Saturday, December 13, 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014 — Not a Current Focus


There is little I can say about today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon other than that I completed it without much difficulty. However, a busy weekend schedule delayed completion of the blog.

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   Act funny /in/ sleeping bag (7)

BE|DROLL — BE (act) + DROLL (funny)

5a   Biblical man partakes of // dream-inducing fruits (7)

LOT|USES — LOT (Biblical man) + USES (partakes of)

In the Bible, Lot[5] is the nephew of Abraham, who was allowed to escape from the destruction of Sodom (Gen. 19). His wife, who disobeyed orders and looked back, was turned into a pillar of salt.

The solution refers not to the sacred water lily from Asian or Egyptian culture but to Greek mythology where the lotus[5] is a plant whose fruit induced a dreamy forgetfulness and an unwillingness to leave.

9a   Patch with grass // that, in Mexico, divides road (5)

R(ESO)D — ESO (that, in Mexico; i.e., the Spanish word for 'that'[8]) contained in (divides) RD ([abbreviation for] road)

10a   Admirer taking in // money manager (9)

F(IN)ANCIER — FANCIER (admirer) containing (taking) IN (†)

I initially thought that the containment indicator must be "taking in", leading me to look for a word meaning manager that could be constructed from admirer containing money. However, the containment indicator is merely "taking" as in ingesting (taking a pill).

11a   Nothing in hot, dry ground /for/ Kansas girl (7)

D(O)ROTHY or DOR(O)THY —O (nothing; letter that looks like a 0) contained in (in) anagram (ground) {HOT (†) + DRY (†)}

As an anagram indicator, ground is the past tense or past participle of the verb grind[5]. An anagram indicator is a word that denotes movement or transformation. Grind denotes transformation in the sense of wheat being ground into flour.

I learned a thing or two in researching the solution to this clue. I hadn't realized the extent of the Oz series of novels and it had never struck me before how appropriate is Dorothy's last name in that she is conveyed from Kansas to Oz by a strong wind..

Dorothy Gale[7] is a fictional character and protagonist of many of the Oz novels by the American author L. Frank Baum. Her best friend is Oz's ruler Princess Ozma. Dorothy first appears in Baum's classic children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and reappears in most of its sequels. In addition, she is the main character in various adaptations, notably the classic 1939 movie adaptation of the book, The Wizard of Oz. In later books, Oz steadily becomes more familiar to her than her homeland of Kansas. Indeed, Dorothy eventually goes to live in an apartment in the Emerald City, but only after her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry have settled in a farmhouse on its outskirts, unable to pay the mortgage on their house in Kansas. Dorothy's best friend Princess Ozma, officially makes her a princess in a later book.

12a   Surprisingly, Sinatra /is/ someone with a useful skill (7)

ARTISAN* — anagram of SINATRA

Frank Sinatra[5] (1915–1998) was an American singer and actor. His many hits include ‘Night and Day’ and ‘My Way’. He won an Oscar for his role in the film From Here to Eternity (1953).

13a   Witticism about actor Bruce is // in the current style (9)

MO(DERN|IS)T — MOT (witticism) containing (about) {DERN (actor Bruce) + IS (†)}

Bruce Dern[7] is an American actor who has appeared in more than 80 feature films, receiving Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor for the 1978 film Coming Home and Best Actor for the 2013 film Nebraska.

15a   Had a meal taken by my // chum (5)

M(ATE)Y — ATE (had a meal) contained in (taken by) MY (†)

The two American dictionaries found at (The American Heritage Dictionary and the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary) define matey[3,4,11] as being a chiefly British term taking only an adjectival form and meaning sociable or friendly. The British dictionary (Collins English Dictionary) not only adds an alternative spelling (maty) but — in addition to the adjectival form — includes a nounal form meaning friend or fellow (usually used in direct address).

See comment at 10a regarding "taken" as a containment indicator.

17a   Flower part/’s/ strange pleat (5)

PETAL* — anagram (strange) of PLEAT

19a   Distribute // Spanish information from a computer (6,3)

SP|READ OUT — SP ([abbreviation of] Spanish) + READ OUT (information from a computer)

In computer science, read out[4] means (1) the act of retrieving information from a computer memory or storage device or (2) the information retrieved.

22a   Agassi zestfully holds // court sessions (7)

_ASSIZES_ — hidden in (holds) AgASSI ZEStfully

The term assize appears to be used — and have been used — around the world with a variety of meanings in different contexts and at different periods of history.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines assize[3] as (1) a session of a court or (2) a decree or edict rendered at such a session, whereas Collins English Dictionary defines assize[4] as a US term for (1) a sitting of a legislative assembly or administrative body or (2) an enactment or order of such an assembly.

The courts of assize, or assizes[7], were periodic criminal courts held around England and Wales until 1972, when together with the quarter sessions they were abolished by the Courts Act 1971 and replaced by a single permanent Crown Court. The assizes heard the most serious cases, which were committed to it by the quarter sessions (local county courts held four times per year), while the more minor offences were dealt with summarily by justices of the peace in petty sessions (also known as magistrates' courts).

André Agassi[5] is a American retired professional tennis player. During 1992–2003, he won the men’s singles title at one Wimbledon, two US Open, one French Open, and four Australian Open tournaments.

24a   Yankee in Paris corrupted // old European kingdom (7)

PR(US)SIA — US (Yankee; as an adjective) contained in (in) anagram (corrupted) of PARIS

Prussia[5] was a former kingdom of Germany. Originally a small country on the southeastern shores of the Baltic, under Frederick the Great it became a major European power covering much of modern northeastern Germany and Poland. After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1 it became the centre of Bismarck’s new German Empire, but following Germany’s defeat in the First World War the Prussian monarchy was abolished.

25a   A number // observed around activity (9)

S(EVENT)EEN — SEEN (observed) containing (around) EVENT (activity)

26a   Fear // agitated adder (5)

DREAD* — anagram (agitated) of ADDER

27a   Going down, // get rid of the smell? (7)

DESCENT —double definition, the latter whimsical

The setters whimsically reason that if defrock means to figuratively strip a priest of his frock, then descent must mean to get rid of a scent.

28a   That woman’s outfit sounded // pretty hairy (7)

{HIR|SUTE}~ — sounds like (sounded) {HER (that woman's) + SUIT (outfit)}


1d   Ruby, in time of prosperity /and/ state of ennui (7)

BO(RED)OM — RED (ruby) contained in (in) BOOM (time of prosperity)

2d   Cast doubt on // CDs I tried out (9)

DISCREDIT* — anagram (out) of CDS I TRIED

3d   Senior citizen // seen in manifold stereotypes (7)

_OLDSTER_ — hidden in manifOLD STEReotypes

4d   Myrna holds feet // high (5)

LO(FT)Y — LOY (Myrna) containing (holds) FT ([abbreviation of] feet)

Myrna Loy[7] (1905–1993) was an American film, television and stage actress. Following a series of minor roles — initially in silent films — her career took off with her portrayal of Nora Charles in The Thin Man (1934).

Although Loy was never nominated for a competitive Academy Award, in March 1991 she was presented with an Honorary Academy Award with the inscription "in recognition of her extraordinary qualities both on screen and off, with appreciation for a lifetime's worth of indelible performances". She and Maureen O'Hara are the only two actresses to receive an Academy Award for acting without having been nominated previously.

5d   Redeveloped ancestral // English duchy (9)

LANCASTER* — anagram (redeveloped) of ANCESTRAL

The Duchy of Lancaster[7] is a royal duchy in England, held in trust for the Sovereign and used to provide income for the British monarch. It is one of two royal duchies, the other being the Duchy of Cornwall, which provides income to the Prince of Wales. The duchy comprises 18,700 hectares (46,000 acres), including key urban developments, historic buildings, and farm land in many parts of England and Wales, as well as large holdings in Lancashire.

6d   Through destiny, timeless // Dickensian character (4,3)

_TINY| TIM_ — hidden in (through) desTINY TIMeless

Timothy Cratchit, called "Tiny Tim"[7], is a fictional character from the 1843 novel A Christmas Carol by English writer Charles Dickens (1812–1870). He is a minor character, the young son of Bob Cratchit, and is seen only briefly, but serves as an important symbol of the consequences of the protagonist's choices.

7d   Pieces of paper // petticoats (5)

SLIPS — double definition

8d   Wiry // loop found in pigpen (7)

ST(RING)Y — RING (loop) contained in (found in) STY (pigpen)

14d   Demanding // purpose, hugging family member (9)

IN(SIS)TENT — INTENT (purpose) containing (hugging) SIS (family member)

16d   French painter is behind time /with/ bride’s outfit (9)

T|ROUSSEAU — ROUSSEAU (French painter) following (is behind) T (time)

Henri Rousseau[5] (1844–1910) was a French painter; known as le Douanier (‘customs officer’). After retiring as a customs official in 1893, he created bold and colourful paintings of fantastic dreams and exotic jungle landscapes, such as Sleeping Gypsy (1897) and Tropical Storm with Tiger (1891).

17d   Changing diapers /is/ lauded (7)

PRAISED — anagram (changing) of DIAPERS

18d   Box containing Buddhist // cough drop (7)

LO(ZEN)GE — LOGE ([theatre] box) containing (†) ZEN (Buddhist; as an adjective)

Zen[4] means (1)  a Japanese school of Buddhism, of 12th-century Chinese origin, teaching that contemplation of one's essential nature to the exclusion of all else is the only way of achieving pure enlightenment or (2), used as a modifier, of or relating to this school.

20d   Into pieces, // like below (7)

AS|UNDER — AS (like) + UNDER (below)

21d   Garbage // truck’s beginning to move like a duck (7)

T|WADDLE — T (truck's beginning; initial letter of Truck) + WADDLE (to move like a duck)

23d   Rescues // southern bird class (5)

S|AVES — S (southern) + AVES (bird class)

Aves[5] is a class of vertebrates which comprises the birds.

24d   Drink at a party // buffet (5)

PUNCH —double definition; the latter being a verb


The title of today's blog is inspired by 13a and 19a.
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. Hi Falcon!
    My final solve was 1a and I laughed out loud at the wordplay.
    Hope all is well.

    1. Hi MG,

      1a was also my last one in. I spent much effort trying to find a synonym for "bag" that is an anagram of ACT contained in a word meaning SLEEPING.

      All is well with me. It was just a very event-packed weekend leaving little time to work on the blog.

      Nevertheless, thank you for asking.

  2. I got off to a slow start, with nothing until 11A and then, thankfully a couple of easy-to-spot anagrams at 17A and 26A. While 22A jumped out at me, the constructors did a good job of hiding 3D and 6D on me. For 2D, "out" was new to me as an anagram indicator.