Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,242 by Monk

Posted by PeeDee on February 20th, 2013


A tough and very enjoyable puzzle from Monk, as always.

Monk often has ninas or messages hidden around the completed grid.  Given the shape of the grid and the somtimes obscure words I suspect there is something in the perimiter that I can’t spot.  Or maybe it is just a red herring, Monk teasing us by having us waste our time trying to make sense of a string of gibberish.  Either way, thank you Monk!

UPDATE: The perimiter letters give an inscription on The Ring written in Black Speech from The Lord of the Rings by Tolkein.  See comments below for further explanation.

8 LOOSE Free love over in London college (5)
O (zero, love) O (over) in LSE (London college)
9 LENTIGO Victor runs away from unusually revolting freckles (7)
rEvOLTING* (anagram=unusually) missing V (victor) and R (runs)
10 LIPOGRAM Letters missing in this post offce mail delivered around Greece (8)
anagram (delivered) of PO (post office) and MAIL around GR (Greece) – a poem where all words containing a certain letter are omitted
11 INGENU Green Man pub sheltering graduate cleaned out by university (6)
INN (pub) containing (sheltereing) GraduatE (cleaned out=nothing inside) by U (university)
12 UNABLE Available after swapping partner that’s impotent (6)
UsABLE (available) with S replaced N (bridge partners)
13 SOLECISM Starts to console injured suitor after single maiden’s gaffe (8)
Console Injured Suitor (starting letters of) following SOLE (single) then M (maiden)
15 EGOIST Bighead, finally undone, is caught out (6)
undonE (final letter) and IS all has GOT (caught) on the outside
16 WALNUT Rule about addict that once made a dash? (6)
LAW (rule) reversed (about) NUT (addict) – traditionally used to made dashboards for cars
20 TREENAIL With this hammered, you’d secure water-line (8)
literally a nail used to fix the planking to the frame of a ship, hence securing the waterline – I can’t see much of a cryptic definition here, can anyone spot something I have missed? (this is not Dante here!)

An anagram (hammered) of W (with) TREENAIL (this) will give (secure you) WATER-LINE.  Thanks to Thomas99.

23 TAIPEI Capital of Ethiopia having no house refurbished (6)
EThIoPIA* (refurbished = anagram) missing HO (house) – capital of Taiwan
24 AKIMBO King, one occupying podium with hands on hips? (6)
K (king) I (one) in AMBO (podium, early Christian pulpit)
26 DARKNESS Shadow cast by cape on front of decorative chest (8)
NESS (cape, headland) on Decorative (front letter of) ARK (chest)
27 UNAWARE Unexpected conflict dividing unknown number in middle- eastern states (7)
WAR (conflict) inside (dividing) UAE (middle-eastern states) containing N (unknown number) – definition is ‘unexpected’. I can’t yet come up with an example where the tenses for the definition and the solution match, but I expect that is just my lack of imagination.
28 SHTUP Bang up following nonsense after one’s dismissal (5)
UP following SHiT (nonesense) with I (one) removed – a ‘bang’ is sexual intercouse, from Jewish
1 ALLIANCE Union leader ousted in delay (8)
dALLIANCE (delay) witht he leader removed
2 GO FOR BROKE Risk everything to attack man that’s changed sides (2,3,5)
GO FOR (to attack) BLOKE (man) with L (left) replaced by R (right)
3 HEIRLESS She succeeded to hold line without any issue (8)
L (line) in HEIRESS (she succeeded)
4 BLEMISH Mark needing book on language, skipping the introduction (7)
B (book) on fLEMISH (language) missing the first letter
5 UNCIAL Essentially hallucinated about work involving curvaceous characters? (6)
anagram of halLUCINAted (sessentials=inner parts) about=anagram, moving about – a form of script using rounded letters
6 RING Call sign of union? (4)
double definition – ‘call’ and ‘sign of union’
7 ZOUNDS My unknown dog’s not hard (6)
Z (unknown, maths) hOUND’S (dog’s) missing H=hard – definition is ‘my’, an exclamation
14 CINCINNATI Supreme commander, mostly instinctive, presiding over one US city (10)
C-IN-C (commander-in-chief) INNATe (instinctive, mostly) in front of (presiding over) I (one)
17 ASTERISK If emptied sample went missing, this star would be at risk (8)
if SamplE (emptied=nothing inside) is removed from AsTeRISK (this star) we get ‘at risk’
18 THEOSOPH Believer in divine wisdom hopes to convert hearts (8)
(HOPES TO) convert=anagram and H (hearts)
19 BLADDER Black snake’s left inside bag (7)
B (black) ADDER (snake) containing L (left)
21 RAKE UP Bring to light amoral chap’s past (4,2)
RAKE (amoral chap) has UP (past, over)
22 ADONAI Lord to some, a noble European’s excellent (6)
A DON (European noble) AI (A1, excellent) – a Hebrew name for god, the Lord
25 MAAM HRH regularly snubbed Michael Barrymore (4)
MichAel bArriMore (regularly snubbed=pieces removed in a regular pattern, pick one drop three…)


8 Responses to “Financial Times 14,242 by Monk”

  1. Thomas99 says:

    Very hard I thought – but still amusing. Thanks for the blog.

    20a is a compound anagram: w (with) + treenail = waterline. But to be honest I haven’t really arrived at a cryptic reading I’m happy with, which is not to say it isn’t out there. I was fairly punch-drunk by the time I cam to this, my last clue, so can’t really be trusted.

    I think it’s actually a mixture of hard and easier clues, but the overall effect, with the rare words too, was super-hard for me.

  2. Thomas99 says:

    Oh my God! He’s put a Nina round the edge in Tolkienian weirdspeak (sorry I can’t be more precise – I don’t think it’s Elvish)! “Agh burzum-ishi krumpaul” apparently means “and in the darkness bind them”, or something.

  3. PeeDee says:

    My younger daughter currently lives in Middle Earth (only returning here for meals) but she doesn’t recognise it.

  4. Rowland says:

    Good stuff!! The tight clues I really like, no spare fluff.

    Cheers Monk and PeeDee


  5. Tom_I says:

    Thomas99 @2 is almost right. The nina around the outside is “Agh burzum-ishi krimpatul”, which is apparently part of the inscription in Black Speech which appears on the “One Ring” in Tolkein’s Middle-Earth novels when it is heated.

    The whole reads:
    Ash nazg durbatulûk,
    Ash nazg gimbatul,
    Ash nazg thrakatulûk
    Agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.

    Which translates as:
    One ring to rule them all,
    One ring to find them,
    One ring to bring them all
    And in the darkness bind them.

    What the significance of it is, I don’t know.

  6. PeeDee says:

    Well done Tom (and Thomas)!

  7. Monk says:

    Thanks to PeeDee for yet another spot-on blog, and to others (especially Rowland @ 4 :)) for comments. The Nina additionally linked to 6dn RING and 26ac DARKNESS in the grid, and was inspired by nothing more meaningful than seeing LOTR on TV over the Xmas hols. As a teenage geek, I memorised the verses in the language of Mordor; as a middle-aged geek, I remembered them.

  8. vinyl1 says:

    DNF, couldn’t get ‘treenail’.

    I found the use of obscene clues in the FT a little surprising, but the puzzle is so obscure maybe nobody noticed.

    Does anyone know what actual lanaguage Tolkien based this on? It appears to be some sort of Turkic dialect.

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