Saturday, March 9, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013 — Getting to the Core


You should have no problem spotting the theme of today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon. Not only is it displayed prominently at the core of the puzzle — it is, somewhat ironically, found along the fringes, as well.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

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

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


1a   {CENTRE STAGE}* — anagram (manoeuvred) of SECRET AGENT
American readers should keep in mind that although the setters of the puzzle are American, this puzzle is intended for a Canadian audience — thus the use of spellings such as 'centre' and 'manoeuvre'.
7a   COD~ — reversal (brought back) of DOC ("Cinderella's friend" (sic))
Life in Crosswordland does not always mirror the real world — and can, in fact, sometimes be a bit mad [see 18a]. Here we are introduced to the classic Crosswordland fairy tale Cinderella and the Seven Dwarfs.
9a   S|ARC|AS|TIC — S (small) + ARC (bow) + AS (like) + TIC (mannerism)
... like my comment to the previous clue.
10a   _GLE|AM_ — hidden in (carried by) sinGLE AMerican

11a   CHAMPS — double definition; "chews" & "many a hero [several heroes]"

12a   MIST(A)KEN — {MIST (cloud) + KEN (understanding)} containing (about) A (†)

14a   {MIDDLE COURSE}* — anagram (reforming) of OLD SEDUCER IM

18a   {HEART TO HEART}* — anagram (mad) of HATTER TO HARE
The Hatter[7] (called Hatta in Through the Looking-Glass) is a fictional character in English writer Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and the story's sequel Through the Looking-Glass (1871). He is often referred to as the Mad Hatter, though this term was never used by Carroll. The phrase "mad as a hatter" pre-dates Carroll's works and the characters the Hatter and the March Hare are initially referred to as "both mad" by the Cheshire Cat, with both first appearing in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, in the seventh chapter titled "A Mad Tea-Party".
21a   MARTIN|IS — MARTIN (Mr. Short; Canadian American comedian Martin Short[7]) + IS (lives)

23a   KEW|PIE — KEW (London gardens) + (with) PIE (pastry)
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, usually referred to as Kew Gardens[5], are a major botanical institution located at Kew, in London, England.

Kewpie doll[4,5] is a North American term for a type of doll characterized by a large head, big eyes, chubby cheeks, and a curl or topknot on top of its head. The term has now come to be applied to any brightly coloured doll, commonly given as a prize at carnivals.
25a   LEND|L — LEND (loan) + L ([Roman numeral for] fifty)
American John McEnroe[7] and Czechoslovakian-born American Ivan Lendl[7] are former World No. 1 professional tennis players. During their careers, they were frequent opponents on the court with McEnroe competing professionally from 1978 to 1992 and Lendl from 1978 to 1994.
26a   {HOME VIDE}*|O — {anagram (shot) of MOVIE HED} + (with) O (nothing; letter that looks like a 0)

27a   SHY — double definition; "chuck; throw at a target" & "timid"

28a   ME|DIAN S|TRIP — ME (†) + DIANS (Fossey's; American zoologist Dian Fossey) + TRIP (journey)
Dian Fossey[7] (1932 – 1985) was an American zoologist who undertook an extensive study of gorilla groups over a period of 18 years. She studied them daily in the mountain forests of Rwanda, initially encouraged to work there by famous anthropologist Louis Leakey. She was murdered in 1985; the case remains open.


1d   CU|SACK — CU ([symbol for the chemical element] copper) + (with) SACK (bag)
John Cusack[7] is an American actor, producer, and screenwriter.
2d   NO(R)WAY — R (river) contained in (in) NO WAY (not at all)

3d   REAP|PO(IN)T — {REAP (gather) + POT (marijuana)} containing (snaring) IN (popular)

4d   S|ATE — S (head [first letter] of State) + ATE (devoured)

5d   AR(CHIMED)ES — ARES (war god [in Greek mythology]) containing (having) CHIMED (sounded a bell)
Archimedes[5] (circa 287–212 BC) was a Greek mathematician and inventor, of Syracuse. He is famous for his discovery of Archimedes‘ principle (legend has it that he made this discovery while taking a bath, and ran through the streets shouting ’Eureka!'); among his mathematical discoveries are the ratio of the radius of a circle to its circumference, and formulas for the surface area and volume of a sphere and of a cylinder.
6d   _ER|GOT_ — ER (cherry's midsection; the middle letters (midsection) of chERry) + GOT (acquired)

7d   CHECKERS — double definition; "[board] game" & "examiners"

8d   DOMINOES* — anagram (oddly) of SO DO MINE

13d   ADMONISHED* — anagram (flawed) of DIAMOND SHE

15d   OURS*|ELVES — {anagram (troubled) of SOUR} + ELVES (little people)

16d   SHAMBLES — double definition; "walks awkwardly" & "ruins"

17d   WAR(RANT)Y — WARY (careful) containing (about) RANT (bombast)

19d   SPIDER<  — reversal (backwards) of REDIPS (makes another descent)

20d   RECOUP* — anagram (madder) of PUCE OR

22d   IS|LAM — IS (†) + LAM (escape)

24d   YMCA — anagram (renovated) of MACY
The YMCA[5] is a welfare movement with branches all over the world that began in London, England in 1844.
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. The Cinderella clue is kind of pathetic. Fortunately, most people would spot the error immediately. Btw, Cyril Cusack was a movie star of an earlier generation.

    -- Megaculpa

    1. Before committing myself, I did do a bit of research to verify that Doc did not make an appearance in Cinderella. You never know how Disney might choose to distort a story!

    2. Coincidentally, Cinderella had two little friends, each with a three-letter name. But neither can be arranged into a fish. I enjoy Cox & Rathvon's puzzles so much that I happily forgive them the occasional clanger.

  2. Just curious, how do you know the title of the Saturday's puzzle, like "Getting to the Core" for this one? Is it mentioned somewhere in the paper? Or is it something you come up with?

    1. I make up a title in which I try to reflect the theme of the puzzle. If the theme is found explicitly in the clues, the title can be quite straightforward. However, in cases like today where the theme is found in the solutions to the clues (centre, middle, heart, and median) I try to make the title cryptic enough so as not to spoil the puzzle for solvers.