Saturday, December 20, 2014

Saturday, December 20, 2014 — Double-Teamed


With one exception, each of Santa's reindeer makes two appearances in today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon.

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

I join with the setters in wishing Saturday readers a Very Merry Christmas.

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   Awaken // Comet with love (4,2)

COME T|O — COMET (†) + O (love[5]; nil score in tennis)

4a   Darts for Cupid, // while eating red rhubarb (6)

A(R|ROW)S — AS (while) containing (eating) {R (red) + ROW (rhubarb[10]; heated discussion or quarrel [US and Canadian])}

9a   Being troublesome, // Vixen changed $1000 (6)

VEXIN*|G — anagram (changed) of VIXEN + G ($1000)

10a   Rob drew a fanciful // Donner’s closet? (8)

WARDROBE* — anagram (fanciful) of ROB DREW A

This could be "Donner's closet" or a closet belonging to anyone else. I can see no reason for the word Donner to appear in the clue, other than to support the theme of the puzzle.

12a   Call silver farm animal // “Vixen” (9)

TERM|AG|ANT — TERM (call; as a verb) + AG ([symbol for the chemical element] silver) + ANT (farm animal; animal that lives in an ant farm)

13a   Cupid getting a piece of Rudolph/’s/ mail in the U.S. (5)

A(R)MOR — AMOR (Cupid) containing R (a piece [initial letter] of Rudolph)

In Roman mythology, Cupid was the god of love who was also known by his Latin name Amor[7].

Armor is the US spelling of armour, one type of which is [chain] mail.

14a   In Comet, one unknown // source of revenue (6,3)

IN|COME T|A|X — IN (†) + COMET (†) + A (one) + X ([algebraic] unknown)

17a   Dasher daintily holds // scrap of earthenware (5)

_SHER|D_ — hidden (holds) in daSHER Daintily

18a   British poet // Donner cut short (5)

DONNE_ — DONNE[R] with the final letter removed (cut short)

John Donne[5] (1572–1631) was an English poet and preacher. A metaphysical poet, he is most famous for his Satires and Elegies (circa 1590-9) and his love poems. He also wrote religious poems and, as dean of St Paul’s from 1621, was one of the most celebrated preachers of his age.

20a   Prancer mistakenly includes the heartless // builder (9)

CARPEN(TE)R — anagram (mistakenly) of PRANCER containing (includes) TE {the heartless; T[H]E with its middle letter (heart) removed}

22a   Ingredient in some chili // Dancer mixed up after the first (5)

CARNE* — anagram (mixed up) of _ANCER {[D]ANCER with its initial letter removed (after the first)}

23a   Prancer initially shifted Clarence/’s/ stamp ahead of time (9)

P|RECANCEL* — P (Prancer initially; initial letter of Prancer) + anagram (shifted) of CLARENCE

26a   Blitzen is confused about one // philosopher (8)

LE(I)BNITZ* or LEIBN(I)TZ* — anagram (is confused) of BLITZEN containing (about) I ([Roman numeral for] one)

Baron Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibnitz[3] [seemingly more commonly spelled Leibniz] (1646-1716) was a German philosopher and mathematician. He invented differential and integral calculus independently of Newton and proposed an optimist metaphysical theory that included the notion that we live in "the best of all possible worlds."

27a   Blitzen is upset, missing the sixth // pancake (6)

BLINTZ* — anagram (is upset) of BLITZ_N (BLITZ[E]N missing the sixth [letter])

A blintz[3] is a thin, rolled blini [Russian pancake], usually filled with cottage cheese, folded, sauteed or baked, and often served with sour cream.

28a   Dasher’s event, /in/ small type (6)

S|PRINT — S (small) + PRINT (type)

29a   Dancer roughly // hoisted with heavy machinery (6)

CRANED* — anagram (roughly) of DANCER


1d   Spotted cat // I have in court (5)

C(IVE)T — IVE ([contraction for] I have; I've) contained in (in) CT ([abbreviation for] court; found on street signs, for instance)

A civet[5] (also civet cat) is a slender nocturnal carnivorous mammal with a barred and spotted coat and well-developed anal scent glands, native to Africa and Asia.

2d   Party /of/ nine in Cousteau’s milieu (5)

M(IX)ER — IX ([Roman numeral for] nine) contained in (in) MER (Cousteau's milieu; French word for 'sea').

Jacques-Yves Cousteau[5] (1910–1997) was a French oceanographer and film director. He devised the scuba apparatus, but is known primarily for several feature films and popular television series on marine life.

3d   Cat eating not far from // part of a turntable (4,3)

TO(NE AR)M — TOM ([male] cat) containing (eating) NEAR (not far from)

5d   Breaking crate, // be stimulated (5)

REACT* — anagram (breaking) of CRATE

6d   Trials // or trades (7)

OR|DEALS — OR (†) + DEALS (trades)

7d   Wildest // tales Time printed about Manitoba’s premier (9)

STOR(M)IES|T — {STORIES (tales) + T (time)} containing (printed about) M (Manitoba's premier; initial letter of Manitoba)

For the benefit of readers from outside the borders of Canada, Premier is the title applied to the leader of a provincial government in Canada. The current Premier of Manitoba is Greg Selinger. In the context of the clue, the word Premier might well have been capitalized.

8d   Stranger regarded // corrupting influence (8)

DEGRADER* — anagram (stranger) of REGARDED

11d   Play a role in jerk/’s/ gambit (6)

T(ACT)IC — ACT (play a role) contained in (in) TIC (jerk)

14d   Unruly // physician immersed in one African river (8)

I|N(DOC)ILE — DOC (physician) contained in (immersed in) {I ([Roman numeral for] one) + NILE (African river)}

15d   Lit acorns’ drifting // plumes in the sky (9)

CONTRAILS* — anagram (drifting) of LIT ACORNS

16d   Congress and king brought back // old Persian king (6)

{XER|XES}< — reversal (brought back) of {SEX (congress) + REX ([Latin word for] king)}

Xerxes I[5] (circa 519–465 BC), son of Darius I, was king of Persia 486–465. His invasion of Greece achieved victories in 480 at Artemisium and Thermopylae, but defeats at Salamis (480) and Plataea (479) forced him to withdraw.

Rex[5] (abbreviation R[5]) [Latin for king] denotes the reigning king, used following a name (e.g. Georgius Rex, King George) or in the titles of lawsuits (e.g. Rex v. Jones, the Crown versus Jones — often shortened to R. v. Jones).

19d   Queen from Aquitaine // converted one earl (7)

ELEANOR* — anagram (converted) of ONE EARL

Eleanor of Aquitaine[5] (circa 1122–1204) was the daughter of the Duke of Aquitaine, queen of France 1137–52 and of England 1154–89. She was married to Louis VII of France from 1137; in 1152, with the annulment of their marriage, she married the future Henry II of England.

21d   Rebel—an agitated // person who makes things happen (7)

ENABLER* — anagram (agitated) of REBEL AN

23d   Climbing gear // functioning behind hole (5)

PIT|ON — ON (functioning) following (behind) PIT (hole)

A piton[5] is a peg or spike driven into a rock or crack to support a climber or a rope.

24d   Jailbird—an // early role for Arnold (5)

CON|AN — CON (jailbird) + AN (†)

Conan the Barbarian[7] is a 1982 sword and sorcery/adventure film based on stories by Robert E. Howard, a pulp fiction writer of the 1930s, about the adventures of the eponymous character in a fictional pre-historic world of dark magic and savagery. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Earl Jones, and tells the story of a young barbarian (Schwarzenegger) who seeks vengeance for the death of his parents at the hands of Thulsa Doom (Jones), the leader of a snake cult.

25d   The Parisian and the last British character // took it easy (5)

LA|ZED — LA (the Parisian) + (and) ZED (the last British character)

In French, the feminine singular form of the definite article is la[8].

Zed[3,4,11] is the spoken form of the letter Z in Britain — and Canada.


The theme of today's puzzle was easily established.
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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