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Financial Times 14247 Aldhelm

Posted by scchua on February 26th, 2013


A new setter/pseudonym with an impressive debut.  Nice surfaces and misdirections.  I was stumped for an explanation to the answer to 10across, and had to call for help from some good friends (grateful thanks to them).  Also, thank you Aldhelm, whose namesake was the 7th century Bishop of Sherbourne, also poet and scholar, so I wonder what the connection is.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  [[The pictures at the bottom have unidentified links to the puzzle.]]

1 Pact I arranged for everyone behind surrender (10)

CAPITULATE : Anagram of(arranged) PACT I + U(symbol for “Universal” certificate, suitable for everyone to watch, in the British Board of Film classification) + LATE(behind time).

6 Alliance with second-rate colonel retreating (4)

BLOC : B(as in B class, second to first-rate A class) + reversal of(retreating) COL(abbrev. for “colonel”).

Answer: An alliance of countries acting as one in international affairs.

10 Brief appearance is shut out from what follows, oddly (5)

CAMEOAnagram of(oddly) “moustache”(the answer to the next clue;what follows) minus(out from) “shut”.

11 Rodent outside entrance to hole after cat comes back for something hairy (9)

MOUSTACHE : MOUSE(a rodent) containing(outside) [ first letter of(entrance to) “hole” placed after(after) reversal of(comes back) CAT].

12 Ambassador’s prize for old English hero (8)

HEREWARD : HE(abbrev. for “His Excellency”, the title for an ambassador) + REWARD(a prize).

Answer: Hereward the Wake, old English resistance leader to the Norman conquest of England.

13 Visitor doesn’t finish with second opinion (5)

GUESS : “Guest”(a visitor) minus its last letter(doesn’t finish) plus(with) S(abbrev. for “second” in time notation).

Answer: As in “my guess/opinion is that he’s up to no good”.

15 Fruit‘s distinctive taste – peeled melon (7)

TANGELO : TANG(a distinctive taste, as in “the tang of the sea”) + “melon” minus its 2 outermost letters(peeled).

17 Cooked ginger without large oven (7)

ROASTED : RED(ginger;reddish brown, as in “ginger/red hair”) containing(without) OAST(a large oven for drying malt or hops).

19 Put back trellis I left to deteriorate (7)

RELAPSE : Reversal of(Put back) “espalier”(a trellis on which a tree or shrub is trained to grow in one plane) minus(… left) “i”.

21 Fresh changes embracing condition of law officer (7)

SHERIFF : Anagram of(changes) FRESH containing(embracing) IF(a condition;a proviso).

22 One extant organ (5)

LIVER : Cryptic defn: One extant;still living;alive, hence a “liver”.

24 Pass extra assessment (8)

OVERTAKE : OVER(extra;in excess of) + TAKE(an assessment;the amount payable as tax;the taxman’s take).

Answer: To pass a vehicle when in another.

27 Maybe cheers up around the third part of pole vault (9)

SEPULCHRE : Anagram of(Maybe) CHEERS UP containing(around) the third letter of(the third part of) “pole”. A nice misdirection.

Answer:  A burial vault, tomb or grave.

28 Page follows formal groom (5)

PRIMP : P(abbrev. for “page”) placed after(follows) PRIM(formal;proper).

Answer: To groom oneself carefully.

29 Terrible one adding colour for the audience (4)

DIRE : Homophone of(for the audience) “dyer”(one adding colour, to fabric, say).

30 Dramatist‘s predicament involving awkward way to finish off actor (10)

PLAYWRIGHT : PLIGHT(a predicament;an unfavourable or unfortunate situation) containing(involving) [ anagram of(awkward) WAY + last letter of(finish off) “actor” ]. Nice surface of a TV series writer having to finish off one of his longstanding characters.

1 Nearly stick up a shrub (4)

COCA :  “cock”(to stick or stand up conspicuously) minus its last letter(Nearly) + A.

Answer: The South American shrub from whose leaves cocaine is derived.


2 Roughly pin elm around each flower (9)

PIMPERNEL : Anagram of(Roughly) PIN ELM containing(around) PER(for each;for every).

3 Figure of speech appears in intro, perhaps (5)

TROPE : Hidden in(appears in) “intro perhaps”.

Answer: A figure of speech;any literary or rhetorical device such as a metaphor or a metonym, etc.

4 Back trouble‘s to delay oxygen without university medic (7)

LUMBAGO : LAG(to delay;coming after) + O(chemical symbol for the element oxygen) containing(without) [ U(abbrev. for “university”) + MB(the postnominal for a Bachelor of Medicine;a doctor;a medic) ]

5 Roar at end of fight with barbarian overcoming the German (7)

THUNDER : The last letter of(end of) “fight” plus(with) HUN(a member, most famous of whom was Attila, of several Asiatic peoples, whose name now personifies a barbarian) placed above(overcoming, in a down clue) DER(the definite article “the” in German).

7 Caught in temptation for money (5)

LUCRE : C(abbrev. for “caught” in cricket notation) contained in(in) LURE(a temptation;a bait).

Answer: Slang for money, commonly preceded by “filthy”.

8 Annoyed by coffees he’d ruined (7,3)

CHEESED OFF : Anagram of(ruined) COFFEES HE’D.

9 Do nothing with fly in food that’s returned (8)

STAGNATE : GNAT(any of certain small flies) contained in(in) reversal of(that’s returned) EATS(collective noun for food).

14 Thoroughly cleaned tile dries out after a bit of soaking (10)

STERILISED : Anagram of(out) TILE DRIES placed after(after) first letter of(a bit of) “soaking”.

16 Skilfully dismiss outside right with ultimate in trickery (8)

EXPERTLY : [ EXPEL(dismiss;deprive of participation or membership of, eg. from school) containing(outside) RT(abbrev. for “right”, as in “The Rt Hon.”) ]+ the last letter of(ultimate in) “trickery”. A footballing surface of a defender taking a dive to have a winger sent off?

18 Moment of time with suspicion (9)

TWINKLING : T(abbrev. for “time”) + W(abbrev. for “with”) + INKLING(a suspicion;a slight suggestion).

Answer: An instant, also called “the twinkling of an eye”.

20 Historic old chapel destroyed (7)

EPOCHAL : Anagram of(destroyed) OLD CHAPEL.

21 For example, flat screen’s manufactured badly – first four components missing (7)

SCENERY : Anagram of(manufactured) SCREEN + “badly” minus its first four letters(first four components missing).

Answer: What is depicted on a flat, a rectangular wooden frame covered with painted canvas, etc. to form part of a stage setting in a theatre. Another nice misdirection (kept thinking of TV and monitor screens).

23 One struggling, apparently, gripping head of poisonous snake (5)

VIPER : VIER(one that vies;one that could be/apparently struggling in a competition) containing(gripping) first letter of(head of) “poisonous”.

25 Drinker‘s drunk 3 (5)

TOPER : Anagram of(drunk) TROPE(answer to 3down).

26 See heads of state preside over talks (4)

SPOT : Initial letters, respectively, of(heads of) “state preside over talks”. Nice surface.



For the answer to Pic#4 pleas click here


11 Responses to “Financial Times 14247 Aldhelm”

  1. MikeC says:

    Thanks scchua and Aldhelm. An enjoyable and ingenious puzzle. I couldn’t explain 10a either!

  2. Rowland says:

    10 ac should be fried alive!!

  3. Finn says:

    I believe that Aldhelm compiles the mixed straight/cryptic crossword in the Weekend FT Magazine – so this isn’t a true debut.

  4. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Aldhelm and scchua for the puzzle and blog.

    [[Leslie Howard (1934) and Anthony Andrews (1982) were in the The Scarlet Pimpernel which relates to 2 Down Pimpernel. Karen Black and Richard Benjamin were in Portnoy’s Complaint which may relate to 4 Down Lumbago which could be considered a complaint of sorts. The other picture resembles Richard E Grant but I can’t relate to the blog.]]


  5. PeeDee says:

    Thanks Sichuan, an odd mix of the very easy and the fiendishly difficult I thought.

  6. Sil van den Hoek says:

    This debut goes into my books as ‘a very neat one’.
    Natural surfaces though not as exciting as, for example, Tramp’s, Arachne’s or Donk’s.
    But “Caught in temptation” (7d) or 18d were just excellent.

    I hardly ever solve a Times crossword, but this is the kind of cluing I associate with that newpaper.
    Precise, not much padding and not many extravagant ideas.
    Therefore, for once, I was hoping it would please someone like Rowland, but unfortunately he found it necessary to put the emphasis on one of the few “adventurous” clues as being one ready to “fry alive”.
    Like others, I couldn’t explain CAMEO (10ac), but with hindsight it is really a nice idea.

    I also liked the fruity surface of 15ac, and the lift & separate device in 21d (flat/screen).

    I had to check HEREWARD (12ac), but the construction was clear.

    All in all, a relatively easy puzzle.
    Very well written, with one or two sharp edges.
    I think, Aldhelm has finesse and deserves his/her place in the FT!

    Thanks, scchua.

  7. PeeDee says:

    [[richard e grant was in a tv version of the scarlet pimpernel]]

  8. scchua says:

    [[grandpuzzler and PeeDee, right on all except half of pic#4, which answer is in the link I’ve pasted beneath the pictures.]]

  9. PeeDee says:

    scchua – I just noticed that I have misprinted your name @5 – confused you with someone else entirely – my apologies!

  10. Rowland says:

    Trouble is Sil, if you miss the meanng of ‘what follows’ or whatever it is, you’re unfairly had I would say.


  11. scchua says:

    Not to worry, PeeDee!

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