Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,264 – Dante

Posted by Sil van den Hoek on March 28th, 2013

Sil van den Hoek.

Monday Prize Crossword/Mar 18

A fairly typical Dante puzzle which can be found here.  That said, not that many cryptic definitions this time. Much to my advantage.

Definitions are underlined wherever possible and/or appropriate.

1 ECHOED Made a resounding comeback (6)
    Double definition with the first one embedded in the second one
4 CRUCIBLE Crib clue for “melting pot” (8)
    (CRIB CLUE)*
    I think the anagram indicator here is “melting”, the definition perhaps just “pot”. That said, the solution is also a “melting pot”, so quite a clever one from Dante. Of course, the solution may also be seen as a nod to one his Guardian (and FT (Redshank)) colleagues. One who likes snooker, so the “pot” is not out of place here.
10 HANDS-DOWN    Common teaching command at six-thirty? (5-4)
    At “six-thirty” ie 6.30 am or pm, the hands of a clock are both down – one a little bit more than the other, but who cares
11 MAINE Major eastern state of USA (5)
    MAIN (major) + E (eastern)
12 MARK Identify the victim (4)
    Double definition
13 PILOT LIGHT Aviator happy to ignite the jets (5,5)
    PILOT (aviator) + LIGHT (happy)
    Not completely sure what the exactly the definition is, so I did not underline anything.
15 RUN-DOWN Criticise summary (3-4)
    Double definition – one with a hyphen, the other without
16 FINISH Polish, perhaps, or not by the sound of it (6)
    FINISH sounds like ‘Finnish’ which is ‘not Polish’ (and also not like a lot of other languages)
19 DEFECT Fault or default (6)
    Double definition
21 POSSESS You have to do so (7)
    Cryptic definition
    When you do ‘possess’, you have.
23 WELLINGTON Capital beef-dish? (10)
    Double definition
    Beef Wellington. Also, Wellington as the capital of New Zealand.
25 LEAR Earl created king (4)
27 ABUSE Lincoln protected America from corrupt practice (5)
    ABE (Lincoln, short for Abraham) around US (America)
28 OFF-SEASON Not on time when business is slack (3-6)
    OFF (not ‘on’) + SEASON (time)
    I liked this one – ‘not on time’ is such a natural expression, but it had to be cut into pieces here.
29 SPECTATE Cast Pete in play and watch (8)
    (CAST PETE)*
30 FRINGE A bang on the head? (6)
    Cryptic definition
    For Americans a ‘bang’ is a ‘fringe of hair cut straight across the forehead’ (Chambers).
1 EPHEMERA Insect with wings of short span (8)
    Double definition, the second one being ‘something of short span’
2 HINDRANCE Straying in herd can result in obstruction (9)
    (IN HERD CAN)*
3 EASE Relax – take a sea voyage (4)
    Hidden solution:   [tak]E A SE[a]
5 RING OFF Terminate telephone or other engagement (4,3)
    Double/Cryptic definition, the second part of the clue referring to when you take your ring off you’re not engaged anymore, I guess
6 COMELINESS The beauty appears without wrinkles (10)
    COMES (appears) around LINES (wrinkles)
7 BRING Fetch head of business to telephone (5)
    B[usiness] + RING (telephone)
    Just two clues ago we had ‘telephone = ring’. Therefore, its reappearance was not very much welcomed here.
8 ERECTS Raises a secret amendment (6)
9 MOTION Sort of picture that’s a topic for debate? (6)
    Double definition
14 MORE LIKE IT Much improved, so enjoying greater popularity (4,4,2)
    Double definition
17 STEVENSON A good man with endless service as a writer (9)
    ST (a good man, Saint) + EVENSON[g]
18 ESTRANGE Split up and set off with compass (8)
    (SET)* + RANGE (compass)
20 TUGBOAT Not a static water-tower (7)
    I can see that a “water-tower” is something that “tows” in the water. Therefore, the TUGBOAT was quickly found. But I do not see why Dante starts his clue with “Not a static”.
21 PROOFS Demonstrations by printers and photographers? (6)
    Double definition, one might say
22 TWEAKS Some fine tuning for new task we accepted (6)
    WE inside (TASK)*
24 LOUSE See the purpose of a parasite (5)
    LO (see) + USE (the purpose)
26 PEER Lord, look at him! (4)
    Double definition
    Nice one !

9 Responses to “Financial Times 14,264 – Dante”

  1. Muffyword says:

    Re 13: I took the definition to be “to light the jets” as on a hob.

    Re 20: I think “Not a static” is to emphasise the distinction from the other kind of water tower, which doesn’t move at all.

    Thanks for the blog and to Dante for an enjoyable crossword. My favourite was 14.

  2. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks, Muffyword.

    My problem with clues like 13ac is always that the solution is a noun and that the definition should be read as “the construction gives you something (that) [and then the rest of the clue]”. Of course, I see how it works and many setters do it like that. However, “to ignite the jets” can not be replaced by “pilot light”. Therefore I was a bit reluctant to underline it.

    Re 20d: I had the same thoughts as you about that. For me, just “Water tower?” would have been enough (as a cd). I don’t think adding “not a static” makes the clue any better.

  3. Muffyword says:

    Thanks Sil,

    I thought that’s what you meant. I agree.

  4. ernie says:

    re 20d
    A water-tower can be a structure supporting a water-tank which would be static. A tugboat if towing another vessel would not be.

    Also 10A
    Hands down usually means easily so Dante could have had three parts to the clue.

  5. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Yes, ernie, in 10ac Dante could have ‘easily’ done that ….
    Don’t get me wrong re 20d, I do understand the (non-) static bit, but I simply do not like it very much.

  6. Bamberger says:

    I found this very hard and the SE was more or less bare.
    1d I hadn’t come across ephemera for insect and the other meaning didn’t come to mind.
    12a When you only have ??r?, very hard to get as mark in this context seems an americanism.
    6d Just too hard for me with only c?m?l????? to go on.
    16a I can safely say i would never have got that with only f????? to go on.
    19a Defect =default? I don’t get it ,sorry.
    21a Without any crossing letters, I couldnt get this.
    17d I guessed it might be st or a st but never thought of service as church service.
    20d I read it as water tower ie a store of water -outwitted here.
    21d Another one that I don’t really get.
    18d I just didn’t think of compass =range
    28a With only ??? ?e???? too hard for me.
    30a Never come across this.

    As ever if I had solved a few more, others may easily have dropped in .

    I wonder how hard others found it-may be just one of those “not on same wavelength” things.

  7. john newman says:


    I found this very hard too. Choosing to put COMPLEXION in at 6D rather threw me off.

    OK so fringe is an American word, but then the clue is not cryptic is it?

    3D troubles me. How is “voyage” a hidden word indicator?

    21A is a poor clue.

    I thought 1A very good, and, now that you have explained it, so is 10A. I was looking at 6.30 being pub opening time, then when I got the answer I thought it might be factory closing time, so I was way off beam.

  8. Keeper says:

    Thanks for the blog, Sil. I had 17d but couldn’t figure out how “endless service” gave “EVENSON”.

    3d: I agreed with john @7; “voyage” seems a poor container indicator.

    8d: Would have been better without “a”.

    Finally, I noticed a bit of repetition of answer parts: run-DOWN / hands-DOWN, OFF-season / ring-OFF, RING-off / bRING. Not necessarily a criticism, but it stood out to me.

  9. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Hi, all of you above (including myself?).

    In my blog I forgot to comment on ‘voyage’ as a hidden indicator.
    Just like others, I am not very happy with it either.
    At the same time, there is something inside me that tells me that if Araucaria/Cinephile would have done this (and believe me, he could have!) we all would have accepted it. Because The Man does things like that. To be honest, while from a cryptic POV I was puzzled by the use of ‘voyage’ there is some allusiveness that made me accept it here.
    Perhaps, Dante will attend the Manchester meeting next month. If so, I will ask him about it.

    21ac (POSSESS) was my last one in and I could only get it with the help of its crossing letters. So, indeed, not the best clue of the puzzle.

    Keeper, “8d: Would have been better without “a””.
    Agree but Dante does this all the time and I am immune to it now.

    Despite all this, I still like to analyse Dante/Rufus puzzles. Most of the clues are easy, but I find completing the grid sometimes harder than in puzzles by the Nimrods of this world.
    There’s always one left (like in today’s Rufus: JERBOA)).

    At another place there is an ongoing discussion on this setter’s crosswords.
    Not always in a friendly way.
    For me, as a non-Brit who started doing crosswords about 5 years ago, Dante/Rufus was important as I learned from his puzzles a lot of idiomatic expressions that I wasn’t familiar with . All due to his cryptic and double definitions even if these are not my favourite kind of devices.

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