Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,257 by Cinephile

Posted by Pete Maclean on March 21st, 2013

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of March 9th, 2013

Cinephile marks the 30th anniversary of his first puzzle in the FT. Of course, as most readers will know, John Graham has been compiling puzzles for publication for over 50 years. And I have been enjoying his FT Weekend crosswords for most of these last 30 years. I do not precisely remember when I started doing them but it was many years ago. I congratulate John on his anniversary and on an especially fine and appropriate puzzle here. I am honoured to be blogging it.

The puzzle contains several clues related to the anniversary: 1,4 (THIRTY YEARS WAR), 10 (SOLVERS), 13 (CROSSWORDS) and 17 (CINEPHILE). It also has a brilliant series of clues, 17D to 23D, that refer to events that occurred back when Cinephile started with the FT in 1983: Star Wars’ Return of the Jedi, the creation of a U.S. holiday to commemorate Martin Luther King, a law to require use of seat belts in cars, and the Brinks MAT robbery.

I also find several outstandingly good clues, my favourites being 1A (THIRTY YEARS WAY), 10A (SOLVERS), 20A (ANOTHER) and 6D (ROTTWEILER).

Across
1,4. THIRTY YEARS WAR – anagram of ARTISTRY WHY ARE. There actually was a Thirty Years’ War fought in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648.
10. SOLVERS – SOL[e] (endless fish) + VERS[e] (endless lines)
11. RUTHFUL – [t]RUTHFUL (candid with lost leader)
12. KNOT – double definition
13. CROSSWORDS – CROSS WORDS (these seem to suggest some lack of harmony). Not perhaps a conventional clue.
15. NEMEAN – NE (directions) + MEAN (indicate). I was unfamiliar with this term which, I learn from Wikipedia, refers to one of the four Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece. They were said to have been founded by Heracles after he defeated the Nemean Lion.
16,27. DA VINCI CODE – DA (from, in Italian) + VINCI (Tuscan town) + CODE (sequel to highway, as in The Highway Code). I don’t much like this way of cluing ‘code’.
20. ANOTHER – A (first) + NOT (it wasn’t) + HER (that lady)
21. PEANUT – double definition
24. REAL ESTATE – anagram of TEA STEALER
26. SPAR – double definition
28. NOWHERE – NOW (the present time) + HERE (the present place)
29. EROTICA – OT (books, as in Old Testament) in ERICA (heather)
30. SANCTITY – [o]NC[e] + TIT (active little bird) together in SAY (speak)
31. RECESS – double definition

Down
1. TASHKENT – ASH KE[y] (almost all the fruit of a tree) in TNT (explosive)
2. ISLE OF MAN – IS (is) + LEO (big cat) + M (male) in FAN (cooler). John Donne is famous for saying that no man is an island.
3. TIER – homophone (“tear”)
5. EUROSTAR – U (turn) in EROS (love) + TAR (sailor)
6. ROTTWEILER – WEIL (Simone) in ROTTER (bad guy)
7. WAFER – homophone (“way for”). An unusual but very good direct homophone.
8. RELISH – R (take) + ELISH[a] (prophet without a)
9. USURP – SUR[e] (not quite certain) in UP (ascending)
14. BATTLEMENT – BATTLE (fighting) + MEN (folk) + T (time)
17. CINEPHILE – double definition. Not really a cryptic clue but that’s okay.
18. SEAT BELT – SEAT (throne) + BELT (zone)
19. STAR WARS – STAR (*) + WARS (conflicts)
22. BRINKS – BRINKS (verges) which, with MAT (without gloss), fits the definition ‘big robbery’
23. UTHER – [martin l]UTHER [king]. ‘This old one’ refers to the old English king, Uther Pendragon.
25. ASWAN – A (a) + SWAN (bird)

12 Responses to “Financial Times 14,257 by Cinephile”

  1. Muffyword says:

    Thanks for the blog Pete. I also really enjoyed this, especially THIRTY YEARS’ WAR.

    Could you explain UTHER in a bit more detail? I get that it is hidden in Martin Luther King, and that Martin Luther King day was started in 1983, and that UTHER is an old king, and was sure it was right myself, but…..

    …and day was fixed for King after
    this old one . . . . (5)

  2. mike04 says:

    Thanks very much, Pete.

    Unlike you I’m a recent convert to the FT Crossword Puzzle. However I did attempt No. 4,920
    back in July 1982. That one, and previous puzzles I think, were published anonymously.
    On this anniversary, I’m wondering if the newspaper had changed its policy by March 1983
    – in time to attribute the puzzle to our old friend Cinephile.

    Like Muffyword, I wasn’t entirely happy with the UTHER clue.
    BTW he was an old British king – the Angles hadn’t arrived by then!

  3. mike04 says:

    Comment 2
    Oops! I think the Angles had arrived by then.

  4. Pete Maclean says:

    Muffyword, thank you for your appreciation. I find it hard to explain the clue better because it is both unconventional and imperfect (for example in the sense that ‘King’ serves two purposes). Mind you, in the themed context, I would hold that it is perfectly acceptable that the clue is unconventional. I guess I would have to describe the type of clue as an indirect hidden word. Normally hidden words are hidden in plain sight and indirect hidden words (where the text containing the answer is only hinted at by the clue) are considered improper (as are indirect anagrams, except where the amount of indirectness is small and fairly obvious).

  5. Pete Maclean says:

    Mike04, Thanks for commenting. I see now that Wikipedia refers to Uther Pendragon as “a legendary king of sub-Roman Britain”.

    I cannot tell you when the FT began identifying its compilers but, as far as I can remember, it has been doing so for as long as I have been tackling its puzzles. And I recall one compiler, Dinmutz, who set many puzzles in my early days but who has long since gone.

  6. Bob Cumbow says:

    Let me take a shot at seeing if I can explain the UTHER clue for Muffyword.

    The clue is one of a string of clues involving events that occurred in the year in which Cinephile began setting puzzles for the FT (1983).

    “… and day was fixed for King” identifies one such event: 1983 was the year that the Unites States government set aside a specific national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King.

    And “King after this old one” references the fact that in Dr. King’s full name the word King follows the name of “this old one”, i.e., the old king whose name is to be entered as the answer.

    I hope that helps.

  7. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Very good puzzle.

    My PinC never does FT puzzles but I urged her to solve this one.
    The cycle of ellipses (17-23d) is really impressive.
    That said, I couldn’t find UTHER and despite all the posts above (including the one @6 who is possibly right) I am still not convinced. I also know that Cinephile just does what he likes, so I am happy with it.

    The only (other) clue I put a question mark to is 16,27.
    In my opinion, the clue as it stands leads to CODE DA VINCI. I cannot see why DA VINCI comes first.

    A lot to admire with perhaps my CoD ANOTHER – great surface.

    Thanks Pete.

  8. Muffyword says:

    Thanks Bob and Pete,

    Both of your explanations work for me (!)

  9. Pete Maclean says:

    Good point, Sil. Unless you accept ‘from’ doing double duty (which I do not) there does indeed seem to be no proper indication of word order. But if we are being particular about it, I would point out that this clue has another flaw. Which is that the proper name of the novel is The Da Vinci Code.

  10. niloci says:

    I can’t remember when the FT started using pseudonyms, but if I can find out I’ll post a comment. Dinmutz was of course the late and much lamented Bert Danher. The pseudonym made up from seven randomly chosen letters from a Scrabble box.

  11. Rufus says:

    Hi Sil! My lucky day was being invited to a lunch for crossword editors – I was then the Birmingham Post editor – in London 1981,to celebrate the launch of the latest Collins Dictionary.
    There I met, among others the editors for the Guardian, John Perkin, and FT, Colin Inman – the latter still going strong.
    They asked me to send examples of my crosswords and I began supplying both papers.
    At the time the FT had just changed to having pseudonyms, while the Guardian still published anonymously.
    Bert Danher had been my favourite setter and we became firm friends.
    As niloci states, Bert used to make his fantastic anagram clues using Scrabble tiles. However, this one time he did select the six letters of his surname to produce his pseudonym HENDRA.

  12. Rufus says:

    Oops! Sorry nicoli, you were quite right, Bert made up his FT DINMUTZ pseudonym,as you say, from random letters. HENDRA was his Guardian name.

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