Saturday, May 9, 2015

Saturday, May 9, 2015 — Woman in Red


Today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon is a fairly gentle affair, which allowed me to ease back into my usual routine after an extended absence from solving puzzles.

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   Heap corn all over // South American area (4,4)

{CAPE HORN}* — anagram (all over) of HEAP CORN

5a   Floods // exchanges around start of month (6)

SWA(M)PS — SWAPS (exchanges) containing (around) M (start [first letter] of Month)

9a   Helper // running across bassist Anthony (9)

_ASSIST|ANT_ — hidden in (running across) bASSIST ANThony

11a   Wearing heel, // run up (5)

IN|CUR — IN (wearing; Woman in Red) + CUR (heel; derogatory term)

Off on a Tangent
Ana Cumpănaș[7] or Anna Sage, nicknamed Woman in Red (1889–1947), was an Austro-Hungarian-born Romanian prostitute and brothel owner in the American cities of Chicago (Illinois) and Gary (Indiana). She is best known for assisting the Federal Bureau of Investigation in tracking down gangster John Dillinger.

Facing deportation to Romania after the authorities deemed her to be an "alien of low moral character", she struck a deal with the FBI to turn in her client Dillinger in return for the reward on his head and permanent US residence for herself. Cumpănaș fingered Dillinger to the FBI agent Melvin Purvis, resulting in Dillinger's shooting outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago. Despite the nickname and her alleged promise to wear red as a distinctive mark, Cumpănaș is said to have actually worn orange that night.

While there may be honour among thieves, that code does not appear to extend to law enforcement officials.

Cumpănaș received a $5,000 reward, only half of what she had been allegedly promised. Moreover, despite the deal to keep her in the country, deportation proceedings continued. Allegedly, the FBI told her they could not stop the procedures, due to poor communication between branches of the federal government. Cumpănaș was deported to Romania where she lived until her death in 1947.

12a   Bits of wisdom /for/ Poland's first noblemen (6)

P|EARLS — P (Poland's first [letter]) + EARLS (noblemen)

13a   Make light of // a pair of baskets being returned (4-4)

{POOH-POOH}< — reversal (being returned) of {HOOP + HOOP} (a pair of baskets; a score in basketball)

15a   Game-show contestant // spelt "Ian" wrong (8)

PANELIST* — anagram (wrong) of SPELT IAN

16a   Illegal aliens holding // party (4)

_GAL|A_ — hidden in (holding) illeGAL Aliens

19a   Broadcasts // "Couples" after the first (4)

_AIRS — [P]AIRS (couples) with the initial letter removed (after the first)

Scratching the Surface
"Couples" may refer to a literary work rather than a musical one — or it may simply be a convenient invention of the setters.

Couples[7] is a 1968 novel by American author John Updike. The novel focuses on a promiscuous circle of ten couples in the small Massachusetts town of Tarbox. (The author was living in Ipswich, Massachusetts when he composed the book.)

Wikipedia lists three obscure songs and two equally unheard-of albums entitled "Couples"[7].

20a   Salt seen in tree/'s/ top (8)

PIN(NACL)E — NACL (salt; NaCl being the chemical symbol for sodium chloride, the scientific name for table salt) contained in (in) PINE (tree)

23a   Satchmo's playing // organs (8)

STOMACHS* — anagram (playing) of SATCHMOS

Scratching the Surface
Satchmo is the nickname of American jazz trumpeter and singer Louis Armstrong[7] (1901–1971).

24a   Doctor surrounded by fish /in/ frozen wasteland (6)

TUN(DR)A — DR (doctor) contained in (surrounded by) TUNA (fish)

27a   Blacken the front of this // diagram (5)

CHAR|T — CHAR (blacken) + T (the front [initial letter] of This)

28a   Lamebrain // at the table swallowing gallon (4-1-4)

DIN(G-A-L)ING — DINING (at the table) containing (swallowing) GAL ([abbreviation for] gallon)

29a   The Spanish uniform // number (6)

EL|EVEN — EL (the Spanish; Spanish word meaning 'the') + EVEN (uniform)

30a   Accentuated // the return of cakes, ice cream, etc. (8)

STRESSED< — reversal of (the return of) DESSERTS (cakes, ice cream, etc.)


1d   Chews // more than one hero (6)

CHAMPS — double definition

2d   Done with a // noodle dish (5)

PAST|A — PAST (done) + (with) A (†)

3d   Scattered sunlight // moving swiftly (8)

HUSTLING* — anagram (scattered) of SUNLIGHT

4d   Lane // went on talking (4)

ROAD~ — sounds like (talking) RODE (went on; a horse, a train, etc.)

6d   Importance /of/ delay in audition (6)

WEIGHT~ — sounds like (in audition) WAIT (delay)

7d   Computer accessories around aisle with audiovisual // appliance (9)

MIC(ROW|AV)E — MICE (computer accessories) containing (around) {ROW (aisle) + AV ([abbreviation for] audiovisual)}

8d   Strangely, he adores // someone with a hot temper (8)

SOREHEAD* — anagram (strangely) of HE ADORES

10d   Grand // old pronoun associated with novelist George (8)

THOU|SAND — THOU (old pronoun) + (associated with) SAND (novelist George)

George Sand[7] is the pseudonym of French novelist and memoirist Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin (1804–1876). She is equally well known for her much publicized romantic affairs with a number of artists, including the composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin and the writer Alfred de Musset.

14d   According to hearsay, Slade // took part in a winter sport (8)

SLEIGHED~ — sounds like (according to hearsay) SLADE

Scratching the Surface
Slade[7] is an English rock band that rose to prominence during the glam rock era of the early 1970s with 17 consecutive top 20 hits and six number ones. The British Hit Singles & Albums names them as the most successful British group of the 1970s based on sales of singles. Following an unsuccessful move to the United States in 1975, Slade's popularity waned but was unexpectedly revived in 1980 when they were last minute replacements for Ozzy Osbourne at the Reading Rock Festival [an annual music festival that takes place in Reading, England].

15d   Court attendant keeps lighting fires criminally /in/ church building (9)

P(ARSON)AGE — PAGE (court attendant) containing (keeps) ARSON (lighting fires criminally)

17d   Destroy // heap next to a plot of land (8)

MASS|ACRE — MASS (heap) + (next to) ACRE (a plot of land)

18d   A church's first member of the clergy // on the mark (8)

A|C|CURATE — A (†) + C (Church's first [initial letter]) + CURATE (member of the clergy)

A curate[5] is (1) a member of the clergy engaged as assistant to a vicar, rector, or parish priest or (2) an archaic term for a minister with pastoral responsibility.

21d   Indian group possessing large // medieval fort (6)

CAST(L)E — CASTE (Indian group) containing (possessing) L (large)

22d   Wandered /in/ wild garden (6)

RANGED — anagram (wild) of GARDEN

25d   Stops taking red // towels off (5)

D(R)IES — DIES (stops) containing (takes) R (red)

26d   Stew // cans brought back (4)

SNIT< — reversal (brought back) of TINS (cans)


I could find little in the solutions to today's clues to suggest a title, and so I have resorted to drawing inspiration from the digression at 11a — even though it has virtually nothing to do with the puzzle.
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. so glad you're back. now I can have a proper start to my Saturday. Hope your jet lag isn't awful.

    1. Hi puzzled,

      Thanks for dropping in to leave a comment.

      The jet lag is not too bad — aside from nodding off prematurely and getting a very early start to the day!

  2. Hi Falcon!
    Me too, I am delighted you're back. Now I don't have to face the stress of getting the answers right. (Just kidding). Had the left side finished quickly, the right was not coming to me so easily, but I put it down and a couple of hours later, it all came together.
    I wouldn't say "Woman in Red" had nothing to do with the puzzle - after all, it does illustrate the use of the word "in." Now if you had used "Lady in Red"...

    1. Hi Henry,

      Strangely, it was the Chris de Burgh tune that I had in mind. However, I inadvertently googled woman rather than lady and stumbled upon a far more interesting story.