Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,238 by Gaff

Posted by Jed on February 15th, 2013


Themed puzzle which is not fully explained – I need help please to provide a full explanation and as to why today is key






The themed SciFi movies are marked with $


9 MARGATE seaside resort [th]E in MARGARET (Thatcher) minus RE (about)

10 NASTIER more horrid (E[ye]STRAIN)* minus YE (old readers)

11 AWARD honour WAR (fighting) in AD (modern times)


13 THE OLD MAN father and name for Coniston Fell in The Lake District

$15 23 WAR OF THE WORLDS (FOOL THREW)* in WARDS (recovery rooms)

$17 INDEPENDENCE DAY July 4th is in less than 20 weeks

19 VINOS wine – hidden backwards in [rea]SON IV[e]

21 NASALISED used nose to utter (LIES AND A S)*

$26 5 CLOSE ENCOUNTERS SEEN (spotted) COUNT (nobleman) in C[lass] (ROLES)*

27 NEPOTIC preferring family OPEN< (frank returns) TIC (fit)

28 COLLEGE school LEG (support) in COLE (old king)


2 ARMAGEDDON symbolic battlefield

ARM (prepare) AGED (old) DON (scholar)

3 LANDSLIP rockfall LANDS (comes down) LIP (edge)

$4 1 DEEP IMPACT DEE (river) PIMP (procure) ACT (order)

6 ESCROW security C[alling] in WORSE< (less good back-up)

7 DIVA successful lady GODIVA (secretly watched naked lady minus GO)

8 GREENFLY pest GREEN (blooming) FLY (hurry)

$14 MEN IN BLACK guardians of humanoids and football referees

16 REDISCOVER find encore DISCO (music) in REVER[e] (worship shortened)


18 COLD CALL sales technique OLD (elderly) in CC (capacity) ALL (entirely)

20 SMOOTH description of cold caller talking and uniform

22 DIETED declined planned intake (reference to ET ‘phone home’?)

24 ESPY see hidden in [khafr]E’S PY[ramid]

25 SOCK dd

( )* = anagram    [ ] = omit    < = reverse    dd = double definition


8 Responses to “Financial Times 14,238 by Gaff”

  1. peterj says:

    I assumed it was because of today’s news that an asteroid is making a near-miss with earth – these movies are all about “other visitors” from space and many of them are asteroid-impact related.
    2d is also a movie. I couldn’t find the seventh!

  2. Wanderer (not the setter) says:

    Thanks Jed and Gaff. Agree with peterj about the asteroid near-miss (or not a miss at all if you’re in Chelyabinsk) as the reason for the puzzle appearing today. I think the seventh must be 22d, with the movie appearing in the solution rather than as the whole solution. I read it as ‘Rescued after phoning’ = ET ‘in declined’ = in DIED, with ‘planned intake’ as the def.

    Still baffled by two: don’t understand what ‘shot down’ contributes to INDEPENDENCE DAY, nor what ‘left with more passengers’ contributes to CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. Any help gratefully received!

  3. peterj says:

    I presumed the film allusion clues were all sort of &lit…
    War of the worlds – infected martians
    Independence Day – they shoot down the UFOS
    Close Encounters – they leave earth with more passengers
    Armageddon – Old Bruce comes to the rescue
    Deep Impact – Half blown up earth
    My thanks too to Jed and Gaff – been lurking here for a bit

  4. Wanderer (not the setter) says:

    Thanks peterj! That makes a lot of sense. It is much cleverer than I had realised. Great fun.

  5. Thomas99 says:

    peterj’s right of course, except “near miss” (which was perhaps what Gaff was expecting) doesn’t seem to cover what happened today. The footage is terrifying.

    Gaff really is just about the most outrageous setter around, and today was no exception. I think the 7 references all seem to make sense (including ET) and fit in with the rubric, though it didn’t give much away, did it? The “allusions” (what happened to the other visitors from space) all replace conventional definitions. I always look out for this setter; I never know what to expect either in terms of theme or in the cluing style.

    Thanks for the blog; it must have been quite a challenge.

  6. Gaff says:

    The ‘visitor’ is indeed the asteroid due to make a near miss this evening – this is the one they saw coming, not the meteors that struck Russia this morning. A dreadful coincidence.

  7. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for dropping in Gaff and thanks for another great puzzle – yes, I realised after posting that it wasn’t the same thing (though on the Guardian site they have found one scientist who thinks there might be a connection – not a very close one presumably, given the speeds and timeframes involved). The consensus seems to be that it is indeed just a strange and unfortunate coincidence.

  8. pogel says:

    Diva is an entertaining film, but I don’t remember any alien invasion involved…

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