Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14253 Phssthpok

Posted by scchua on March 5th, 2013


I found this a tad harder than usual, with the explanations for the NE corner the last to yield.  Enjoyed the challenge though, so thanks to Phssthpok.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.

1 Verdict on suspension (10)

RESOLUTION : RE(on;with reference to) + SOLUTION(solutions are homogenous mixtures of one or more substances dissolved in a medium, except for colloidal solutions where very minute particles of a substance are not dissolved but are in a uniform suspension in a medium).

7 Money in vault (4)

BUCK : Double defn: 1st: An Americanism for a dollar;money, as in “he’ll do anything for a buck”; and 2nd: To jump;vault, as eg. a horse does.

9 Punch a priest (4)

LAMA : LAM(to punch;to beat) + A.

Answer: A Tibetan priest.

10 Soldiers billeted in home flaunt power (10)

INSTRUMENT : MEN(soldiers) contained in(billeted in) [ IN(at home;not out) + STRUT(to walk in a swagger, showing off;to flaunt, as in "to strut one's stuff") ].

Answer: An agent;a power to cause something. An example is a power, a written document/an instrument conferring legal authority.

11 Where to find ancient Greek army after fight (6)

SPARTA : TA(abbrev. for the British Territorial Army) placed after(after) SPAR(to fight, albeit unaggressively).

12 Prayer often follows sudden explosion! (5,3)

BLESS YOU : Cryptic defn: What is said after someone sneezes.

13 Pass out leek recipe? (4,4)

KEEL OVER : A reverse anagram: “over(an anagram indicator) of KEEL” is a recipe for forming “leek”.

Defn. and Answer: To collapse suddenly, as from a faint eg. soldiers during their passing out parade. J

15 Told to milk farm animals (4)

EWES : Homophone of(Told) “use”(to exploit;to milk).

17 In scrabble, valuable characters embody a style of music (4)

JAZZ : J,Z,Z(the valuable character tiles in the English verseion of the board game, Scrabble,  with J scoring 8 points and Z 10 points) containing(embody) A.

19 Broke and not very fresh (8)

INSOLENT : “insolvent”(broke;unable to pay one’s debts) minus(not) “v”(abbrev. for “very”).

Defn: Being cheeky;impudent.

22 Unfinished dessert also known as main course (8)

MOUSSAKA : “mousse”(a dessert of eggs, cream, fruit, etc. set with gelatin) minus its last letter(Unfinished) + AKA(abbrev. for “also known as”, when referring to aliases).

Answer: A dish, the best known variant of which is the Greek one, with aubergines, tomatoes, meat and cheese.

23 Wrapping leg inside slip (6)

TAPING : PIN( slang for a human leg) contained in(inside) TAG(a slip;a small piece of paper, usually with information on it).

Answer: Wrapping with tape.

25 Insincere praise for pelvic rise exercise (3,7)

LIP SERVICE : Anagram of(exercise) PELVIC RISE. And there is an exercise called the pelvic raise, aka the pelvic lift.

26 You reactivate sample of organic compound (4)

UREA : Hidden in(sample) “you reactivate”.

27 American’s nearly getting on although in disagreement with (4)

AGIN : “aging”(the American spelling for “ageing”;getting on;getting older) minus its last letter(nearly).

Answer: Dialect for “against”;in disagreement with.

28 Perhaps Mozart is inferior to musical number in section of the orchestra (10)

WUNDERKIND : [ UNDER(is inferior to something or someone higher) + K(the K numbers used to refer to Mozart's musical works, named after originator Ludwig Ritter von Köchel) ] contained in(in) WIND(the section of the orchestra comprising of woodwind instruments, incl. oboes, bassoons, flutes and clarinets).

Answer: A child prodigy, an example of which;perhaps was Mozart.

2 For this, say former wife’s getting fat (7)

EXAMPLE : EX(slang for a former spouse or partner) plus(getting) AMPLE(a euphemism for the adjective “fat”).

Answer: The “this” in the defn. ie. for example;say.

3 Live using oxygen-rich gas (2,3)

ON AIR : ON(using, as in “he’s on drugs”) + AIR(oxygen-rich gas). Nice surface and misdirection.

Answer: To be broadcasting instantaneously;live (as an adjective, not a verb);not pre-recorded.

4 University vivisectionist first dissected hollow mollusc (8)

UNIVALVE : UNI(short for “university”) + first letter of(… first) “vivisectionist” + “alcove”(a hollow in a wall, say) minus its 2 innermost letters(dissected, as in taking apart the insides of body tissue).  I’m not sure of the last bit.  Edit.note:  Thanks AID@1 ….. + [ first letter of(… first) "vivisectionist" contained in(dissected, as in to cut apart, eg. body tissue) VALE(a hollow;a depression in the ground) ].

Answer: A shellfish with only one piece of shell.

5 Mutiny aboard naval vessel receiving orders (15)

INSUBORDINATION : [IN SUB](in a submarine;aboard a naval vessel) + ORDINATION(the reception;receiving of holy orders).

6 Anxiety as 7 Up is contaminated by river (6)

NERVES : Reversal of(Up) SEVEN(7) containing(is contaminated by) R(abbrev. of “river”).

7 Explosion is awful surprise (9)

BOMBSHELL : Double defn: 1st: A bombshell/bomb would cause an explosion, though I’m not sure the cause is synonymous with the effect.

8 Sympathise when control panel’s heart goes dead (7)

CONDOLE : “console”(a control panel) with its central letter(…’s heart) replaced by(goes …, as in “he goes/becomes red when he’s embarrassed”) “d”(abbrev. for “dead”).

Answer: The root word for “condolences”, which one might convey to someone who is bereaved.

14 One spins around heavy star without it (4,5)

LAZY SUSAN : LAZY(slow moving;clumsy;heavy, as in “a lazy/heavy gait”) + SUN(the earth’s star) containing(without) SA(abbrev. for “sex appeal”;it;that indefinable attractive quality).

Answer: A revolving tray for, commonly, foods, condiments, etc. placed at the centre of a dining table.

16 Sweatier gymnastics in a manner of speaking (2,2,4)

AS IT WERE : Anagram of(gymnastics) SWEATIER.

18 Devoted a party to band (7)

ADORING : A + DO(a party;a function) plus(to) RING(a circular band).

20 Elderly relative eager to make cloth (7)

NANKEEN : NAN(a child’s word for “grandmother”) + KEEN(eager;enthusiastic).

Answer: Cloth formerly made from cotton, originating from Nanjing (formerly Nanking), China.

21 Till arrival, broke into native greeting (6)

HARROW : ARR(abbrev. for “arrival” or “arrival time”, as seen in transport schedules) contained in(broke into) HOW(a representation of the word supposedly used by Native Americans as a greeting).

Answer: To use a harrow, an implement dragged over soil to level it, break up clumps, remove weeds, etc., which is part of the work required to till;farm the land.

24 Nerve  extract (5)

PLUCK : Double defn: 1st: Bravery; and 2nd: To pull or draw out of;extract from, literally as with “chicken feathers”, and figuratively as in “a tight spot”.



For answer to Pic#1 please click here, and for Pic#3 here.

11 Responses to “Financial Times 14253 Phssthpok”

  1. AID says:

    I found some of these clues rather obscure.
    However, for 3D I got the same answer but put the V(vivisectionist first) in vale (hollow) to give valve following Uni.

  2. MikeC says:

    Thanks s and P. Enjoyed this one but failed to parse a few of the clues – notably 10a, which is especially neat.

  3. scchua says:

    Thanks AID. You’ve got 3d right. Will amend the blog.

  4. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for the blog – quite a tough workout I thought.

    Re 4d (UNIVALVE) (it’s 4d in the blog but 3d in AID’s comment)

    I think the hollow is ALVEOLUS (definition: a pit, small depression or dilatation (Chambers); any small pit, cavity or saclike dilation… (Collins). The Latin “alveolus” is translated in Chambers as “hollow”), which is dissected in the literal sense – cut in half – to give ALVE. If you put V into VALE it doesn’t dissect it in any obvious way (it doesn’t go in halfway along, which would make “vavle”).

    So I think it’s just UNI + V + ALVE[olus]. Please bear it in mind if you amend the blog!

  5. Thomas99 says:

    Ooops – I posted slightly too late. Come to think of it “dissect” doesn’t need to mean in half (=bisect; I often confuse the two) so maybe it’s not alveolus anyway, though it makes the clue read a bit better syntactically/gramatically (“dissecting” seems more appropriate for AID’s reading).

  6. scchua says:

    And I was just too late to correct you on “dissect”/”bisect”, before you corrected yourself. For the surface reading, “dissected” is quite appropriate, serving as a verb in the sentence. As for an insertion indicator, there’s not much to choose between “dissected” and “dissecting”.

  7. Ferret says:

    Thanks to blogger and setter.

    Like you, I struggled with “bombshell” equating to explosion? I had “over” in 13a indicating a reversal rather than an anagram?

    I thought we were heading for a pangram, but not often you get the letter K five times?

  8. Prolixic says:

    For bombshell I thought the definition was surprise with the wordplay Bomb (explosion) S (is) Hell (awful)

    Thanks to the setter blogger.

  9. scchua says:

    Hi Ferret, agree about 13a, making the clue a reverse reversal.
    Hi Prolixic, re bombshell, that’s a possible explanation, but it doesn’t resolve the doubt I had in my comment with “bomb”(/bombshell) being synonymous with “explosion”.

  10. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

    [Center picture appears to be Jean Harlow who was the blonde bombshell (8D) of her era]


  11. scchua says:

    [[grandpuzzler, you're right about Jean Harlow. I've added links to the answers to the other 2 beneath the pictures.]]

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