Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,277 by Monk

Posted by PeeDee on April 3rd, 2013


A really tough puzzle from Monk, as hard as you will find in any of the UK daily papers.  I got there in the end.

Many thanks Monk for yet another super mental workout.  Around the outside of the grid we have opposites: MONO and POLY, YES and NO, CAT and IRON.   Why cat and iron would be opposites I have no idea, maybe I am barking up the wrong tree completely.  MONOPOLY NO IRON, YES CAT.  I have clearly missed out on the news story of the year: Monopoly Ditches Iron Counter In Favour of Cat.


5 NAPIER Log producer demands area on new wharf (6)
A (area) on N (new) PIER (wharf) – John Napier, produced the first book of logarithms
7 GEOFFREY Beginning to edge away when introduced to dull man (8)
E (beginning of edge) OFF (away) inside (introduced to) GREY (dull) – man’s name
9 ORNAMENT Adorn famous books with gold facing (8)
NAME (of name, famous) NT (books of bible) with OR (gold) in front (facing)
10 EMPIRE Multinational republic welcoming army regulators? (6)
EIRE (repulic of) incuding (welcoming) MP (militay polics, army regulators)
11 INFLATIONIST Backer of the Big Issue is into wrestling after getting in uniform (12)
(IS INTO)* wrestling=anagram following (getting after) IN FLAT (uniform) – a monetary theorist proposing devaluation by printing currency. Might it have something to do with the Big Bang?
13 REUSES Declines to skip following exercises yet again (6)
REfUSES (declines) skipping F (following) – to exercise is to use
15 TISWAS Press returned having learnt about commotion (6)
SIT (press) reversed (returned) and SAW (learnt) reversed (about) – definition is ‘commotion’. I’m not sure why press=sit
18 STEREOPHONIC Transported round Chinese port through two channels (12)
anagram (transported) of O (round) CHINESE PORT
21 OTTAWA Almost get off on too much capital (6)
AWAy (off, almost) on OTT (too much) – capital of Canada
22 TANZANIA Reportedly beats a neighbouring republic (8)
TANZ A NIA sounds like (reportedly) “tans a near” (beats a neighbouring)
23 NATURIST One exposed truants, I fancy (8)
(TRUANTS I)* anagram=fancy
24 ARARAT Famous dry spot in Sahara? Rather (6)
in sahARA RATher – a desert area Mount Ararat where Noah’s came to rest after the flood (famous dry spot)
1 MIRACLES Dodgy claims re law-breaking events? (8)
(CLAIMS RE)* anagram=dodgy – breaking the laws of nature
2 ORIENT Obtain the bearing of sunrise (6)
double definition – the sun rises in the East, Orient
3 NOVELIST After half a month, tip author (8)
NOVEmber (half a month) LIST (tip, lean)
4 OFF PAT Not wanting a stroke remembered (3,3)
OFF (not wanting, eg ‘off my food’) PAT (a stroke)
6 ARRANGED After Universal’s departure, debated about Kurosawa flm set (8)
ARGuED (debated) missing U (universal) about RAN (Kurasawa film) – definition is ‘set’
7 GUTROT What might give you endless fit and diarrhoea, almost? (6)
aGUe (endless fit) TROTs (diarrhoea, almost) – definition is &lit. I’m not sure about GU bit, could be Give yoU, but this the opposite of endless really.
8 EZRA Old book for a pound? (4)
double definition, book of The Bible and Ezra Pound the writer
12 BASILICA Man about to tour frst Roman cardinal’s church (8)
BASIL (man) CA (about) going round (to tour) I (first)
14 SCENARIO Outline of a semicircle one’s represented (8)
anagram (representation) of A CIRcle (semi=half of) and ONE’S – definition is ‘outline’
16 STOWAWAY One in a hold ultimately has to pull continuously (8)
S (ultimate letter of has) TOW AWAY (to pull continuously) – one in a ship’s hold
17 SEXTET Three couples want it before start of a festival (6)
SEX (it) before TET (start of festival, the Vietnamese new year) – three twos are six. Start refers to either new year’s day being the start of a holiday period, or else a shortened form of the full name Tet Nguyen Dan.
18 SNAP UP Eagerly purchase bowls, perhaps? (4,2)
PANS (bowls) UP (reversed) – bowls and pans refering to lavatories?
19 PEN PAL Stall China’s foreign correspondent? (3,3)
PEN (stall) PAL (china plate, mate, rhyming slang)
20 ETNA Mountain petunias in prime locations (4)
pETuNiAs (2nd, 3rd, 5th and 7th letters) – the prime numbered locations


8 Responses to “Financial Times 14,277 by Monk”

  1. Muffyword says:

    Monopoly, no iron, yes cat.

    I agree it was tough, but really enjoyable. I also don’t really understand TISWAS.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks PeeDee
    As you say, tough!

    In 15ac, press=sit is confirmed in Chambers. The GU in 7dn comes from [a]GU[e] (endless fit).

    I think the ‘famous dry spot’ in 24ac is referring to the Mountains of Ararat where Noah’s ark came to rest.

    As Muffyword has pointed out, the perimeter needs to be read so that it reflects the recent changes made to the board game Monopoly.

  3. PeeDee says:

    Thanks Gaufrid and Muffyword. Noah’s Ark of course! How did I miss that?

  4. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Another fantastic puzzle by Monk.

    Did I find it tough? Well, er, toughish.
    I made quite a bright start with solutions “all over the place”, literally, meaning that I had a lot of crossing letters.

    Finding the last bits was tricky.
    I found STEREOPHONIC, but couldn’t see why. Was wrongfooted by the clue – looking for a Chinese port inside a word for transported.
    Last in was REUSES, with many thanks to the Nina.

    I found 20d (ETNA) really really clever. I think this must be a novel use of choosing regular letters in a puzzle?

    Only in 8d (EZRA) I was a bit surprised to see Monk using false decapitalisation. There is a question mark of course, but still. I know some people can’t be bothered, but many cruciverbalists are against it. For some reason I thought Monk would be an anti.

    But as I said, a fantastic puzzle full of ingenious constructions (6d, 14d, for example).

    Many thanks to PeeDee for the blog.

  5. TonyP says:

    Whilst getting the flavour of this puzzle – far beyond me – I notice that in 14d I believe you need to add the ‘a’ from the clue to give you the 8th letter for the anagram.

  6. PeeDee says:

    Thank you TonyP, fixed now.

  7. Keeper says:

    Like Sil @4, I was enamoured of 20d. “Wow!” was actually what I jotted in the margins. I’d be curious to know if this device (i.e., using prime numbered letters) has been used before.

    7a was a different story. In general, I am not a fan of clues where the definition is man/woman/boy/girl and the answer is a (first) name. I’m fine, however, if a specific person of that name is suggested by the clue. In this case, the clue could have ended “…dull man of Monmouth” or “…dull poet” (i.e., Chaucer). Or even “…dull giraffe mascot” (i.e., of Toys “R” Us fame).

  8. PeeDee says:

    Keeper, I agree with you about the first names as definitions, though in this case George is a very straightforward example. The rest of the puzzle is tough so I guess he did not want to give too much away.

    Re 20dn: I happened to know Monk is a professor of mathematics in his day job, so when I saw ‘prime’ in the clue that is the first thing I looked for. A very nice clue.

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