Saturday, June 13, 2015

Saturday, June 13, 2015 — Bugs and Crooners


Solving today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon certainly did not take long. I found it was virtually 'read & write'.

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   You // cryptic lovers (6)

SOLVER* — anagram (cryptic) of LOVERS

4a   Some senators to veto proposed // hot spot (8)

_S|TO|VETO|P_ — hidden (some) in senatorS TO VETO Proposed

9a   Happy // stuff within (7)

CONTENT — double definition

11a   Bounder trapped by CIA's // bugs (7)

CI(CAD)AS — CAD (bounder) contained in (trapped by) {CIA (†) + S ('s)}

12a   Smile at me stupidly // when you eat (9)

MEALTIMES* — anagram (stupidly) of SMILE AT ME

13a   In the morning, our // love affair (5)

AM|OUR — AM (in the morning; abbreviation for ante meridiem) + OUR (†)

14a   Cheer about small // perch (5)

ROO(S)T — ROOT (cheer) containing (about) S ([abbreviation for] small)

16a   Los Angeles hired thugs /for/ some snorkeling sites (7)

LA|GOONS — LA ([short for] Los Angeles) + GOONS (some snorkeling sites)

19a   Predict // playing of Reese (7)

FORESEE* — anagram (playing) of OF REESE

Scratching the Surface
Given the references to other singers in the puzzle, the clue likely refers to American Singer Della Reese[7] rather than former American professional baseball player Pee Wee Reese[7] (1918–1999).

Delloreese Patricia Early, known professionally as Della Reese[7], is an American singer, actress, game show panelist of the 1970s, one-time talk-show hostess and ordained minister. She started her career in the 1950s as a gospel, pop and jazz singer, scoring a hit with her 1959 single "Don't You Know?". In the late 1960s, she had hosted her own talk show, Della, which ran for 197 episodes. Through four decades of acting, she is best known for playing Tess, the lead role on the 1994–2003 television show Touched by an Angel. In more recent times, she became an ordained New Thought minister in the Understanding Principles for Better Living Church in Los Angeles, California.

Harold Peter Henry "Pee Wee" Reese[7] (1918–1999) was an American professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball as a shortstop for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1940 to 1958. A ten-time All Star, Reese contributed to seven National League championships for the Dodgers and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984. Reese is also famous for his support of his teammate Jackie Robinson, the first modern African American player in the major leagues, especially in Robinson's difficult first years.

20a   Each German /is/ avid (5)

EA|GER — EA ([abbreviation for] each) + GER ([abbreviation for] German)

23a   Peruvian // in jail (5)

IN|CAN — IN (†) + CAN (jail)

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

Delving Deeper
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.

24a   Molluscs’ // good parts cooked (9)

GASTROPODS* — anagram (cooked) of GOOD PARTS

As Richard points out below, my original solution was incorrect — in that it does not fit the grid. However, it does satisfy the clue. In fact, I would say that the clue itself is incorrect and should read:
  • 24a   Mollusc/’s/ good parts cooked (9)
giving rise to the solution:

GASTROPOD* — anagram (cooked) of GOOD PARTS

In the corrected clue, the 's is a possessive in the surface reading and a contraction for is in the cryptic reading (and thus can be treated as a link word). However, such reasoning cannot be applied to the original clue. I see no way that "molluscs" can possibly mean GASTROPOD.

I suppose we could consider this error to be just one more "bug" in the puzzle.

26a   Throwing water on // our group in performance (7)

DO(US)ING — US (our group) contained in (in) DOING (performance)

Doing is grammatically a gerund, a verb form which functions as a noun.

27a   Citadel reformed, /in/ a manner of speaking (7)

DIALECT* — anagram (reformed) of CITADEL

28a   Tormé, quietly /and/ sweetly (8)

MEL|LOWLY — MEL (Tormé; American jazz singer Mel Tormé) + LOWLY (quietly)

The solution appropriately describes how Tormé sang.

Delving Deeper
Mel Tormé[7] (1925–1999), nicknamed The Velvet Fog, was an American musician, best known as a singer of jazz standards. He was also a jazz composer and arranger, drummer, and actor in radio, film, and television, and the author of five books. He composed the music for the classic holiday song "The Christmas Song" ("Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire") and co-wrote the lyrics with Bob Wells.

29a   One in pursuit // modified search (6)

CHASER* — anagram (modified) of SEARCH


1d   Peeved about YMCA shifting // tree (8)

S(YCAM)ORE — SORE (peeved) containing (about) anagram (shifting) of YMCA

2d   John catching end of in joke // far in the past (4,3)

LO(N|G AG)O — LOO (john; loo being an informal British term for a toilet) containing (catching) {N (end [final letter] of iN) + GAG (joke)}

3d   Tied tie at first // function (5)

EVEN|T — EVEN (tied) + T (tie at first; initial letter of Tie)

5d   Reportedly, what the government collects /for/ nails (5)

TACKS~ — sounds like (reportedly) TAX (what the government collects)

6d   Crooner // versus comedian, funnily (3,6)

{VIC DAMONE}* — V (versus) + anagram (funnily) of COMEDIAN

Vic Damone[7] (born Vito Rocco Farinola) is an American singer and entertainer, of Italian descent. In his professional name, he chose to use his mother's maiden name. He retired from singing in 2002 after suffering a stroke.

7d   Boring // outside shot (7)

TEDIOUS* — anagram (shot) of OUTSIDE

8d   After pops, taste // baked goods (6)

PAS|TRY — TRY (taste) following (after) PAS (pops; fathers)

10d   Stories about Mom/'s/ Mexican food (7)

TA(MA)LES — TALES (stories) containing (about) MA (Mom)

A tamale[5] is a Mexican dish of seasoned meat and maize [corn] flour steamed or baked in maize husks.

15d   The director of Pulp Fiction // snarled "Tarnation!" (9)

TARANTINO* — anagram (snarled) of TARNATION

Quentin Tarantino[7] is an American film director, screenwriter, cinematographer, producer, and actor. His films are characterized by non-linear storylines, satirical subject matter, and an aestheticization of violence, as well as features of neo-noir film and spaghetti Westerns. His second film, Pulp Fiction (released in 1994), is a neo-noir crime film that became a major critical and commercial success and was judged the greatest film of the past 25 years (1983-2008) by Entertainment Weekly [a Time Inc. publication that covers — from a general audience perspective — film, television, music, Broadway theatre, books and popular culture].

17d   Vocally, visitor // took a stab (7)

GUESSED — sounds like (vocally) GUEST (visitor)

18d   Deadly hunter/'s/ teardrop splashed (8)

PREDATOR* — anagram (splashed) of TEARDROP

19d   True, // false, and true (7)

F|ACTUAL — F ([abbreviation for] false) + (and) ACTUAL (true)

21d   Rodents // run past his partner (7)

GO|P|HERS — GO (run) + P (past; grammatical term) + HERS (his partner; in the phrase "his and hers")

22d   Crown // made Di different (6)

DIADEM* — anagram (different) of MADE DI

24d   Sort of disco dancer with large // Russian author (5)

GOGO|L — GOGO (sort of disco dancer) + (with) L ([abbreviation for] large)

Nikolai Gogol[5] (1809–1852) was a Russian novelist, dramatist, and short-story writer, born in Ukraine. His writings are satirical, often exploring themes of fantasy and the supernatural. Notable works: The Government Inspector (play, 1836), Notes of a Madman (short fiction, 1835), and Dead Souls (novel, 1842).

25d   Bug // Charo crudely (5)

ROACH* — anagram (crudely) of Charo

María del Rosario Mercedes Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza, professionally known by her mononymous stage name Charo[7], is a Spanish-American actress, comedian, and flamenco guitarist. She is best known for her flamboyant stage presence, her provocative outfits, and her trademark phrase, "cuchi-cuchi".


The title of today's piece is inspired by 11a and 25d for the first part and 19a, 28a and 6d for the later part.
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. Nice solve - lots of bugs - surprised I knew the crooner at 6D - Rank 1.2 - 3.0 Cheers

    1. Thanks for for your "inspiring" comment (see the title I chose for today's blog).

  2. Hi Falcon!
    Pretty much a write-in as you said. I am not sure if I am becoming an expert at deciphering Cox and Rathvon or they are starting to lose their edge. The puzzles are much easier than they used to be ! Anyway, still very entertaining and a part of my Saturday routine.

    By the way, I can't see your title ;)

    Thanks again!

    1. Welcome back MG,

      Yes, it would appear that I neglected to add the title. Now fixed.

  3. Enjoyable and quite easy solve, though I spent a while on 28a. I knew Mel, but then my brain froze.

    Odd that you offered the plural of gastropod as a solution. It fits the clue, but not the number of spaces in the grid.

    Mid-eighties, we attended a concert at Vancouver's QE Theatre with Mel with Nina Simone (not Vic Damone). A magical evening.

  4. BTW, I think "mononymous" is a wonderful word. You should petition dictionary publishers to include it in their next editions.

    1. Richard,

      Your point is well-taken. I could not find the word "mononymous" in any of my usual sources.

      Wikipedia says "A mononymous person is an individual who is known and addressed by a mononym, or "single name". In some cases, that name has been selected by the individual, who may have originally been given a polynym ("multiple name"). ".

      Wiktionary defines mononym as a single name by which a person, thing etc is known. For example, Madonna (the pop musical artist).

    2. By the way, the passage containing the word was cut and pasted from Wikipedia.

  5. I also found that this one put up little resistance. Last in for me were 28A and 9A: that sort of clue is often tough for me.

    1. Yes, we are likely being set up for a fall!

  6. For anyone who might still pass by here and enjoy a cryptic that offers more of a challenge, I recommend the latest one in the Wall Street Journal. I had to really rack my brain over it - very satisfying to work it all out.