Saturday, April 11, 2015

Saturday, April 11, 2015 — A Recipe for the Ages


I found today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon to be a bit more of a mental workout than what we have been accustomed to.

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   Alien ate a Star Trek // dish of raw meat (5,7)

{STEAK TARTARE}* — anagram (alien) of ATE A STAR TREK

9a   Somebody resolving // to get rid of apple juice? (7)

DECIDER — double definition; the latter whimsical [and thus the dashed underline]

If deice means to get rid of the ice that has formed on the wings of aircraft, then decider must surely mean to get rid of apple juice.

10a   Insane, Monet frames // a member of the buttercup family (7)

_ANE|MONE_ — hidden in (frames) InsANE MONEt

Scratching the Surface
Claude Monet[5] (1840–1926) was a French painter. A founder member of the impressionists, his fascination with the play of light on objects led him to produce series of paintings of single subjects painted at different times of the day and under different weather conditions, such as the Water-lilies sequence (1899–1906; 1916 onwards).

11a   Kind of tea /for/ a mother in South American land (9)

CH(A|MOM)ILE — {A (†) + MOM (mother)} contained in (in) CHILE (South American land)

12a   Simple // aborigine losing time (5)

NAIVE — NA[T]IVE (aborigine) with T (time) removed (losing)

13a   Fixer catching a // stray (7)

ME(A)NDER — MENDER (fixer) containing (catching) A (†)

15a   Irish county // having nothing more to do with young lady (7)

DONE|GAL — DONE (having nothing more to do) + (with) GAL (young lady)

16a   Tablet // Buddhist sect placed in box (7)

LO(ZEN)GE — ZEN (Buddhist sect) contained in (placed in) LOGE ([theatre] box)

19a   Indian groups maintaining large // fortresses (7)

CAST(L)ES — CASTES (Indian groups) containing (maintaining) L (large)

21a   Ocean area/’s/ fresh air (5)

O|ZONE —  O[2] (ocean) + ZONE (area)

22a   Buddy receiving echo // before there was any speech? (9)

P(REVERB)AL — PAL (buddy) containing (receiving) REVERB (echo)

24a   Louder /and/ cruder ironies (7)

NOISIER* — anagram (cruder) of IRONIES

25a   Sources of advice // so clear when reinterpreted (7)

ORACLES* — anagram (when reinterpreted) of SO CLEAR

26a   Wilder sound // of peers in time (12)

GENE|RATIONAL — GENE (Wilder; American actor Gene Wilder[7]) + RATIONAL (sound)


2d   To club’s foremost hipster, a // musical piece (7)

TO|C|CAT|A — TO (†) + C (Club's foremost [initial letter]) + CAT (hipster) + A (†)

A toccata[5] is a musical composition for a keyboard instrument designed to exhibit the performer’s touch and technique.

3d   Wearing gold ring, Diana // heard part of a broadcast (5)

AU(DI)O — DI ([diminutive for] Diana) contained in (wearing) {AU ([symbol for the chemical element] gold) + O ([letter that looks like a] ring)}

The audio is the "heard part" of the broadcast, as contrasted with the "seen part" or video.

4d   Slowpoke // arrived in ballpark section (7)

T(ARR)IER — ARR (arrived; as seen on a notice board at an airport, train station or bus terminal) contained in (in) TIER (ballpark section)

5d   Read about Stimpy’s pal/’s/ butt (4,3)

REA(R EN)D — READ (†) containing (about) REN (Stimpy's pal)

Ren and Stimpy[7], created by Canadian animator John Kricfalusi, are the titular characters in the American animated television series The Ren & Stimpy Show as well as its adults-only spin-off Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon". Kricfalusi created the characters during his stay at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. Ren is a scrawny, violently psychotic chihuahua, and Stimpy is a fat, stupid cat. They are often at odds with each other on the show, though they do share moments of closeness together.

6d   A writer’s describing nine // mountains of Italy (9)

A|PEN(NINE)S — A (†) + {PEN (writer) + S('s)} containing (describing) NINE (†)

The use of the word "describe" as a containment indicator is a common cryptic crossword convention. This device relies on describe[3] being used in the sense of to trace the form or outline of ⇒ describe a circle with a compass. Thus, in today's clue, we have PENS containing (describing) NINE with the rationale for the wordplay being that the container (PENS) forms an outline around the contained entity (NINE) in a similar manner to the circumference of a circle forming an outline around the circular area contained within it.

7d   Eating away, // ignored bananas (7)

ERODING* — anagram (bananas) of IGNORED

8d   Singer/’s/ notes about Everly Brothers’ finale (7,5)

B(EVERLY| S)ILLS — BILLS ([bank] notes) containing (about) {EVERLY (†) + S (Brothers' finale; final letter [finale] of Brother[S])}

Beverly Sills[7] (1929–2007) was an American operatic soprano whose peak career was between the 1950s and 1970s.

Scratching the Surface
The Everly Brothers[7] were an American country-influenced rock and roll duo comprising brothers Don (born 1937) and Phil (1939–2014) Everly.

9d   Dot // disturbed nice diplomat (7,5)

{DECIMAL POINT}* — anagram (disturbed) of NICE DIPLOMAT

14d   Also entering sandwich shop having a connection with // weed (9)

D(AND)ELI|ON — AND (also) contained in (entering) DELI (sandwich shop) + ON (having a connection with)

17d   Flying // animals kept together by Flash Gordon’s foe (7)

ZOO|MING — ZOO (animals kept together) + (by) MING (Flash Gordon's foe)

Flash Gordon[7] is the hero of a science fiction adventure comic strip originally drawn by Alex Raymond. First published January 7, 1934, the strip was inspired by and created to compete with the already established Buck Rogers adventure strip.

The comic strip follows the adventures of Flash Gordon, a handsome polo player and Yale University graduate, and his companions Dale Arden and Dr. Hans Zarkov. The story begins with Earth bombarded by fiery meteors. Dr. Zarkov invents a rocket ship to fly into space to find where the meteors originate. Half mad, he kidnaps Flash and Dale and they travel to the planet Mongo. The meteors are weapons devised by Ming the Merciless[7], Mongo's evil ruler.

18d   Redistributed more per // ruler (7)

EMPEROR* — anagram (redistributed) of MORE PER

19d   Sandwich in bed, /and/ something to smoke (7)

C(HERO)OT — HERO (sandwich) contained in (in) COT (bed)

20d   Toss Lilly a flower (7)

LOB|ELI|A — LOB (toss) + ELI (Lilly; American industrialist Eli Lilly) + A (†)

Eli Lilly[7] (1838–1898) was an American soldier, pharmaceutical chemist, industrialist, entrepreneur, and founder of the Eli Lilly and Company pharmaceutical corporation.

23d   Sheraton embraces // Clio’s sister (5)

_ERATO_ — hidden in (embraces) ShERATOn

In Greek and Roman mythology, the Muses[5] are the nine goddesses, the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who preside over the arts and sciences. The Muses are generally listed as Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Euterpe (flute playing and lyric poetry), Terpsichore (choral dancing and song), Erato (lyre playing and lyric poetry), Melpomene (tragedy), Thalia (comedy and light verse), Polyhymnia (hymns, and later mime), and Urania (astronomy).

Scratching the Surface
Sheraton Hotels and Resorts[7] is the largest and second oldest brand (Westin being the oldest) of American hotel and leisure company Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

The origins of the brand date back to 1937 when Ernest Henderson and Robert Moore acquired the Stonehaven Hotel in Springfield, Massachusetts. The chain got its name from another early hotel that the pair had acquired, which had a lighted sign on the roof saying "Sheraton Hotel" which was large and heavy and therefore too expensive to change. Instead, they decided to call all their hotels by that name.


The title of today's blog is inspired by 1a and 26a.
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. The puzzle became progressively more difficult for me as I went from top to bottom, partly because it took me far too long to figure out 9D. 14, 17, and 20 Down were tough for me to parse and I only understood 26A long after filling in the answer. Happy to finish this one!

    1. As I recall, I also found the bottom to be more of challenge than the top.

  2. Another Saturday delight. 26a is brilliant.

    Nice to see Bubbles make an appearance in a crossword. The girl next door who ascended to opera's grandest stages and never lost the common touch.

    1. I stared blankly at 26a for a long time before realizing that "produce" is not being used simply as a link word.

    2. To be honest, I solved 26a from the crossing letters. Needed to read your thorough parsing of the clue to get the wordplay. I'm a CA and buried under tax files this week, so "bunging them in" even more that usual.

    3. Richard,

      9d in Monday's puzzle is surely right up your alley!