Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014 — Play Ball!


I thought that today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon was more difficult than usual — and I see from the comment below that megaculpa concurs with that assessment.

I was also hard pressed to find a theme in the puzzle, but I did think that baseball might be timely — although I may well be reading more into the puzzle than the setters intended.

Most prominently, we have a legendary pitcher appearing at 11a and just to the right we find a mound at 12a. These follow a [line] drive at 9a and precede a delivery at 18a. Finally, at 22a, might we have someone "out of [the batting] order" interrupting legendary slugger Stan "The Man" Musial.

How I Fared on Today's Puzzle

The following chart illustrates how I fared on today's puzzle. The colour codes are also used in the next section, so you can see which clues gave me problems.

Falcon's Experience
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- yet to be solved

I needed electronic help on seven clues today. I was able to solve two others once I had the checking letters provided by those seven.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

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

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

Definitions are underlined in the clue, with subsidiary indications being marked by means of a dashed underline in semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.


1a   Diplomatic official's car heads giraffe off (6.9)


9a   Beep following drive into riot (7)

RAM|PAGE — PAGE (beep) following (†) RAM (drive into)

10a   Belgian king directed outside of swimming pool (7)

LE(OPOL*)D — LED (directed) containing (outside of) an anagram (swimming) of POOL

Leopold I[5] (1790–1865) was the first king of Belgium 1831–65. The fourth son of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Leopold was an uncle of Queen Victoria. In 1830 he refused the throne of Greece, but a year later accepted that of the newly independent Belgium.

11a   Pitcher Young catching a single rabbit (5)

C(ONE)Y — CY (pitcher Young) containing (catching) ONE (a single)

Cy Young[5] (1867–1955) was a US baseball player; born Denton True Young; also know as the Cyclone. The all-time pitching leader in wins (511), he pitched for the Cleveland Spiders 1890–98, the St. Louis Cardinals 1899–1900, the Boston Red Sox 1901–08, and, briefly, the Cleveland Indians and the Boston Braves before retiring in 1911. Baseball’s Cy Young Award for outstanding pitchers is named for him. Baseball Hall of Fame (1937).

12a   Mound occupied by wisecracker, a smarty-pants (4-2-3)

KNO(W-IT|-A)LL — KNOLL (mound) containing (occupied by) {WIT (wisecracker) + A (†)}

Know-it-all[10] is the US version of this expression, the British version being know-all.

13a   Go without road transportation in the Yukon (8)

SKIP|LANE — SKIP (go without) + LANE (road)

The Yukon Territory[5] is a territory of northwestern Canada, on the border with Alaska; population 30,372 (2006); capital, Whitehorse.

15a   Colour-changing material brightened, then whole amount flipped (6)

LIT|MUS< — LIT (brightened) + (then) a reversal (flipped) of SUM (whole amount)

18a   Do away with said delivery vehicle for the holidays? (6)

SLEIGH~ — sounds like (said) SLAY (do away with)

19a   First of tombs found in dreadful, secret places (8)

HIDEOU(T)S — T (first [letter] of Tombs) contained in (in) HIDEOUS (dreadful)

22a   Ascetic can, when interrupting Stan, be out of order (9)

ABS(TIN)ENT* — TIN (can) contained in (when interrupting) an anagram (out of order) of STAN BE

24a   Burrows before noon from side to side (5)

ABE|AM — ABE (Burrows) + AM (before noon)

Abe Burrows[5] (1910–1985) was an American humorist, author, and director for radio and the stage. In 1962, he won two Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

25a   Loudly announce time, shifting up term (7)

T|RUMPET* — T (time) + an anagram (shifting) of UP TERM

26a   Package deliverers press for sharp increase (7)

UPS|URGE — UPS (package deliverers) + URGE (press)

United Parcel Service of North America, Inc.[7], typically referred to and branded as UPS (stylized as ups), is one of the largest shipment and logistics companies in the world.

27a   Apelike man right inside quarry-he isn't able to jump us (15)

PIT|HE|CANT|H(R)OP|US — R (right) contained in (inside) {PIT (quarry) + HE (†) + CANT (isn't able to; can't) + HOP (to jump) + US (†)}

Pithecanthropus[5] is a former genus name applied to some fossil hominids found in Java in 1891. Commonly known as Java Man[5], Eugène Dubois, who discovered it, gave it the scientific name Pithecanthropus erectus. It is now known as Homo erectus erectus.


1d   Traffic around a California capital city (7)

CAR(A|CA)S — CARS (traffic) containing (around) {A (†) + CA (California)}

Caracas[5] is the capital of Venezuela; population 2,097,400 (est. 2009).

2d   A quick note about bit of moonstone and garnet (9)

A|L(M|AND)INE —A (†) + LINE (quick note) containing (about) {M (bit [first letter] of Moonstone) + AND (†)}

Almandine[5] is a kind of garnet with a violet tint.

3d   Extra benefit of weightiness, after losing it (5)

GRAV_Y — GRAV[IT]Y (weightiness) with the letters IT deleted (after losing IT)

4d   Chamois suits belonging to a relative (8)

DOES|KINS — DOES (suits) + KINS (belonging to a relative; kin's)

While British dictionaries describe chamois[2,4,5] (plural chamois) as formerly being made from the hide the goat antelope (Rupicapra rupicapra) known as a chamois but now made from the skins of sheep, lambs or goats, The American Heritage Dictionary defines chamois[5] as a soft leather made from the hide of the chamois or other animals such as deer or sheep.

Do[3] means suit in the sense of to be sufficient in meeting the needs of ⇒ This room will do us very nicely.

5d   Leaves dirt from turning around (6)

FO|LIOS — reversal (turning around) of {SOIL (dirt) + OF (from)}

6d   Island drink squeezed by a weary native (9)

A|BOR(I|GIN)E — {I (island) + GIN (drink)} contained in (squeezed by) {A (†) + BORE (weary; as a verb)}

7d   Spanish wine kept in curio jar (5)

_RIO|JA_ — hidden in (kept in) cuRIO JAr

8d   Blue sled getting altered seats for riders (7)

SAD|DLES* — SAD (blue) + an anagram (getting altered) of SLED

14d   Appealing, in need of change for tip (9)

LAGNIAPPE* — anagram (in need of change) of APPEALING

Lagniappe[10] (or lagnappe) is a US term for (1) a small gift, especially one given to a customer who makes a purchase or (2) something given or obtained as a gratuity or bonus.

16d   Snare unstable, pure atoms (9)

MOUSETRAP* — anagram (unstable) of PURE ATOMS

17d   Don't buy spray with corrosion (8)

MIST|RUST — MIST (spray) + (with) RUST (corrosion)

18d   Begin banquet, eating pastry (5,2)

S(TART) UP — SUP (banquet; as a verb) containing (eating) TART (pastry)

20d   Surrounded by gentlemen, madame seethes (7)

SI(MME)RS — MME ([abbreviation for] madame) containing (surrounded by) SIRS (gentlemen)

21d   Place to rest a woman's handle (6)

BERTH|A — BERTH (place to rest) + A (†)

23d   Daring deed cut short (5)

STUNT — double definition

24d   Come up with article backing Norse gods (5)

{A|ESIR}< — reversal (backing) of {RISE (come up) + (with) A ([indefinite] article)}

In Scandinavian mythology, the Æsir[7] (plural of áss) are the Norse gods and goddesses forming the principal pantheon, namely Odin, Frigg, Thor, Baldr and Tyr. The second pantheon comprises the Vanir. In Norse mythology, the two pantheons wage the Æsir-Vanir War, which results in a unified pantheon.
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. I found this much more difficult that the usual fare from Cox and Rathvon. Some obscure words -- 24d, 14d, 27a -- required on-line assistance.
    -- megaculpa

    1. Hi megaculpa,

      It is always nice to hear from readers. I agree that the level of difficulty was a bit more than we are used to seeing. However, I don't think that I brought my A-game today as (in hindsight) I can't see why I needed electronic help on several clues.

      Likewise, 14d and 27a were new words for me, but I was familiar with the Norse pantheon.