Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14294 Gaff

Posted by scchua on April 23rd, 2013


This was trickier than the usual Tuesday FT.  So much so that I had to get help from a better solver than I, to complete it, which partly accounts for the slightly later blog.  There is a 9across of proper or potentially proper names and some chess references, but if there’s a ghost theme it’s gone over my head.  Thanks Gaff.  I enjoyed solving, and writing the blog too.  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 One who angles for compliments? (6)

FISHER : Cryptic defn: A fisherman could also mean one who fishes for compliments. (Or is that a Double defn:?).

5 With no company making “Lose Nemo”. . . . (8)

LONESOME : Anagram of(making) LOSE NEMO.

9 . . . . lots of realistic animators forfeit their openings (4)

RAFT : Initial letters, respectively, of(… openings) “realistic animators forfeit their “.

10 Louis, for example, isn’t a problem (5)

SAINT : Anagram of(problem) ISN’T A.

Answer: Saint Louis, US city, an example of a “Louis”.

11 Piece of skin graft (4)

KING : Hidden in(of) “skin graft “.

Defn: A piece in chess. “Piece” could also be taken as part of the hidden indicator.

12 Chess player 1 soundly beat man (5)

BOBBYHomophone of(soundly) “Fisher”(answer to 1across) (Bobby Fischer, American chess grandmaster, and the 11th World Chess Champion).

Defn: and Answer: A constable in England who walks the beat, “bobby” for short.

14 A nearly ideal chance for air traffic controller (9)

AUTOPILOT : A + “Utopia”(an ideal) minus its last letter(nearly) + LOT(one’s fortune;chance, root for eg. “lottery”and “draw lots”).

Answer: A device to control planes on a set course;an air traffic controller.

16 Tools to produce more even deal, perhaps (7)

SANDERS : Cryptic defn: Power-driven tools to smooth;even out wood;deal surfaces.

17 Fool succeeds. Bravo! (7)

CHARLIE : In the phonetic alphabet, that which represents C following after;succeeding B, represented by Bravo.

Answer: British slang for a fool, apparently derived from “Charlie Hunt”, rhyming slang for …. (I leave it to your imagination what it rhymes with – hint: it’s not punt)

20 Solver’s eaten half a fruit, more green (7)

YOUNGER : YOUR(possessive pronoun for “solver”;you as opposed to the setter’s;mine) containing(eaten) + last three letters of(half) “orange”(a fruit).

21 Form an audible spokesman (7)

FOREMAN : Homophone of(audible) “Form an”.

Answer: As in the spokesman for a jury.

23 What’s said about fair lady (4,3,2)

SHE’S GOT IT : Cryptic defn: Said by Professor Higgins and Colonel Pickering about Eliza Doolittle, My Fair Lady, after she got “The Rain in Spain Stays Mainly in the Plain” phonetically correct. One could also read the definition as the fair;pretty lady has got it;sex appeal.

26 Masonic drink (5)

PERRY : Cryptic defn: Reference to Perry Mason, the fictional defence attorney, created by American author Erle Stanley Gardner.

Answer: An alcoholic beverage, similar to cider, but made from pear juice.

28 Won’t play Rugby, possibly (4)

TOWN : Anagram of(play) WON’T.

Answer: Of which Rugby, in E. Warwickshire, England, is an example;possibly.

29 Mad about Jonathan? (5)

CROSS : C(abbrev. for “circa”;about in reference to approximate dates) + ROSS(Jonathan, TV and radio presenter, aka Wossy, known for his rhotacism if not for anything else).

30 Hollow  northern banker (4)

DENE : Double defn: 1st: A valley; and 2nd: A small river;banker in Warwickshire (a second mention – a connection with the setter?).

31 Stop moving around, Gaff’s back on the town (8)

HAMILTON : HALT(to stop moving) containing(around) reversal of(back) I’M(contraction of I am;Gaff the setter is;Gaff’s) + ON.

Answer: A town in S. Larnarkshire, Scotland.

32 Marsh, footballer, changed MO (6)

ROMNEY : “Rooney”(Wayne, footballer, English international and currently Man. U. player) with the second “o” changed to “m”(changed MO).

Answer: Romney Marsh;wetland in Kent and E. Sussex.

2 Beau to Marion, a rogue (9)

INAMORATO : Anagram of(rogue) TO MARION, A.

Answer: A male lover, who could very well be a rogue.

3 Smash (3)

HIT : Double defn: 1st: To break something with a violent blow; and 2nd: Someone or something that is an overwhelming success or is very popular. The two definitions combined into one in the clue.

4 Note showing we object to trick (4)

RUSE : RE(the syllable used for the second note in the diatonic musical scale, or “a drop of golden sun”) containing(showing) US(the objective case of the pronoun “we”).

5 Paul, confused about identity, retired (4,2)

LAID UP : Anagram of(confused) PAUL containing(about) ID(short for “identity”).

Answer: To be confined to bed;retired.

6 Independent state of gangster after race (10)

NATIONHOOD : HOOD(a gangster, from shortening of “hoodlum”) placed after(after) NATION(a race of people).

Answer: The state of being an independent nation.

7 Task I prepared for Hindu goddess (5)

SAKTI : Anagram of(prepared) TASK I.

Answer: An alternative spelling of “Shakti”, a wife of a Hindu deity, especially of Shiva. By extension, it also means the female organ of reproduction.


8 Collectible Mountain of Mourne, endlessly mysterious (5)

MUNRO : Anagram of(mysterious) “mourne” minus its last letter(endlessly).

Answer: Any mountain taller than 3000 feet in Scotland. I think “collectible” refers to the practice of “munro-bagging” which is to climb as many, if not all, the munros.

13 Itinerant people, lacking distance learning, take root (3,2)

BED IN : “Bedouin”(nomads;intinerant people in North Africa) minus(lacking) “ou”(abbrev. for the Open University, which provides distance learning).

Answer: To take root in a flower bed, say.

15 Spooner’s vampire’s belief in Siamese, maybe (5,2,3)

BREED OF CAT : Spoonerism of “creed of bat”(the beliefs of a creature which could be of the blood-sucking type;a vampire).

Answer: One of which;maybe is the Siamese.

18 Energy shown by ever-rising officer (5)

REEVE : E(abbrev. for “energy” in physics) contained in(shown by) reversal of(rising, in a down clue) EVER.

Answer: An administrative office of a town or district.

19 Dazed by evil incarnate (2,1,6)

IN A TRANCE : Anagram of(evil) INCARNATE. When in a trance, one may claim to be possessed by evil incarnate. A WIWD (wordplay intertwined with definition) clue.

22 Renounce row about broadcast (6)

DISOWN : DIN(a row;a noise) containing(about) SOW(to broadcast;to spread, as in “sowing one’s wild oats”).

24 Doctor Fog heard commotion (3-2)

HOO-HA : Homophone of(heard) “Who”(the Time Lord Doctor) “haar”(a thick fog along the coast).

25 After misdeed, best place to receive instructions about behaviour (5)

SINAI : SIN(a misdeed;a wrong) placed before(After …) AI(letters that look like A1;the best grade).

Answer: The mountain place where, in Judaism, Islam and Christianity, Moses received the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt not….”, etc. etc.

27 Don’t even test air-head (4)

TSAR : “testair” minus its 2nd, 4th and 6th letters(Don’t even).

Answer: The former head of Russia.

30 Slow to reduce volume (3)

DIM : DIM(the abbrev. for “diminuendo”, the musical instruction to lower the volume of play).

Answer: The opposite of “quick-witted”.



For answers please click:  pic#2 here, pic#3 here, pic#4 here.


8 Responses to “Financial Times 14294 Gaff”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks scchua

    I think 30ac should be DENT (a small river in Cumbria) since Warwickshire is hardly ‘northern’. This would also fit in with the theme in which every across answer (except 14) can be preceded or followed by George. In 14ac, George is RAF slang of an autopilot. Very apt for 23rd April!

    Interestingly, in the village of Dent there is a hostelry called ‘The George and Dragon Hotel’.

  2. Thoma99 says:

    By George 23a! Brilliant and eccentric stuff from the ever-surprising Gaff. Thanks for the blog.

  3. scchua says:

    Oops, thanks Gaufrid. I’ll correct 30across (my only defence? Warwickshire is about as far north as Cumbria from where I sit :-) )I should’ve followed up on my hunch about proper names – I had George Raft, Sanders and Hamilton (that’s how old I am), but didn’t put it together. Should have known better with Gaff. Well, life’s too full of “should’ves”.

  4. Gaufrid says:

    Hi scchua
    I can understand why you went with DENE. I considered this possibility, particularly as the River Dent isn’t given in Wikipedia, but I couldn’t find a George Dene or Dene George of any note.

    In fact, I have not found much confiirmation of there being a River Dent, but the village of Dent is located in Dentdale and, so far as I am aware, all of the Yorkshire Dales (Dent used to be in Yorkshire before some boundary changes) are named after the river that runs through them.

    Just for completeness:

    George Fisher – take your pick of many
    Lonesome George – the last survivor of a subspecies of tortoise
    George Raft – American actor
    Saint George
    King George
    Bobby George – former darts player
    George Sanders – British actor
    Charlie George – former footballer
    George Younger – politician or founder of a brewery
    George Foreman – former boxer
    [by] George she’s got it – from the musical My Fair Lady
    George Perry – could be one of several
    Georgetown or George Town – the capital of Guyana or one of many other placenames
    George Cross – medal
    George Dent – editor in ‘Drop the Dead Donkey’ (amongst others)
    George Hamilton – C&W singer amongst others
    George Romney – English portrait painter

  5. Eileen says:

    Rather late to this discussion, as I’ve been out for lunch. Thanks to setter, blogger and Gaufrid.

    “Interestingly, in the village of Dent there is a hostelry called ‘The George and Dragon Hotel’.”

    Been there! In fact, a weekend in the magical village of Dent
    was my introduction, thirty-odd years ago, to the glorious Yorkshire Dales [the National Park includes Dent, although it’s in Cumbria].

    The river that runs through Dent is the Dee, so Dentdale, like my beloved Wensleydale, takes its name from one of its villages – or practically its only one – rather than its river. Googling ‘River Dent’ brought up these images

    I think it’s fair enough to clue DENT with ‘northern banker’.

    I’m suffering from distinct withdrawal symptoms now!

  6. Muffyword says:

    Thanks for a great blog, scchua.

    I found the crossword tricky but ultimately very satisfying. I might have found it less tricky had I noticed the theme.

    I had DENT as my answer for 30 across.

    I hesitated to enter REEVE, as ‘shown by’ didn’t to me suggest an insertion. Is this an established crossword convention?

    [[Picture 1 is a ROMNEY sheep, picture 3 could be PERRY]]

  7. scchua says:

    [[Hi Muffyword, Yes, that’s a Romney, formerly a Romney Marsh. I’ll add links to the anwers to the other pics in a while.]]

  8. JollySwagman says:

    Incredible. It seemed so easy at first – then toughened up and got more sophisticated – turning into a great puzzle – and that’s before I come here (having foolishly got a wrong crosser in – no excuse – the anagram letters were there) and find out about the George theme.

    A characteristically understated way to celebrate the day – I mean drinking red and white beer and having embarrassingly Disneyfied street parades wouldn’t really be us now – would it – not even for expats.

    Thanks all round – Gaff for the puzzle – scchua for the blog and Gaufrid for explaining the theme.

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