Saturday, December 27, 2014

Saturday, December 27, 2014 — Holiday Film Fest


As we wind down after the Christmas festivities and the hectic Boxing Day shopping, what better way to relax than with today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon and a few old films — some very old and one of which, at least, has a seasonal theme.

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. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).


1a   General ran through /and/ took a quick look (7)

G|LANCED — G (general) + LANCED (ran through)

5a   Feeling // tense, as tossing and turning (7)

SENSATE* — anagram (tossing and turning) of TENSE AS

9a   To charm rascals, I revamped // Dickens story (1,9,5)

{A CHRISTMAS CAROL}* — anagram (revamped) of TO CHARM RASCALS I

A Christmas Carol[7] is a novella by English writer Charles Dickens (1812–1870), first published in 1843. The novella tells the story of a bitter old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation into a gentler, kindlier man after visitations by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come.

10a   Made vocal music with young ladies /in/ shades (10)

SUNG|LASSES — SUNG (made vocal music) + (with) LASSES (young ladies)

11a   Yours truly, with an // import (4)

ME|AN — ME (yours truly; myself) + (with) AN (†)

Import[5] is used in an archaic sense denoting to indicate or signify ⇒ having thus seen, what is imported in a Man’s trusting his Heart.

13a   Drunk men drop a // ball of aromatic stuff (8)

POMANDER* — anagram (drunk) of MEN DROP A

15a   Mad Hatter/'s/ menace (6)

THREAT* — anagram (mad) of HATTER

The Hatter[7] (called Hatta in Through the Looking-Glass) is a fictional character in English writer Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and the story's sequel Through the Looking-Glass (1871). He is often referred to as the Mad Hatter, though this term was never used by Carroll. The phrase "mad as a hatter" pre-dates Carroll's works and the characters the Hatter and the March Hare are initially referred to as "both mad" by the Cheshire Cat, with both first appearing in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, in the seventh chapter titled "A Mad Tea-Party".

17a   If // old Peruvians, dance at the end (2,4)

IN CAS|E — INCAS (old Peruvians) + E {dance at the end; final letter (end) of dancE}

The Incas[5] were a South American Indian people living in the central Andes before the Spanish conquest.

The Incas arrived in the Cuzco valley in Peru circa AD 1200. When the Spanish invaded in the early 1530s, the Inca empire covered most of modern Ecuador and Peru, much of Bolivia, and parts of Argentina and Chile. Inca technology and architecture were highly developed despite a lack of wheeled vehicles and of writing. Their descendants, speaking Quechua, still make up about half of Peru’s population. 

18a   Female vermin at the top of // hotel (8)

SHE|RAT|ON — SHE (female) + RAT (vermin) + ON (at the top of)

20a   Lump // left in bed (4)

C(L)OT — L (left) contained in (in) COT (bed)

21a   Western alliance involved in episodic story // of a legislator (10)

SE(NATO)RIAL — NATO (Western alliance) contained in (involved in) SERIAL (episodic story)

25a   Cast fat Athens people /for/ a sci-fi movie (6,2,3,4)


Planet of the Apes[7] is a 1968 American science fiction film based on the 1963 French novel La Planète des Singes by Pierre Boulle. It was the first in a series of five films made between 1968 and 1973. A remake of the film was released in 2001, followed by additional sequels in 2011 and 2014.

26a   Balancing // part of the day (7)

EVENING — double definition

27a   Saint with some bread // takes a walk (7)

ST|ROLLS — ST (saint) + (with) ROLLS (some bread)


1d   In Quebec, fat sits in front of small // pot (5)

GRAS|S — GRAS (In Quebec, fat; French word meaning 'fat'[8]) + (sits in front of) S (small)

2d   White, // like chicken (5)

AS|HEN — AS (like) + HEN (chicken)

3d   Cold // country's foremost mountainous quality (10)

C|HILLINESS — C {country's foremost; initial letter (foremost) of Country} + HILLINESS (mountainous quality)

4d   Hated // legal paper, taking exam (8)

DE(TEST)ED — DEED (legal paper) containing (taking) TEST (exam)

5d   Passed out // one-fourth of a deck of cards (6)

SPADES* — anagram (out) of PASSED

6d   Pleasant // resort in France (4)

NICE — double definition

Nice[5] is a resort city on the French Riviera, near the border with Italy; population 348,721 (2007).

7d   Understanding // guys caught in a hail (9)

A|GREE(MEN)T — MEN (guys) contained in (caught in) {A (†) + GREET (hail)}

8d   Duke after the first // Duke (9)

_ELLINGTON — [W]ELLINGTON (duke) with the initial letter removed (after the first)

Although rather more convoluted, a case could be made to parse the clue as:
  • Duke // after the first Duke (9)
where the wordplay would be read as "after the first, Duke".

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington[5] (1769–1852) was a British soldier and Tory statesman who served as Prime Minister from 1828–30 and again in 1834. Known as the Iron Duke, he served as commander of the British forces in the Peninsular War (1808–14) and in 1815 defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, so ending the Napoleonic Wars.

Duke Ellington[5] (1899–1974) was an American jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader; born Edward Kennedy Ellington. Coming to fame in the early 1930s, Ellington wrote over 900 compositions and was one of the first popular musicians to write extended pieces. Notable works: Mood Indigo (1930).

12d   Roar about a melee /with/ Ben Hur, for one (10)

CH(A|RIOT)EER — CHEER (roar) containing (about) {A (†) + RIOT (melee)}

The setters have misspelled Ben-Hur.

Ben-Hur[7] is a 1959 American epic historical drama film. A remake of the 1925 silent film with the same name, Ben-Hur was adapted from Lew Wallace's 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. A subsequent remake of the film is scheduled to be released in February 2016.

The Wallace novel[7] recounts in descriptive detail the adventures of Judah Ben-Hur, a fictional Jewish prince from Jerusalem, who is enslaved by the Romans at the beginning of the 1st century and becomes a charioteer and a Christian. Running in parallel with Judah's narrative is the unfolding story of Jesus, who comes from the same region and is a similar age. The novel reflects themes of betrayal, conviction, and redemption, with a revenge plot that leads to a story of love and compassion.

There is an element of likely unintended irony in the clue. One notable feature in the film[7] involved the opening titles. Concerned that a roaring Leo the Lion (the MGM mascot) would create the wrong mood for the sensitive and sacred nativity scene, director William Wyler received permission to replace the traditional logo with one in which Leo the Lion is quiet. It was the first time in MGM history that the lion logo was not seen roaring.

13d   Rule // head of a school pronounced (9)

PRINCIPLE — sounds like (pronounced) PRINCIPAL (head of a school)

14d   Appliance // line with one voltage among computer accessories (9)

MIC(ROW|A|V)E — {ROW (line) + (with) A (one) + V (voltage)} contained in (among) MICE (computer accessories)

16d   Monotonous song is about India's first // wines (8)

CH(I)ANT|IS — {CHANT (monotonous song) + IS (†)} containing (about) I {India's first; initial (first) letter of India}

Chianti[5] is a dry red Italian wine produced in Tuscany named after the Chianti Mountains, Italy.

19d   Fit // Chaney into petition (6)

BE(LON)G — LON (Chaney) contained in (into) BEG (petition)

Lon Chaney[7] (1883–1930) was an American actor during the age of silent films. He is regarded as one of the most versatile and powerful actors of early cinema, renowned for his characterizations of tortured, often grotesque and afflicted characters, and his groundbreaking artistry with makeup. Chaney is known for his starring roles in such silent horror films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925). His ability to transform himself using makeup techniques he developed earned him the nickname "The Man of a Thousand Faces."

22d   Rascal alongside the Spanish drive (5)

IMP|EL — IMP (rascal) + (alongside) EL (the Spanish; Spanish definite article)

In Spanish, the masculine singular form of the definite article is el[8].

23d   Tilts // catalogues (5)

LISTS — double definition

24d   Truck // seen in those mirrors (4)

_SE|MI_ — hidden in (seen in) thoSE MIrrors


The theme of today's puzzle is inspired by 9a and 25a — and let's not leave out 12d and even 19d.
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. A pleasant solve. Just had to look up pomander in the dictionary. Thanks for the write-up. I wrote in microwave, but couldn't parse the clue.

    Merry Christmas and best wishes for the new year, Falcon.

    1. Hi Richard,

      Thank you for your comment and your good wishes.

      I was slow to get pomander -- I kept thinking of potpourri (which, of course, wouldn't fit).

  2. Hi Falcon,
    Overall, fairly easy. I lost patience and had to "solve" for 16d. Happy holidays to you ...from Hawaii.

    1. Hi MG,

      Hawaii -- oh, how I envy you.

      Enjoy your time there.