Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,218 by Gaff

Posted by PeeDee on January 23rd, 2013


I don’t think I have blogged a puzzle by Gaff before, quite an experience. There is loads of stuff in here to go at.  I’m not sure if I have spotted it all, maybe there are some experts on the subject who can find some more links to the anniverary being commemorated.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the disappearance of Kim Philby, member of the Cambridge Four( Five?) spy ring.  Not exactly my specialist subject, but with the aid of Wikipedia I got there in the end.  Thank you Gaff.

Hold the mouse pointer over any clue number to read the clue.

1 BOBBIN BOBBINg (nodding, endless)
4 BHAJIS B (bishop) in front of (leads) HAJIS (pilgrimages) – pakora and bhaji are vegetables cooked in spiced batter.
8 PUTREFY PUT (lay) REF (official, eg football) stickY (end of) – another spelling caught me out. I mistakenly thought this was spelled ‘putrify’ to match ‘putrid’.
9 AMPHORA HP (hire purchase, on the never never) in AROMA (boquet) all reversed – an ancient double handled jug
11 STRETCHIER (RICH SETTER)* stinking=anagram
12 SACK double definition
13 SUSHI (HIS US)* cook=anagram
14 PECAN NUT NN (name, twice) in TEACUP* (broken=anagram)
16 HELSINKI sounds like “hell’s inky”
18 MELEE ME (object I, first person singular as the object) LEE (shelter)
20 PLEA Blackpool PLEAsure Beach (not actually a beach at all!) missing sure=confident
21 LABYRINTHS anagram (unusual) in H (head of hot) ToNY BLAIR’S (missing O=zero, nothing)
23 MACLEAN MA (mother, relative) CLEAN (laundered) – Donald Maclean, British diplomat and Soviet spy, codename Homer
24 ADJUNCT part of roAD JUNCTion
25 SPYING SPY rING (Blunt, Brugess et al) missing R=right
1 BLUNT Anthony Blunt – British art historian and Soviet spy, codename Johnson
2 BURGESS a town councillor – Guy Burgess, codename Hicks. British radio producer, intelligence officer, foreign office official and Soviet spy.
3 INFECTION INFlECTION (pitch change) missing L=left
5 HOMER homing pigeon and Homer Simpson, cartoon character – codename of Donald Maclean, Soviet spy
6 JOHNSON JOHN’S (apostles) ON (working) Boris Johnson, Mayor of London. The Apostles was an exclusive Cambridge society that Blunt and Burgess were members of. Johnson was the codename of Anthony Blunt.
7 STRICTURE double definition
10 KIM PHILBY Kim Philby (codename Stanley) was a high ranking British Intelligence officer and Soviet spy who disappeared from his post in Beruit on 23rd January 1963.
13 SHEDLOADS lorries can shed their loads
15 CAMBRIDGE C (class) before AMBRIDGE (fictional location of BBC radio soap The Archers) – the KGB recruited the Cambridge Five spies while they were at at Cambridge University
17 STANLEY Henry Morton Stanley, (explorer) and Port Stanley (capital of the Falkland Islands) – codename of Kim Philby
19 LANGUOR sounds like Bernard “Langer”, German golfer (one who drives from the tee)
21 LEARN R (first of reel) in David LEAN (film maker) – definition is ‘master’
22 HICKS cHICKS (poultry) beheaded – codename of Guy Burgess


6 Responses to “Financial Times 14,218 by Gaff”

  1. MikeC says:

    Thanks PeeDee and Gaff. Good stuff! The codenames passed me by completely, so I wasn’t too sure of the cross-references. Was Blake supposed to be part of the same ring? Btw, you have a typo in 26a.

  2. Wanderer says:

    Quite an experience indeed. CAMBRIDGE was my first themed solution, which, with some useful crossing letters, led me quickly to KIM PHILBY and then SPYING, but I still had a long way to go. I couldn’t begin to see a connection between PHILBY and STANLEY, so I entered the two words in Google. The first page which came up listed ‘Philby (cryptonym: Stanley), MacLean (cryptonym: Homer)…’ etc, thus rather giving the game away. My fault for resorting to help too soon.

    Loved the ‘Hothead Tony Blair’ anagram. Puzzled by BHAJIS — I have only ever come across HAJI as ‘one who has made the Haj'; cf Tolstoy’s novel Haji Murat (more commonly Hadji Murat), or ‘Murat-who-has-made-the Haj’. No doubt someone will say HAJIS is a valid plural of HAJ but I think of them as pilgrims rather than pilgrimages.

    Many thanks to PeeDee and Gaff.

  3. PeeDee says:

    I looked at spellings, meanings and plurals of Haji/Bhaji for a while but in the end it just made my head spin. It seems as though any random combination of similar letters makes a word.

  4. fearsome says:

    Thanks Gaff and PeeDee
    I was unaware of their codenames so thanks for the clarification
    I also enjoyed labyrinths, and was left one short c/o Blackpool pleasure beach
    the spying / spy ring led to a good surface

  5. Keeper says:

    The clue for 14a contains the name of a song (“American Pie”) by one Don McLean — strikingly similar to Donald Maclean. I wonder if that was intentional or not.

    I agree with Wanderer @2 re: 4a. Hajis are pilgrims (i.e., ones having made the haj). Pilgrimages would be hajes.

  6. PeeDee says:

    Keeper: indeed! I solved the American Pie clue early on before I had got the theme. I thought of the song immediately and looked for some deeper meaning but at the time I couldn’t think of anything.

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