Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times no.14,219 by Redshank

Posted by Ringo on January 24th, 2013


Whew. This was a severe test: what with the unhelpful grid, the four intractable twelve-letter solutions and a whole monstrous regiment of devilishly brilliant &lits, I was left tottering on the brink of an I CAN’T DO THIS! breakdown… but light dawned, at last. Only one or two corners were left unilluminated – help, as ever, much appreciated. Chapeau, Redshank.

1. MIMOSA  MO [Modus Operandi, way of working] within anagram of aims

4. AMORETTI  More [longer] + TT [time trial, race] within AI [A1, fit]

9. STOKER  Stoke [hit, strike with a weapon] + r [right]

10. SNOWDROP  The first of several masterly &lits in this puzzle: anagram of woods in spring minus I [one] sign

12. REED  Repaired minus pair [two]; the allusion is to the clarinettist Acker Bilk

13. BRIBE  I [one] + b [billion] within b(ank) + re [about]

14. SWAN  S [small] + wan [white], alluding to the Mute Swan

17. ORANGE SQUASH  Qu [queen, monarch] within orange sash [as might be worn by a Northern Irish loyalist on July 12, the date of Prince William of Orange’s victory over King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690]

20. SEVENTY-EIGHT  Event [thing that happened] + ye [you, once] within sight [view]

23. EZRA  Z [algebraic variable] within era [many years]

24. FATWA  Initial letters of For Arabs To Worry About; more inspired &littery

25. TWIN  Tw(a)in [Mark, the American writer]

28.  ABATTOIR  Anagram of at it boar

29. MERINO  Hidden in farMER IN Oklahoma

30. PLAYGOER  Anagram of royal eg p [piano]

31. UNREST [riot] or possibly INTENT  In tent [rained off, and so in a tent?] ?? HELP! EDIT: Unrestrained [abandoned] minus rained


1. MUSHROOM  Mush [slang for face, dial] + reversal of Moor [Moroccan]

2. MOOSE JAW  OO [ducks, zeroes] within anagram of James W [Watt] to give the Canadian city (which is close to the city of Regina…)

3. STET  Septet [seven-piece band] minus ep [Extended Play, record]

5. MAN ABOUT TOWN  Man about to win [he’s on the brink of victory] minus I [one]

6. ROWS  (C)rows [birds]

7. THROWN  Anagram of worth (comedia)n

8. IMPEND  P [pressure] within I mend [I fix]

11. CROSS-EXAMINE  Sex within anagram of is romance

15. AGREE  Hidden in GretnA GREEn

16. USHER  US [United States, American] + her [lady]

18. EGG WHITE  Eg [for example, say] + G [German] + anagram of with + E [energy]

19. STAND OUT  And within stout [courageous]

21. REVAMP  Rev [reverend, minister] + amp [ampére, measure of current]

22. ARMADA  Fun anagram of a drama

26. STAG  T(ory) within sag [bow]

27. BEAN  Bean(o) [comic]; the allusion is to the comic character Mr Bean


13 Responses to “Financial Times no.14,219 by Redshank”

  1. crypticsue says:

    It is such a comfort when one has spent what seems like hours staring in vain at the grid, to eventually finish it off and then find that the blogger had trouble too. I have done all today’s cryptics and this is definitely one of the two difficult ones. Thanks Redshank for occupying quite a lot of my morning and well done Ringo – not one I would have wanted to blog, and I have no idea about 31a either. I put UNREST but now you say it could be INTENT??? I am sure some clever person will turn up to explain all soon.

  2. Ringo says:

    AHA! Cracked it. See edit above at 31ac.

    Sue: you have my sympathies!

  3. crypticsue says:

    Well cracked that man!

  4. mike04 says:

    Many thanks, Redshank and Ringo.

    Agreed, Ringo, this is a wonderful puzzle.
    As well as the ‘& lits’ you mention, the stylish, smooth wording in clues such as
    the ones for STET and CROSS-EXAMINE craftily throws the solver off the scent.
    SNOWDROP is just a delight on a cold January morning (well, here in the UK)!

    31ac UNREST: abandoned = unrest(rained).

  5. mike04 says:

    Beat me to it, Ringo!

    Just thought I’d mention 9ac in your blog: hit = STROKE then move the R to the back.
    Maybe that’s what you meant? Mike.

  6. Thomas99 says:

    Where did you get stoke=”hit or strike with a weapon”? It’s not in Chambers. My parsing for 9a (“Fire tender hit right at the back”) is hit=stroke (e.g. in cricket), with r (right) moved to the back.

    Thanks for the blog. It was a surprisingly tough one – especially 9a, 31a and 2d. 2d was the hardest by far; really had to stop and calm down for that one. On a pretty demanding day at the Indy (Klingsor) and Guardian (Araucaria) too, this was the toughest of all. Well done Redshank!

  7. Ringo says:

    @mike – ah, okay, that makes more sense than my parsing. I struggled with this one (I’m not sure why, in retrospect); my solution only occurred to me as I was just about to publish the post.

    My parsing does work, though, just about: the OED defines ‘stoke’ as ‘a thrust with a weapon, a stab’, though the definition is obsolete. But I’m sure STROKE with the R transposed is what Redshank had in mind. Many thanks for the clarification!

  8. Ringo says:

    @Thomas – see comment #7 above!

  9. Rowland says:

    This was pretty tough, but still just about in the daily range. And still good evidence for the FT being up there with the best, Yesterday’s too was rather good.


  10. Ferret says:

    Very demanding, especially the NW corner. I parsed 14a as S + W + AN ( and possibly such as in rock an’roll’ , fish an’chips)….much prefer yours though! Also had the TT in 4a relating to the Isle of Man motorcycling.

  11. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Really good puzzle.

    I know Redshank likes pangrams.
    He missed an opportunity today.
    LEAN instead of BEAN would have done the trick … :)

    My favourites: 20ac (SEVENTY EIGHT), ABATTOIR (28ac), 3d (STET) and 11d (CROSS-EXAMINE).

  12. Ferret says:

    SVDH…….playgoer completes the pangram?

  13. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Oops, Ferret, you’re absolutely right.
    It was a pangram.
    Mea culpa.
    [and credits to Redshank]

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