Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday, July 27, 2013 — Nest of Snakes


Ophidiophobes may wish to take a pass on today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

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

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


1a   BUSHMASTER* — anagram (loose) of AMHERST BUS
South American bushmaster, Lachesis muta
Bushmaster[7] is the common name for a member of the genus Lachesis — a genus of venomous pit vipers found in remote forested areas of Central and South America.

While a number of other communities — ranging from Australia to the United States — also bear this name, I am most familiar with Amherst, Nova Scotia[7] which is the shire town and largest population centre in Cumberland County.
6a   LOAF — double definition; "don't work" & "bread"

10a   BL|ADDER — BL (head [initial letter] and tail [final letter] of BulL) + ADDER (snake)
Northern copperhead, Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen
Adder[7] can refer to (1) any of of several groups of venomous snakes of the Viperidae family, including Vipera berus, the common European adder, found in Europe and northern Asia; (2) members of the genus Acanthophis, death adders, a genus of elapid snakes found in Southeast Asia and Australia; (3) members of the genus Heterodon, hog-nosed snakes, a genus of harmless colubrid snakes found in North America; or (4) Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen, the northern copperhead, a venomous viper found in the eastern United States.

Bullsnake, Pituophis catenifer sayi
The bullsnake[7] (Pituophis catenifer sayi) is a large nonvenomous colubrid snake endemic to the central United States, northern Mexico, and southwestern Canada.
11a   S|MITTEN — S (small) + MITTEN (hand warmer)

12a   {L(I)LAC}< — reversal (back) of {CALL (†) containing (about) I (indigo)}
A fairly rigorous search failed to find any source that listed I as an abbreviation for indigo.
13a   BOOM|SLANG — BOOM (pole on a boat) + (with) SLANG (colourful language)
Boomslang, Dispholidus typus
The boomslang[7] (Dispholidus typus) is a large, venomous snake in the family Colubridae which is native and restricted to sub-Saharan Africa.
14a   BOA|STING — BOA (snake) + STING (bite)
Boa constrictor, Boa constrictor
The Boa constrictor[7] (Boa constrictor) is a species of large, heavy-bodied snake found in North, Central, and South America, as well as some islands in the Caribbean. The Boa constrictor is a rare instance of an animal having the same common and scientific binomial name. A non-venomous snake, the boa will first strike at its prey, grabbing it with its teeth, it then proceeds to constrict the prey until death before consuming it whole.
16a   MUESLI* — anagram (developed) of MULE IS

19a   REKNIT< — reversal (returned) of TINKER (fiddle)

20a   ASP|I|RING — ASP (snake) + I (†) + RING (call)
Egyptian cobra, Naja haje
Asp[7] can refer to (1) Vipera aspis, a venomous viper found in Europe; (2) Cerastes cerastes, a venomous viper found in the Sahara desert; (3) Cerastes vipera, a venomous viper found in the Sahara desert; or (4) the Egyptian cobra, Naja haje, a venomous snake found in North Africa and parts of the Middle East. It is the latter that was supposedly responsible for Cleopatra's death.
22a   CAN|E(BRA)KE — CAN (†) + EKE (squeeze) containing (around) BRA (bikini top)
Canebrake rattlesnake, Crotalus horridus
The canebrake rattlesnake[7] (also known as the timber rattlesnake or banded rattlesnake), Crotalus horridus, is a species of venomous pit viper found in the eastern United States.
24a   C|LEFT — C (Conservative) + LEFT (remaining)

26a   G|ROUNDS — G (good; a grade on a school assignment) + ROUNDS (songs)

27a   MA(RI)MBA — RI ([initial] pair of [letters] in RIngs) contained in (in) MAMBA (snake)
Black mamba, Dendroaspis polylepis
Dendroaspis (literally "tree asp"), commonly referred to as mamba[7], is a genus of family Elapidae which comprises four species, all of which are highly venomous, fast-moving land-dwelling snakes of Africa. They are feared throughout their ranges, especially the black mamba, Dendroaspis polylepis.
28a   SNIT< — reversal (from the East; i.e., written right to left) of TINS (cans)

29a   {FER-DE-LANCE}* — anagram (out) of FEN CLEARED
Common lancehead, Bothrops atrox
Fer-de-Lance[7] can refer to a number of species of venomous pit vipers, namely (1) Bothrops lanceolatus, the Martinique lancehead snake; (2) Bothrops caribbaeus, the Saint Lucia lancehead; (3) Bothrops atrox, the common lancehead, native to tropical South America east of the Andes and to Trinidad; or (4) Bothrops asper, the terciopelo or Central American lancehead, native to Central and northwestern South America.


1d   BABE|L — BABE (newcomer) + L (left)
In the Bible, the Tower of Babel[5] is a tower built in an attempt to reach heaven, which God frustrated by making its builders speak different languages so that they could not understand one another (Genesis 11:1-9).
2d   S(MALL) TALK — STALK (hunt) containing (around) MALL (shopping centre)

3d   {ME|DOC}< — reversal (sent back) of {COD (fish) + EM (Emily)}
Médoc[5] is a red wine produced in Médoc, the area along the left bank of the Gironde estuary in SW France.
4d   S(ARAB)AND — ARAB (of Middle Eastern origin) contained in {[surrounded by] SAND (in desert environs)}
One might parse the clue simply as:
  • ARAB (of Middle Eastern origin) contained in (in) SAND (desert environs)
  • ARAB (of Middle Eastern origin) contained in (in ... environs) SAND (desert)
However, neither of these options work to my satisfaction. The more elegant interpretation is to recognize that the phrase "in desert environs" is equivalent to saying 'surrounded by sand' and make that substitution; after which, the clue would read:
  • Dance of Middle Eastern origin surrounded by sand (8)
By the way, the dance seems to have mellowed over the centuries. A saraband[3] is (1) a fast, erotic dance of the 16th century of Mexico and Spain; (2) a stately court dance of the 17th and 18th centuries, in slow triple time; or (3) the music for either of these dances.
5d   E(AS)TON — AS (while) contained in (while in) ETON (school in England)
Sheena Easton[7] (born Sheena Shirley Orr) is a Scottish recording artist who is is a two-time Grammy Award winner.

Eton College[7], often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent [private] school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor". It is located in Eton, near Windsor in England, and is one of the original nine English public schools as defined by the Public Schools Act 1868. [Note: In Britain, "public schools" are a special class of private school; what North Americans would call public schools seem to be referred to in Britain by terms such as state-run or state-funded schools].
7d   OSTIA* — anagram (scattered) of OATS I
Ostia[5] is an ancient city and harbour which was situated on the western coast of Italy at the mouth of the River Tiber. It was the first colony founded by ancient Rome and was a major port and commercial centre.
8d   FINAGLING* — anagram (deceitfully) of ANGLING IF
This is an & lit.[7] (all-in-one) clue — a type of clue in which the entire clue is both the definition (when read one way) and the wordplay (when read another way).
9d   MISS|OUR|I — MISS (fail to see) + OUR (†) + I (interest)

14d   {BIRD CAGES}* — anagram (cracked) of BIG CARS ED

15d   TAILBONE* — anagram (transformed) of ALIEN BOT

17d   {SPIDER-MAN}* — {anagram (bad) of DREAM} contained in (in) SPIN (turn)
Spider-Man[7] is a fictional character, a comic book superhero who appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics.
18d   ESTEE|MED — MED (drug) preceded by (fronted by) ESTEE (Ms. Lauder)
Estée Lauder[7] (1906 – 2004) was an American businesswoman who was the co-founder, along with her husband, Joseph Lauder, of Estée Lauder Companies, her eponymous cosmetics company.
21d   L(ASS)IE — LIE (tell fibs) containing (about) ASS (donkey)
Lassie[7] is a fictional female collie dog character created by Anglo-American author Eric Knight (1897 – 1943) [he acquired American citizenship shortly before his death] in a short story expanded to novel length called Lassie Come-Home. Published in 1940, Knight's novel was filmed by MGM in 1943 as Lassie Come Home. This was followed by six other MGM feature films through 1951. In 1954, the long-running, Emmy winning television series Lassie debuted and ran for 19 years.
23d   {NAOM|I}< — reversal (withdrawing) of {I ([Roman numeral for] one) + MOAN (gripe)}
Naomi Watts[7] is a British-Australian actress who has twice been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.
24d   CAROL~ — sounds like (sound) CARREL (little room for studying)

25d   T|RACE — T (start [initial letter] of Timed) + RACE (competition)
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)
[11] - (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

1 comment:

  1. Some clever clues. And three obscure snakes that required googling to confirm their existence.

    -- megaculpa