Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010 - Story Time


Introduction

In today's puzzle, Cox and Rathvon present us with a fine collection of stories for our enjoyment.

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

14d Swarthmore developed soil aerators (10)

Swarthmore College is a small (1500 students) but highly regarded liberal arts college located in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. While seemingly better known for its studies in international relations than agricultural research, its supposed interest in "soil aerators" may stem from the fact that "Swarthmore's campus and the Scott Arboretum are coextensive".

This institution would likely be unknown to me if not for the following mention in The Mamas & the Papas song Creeque Alley:
When Cass was a sophomore, planned to go to Swarthmore
But she changed her mind one day.
Standin' on the turnpike, thumb out to hitchhike,
"Take me to New York right away."


22d Old horse carries you in Italy (6)

I almost flubbed this clue, thinking that the solution was CAYUSE, rather than MATURE.

In actuality, the definition is "old" and the solution is MATURE. The wordplay is MARE (horse) containing (carries) TU (you in Italy; i.e., Italian word meaning "you").

I originally had the definition as "old horse" with the solution being CAYUSE. According to Wikipedia, cayuse is an archaic term - thus accounting for the reference to old horse. Perhaps the term is archaic, as I learned it from watching old Westerns (movies) and they do seem to belong to a vanishing (if not already vanished) genre.

As for the wordplay, I really had no idea. I could not identify any sort of suitable conveyance that might carry one in Italy (being pretty sure that it could not be a gondola). However, realizing that my knowledge of Italian is pretty weak, I continued stumbling around in pursuit of a solution premised on that line of thinking. I even went so far as to consider that it might be some sort of "sounds like" clue where cayuse sounds like CHI YOUSE (a New York mobster of Italian descent speaking Greek? or, possibly, studying statistics?).

Finally, just before clicking the "Publish Post" button, I decided to take one more crack at the clue - and Eureka! - I met with success.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

Legend: "CD" Cryptic Definition; "DD" Double Definition

"*" anagram; "~" sounds like; "<" letters reversed

"( )" letters inserted; "_" letters deleted
Across

1a STOR(M)Y - STORY containing (about) M (March's beginning; i.e., beginning letter of the word "March")

4a F(R)ICTION - FICTION (stories) containing (about) R (winter's last; i.e., last letter of the word "winter")

9a BE(ET RE)D - ETRE (Parisian to be; i.e., French word meaning "to be") contained in (caught in) BED

11a LITHGOW* - anagram (playing) of WITH LOG; John Lithgow: American actor

12a T(AG S)ALE - TALE (story) containing (about) AGS (Auditor General's)

13a GATOR~ - sounds like (audibly) GAITER (spat)

15a AJAR - A JAR (cookie container)

16a F(ACTOR)ABLE - FABLE (story) containing (about) ACTOR (thespian)

20a TI(NA| TURN)ER - TIER (story) containing (about) NA (North American) TURN (twist); Tina Turner: American singer

21a PEON* - anagram (position) of OPEN

23a WADER* - anagram (dotty) of DREW A

25a LI(ME AD)E - LIE (story) containing (about) MEAD (honey drink)

27a _R|A|VIOLI_ - hidden in (in) humouR A VIOLInist

28a S(C)UPPER - C (bit of champagne; i.e., the first letter in the word "champagne") contained in (amid) SUPPER (meal)

29a SA(RAT|O)GA - SAGA (story) containing (about) {RAT (traitor) + (and) O (old)}; Battles of Saratoga: decisive battles in the American Revolutionary War (or, as it is widely known outside the U.S., the American War of Independence)

30a Y(E)ARNS - YARNS (stories) containing (about) E (Eastern)

Down

1d SOBS* - anagram (breaks down) of BOSS

2d OVERT|RAIN - OVERT (public) RAIN (shower)

3d MIR(AG)E - AG (silver; i.e., chemical symbol for the element silver) contained in (in) MIRE (bog)

5d RILKE - RILE (upset) containing (about) K (kay; i.e., the 11th letter of the alphabet); Rainer Maria Rilke - Bohemian-Austrian poet

6d CATE|GORY - CATE (Australian actress Cate Blanchett) preceding (before) GORY (blood-splattering)

7d IN|GOT - IN (pair of Incas; i.e., the first two letters of the word "Incas") GOT (acquired)

8d {NEW ORLEANS}* - anagram (changed) of LONE ANSWER

10d {DEAD AIR}* - anagram (broadcast) of I DREAD A

14d EARTHWORMS* - anagram (developed) of SWARTHMORE; Swathmore College: liberal arts institution located in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

17d THE(RM)OS - RM (room) contained in (inside) THEOS (Theo's)

18d B(EEK)EEPER - BEEPER (horn) containing (covering) EEK (sound of a scream)

19d STAR|T OUT - STAR (celebrity) TOUT (advertiser)

22d MA(TU)RE - MARE (horse) containing TU (you in Italy; i.e., Italian word meaning "you")

24d DOVER* - anagram (off) of DROVE; Dover: a town in Kent, England, known for its white chalk cliffs

25d _LY|IN|G_ - hidden in (keeps) famiLY IN Germany

26d EROS< - reversal (back) of SORE (aching)

Signing off for today - Falcon

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