Saturday, November 8, 2014

Saturday, November 8, 2014 — Striking and Sincere


After over-sleeping today, I should have been in fine form to tackle today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon. It certainly started off as write-in but I eventually arrived at a number of clues that caused me to exercise the grey matter.

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   Small grey // belt (4)

S|ASH — S (small) + ASH ([shade of] grey)

3a   Wild bear hit den, /and/ spent the winter sleeping (10)

HIBERNATED* — anagram (wild) of BEAR HIT DEN

9a   Melissa wandering // without purpose (7)

AIMLESS* — anagram (wandering) of MELISSA

11a   Clamours /for/ tennis gear (7)

RACKETS — double definition

I had supposed that racket is a US spelling of racquet, the latter being the spelling that I would use for this word (in the case of a piece of sports gear). However, upon checking, I find that even the British dictionaries list racquet as a variant spelling of racket[2,5,10].

12a   Social group/’s/ beer purchase taking time (5)

CAS(T)E — CASE (beer purchase) containing (taking) T (time)

I must be spending too much time on British puzzles as I tried unsuccessfully to incorporate PINT into the solution. Then I remembered that in Canada we tend to purchase beer by the two-four[4].

13a   Visitor audibly // took a stab (7)

GUESSED~ — sounds like (audibly) GUEST (visitor)

15a   Touching // guy who’s been lying on the beach? (7)

TAN|GENT — split (3,4), a guy who has been basking in the sun

My first thought was that a "touching guy" must be a MASSEUR — though, personally, I'd prefer a MASSEUSE any day.

16a   Anguish /of/ fellows trapped in legal suit (7)

TOR(MEN)T — MEN (fellows) contained in (trapped in) TORT (legal suit)

To the best of my understanding, a tort[3,4,11] is a wrongful act — not a legal suit. Of course, a legal suit might ensue as a result of the wrongful act. I would suggest that the clue might have more accurately been phrased as:
  • Anguish /of/ fellows implicated in wrongdoing (7)
18a   Recombined highest // fractions (7)

EIGHTHS* — anagram (recombined) of HIGHEST

21a   Pair of ladies examine // leg warmer (3,4)

LA|P ROBE — LA (pair [initial two letters] of LAdies) + PROBE (examine)

Lap robe[10] is a North American term for a blanket to cover the legs of someone who is sitting down, or in a wheelchair.

23a   Makes holes in // puzzles (7)

RIDDLES — double definition

25a   Beg // penny and act as a guide (5)

P|LEAD — P (penny) + (and) LEAD (act as a guide)

A penny[5] (plural pennies [for separate coins] or pence [for a sum of money]) is a British bronze coin and monetary unit equal to one hundredth of a pound in Britain's modern decimal currency system. The abbreviation for penny or pence is p[5].

27a   Thoughtful // writers I have contracted (7)

PENS|IVE — PENS (writers) + IVE (I have contracted; I've)

28a   Wilder drama /is/ terribly outworn (3,4)

{OUR TOWN}* — anagram (terribly) of OUTWORN

Our Town[7] is a 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by American playwright Thornton Wilder. Set in the fictional American small town of Grover's Corners, it tells the story of an average town's citizens in the early twentieth century as depicted through their everyday lives.

Far from being outworn, the play "remains popular today and revivals are frequent."

29a   Longstreet shattered // opera glasses (10)

LORGNETTES* — anagram (shattered) of LONGSTREET

A lorgnette[3,4,11] is a pair of eyeglasses or opera glasses mounted on a handle.

30a   A female // tennis great (4)

A|SHE — A (†) + SHE (female)

Arthur Ashe[7] (1943–1993) was an American World No. 1 professional tennis player. He won three Grand Slam titles, ranking him among the best tennis players from the United States. An African American, he was the first black player selected to the United States Davis Cup team and the only black man ever to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, or the Australian Open. Ashe died from AIDS-related pneumonia, having contracted HIV from a blood transfusion he received during heart bypass surgery.


1d   Shortages // permanently mar urban areas (10)

SCAR|CITIES — SCAR (permanently mar) + CITIES (urban areas)

2d   Southern rascal’s attached to // member of an animated family (7)

S|IMP|S|ON — S (southern) + IMP (rascal) + S ('s) + ON (attached to)

The Simpsons[7] is an American family animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its family of the same name, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture, society, television, and many aspects of the human condition.

4d   “Wild Thing” is // understanding (7)

INSIGHT* — anagram (wild) of THING IS

I'm not sure that I understand the deeper meaning behind the clue — should there be one — but "Wild Thing"[7] is a song best known for its 1966 cover by the English band The Troggs, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 1966 and peaked at No. 2 in Britain.

5d   Hemingway eats a // frank (7)

E(A)RNEST — ERNEST (Hemingway) containing (eats) A (†)

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). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.

6d   Said, “No // cuts” (5)

NICKS~ — sounds like (said) NIX (no)

7d   Loosely related // part of a sewing machine (7)

TREADLE* — anagram (loosely) of RELATED

8d   500 = 100 /=/ 0? (4)

D|IS|C — D ([Roman numeral for] 500) + IS (†) + C ([Roman numeral for] 100)

The definition is "0?", a cryptic definition (as indicated by the question mark) for DISC (which looks like the numeral "0" — although it more closely resembles the letter "O").

10d   High spot /for/ the First Lady and others (7)

EVE|REST — EVE (the first lady) + (and) + REST (others)

In the Bible, Eve[5] is the first woman, companion of Adam and mother of Cain and Abel. [What about Seth and their other sons and daughters].[Gen 5:4]

Mount Everest[5] is a mountain in the Himalayas, on the border between Nepal and Tibet. Rising to 8,848 m (29,028 ft), it is the highest mountain in the world; it was first climbed in 1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.

14d   Turnout // at 10:00 social event (10)

AT|TEN|DANCE — AT (†) + TEN (10:00) + DANCE (social event)

17d   Parking in farm machine, // put something new on the wall (7)

RE(P)APER — P (parking) contained in (in) REAPER (farm machine)

19d   Rip tabloid backing // mystery writer (7)

{GAR|DNER}< — reversal (backing) of {REND (rip) + RAG (tabloid)}

Erle Stanley Gardner[7] (1889–1970) was an American lawyer and author who is known for the Perry Mason series of detective stories.

20d   Outstanding // stranger in street (7)

S(ALIEN)T — ALIEN (stranger) contained in (in) ST (street)

21d   Contorted, so smile // like a gymnast (7)

LISSOME* — anagram (contorted) of SO SMILE

22d   Crazy, coolest // cats (7)

OCELOTS* — anagram (crazy) of COOLEST

24d   See fit // Scandinavian listening (5)

DEIGN~ — sounds like (listening) of DANE (Scandinavian)

26d   Love friend/’s/ gemstone (4)

O|PAL — O (love; nil score in tennis) + PAL (friend)


The title of today's blog was inspired by 20d and 5d.
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 solved this one more quickly than usual, helped by getting all but one (15) of the Acrosses in the top half at first pass. 18, 21, 23, and 25 eluded me until I had the crossing Downs. I thought 3A, while very easy, was also very cute. Learning from experience: I've caught on to what "writers" are.

    1. Yes,writers are pens -- either in the whimsical sense of a writer being an instrument that one writes with or in the sense of a pen being a writer or author (the latter seeming to be a North American usage).

      Also watch out for expressions such as (this) writer, (this) author, setter, or compiler being used to clue the pronouns I or ME (a self-reference by the creator of the puzzle).

    2. Ah, thank you. I don't recall seeing that gambit before.