Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012 - Family Affair


In today's puzzle from Cox and Rathvon you will find representation from every member of the family — or, at least, the traditional family.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

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

"( )" letters inserted; "_" letters deleted; "†" explicit in the clue


9a   ME|DI(CINE MA)N — ME (†) + {DIN (shouting) containing (about) CINEMA (movies)}

10a   EVE_ — EVE[R] (always) with the final letter deleted (almost)

11a   A|B|RIDGE — A (†) + B (bird's first [initial letter]) + RIDGE (crest)

12a   SE|CRETE — SE (southeast) + CRETE (Mediterranean island)

13a   RODE|O — RODE (sat on) + O (pintO's back [final letter])

14a   ANCESTRAL* — anagram (confused) of LANCASTER

16a   {BLACK MAGIC WOMAN} — anagram (weirdly) of MAKING A CLAW COMB

19a   DISCUSSED~ — sounds like (aloud) DISGUST (revolt)

21a   RE(MI)X — REX (king) containing (holds) MI ([musical] note)

24a   PARASOL~ — sounds like (pronounced) {PARIS (City of Light) + ALL (completely)}

26a   A|BAND|ON — A (†) + BAND (melodious bunch of people) + ON (†)

27a   SUN_ — SUN[K] (below the horizon) with the final letter deleted (nearly)
Sink[4] can mean to to appear to move down towards or descend below the horizon.

Here, I would say that the question mark is showing us that the definition may be a bit uncommon — but not one that I would regard as whimsical.
28a   {FLOWER CHILD}* — anagram (astray) of LED RICH WOLF

Flower child[7] originated as a synonym for the children of Billy Ray Williams and his then wife Hazel Payne Williams who made and sold paper flowers while living on Haight Street, starting in the early 1960s. The two older daughters, Charlotte and Victoria, wore flowers in their hair while selling the paper flowers to tourists visiting the Haight Ashbury neighborhood. It eventually became a synonym for the idealistic young people who gathered in San Francisco and environs during the 1967 Summer of Love. It was the custom of "flower children" to wear and distribute flowers or floral-themed decorations to symbolize altruistic ideals of universal brotherhood, peace and love. The mass media picked up on the term and used it to refer in a broad sense to any hippie.


1d   IMP|AIR — split (3,3) we get the AIR (song) that an IMP (rascal) sings
The somewhat whimsical nature of the definition is signalled by the question mark.
2d   A(DO)RED — DO (hairstyle) contained in (in) {A (†) + RED (brilliant colour)}

3d   A|C(ID) ROCK — ID (I'd) contained in (put in) {A (†) + CROCK (jar)}
Acid rock[7] is a form of psychedelic rock, which is characterized by long instrumental solos, few (if any) lyrics and musical improvisation.
4d   {ANSEL ADAMS}* — anagram (shot) of AD SALESMAN
Ansel Adams[7] (1902 – 1984) was an American photographer and environmentalist, best known for his black-and-white photographs of the American West, especially in Yosemite National Park.
5d   AM|IS — AM (first person singular form of the present tense of the verb "to be") + IS (third person singular form of the present tense of the verb "to be")
Kingsley Amis[7] (1922 – 1995) was an English novelist, poet, critic, and teacher. He wrote more than 20 novels, six volumes of poetry, a memoir, various short stories, radio and television scripts, along with works of social and literary criticism. He was the father of English novelist Martin Amis.
6d   KNICKS~ — sounds like (said) NIX (no)
The New York Knickerbockers[7], referred to as the Knicks, are a professional basketball team based in New York City, New York. They are part of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
7d   {TEL|EGRAM}< — reversal (in reversal) of {MARGE (Homer's wife) + LET (allowed)}
Marjorie "Marge" Simpson[7] (née Bouvier) is a fictional main character in the American animated sitcom The Simpsons and part of the eponymous family. Marge is a well-meaning and extremely patient matriarch member of the Simpson family. With her husband Homer, she has three children: Bart, Lisa, and Maggie.
8d   {ME|DEL|LIN}< — reversal (back) of {NIL (nothing) + LED (guided) + EM (Emily)}
Medellín[7] is the second-largest city in Colombia. It was once known as the most violent city in the world, a result of an urban war set off by the drug cartels at the end of the 1980s. As the home of the Medellín Cartel funded by Pablo Escobar, the city was victim of the terror caused by the war between the organization headed by Escobar, and competing criminal organizations.
15d   {COIN DEALER}* — anagram (breaking) of LINEAR CODE

16d   BUD|A|PEST — BUD (pal) + (with) A (†) + PEST (nuisance)

Budapest[7] is the capital and the largest city of Hungary. It became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with a unification in 1873 of west-bank Buda and Óbuda with east-bank Pest.
17d   _ALS|O R|ANS_ — hidden in (going through) reprisALS OR ANSwers

18d   {WAR DANCE}* — anagram (playing) of A NEW CARD
Once again, the whimsical nature of the definition is flagged by the question mark.
20d   _UNS|A|FE_ — hidden in (making sides split) pUNS A FEw
In the phrase "making sides split", split must be interpreted in the sense of to leave or depart. Thus when the sides (initial and final letters) have split from "puns a few", we are left with "_uns a fe_".
22d   MAD|RID — MAD (wild) + RID (free)

Plaza de Cibeles, Madrid
Madrid[7] is the capital and largest city of Spain.
23d   X(AN|AD)U — {AN (†) + AD (advertisement)} contained in (in) {X (times) + U (university)}
Xanadu[7], or Shangdu was the summer capital of Kublai Khan's Yuan Dynasty in China, before he decided to move the seat of his dynasty to the Jin Dynasty capital of Zhōngdū, which he renamed Dàdū, the present-day Beijing. Xanadu was visited by the Venetian traveler Marco Polo in about 1275, and in 1797 inspired a famous poem, Kubla Khan[7], by one of the leading English poets of the Romanticism movement, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The poem begins with the lines "In Xanadu did Kubla Khan / A stately pleasure-dome decree".
25d   LOO|M — LOO (john) + M (†)
Yet again the setters employ a question mark to indicate the somewhat whimsical nature of the clue.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - (Collins English Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon


  1. Hi Falcon!
    Xanadu was also the name of William Randolph Hearst's palatial mansion/castle in California.

    I had a bit of trouble with your interpretation of the theme until I saw "man, woman and child" in the solutions.


  2. Hi MG,

    It's very likely that you have hit the nail on the head with respect to Xanadu. I expect that I have been exposed to the name of Hearst's mansion at some time or other - but it certainly did not pop to mind today.

    It also took me quite a while to see the theme today. I thought of writing something more explicit but I seem to recall reading something from the setters (perhaps on The Nation website) where they complained about bloggers giving away the theme and spoiling the enjoyment for solvers. Thus, I have resolved to try to be more cryptic when the theme is found in the solutions (as opposed to the clues).