Saturday, July 12, 2014

Saturday, July 12, 2014 — Obviously Ominous


Without doubt, today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon is the least difficult one that I have ever encountered. I virtually read the clues and immediately wrote in the solutions. Only one clue, 4a, required a bit of mental effort — and even it was far from taxing.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

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

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

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

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (& lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.


1a   Blockers of the sun turned us cold (6)

CLOUDS* — anagram (turned) of US COLD

4a   Interest in bell boy's activities (6-2)

GO(I)NG|S ON — I (interest; symbol used in financial formulae) contained in (in) GONG (bell) + SON (boy)

9a   Happening in Seventies (5)

_EVENT_ — hidden in (in) sEVENTies

10a   Reptile mad at gorilla (9)

ALLIGATOR* — anagram (mad) of AT GORILLA

11a   Fold outside a camper's shelter, obviously (8)

P(A|TENT)LY — PLY (fold) containing (outside) {A (†) + TENT (camper's shelter)}

12a   Dancing averts hunger greatly (6)

STARVE* — anagram (dancing) of AVERTS

14a   Soprano performing grand tune (4)

S|ON|G — S (soprano) + ON (performing; on [stage]) + G (grand; $1000 to a mobster)

15a   Records crafty folk singer Burl (8)

ARCH|IVES — ARCH (crafty) + IVES (folk singer Burl)

Burl Ives[5] (1909–1995) was a US folk singer and actor; born Burle Icle Ivanhoe Ives. His Broadway role of Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955–56) was repeated in the 1958 movie version. Other notable movies: East of Eden (1955) and Desire Under the Elms (1958).

19a   Most cheerful nun is set adrift (8)

SUNNIEST* — anagram (adrift) of NUN IS SET

20a   Harsh sound from red snake (4)

R|ASP — R (red) + ASP (snake)

23a   Shortstop interrupting Leon's class unit (6)

LE(SS)ON — SS (shortstop; a fielding position in baseball) contained in (interrupting) LEON (†)

25a   Nun keeping in dark (8)

S(IN)ISTER — SISTER (nun) containing (keeping) IN (†)

27a   Developing drug for cholesterol in cracked egg (9)

GE(STATIN)G* — STATIN (drug for cholesterol) contained in (in) an anagram (cracked) of EGG

In medicine, a statin[7] is any of a group of drugs which act to reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood.

28a   Exercise: something boring? (5)

DRILL — double definition

29a   Pitchforks sent dirt flying (8)

TRIDENTS* — anagram (flying) of SENT DIRT

A pitchfork[4] is a long-handled fork with two or three long curved tines for lifting, turning, or tossing hay.

A trident[4] is a three-pronged instrument, weapon, or symbol.

30a   Cold-initially frozen stiff (6)

F|RIGID — F (initially frozen; initial letter of the word "Frozen") + RIGID (stiff)


1d   Least dear primates kept by Chet (8)

CHE(APES)T — APES (primates) contained in (kept by) CHET (†)

2d   Subtle notes, or plain ones (9)

OVERT|ONES — OVERT (plain) + ONES (†)

3d   Fond pup swallows can (6)

DO(TIN)G — DOG (pup) containing (swallows) TIN (can)

5d   Slow migrating birds (4)

OWLS* — anagram (migrating) of SLOW

6d   No agent I've upset (8)

NEGATIVE* — anagram (upset) of AGENT IVE

7d   Celebrity holding one stringed instrument (5)

S(I)TAR — STAR (celebrity) containing (holding) I ([Roman numeral for] one)

8d   Verne's disturbed butterflies (6)

NERVES* — anagram (disturbed) of VERNES

The clue might possibly be a reference to French novelist Jules Verne[5] ( 1828–1905) One of the first writers of science fiction, he often anticipated later scientific and technological developments, as in Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea (1870). Other novels include Around the World in Eighty Days (1873).

10d   Awfully ill, Grace is hypersensitive (8)

ALLERGIC* — anagram (awfully) of ILL GRACE

13d   Quizzing about hot Newman-Redford movie (3,5)

T(H)E STING — TESTING (quizzing) containing (about) H (hot)

The Sting[7] is a 1973 American caper film set in September 1936, involving a complicated plot by two professional grifters (Paul Newman and Robert Redford) to con a mob boss (Robert Shaw).

Grifter[5] is a North American term for someone who engages in petty or small-scale swindling.

16d   Surprising beginning around fifty (9)

START(L)ING — STARTING (beginning) containing (around) L ([Roman numeral for] fifty)

17d   Creatively design tavern with a roundish shape (8)

INN|OVATE — INN (tavern) + OVATE (with a roundish shape)

18d   Circling park, winter vehicle was scintillating (8)

S(PARK)LED — SLED (winter vehicle) containing (circling) PARK (†)

21d   Battle involving fifty stairs (6)

F(L)IGHT — FIGHT (battle) containing (involving) L ([Roman numeral for] fifty)

22d   Combustible stuff in trend I changed (6)

TINDER* — anagram (changed) of TREND I

24d   Japanese food my group found in southern Hawaii (5)

S(US)HI — US (my group) contained in (found in) {S (southern) + HI ([US Postal Service abbreviation for the state of] Hawaii}

26d   Fog is in mountain (4)

M(IS)T — IS (†) contained in (in) MT (mountain)
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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