Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14282 Phssthpok

Posted by scchua on April 9th, 2013


I’ve always enjoyed Phssthpok’s puzzles, but I enjoyed this one a bit less.  I think it was partly due to the iffy/fuzzy definitions/synonyms.  I still managed to finish it, though.  So thanks to Phssthpok, and sorry if I didn’t do this justice.  Definitions are underlined in the clues. [[The pictures at the bottom have unidentified links to the puzzle. Please enclose any comments on them in double brackets. Thank you.]]

1 Give a hand to collect rubbish (8)

CLAPTRAP : CLAP(to give a hand;to applaud) + TRAP(to collect, as what your basin trap might do).

6 Eccentric who welcomes brief acknowledgment (6)

WHACKO : WHO containing(welcomes) ACK(abbrev. for;brief “acknowledgment”).

9 Trust vehicle license to be given back (6)

CARTEL : CAR(a type of vehicle) plus(… to be given) reversal of(back) LET(to allow;to permit;to license).

Defn: An illegal combination of commercial companies in order to control the market.

10 These implants give absurd shape to ears (8)

SILICONE : Homophone of(to ears) “silly”(absurd) “cone”(a 3-dimensional shape).

Answer: A type of (breast) implants of silicone gel in a silicone elastomer shell. Not exactly conical, though one might think so. And they would give an absurd shape to your ears.  An amusing surface.

11 Tease junior for swallowing drugs (4)

JEER : JR(abbrev. for “junior”;the younger) containing(swallowing) E,E(2 x slang abbrev. for the drug, Ecstasy).

12 How to heckle magician to succeed (2,3,5)

DO THE TRICK : Cryptic defn: What you might heckle a magician with if he/she were unsuccessful or not prompt in performing his/her tricks.

14 No strings attached to round musical instrument by sailors (8)

ABSOLUTE : { O(the round-looking letter)+ LUTE(a guitar-like musical instrument) } placed after(by, in an across clue) ABS(abbrev. for “able-bodied seamen”;sailors).

Answer: Free from conditions or restrictions;no strings attached.

16 Lies facing inwards, bumping sleepy heads (4)

FIBS : Initial letters of the respective words of (heads) “facing inwards, bumping sleepy”.

18 Half-witted daughter kept behind (4)

DAFT : D(abbrev. for “daughter”) plus(kept) AFT(behind;astern).

19 Avengers manufactured chemical weapon (5,3)

NERVE GAS : Anagram of(manufactured) AVENGERS.

21 A violin and guitar are unfinished, not hollow or piercing (10)

ASTRINGENT : + “stringed”(what a violin, as well as a guitar, are) minus its last letter(unfinished) + “not” minus its inner letter(hollow).

Answer: Incisive;sharp;piercing as in “astringent wit”.

22 Epic poet detailed birthplace (4)

HOME : “Homer”(Greek writer of epic poems) minus its last letter(detailed).

24 One bounces in court (8)

KANGAROO : Cryptic defn: The bounding animal which has given its name to a court which is irregularly or crudely operated so as to render a fair trial impossible.  I thought that a kangaroo bounds rather than bounces, the former implying a propulsion with each bound, while the latter implies a passive motion.

26 Question we try to compose on keyboard (6)

QWERTY : Q(abbrev. for “question”) + anagram of(to compose) WE TRY.

Answer: The common typewriter, computer, etc. keyboard with those letters on the left side of the top row of alphabetic characters.

27 Type of dip and lob over bar (6)

SKINNY : SKY(to lob;to hit a ball skyward) containing(over) INN(a bar;a watering hole).

Answer: Descriptive of a swim;dip with only your skin on.

28 Tories, taking north not south, are obliterated by old labour (8)

EXERTION : Anagram of(are obliterated) [“tories” plus(taking) “n”(abbrev. for “north”) minus(not) “s”(abbrev. for “south”) ] placed after(by, in an across clue) EX-(prefix to indicate “former”;old).

Defn: As a noun.

2 Break end off foliage (5)

LEAVE : “leaves”(foliage) minus its last letter(end off).

Answer: A break from work, say.

3 Lift wreckage from nearest port (11)

PATERNOSTER : Anagram of(wreckage from) NEAREST PORT.

Answer: A kind of doorless lift transporting people from floor to floor.

4 Illegal service might be administered abroad (5,3)

RULED OUT : RULED(governed;administered) OUT(out of the country;abroad).

Answer: What a serve in, say, tennis or table tennis, might be, if illegal under the rules of the game.

5 Challenge what postman does on reaching letterbox (4,3,8)

PUSH THE ENVELOPE : Cryptic defn: To deliver, the postman will push the envelope into the letterbox. I was held up by the misleading singular “postman does”, inconsistent with the plural “challenge”.

Answer: To challenge;to test the boundaries;envelopes of what is currently possible.

6 Purse claimed by leading welterweight before a count back (6)

WALLET : Initial letter of(leading) “welterweight” placed before(before) reversal of(back) TELL(to count;to affect, as in “make every stroke tell”).

7 Bow to a churchgoer (3)

ARC : A + RC(abbrev. for “Roman Catholic”;a churchgoer).

Answer: A line curved like a bow, say, a rainbow.

8 Carelessly, I bang rock into snake (4,5)

KING COBRA : Anagram of(Carelessly) I BANG ROCK.

13 About time to take new students for a drink (11)

REFRESHMENT : [ RE(about;with reference to) + T(abbrev. for “time”) ] containing(to take) FRESHMEN(newly joined students, say, at a college).

Defn: A refreshment of the liquid kind.

15 Money to come out with for Jack’s impulse buy (9)

BEANSTALK : BEANS(money, as in “I don’t have a bean to my name”) + TALK(to come out with;to say something – is “say” synonymous with “talk”?).

Answer: From the fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk”, though I thought Jack bought beans rather than a beanstalk.

17 Foreign letter that French sailor took back inside gave permission to enter port (8)

PRATIQUE : [ PI(the Greek letter, foreign unless you’re Greek) + QUE(French for “that”) ] containing(… inside) reversal of(took back) TAR(slang for a sailor). A clunky construction I thought, and “taken back” is more appropriate as an indicator than “took back”. The idea behind the surface is good, though.

Answer: Permission for a ship to enter port after satisfying local health requirements.

20 Knotted yarn left frayed by violin string (6)

GNARLY : Anagram of(frayed) [ YARN + L(abbrev. for “left”) ] placed before(by) G(a violin string on which you might play an Air).

Answer: An alternative to “gnarled”, of a tree covered with protuberances;knots.

23 Dictator invaded by Tanzania for bread, as required by religion (5)

MATZO : MAO(Zedong, Chinese dictator) containing(invaded by) TZ(international code for Tanzania).

Answer: Cracker of unleavened bread eaten by Jews during their Passover festival.

25 Throttle or shoot (3)

GUN : Double defn: 1st: The throttle of an engine, say, of a car. More familiar as a verb in “to gun the engine of the car”, which of course means to increase rather than decrease;throttle;choke the flow of fuel. 2nd: To shoot with a gun.


For the answer to pic#3 please click here .

6 Responses to “Financial Times 14282 Phssthpok”

  1. Lynette says:

    Thanks for the blog, scchua. Well done on completing this. I thought some of the clues were 6ac 1ac!

  2. Muffyword says:

    I enjoyed the crossword and your blog, scchua – fantastic pedantry in your comments about KANGAROO.

    Picture 2 is a cataract and picture 3 June Whitfield, I think. I can’t connect these to the crossword apart from via June’s brief appearance in the comedy show Whack-O, in which, as far as I know, cataracts do not feature.

    The crossword is a pangram.

  3. scchua says:

    Muffyword, I’m bad at spotting these things, even more when I’m blogging.

    [[cataract and June Whitfield are right. Each of the picture has got its own distinct link.]]

  4. NormanLinFrance says:

    Thanks for the blog.
    [[DH Lawrence, picture one, wrote something called KANGAROO, which I’ve never read and which I doubt many others have. Kelly McGillis, picture 4, was in Top GUN. No idea about the cataract]]

  5. NormanLinFrance says:

    [[Silicone implants can be used for CATARACT repair work, and not just where we all imagine them (according to wiki sources)]]

  6. scchua says:

    [[Right, NormanLinFrance. McGillis, shown here in The Accused, was in Top Gun. Lawrence wrote Kangaroo, set in, where else, Australia. Artificial lenses inserted into the eyes after cataract surgery are quite often made from silicone, and they too are called implants – thus I can boast that I too have got a pair of fantastic implants, really.
    For you, Muffyword and any others, I’m adding a link under the pictures for the June Whitfield connection.]]

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