A close-up of a crossword
© FT montage

Here’s a clue from Friday November 18 FT crossword: Confront female expert (4)

What’s the answer?

To understand why the answer is FACE, here’s your chance to ask the person who wrote the clue.

Peto, aka Ron Major, compiled today’s crossword. He and Roger Blitz, FT crossword editor, replied to your questions, talked about their love of crosswords and explained the clues and their answers.

You can find today’s and other crosswords in the new FT crossword app.

Here are the highlights:

Roger Blitz: Greetings, Ron. Tell us a bit about yourself, why you call yourself Peto, how long you’ve been setting crosswords, and how you go about putting puzzles together.

Peto: I started setting crosswords in 2005. I provided free puzzles to the Morning Star and the Northern Echo until I joined the Independent team in 2010 and the FT in 2012. Peto is a minor Shakespearean character, as is Poins and Parolles, other names I use. Unless I’m writing a themed puzzle I simply pick a grid, fill it with words I think might be suitable for playing around with and then set about constructing clues. I do try to produce clues with smooth surfaces.


Roger: Any advice for solvers? If you’re coming to cryptic crosswords as a beginner, how should you go about trying to solve some of these fiendish clues?

Peto: I’d get a “How to solve cryptic crosswords” book and/or look online for sites offering the same thing. Get used to the conventions, do lots of puzzles and join forums like this.


Roger Blitz: Help us with 8 down — Refuse to hold Henry’s party (6)

Peto: All clues depend upon some element of deception. In this clue the surface reading encourages you to see the word “refuse” (stress on the second syllable) as meaning “decline to agree”. Refuse (stress on the first syllable) however means rubbish or trash. So Refuse to hold Henry’s party has “trash” around “to hold” H=Henry giving Thrash = party.


Roger: My favourite clue in the FT crossword today is Fake diamond becoming country’s emblem (8) Tell us the answer and how you get there.

Peto: Fake diamond becoming country’s emblem (8) Fake=SHAM + diamond= ROCK giving SHAMROCK Ireland’s emblem

For more questions and answers read the full Q&A in the comments section below.

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