Saturday, December 14, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013 — First Taste of Christmas


In today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon, the setters include at least one clue with a Christmas theme — two, if we include the singer at 2d who is closely associated with a Christmas standard.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

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

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


1a   COME T|O — COMET (one of Santa's reindeer) + (with) O (ring)

4a   ERA|SABLE — ERA (period that's distinctive) + SABLE (black)

9a   R|ELATE — R (cRowd's second [letter]) + ELATE (cheer)

10a   A|VERSION — A (†) + VERSION (particular translation of a work)

11a   PROVEN|CAL — PROVEN (shown) + CAL (calendar)

13a   HO(L)ES — HOES (yard tools) containing (around) L (large)

14a   COMMENTATOR~ — sounds like (for listeners) {COMMON (everyday) + TATER (spud; potato)}

18a   _C|IN|CO DE| MAY|O_ — hidden in (section of) TolteC IN CODE MAY Observe
Cinco de Mayo[7] (Spanish for "fifth of May") is a celebration held on May 5 in parts of Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla, where the holiday is called El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (English: The Day of the Battle of Puebla). The date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

The date is also observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. This observance originated with Mexican-American communities in the American West as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War.
21a   ENROL< — reversal (seen from behind) of LORNE (producer Michaels)
Lorne Michaels[7] is a Canadian-American television producer and writer, best known for creating and producing Saturday Night Live and producing the various film and TV projects that have spun off from it.
22a   AS|SAILING — AS (while) + SAILING (steering a yacht)

24a   AP(PET|IT)E — APE (monkey) containing (hugging) {PET (furry friend) + IT (†)}

25a   SOR(TI)E — SORE (peeved) containing (about) TI (musician's note; in tonic sol-fa, the seventh note of a major scale)

26a   PICADORS* — anagram (maneuvering) of SPORADIC
In bullfighting, a picador[5] is a person on horseback who goads the bull with a lance.
27a   CYGNET~ — sounds like (overheard) SIGNET (seal)


1d   CAR|APACE — CAR (auto) + APACE (at full speed)

2d   MEL T|ORME* — MELT (hot sandwich) + anagram (messy) of MORE
Mel Tormé[7] (1925–1999), nicknamed The Velvet Fog, was an American musician, best known as a singer of jazz standards. He was also a jazz composer and arranger, drummer, and actor in radio, film, and television, and the author of five books. He composed the music for the classic holiday song "The Christmas Song" ("Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire") and co-wrote the lyrics with Bob Wells.
3d   TI(T)LE — T (crossed letter) contained in (in) TILE (word game piece; the game being Scrabble, in all likelihood)

5d   REVELATIONS* — anagram (awfully) of IN ELEVATORS

6d   SUR(CHAR)GE — CHAR (blacken) contained in (in) SURGE (advance dramatically)

7d   BRIDLE~ — sounds like (pronounced) BRIDAL (of a newlywed)

8d   ERNEST* — anagram (in a drunken state) of ENTERS
Ernest Hemingway[5] (1899–1961) was an American novelist, short-story writer, and journalist. He achieved success with The Sun Also Rises (1926), which reflected the disillusionment of the post-war ‘lost generation’. Other notable works: A Farewell to Arms (1929), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), and The Old Man and the Sea (1952, Pulitzer Prize 1953). Nobel Prize for Literature (1954).
12d   COT|ON|EASTER — COT (bed) + ON (†) + EASTER (Sunday in spring)
The cotoneaster[5] is a small-leaved shrub of the rose family, cultivated as a hedging plant or for its bright red berries which often remain on the plant throughout the winter.
15d   ESCALATED* — anagram (erratically) of CASE DEALT

16d   HA|MILTON — HA (laugh) + (at; next to) MILTON (British poet)
John Milton[5] (1608–1674) was an English poet. His three major works, completed after he had gone blind (1652), show his mastery of blank verse: they are the epic poems Paradise Lost (1667, revised 1674) and Paradise Regained (1671), and the verse drama Samson Agonistes (1671).

Hamilton[5] is a port and industrial city in southern Canada, at the western end of Lake Ontario; population 504,559 (2006).
17d   T(O|UGH)EST — TEST (exam) containing (includes) {O (nothing) + UGH (that's gross; "That's gross!"}

19d   REV|AMP — REV (crank up) + AMP (sound equipment)

20d   T(R)OPIC — TOPIC (theme) containing (getting) R (restrictive rating; e.g., for a movie)

23d   IV(OR)Y — IVY (vines of green) containing (around) OR (heraldic gold)
Or[5] is gold or yellow, as a heraldic tincture. In heraldry, a tincture[5] is any of the conventional colours (including the metals and stains, and often the furs) used in coats of arms.
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

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