Saturday, February 16, 2013

Saturday, February 16, 2013 — Where's The Theme?


In 1984, Clara Peller asked — in what was to become a North American catchphrase — "Where's the beef?[7]" Today, we might ask "Where's the theme?" I was unable to identify one, but maybe one of my eagle-eyed readers will do so — it's been known to happen in the past.

If your experience mirrors mine, today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon may be done by the time you finish your orange juice. I quickly reached high gear today, and literally raced through the puzzle. Although a couple of clues at the end caused me to gear down, I was at a loss to explain why when I glanced in the rear view mirror.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

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

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


1a   SOL|ARIA — SOL (fifth note of the scale) + (preceding) ARIA (song)

5a   PAS|SWORD — PAS (Dad's; Pa's) + SWORD (jabber; weapon used to jab)

10a   _NON_|FAT|AL — NON {a string hidden in (a certain amount of) pickiN' ON; remember, in cryptic crossword puzzles, one can ignore apostrophes — except when they can't be ignored!} + FAT (†) + AL ([nickname for] Albert)
Fat Albert, a character created by American comedian Bill Cosby, was featured in Cosby's stand-up comedy routines, on several comedy albums, and in an animated television series.[7]
11a   T(A|CO B)ELL — TELL (†) containing (about) {A (†) + COB (corn holder)}
Taco Bell[7] is an American chain of fast-food restaurants specializing in Tex-Mex food.
12a   ECSTATIC* — anagram (at play) of CITE CAST

13a   TAN|GOING — TAN (Amy the author) + GOING (†)
Amy Tan[7] is an American writer whose works explore mother-daughter relationships. Her most well-known work is The Joy Luck Club, which has been translated into 35 languages. In 1993, the book was adapted into a commercially successful film.
14a   CAME|LEER — CAME (arrived) + (with) LEER (malign look)

18a   RECEDES* — anagram (corrupt) of DECREES

19a   TAR|TEST — TAR (sailor) + TEST (exam)

23a   PRES|SURE — PRES (chief exec; president) + SURE (certainly)

25a   {BRUCE LEE}* — anagram (cryptic) of CLUE BEER

26a   C(ASH)ABLE — CABLE ([electrical] conductor) containing (holding) ASH (wood)

27a   TERRIFIC* — anagram (mended) of RIFT ERIC
The East African Rift — which encompasses the Great Rift Valley, Kenya and the Great Rift Valley, Ethiopia — is an active continental rift zone in East Africa that appears to be a developing divergent tectonic plate boundary. In the past it was considered to be part of a larger Great Rift Valley that extended north to Asia Minor. The rift is a narrow zone in which the African Plate is in the process of splitting into two new tectonic plates.[7]
28a   AT(A)LANTA — ATLANTA (Georgia's capital; capital of the US state of Georgia) containing (hosts) A (†)
In Greek mythology, Atalanta[5] was a huntress who would marry only someone who could beat her in a foot race. She was beaten when a suitor threw down three golden apples which she stopped to pick up.
29a   COST(ELL)O — ELL (building addition) contained in (inside) {COST (†) + O (nothing; letter shaped like a zero}
Elvis Costello[7] (born Declan Patrick MacManus) is an English singer-songwriter — and the husband of Canadian jazz singer and pianist Diana Krall.
30a   RUSH|DIE — RUSH (hurry) + (and) DIE (stop)


1d   SENT|ENC|E — SENT (mailed) + ENC (enclosed) + E {envelope's opening; first letter (opening) of Envelope}

2d   L(ONES)OME — ONES (individuals) contained in (in) LOME (Togo's capital [city])
Lomé, with a population of 837,437 (Metro population 1,570,283), is the capital and largest city of Togo, a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, where the capital is located.[7]
3d   READABLE* — anagram (dubiously) of A BAD REEL

4d   APATITE~ — sounds like APPETITE (consumer's desire)
Apatite[5] is a widely occurring pale green to purple mineral, consisting of calcium phosphate with some fluorine, chlorine, and other elements. It is used in the manufacture of fertilizers.
6d   {A LA CARTE}* — anagram (nuts) of CLARA ATE

7d   _S|LOGGERS — S {the last [letter] of uS} + LOGGERS (lumberjacks)

8d   _ONE-LINER_ — hidden in (given away by) colONEL IN ERror

9d   DE|LIGHT — double definition; "pleasure; as a noun or a verb" & "to darken?"
The latter definition is a cryptic way — as denoted by the question mark — to say 'turn off the lights'.
15d   A|QUIRES~ — A (†) + a string that sounds like (broadcast by radio) CHOIRS (singing group's; choir's)
In my view, it would be equally correct  — but not necessary — to consider the A to be part of the homophone (A CHOIR'S ⇒ A|QUIRES).
16d   EDGEWISE* — anagram (crookedly) of SEE WE DIG

17d   ESPECIAL* — anagram (bananas) of CIA PEELS
Especial and especially have a more limited use than special and specially. Special is always used in preference to especial when the sense is one of being out of the ordinary: a special lesson; he has been specially trained. Special is also used when something is referred to as being for a particular purpose: the word was specially underlined for you. Where an idea of pre-eminence or individuality is involved, either especial or special may be used: he is my especial (or special) friend; he is especially (or specially) good at his job. In informal English, however, special is usually preferred in all contexts.[4]
18d   ROB|O|TIC — ROB (Reiner; ) + O (old) + TIC (jerk)
Rob Reiner is an American actor, director, and producer. As an actor, he first came to prominence as Michael "Meathead" Stivic, son-in-law of Archie and Edith Bunker on the American sitcom All in the Family, an American sitcom broadcast by CBS from 1971 to 1979.[7]
20d   ASP|HALTS — ASP (cold-blooded character) + HALTS (freezes)

21d   T(URBAN)ED — TED (†) contains (takes in) URBAN (city; as an adjective)

22d   SERENADE* — anagram (new) of EARS NEED

24d   RE(A)CTOR — RECTOR (cleric) containing (harbouring) A (†)
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

Signing off for the moment — Falcon


  1. Where's the Beef?

    It's in the Arts


    1. Good call -- although the theme is unusually well hidden, in my opinion. Then again, I'm the one who failed to spot the headline "MONDAY'S DIVERSIONS" in yesterday's National Post!

      The theme clues would seem to be 1a, 12a, 13a, 25a, 26a, and 30a (the theme clues are virtually always arranged in a symmetrical pattern).

      Five of these six clues refer to people working in the Arts (cast, author, action star, conductor, and novelist). However, 1a does not fit this pattern (and with 12a I had to include an ensemble).

      The more likely possibility is, as you suggest, the Arts themselves (music, live theatre, dance, motion pictures, music again, and writing).