  5. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Not many comments today.
    While Crux (whose puzzles I have blogged quite a few times) is not the hardest of setters, there is still much to admire.

    What about 1ac (LARGESSE)? Isn’t this a fabulous clue?

    And I can see Crux thinking, after writing so many thoughtful clues [like 10ac, 14ac (really good surface) and 28ac]:
    Why is the discussion about all these pictures and not about my crossword?

    On earlier occasions I have said that Crux isn’t my favourite cryptic-definition-setter. I think, in particular, 23ac (LABOUR DAY) and 2d (ROAD TESTS) are pretty weak. As was 21d (DAY CARE) which also had an annoying DAY shared with 23ac.

    Despite the above, I like this setter very much.
    With in the anagram department two fine ones (3d (EAGER), 4d (SEA LORD)). They might have been done before, something that I always say when I see a great anagram, but. Yes, but.

    Thank you, scchua.
    And – even more – Crux!

  6. scchua says:

    Good question, Sil – yes, why indeed?; something I myself have asked before. Except that, to bring out a more productive answer, ie. to get to the Crux of the matter (assuming there is an answer), I would have put it: “Why is there no/so little discussion about my crossword” question mark (pictures or no pictures notwithstanding).

    I don’t know whether Crux might be thinking this or not, or whether you’re asking a rhetorical question, but he would not be alone amongst the FT setters generally across the board and across all bloggers – ie. why is there so little discussion in 15sq. about the FT puzzles?

    And in any case, I’m not sure that the amount of discussion/comments on these blogs equate directly to the quality, appreciation, or enjoyment of these puzzles.

  7. Keeper says:

    As a Yank, I must take exception to 23a. In no American calendar will you find a holiday called “Labour Day.” Labor Day, yes. (sschua seemed to acknowledge this distinction but, for some reason, didn’t call it out for criticism.) This reminds me of an FT puzzle where the grid called for “Pearl Harbour” vice “Pearl Harbor.” Um, no.

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