Saturday, November 1, 2014

Saturday, November 1, 2014 — Feminist Stress


Although today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon was not one of their more difficult ones, the southeast corner did give the grey matter a gentle workout.

Sometimes a seemingly mundane clue can launch one on a journey of discovery. Such was the case today where my efforts to track down who — if anyone — was being referenced in 8d, led not to Meg Ryan (who I thought might be my destination) but to a totally unexpected subject.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.

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   Wipe tar off // bug (7)

WIRETAP* — anagram (off) of WIPE TAR

5a   Gun // company gaining attention (7)

FIR(EAR)M — FIRM (company) containing (gaining) EAR (attention)

9a   Branch next to someone pressing // cheese (9)

LIMB|URGER — LIMB (branch) + (next to) URGER (someone pressing)

Limburger[5] is a soft white cheese with a characteristic strong smell, originally made in Limburg. Limburg[5] is a former duchy of Lorraine, divided in 1839 between Belgium and the Netherlands. It now forms a province of northeastern Belgium (capital, Hasselt) and a province of the southeastern Netherlands (capital, Maastricht).

10a   Kick off // a 1978 Peace Nobelist (5)

BEGIN — double definition

Menachem Begin[5] (1913–92) was an Israeli statesman, Prime Minister 1977–83. His hard line on Arab-Israeli relations softened in a series of meetings with President Sadat of Egypt, which led to a peace treaty between the countries. Nobel Peace Prize (1978, shared with Sadat).

11a   Brought back sandwich shop bagel // covered with grease (5)

{O|ILED}< — reversal (brought back) of {DELI (sandwich shop) + O ([letter that looks like a] bagel)}

12a   Go for the aforementioned boxer's // heart medicine (9)

DIG|IT|ALI|S — DIG (go for; I dig Rock and Roll music — Peter, Paul and Mary) + IT (the aforementioned) + ALI (boxer) + S ('s)

Muhammad Ali[5] is an American boxer; born Cassius Marcellus Clay. He won the world heavyweight title in 1964, 1974, and 1978, becoming the only boxer to be world champion three times.

13a   Loves // raw material in commercials (6)

AD(ORE)S — ORE (raw material) contained in (in) ADS (commercials)

14a   Motorcycle attachment, // revved, is put in reverse (7)

{SI|DECAR}< — reversal (put in reverse) of {RACED (revved) + IS (†)}

17a   Upset or mad at // bullfighter (7)

MATADOR* — anagram (upset) of OR MAD AT

20a   Abstract art in Jumble // grid (6)

M(ATR*)IX — anagram (abstract) of ART contained in (in) MIX (jumble)

It seems to me that one could hardly call the Jumble format a grid, but I suppose we can allow the setters some cryptic leeway.

Jumble[7] is a word puzzle with a clue, a drawing illustrating the clue, and a set of words, each of which is “jumbled” by scrambling its letters. A solver reconstructs the words, and then arranges letters at marked positions in the words to spell the answer phrase to the clue. The clue and illustration always provide hints about the answer phrase. The answer phrase frequently uses a homophone or pun.

Jumble, created in 1954, is one of the most valuable properties of its distributor, US company Tribune Content Agency, which owns the JUMBLE trademarks and copyrights. Daily and Sunday Jumble puzzles appear in over 600 newspapers in the United States and internationally.

23a   Almost hit Southeast Asian peninsula's // mountains (9)

HI_|MALAYA|S — HI (almost hit; HI[T] with the final letter deleted) + MALAYA (Southeast Asian peninsula) + S ('s)

US Dictionaries present Malaya[3,11] as another name for the Malay Peninsula[3,11]. However, it seems that you won't find it listed as such in British dictionaries.

25a   Girl's nickname // came up, grabbing interest (5)

ROS(I)E — ROSE (came up) containing I (interest; symbol used in financial formulae)

26a   Gets rid of // outbuildings (5)

SHEDS — double definition

27a   Crook // playing clarinets (9)

LARCENIST* — anagram (playing) of CLARINETS

28a   Dark // imperfection in Bashful (7)

S(WART)HY — WART (imperfection) contained in (in) SHY (bashful)

Bashful is one of the seven dwarfs in Walt Disney's 1937 animated musical fantasy film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs[7] based on a German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. The story had earlier been made into a Broadway play that debuted in 1912. The dwarfs are not given names in the fairy tale. In the 1912 production, they were named Blick, Flick, Glick, Snick, Plick, Whick and Quee. Disney renamed them Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, and Dopey.

29a   To add up // completely (7)

TO|TALLY — TO (†) + TALLY (add up)


1d   Testament that hurts // tree (6)

WILL|OW — WILL (testament) + OW (that hurts; That hurts!)

2d   Sheep ran /and/ roamed (7)

RAM|BLED — RAM ([male] sheep) + BLED (ran; as dye, for instance)

3d   The 500 keeping below // made a lot of noise (9)

TH(UNDER)E|D — {THE (†) + D ([Roman numeral for] 500)} containing (keeping) UNDER (below)

4d   A deity housed in father's // temples (7)

P(A|GOD)A|S — {A (†) + GOD (deity)} contained in (housed in) {PA (father) + S ('s)}

5d   Looks for food // for a long time (7)

FOR|AGES — FOR (†) + AGES (a long time)

6d   Cheer about British // android (5)

RO(B)OT — ROOT (cheer) containing (about) B (British)

7d   In exchange, licorice /is/ very good (7)

_ANGE|LIC_ — hidden in (in) exchANGE LICorice

8d   Feminist Ryan keeps // government office (8)

_MINIST|RY_ — hidden in (keeps) feMINIST RYan

Feminist Ryan Gosling is a single topic Tumblr microblog created by Danielle Henderson showcasing a series of images based on stillshots of Canadian heartthrob actor Ryan Gosling seemingly submerged in thought over which are superimposed various excerpts from feminist literature works.

She has also written a book based on the blog titled Feminist Ryan Gosling: Feminist Theory (as imagined) from Your Favorite Sensitive Movie Dude.

Gosling's popularity with feminists appears to stem from statements he made in 2010, when after a three year hiatus from acting, he returned to the screen as the lead role in the 2010 drama film Blue Valentine. Shortly before its release, the film was given an NC-17 rating by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) due to a scene involving Gosling’s character giving oral pleasure to the female protagonist. Gosling publicly criticized MPAA’s decision by saying it is sexist to give films with scenes depicting women performing oral sex R ratings while his scene in Blue Valentine was given a NC-17 rating. The actor’s bold statement received praises from women’s blogosphere, most notably a column post on Ms. Magazine blog in November 2010.

15d   Laundry soap // fellow placed behind hamper (9)

DETER|GENT — GENT (fellow) following (placed behind) DETER (hamper)

16d   Weight // problem initially covered by new messiah (8)

EM(P)HASIS* — P (problem initially; initial letter of Problem) contained in (covered by) an anagram (new) of MESSIAH

18d   Paint // a sales agent encountered from behind (7)

{TEMPERA}< — reversal (from behind) of {A (†) + REP (sales agent) + MET (encountered)}

19d   Troy lay ruined, /in/ majesty (7)

ROYALTY* — anagram (ruined) of TROY LAY

Royalty[5] is likely used in the sense of the status or power of a king or queen ⇒ the brilliance of her clothes, her jewels, all revealed her royalty.

20d   Aquatic mammal // must set about turning boat (7)

MUS(KRA<)T — MUST (†) containing (set about) a reversal (turning) of ARK (boat)

21d   Gradually plant // is engulfing front of new plow (7)

I(N)S|TILL — IS (†) containing (engulfing) N (front [initial letter] of New) + TILL (plow)

22d   Crazy about English // actor in "Reds" (6)

B(E)ATTY — BATTY (crazy) containing (about) E (English)

Reds[7] is a 1981 epic film that was co-written, produced, and directed by Warren Beatty. The picture centers on the life and career of John Reed, the journalist and writer who chronicled the Russian Revolution in his book Ten Days That Shook the World. Beatty stars in the lead role alongside Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson.

24d   Composer/'s/ catalogue heard (5)

LISZT~ — sounds like (heard) LIST (catalogue)

Franz Liszt[5] (1811–1886) was a Hungarian composer and pianist. He was a key figure in the romantic movement; many of his piano compositions combine lyricism with great technical complexity, while his twelve symphonic poems (1848–58) created a new musical form.


The title of today's blog was inspired by 8d and 16d.
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 agree that this puzzle was on the easier side, given that I was able to complete it in two passes through the clues. I have the most trouble recognizing the "contained within" clues, like 7D and 8D; I did better this time at seeing anagrams (27A) but still missed 1A the first time through. The use of "Almost" in 23A was new to me. Thanks for the Ryan Gosling note.

    1. Hi Carola,

      Thank you for leaving a comment. I agree with you that the hidden word clues are among the most difficult to spot.

      As for Ryan Gosling, did the setters really have him in mind or was "feminist Ryan" just a convenient vehicle in which to hide the solution -- and which coincidentally turned out to have some unintended other significance? I guess we shall never know for sure.