Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Financial Times 14,286 by Cincinnus

Posted by Pete Maclean on April 25th, 2013

Pete Maclean.

Prize puzzle from the Weekend FT of April 13, 2013

I found this Cincinnus puzzle trickier than most but well up to his usual standard. My clues of the week are 16A (BENISON), 23A (BISHOPRIC), 11D (LIMB), 17D (STOCKPORT) and the very topical (since the Sunday of the weekend the puzzle was published was his birthday) 15D (KIM JONG-IL). The clues I found most difficult were 13A, 29A and 8D.

Across
1. SACK RACE – SACK (dress) + anagram of CARE
5. PASS UP – PASS (academic achievement) + UP (at university)
9. CAST IRON – anagram of ACTORS IN
10. ARMOUR – R (Romeo) in AMOUR (love)
12. RHONE – [vintne]R + HONE (perfect)
13. BRICKBATS – BRICK (stout fellow) + BATS (is in — as in cricket)
14. HANKER – N (name) in HAKE (fish) + R (right)
15. BENISON – VENISON with V (veg initially) replaced by B (bishop)
19. ABYSMAL – [b]ABY SMAL[l] (child puny)
21. BARTOK – BAR (part of score) + T[rouble] + OK (fine)
23. BISHOPRIC – B (British) + anagram of COP IRISH
25. ASKEW – AS (like) + KEW (part of London)
26. SLINGS – [go]SLINGS (go away from young birds)
27. ALEATORY – ALE (drink) + A (a) + TORY (party member)
28. SETTLE – double definition
29. AGITATED – A (a) + A (a) + T (short time) together in GITE (holiday home) + D (daughter). Once I had some crossing letters, I quickly guessed that the answer must be AGITATED but I could not figure out how. I should have looked up GITE but failed to until someone gave me the hint — it is originally a French word meaning farmhouse or country home.

Down
1. SECURE – double definition and &lit.
2. CASSOWARY – ASS (beast) in CO (company) + WARY (cautious)
3. RAISE – cryptic definition
4. CLOBBER – double definition
6. AFRIKANER – anagram of FREAK RAIN
7. SHONA – hidden word
8. PHRASING – anagram of IN GRAPHS
11. LIMB – double definition with the second one referring to “life and limb”
15. KIM JONG-IL – M[ussolini] in anagram of JOKING + IL (the Italian)
17. STOCKPORT – [endeavou]R in STOCKPOT (cook’s vessel)
18. IAMBUSES – I (one) + AM (in the morning) + BUSES (transport)
20. LORD – double definition, with the first as an exclamation (“Gracious!” or “Goodness gracious me!”)
21. BACKLOG – BACK (second) + LOG (record)
22. SWAYED – homophone (“suede”)
24. STILT – STILT[on] (cheese dropping on)
25. ADAPT – ADA (woman) + PT (exercises — as in physical training)

9 Responses to “Financial Times 14,286 by Cincinnus”

  1. Bamberger says:

    I solved the north east but elsewhere got only 18d,23a,25a and 22d. Had this been a football match, I would have been chanting “are you Loroso in disguise?”
    And so to the problems
    1a Sack =dress -is this a reference to a dress that doesn’t fit? Is that a sack your’e wearing?
    9a Head hung in shame -how did I miss the anagram?
    12a Hone=perfect just didn’t come to mind
    14a Well its ok when you see that long in the sense of hanker is what you want but not when you are fixatedon lengthy -and you think fish is a verb and hake wasn’t on the menu.
    19a To me very very hard
    21a Sorry I can’t see why bar =part of score-something to do with hitting the crossbar and going in? Never heard of bartok anyway.
    26a All I could think of was fledglings -no matter how much I tried to think of other yopung birds.
    27a I simply haven’t come across this word
    28a I didn’t know a settle was a bench.
    29a You have summed it up but I only had ?????t?d to go on
    1d Good clue but I couldn’t see it.
    2d Another unknown
    3d Not sure I really get this? Raise his game?
    4d Simply couldn’t see this.
    15d I should have got this
    20d Sorry don’t get it
    21d Another one I should have got
    24d I didn’t know this bird though I guessed what you had to do
    25d Again just couldn’t get it.

    Was that really Cincinnus?

    Well done Pete

  2. Pete Maclean says:

    Bamberger, thank you very much for your comments (especially the amusing bits!).

    1a: Sack = dress is something I have come across before and checked in my Chambers to verify. However I am not clear on the exact meaning in which ‘sack’ would be applied in the clothing context.

    19a: I grant you this was a very hard one.

    21a: A bar is part of a musical score. Classical composers make a lot of appearances in crosswords (I am not sure why) and it helps to be familiar with the best known names in the field. Bela Bartok is perhaps not premier league but certainly well up there among the greats.

    27a: I could not remember if I had come across ALEATORY before or not. I may get snotty if I find a puzzle harbouring a lot of obscure words but one or two are par for the course.

    2d: As a boy I lived for a while on a street where a neighbour had a pet cassowary so I am lucky enough to be very familiar with these particular birds. And birds come up, I think, even more commonly than composers.

    3d: Raise his game? I am not a poker player but I think the idea is more to raise his stake.

  3. Keeper says:

    Thanks for the blog, Pete, particularly for parsing 29a. Like you, I got AGITATED from the crossing letters but was at a loss for the explanation.

    I found 15d interesting: There seem to be 2 definitions (“Marshal” and “supreme leader”) sandwiching the wordplay. Can’t recall seeing a clue like that before.

  4. Pete Maclean says:

    According to Wikipedia, Kim Jong-Il’s rank was equivalent to Marshal so it would fit as a definition. And although it is unusual, I believe there is nothing wrong with having more than one definition in a clue that is not simply a double or multiple definition. However in 15d, I think that ‘marshal’ is intended to serve only an anagram indicator for JOKING.

  5. declanor says:

    A “sack dress” is a type of dress; defined in Dictionary.com as “a loose, unbelted dress that hangs straight from the shoulder to the hemline”.

    Tough crossword.

  6. Pete Maclean says:

    Ah, thank you for clearing that up.

  7. Keeper says:

    I wasn’t finding fault with 15d, Pete, just commenting on an interesting construction. But, upon further reflection, I think you’re right that “Marshal” was intended as an anagram indicator. It also occurred to me that changing “the” to “an” would yield KIM JONG-UN. (For that matter, “Marshal sulking about my Spanish supreme leader” could be KIM IL-SUNG.)

  8. John Newman says:

    Many thanks Pete. Like you I found this very hard. I thought I had got there in the end with the help of the online solver but I now see I had the two birds wrong.

    I have some comments”

    13A. You say you found this hard. So did I, and I think we have him here this time with his bats. Last time I was happy with STAB as BATS referring to the fellows at the crease. But this time BATS is not correct in my mind. Cincinnus has it as meaning “is in”. If a batsman is in he is batting. If you ask “when is Joe in?” you answer “he is in at number 3″ or “he is batting at number 3″. There is one phrase which might work. If you ask “does he normally go in at the fall of the 1st wicket?”, the answer could be “yes, he bats at number 3″. Bats here meaning normally goes in. Not quite “is in “. This is not just a pedantic point because Cincinnus was deliberately misleading us with the use of the word “in” which usually has other meanings in cryptic crosswords.

    28A. I put in settle, but only because it couldn’t be anything else. Is settle a certain type of bench?

    29A. I should have got this more quickly as I stayed in a number of gites de france when I had a young family. Eventually the penny dropped.

    1D. My last answer because the use of the single word “get” is pretty clever.

    4D. Not sure this is a genuine double definition because both words mean the same thing.

    6D. Isn’t this clue wrong? Shouldn’t it be “Smuts, for example, in swirling freak rain”? As it stands the anagram indicator is pointing to 11 letters.

    7D Very well hidden word

    11D. Not always, sadly.

  9. Pete Maclean says:

    John, Thank you for your comments.

    13A. I take your point about “is in”.

    28A. Yes, ‘settle’ can mean a bench. And I have seen essentially the same clue before so I think this is a good one to remember.

    6D. I can see ‘swirling in’ as a valid anagram indicator so I don’t think there is a problem. Nevertheless your revision may be better.

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