Saturday, June 20, 2015

Saturday, June 20, 2015 — Laying Claim to Daddy's Work


Today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon should not have overstressed your brain cells. I found it to be the perfect diversion as I sat by the lake soaking up the sun.

There is a major factual error in one of clues (see if you can spot it) — but that seems strangely appropriate given that the film mentioned in the clue itself contained gross historical inaccuracies.

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   WASP, in part, // agitated Logan (5)

ANGLO — anagram (agitated) of LOGAN

WASP[5] is an acronym for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, a North American expression for an upper- or middle-class American white Protestant, considered to be a member of the most powerful group in society.

4a   Rubbing // Sam the wrong way, spill the beans about a gang’s leader (9)

MAS<|S(A|G)ING* — reversal (the wrong way) of SAM + SING (spill the beans) containing (about) {A (†) + G (gang's leader; initial letter of Gang)}

9a   Stirred neat gin, // feeding the kitty (7)

ANTEING* — anagram (stirred) of NEAT GIN

10a   Game parlours // are sorry at first about churl (7)

AR(CAD)E|S — {ARE (†) + S (sorry at first; initial letter of Sorry)} containing (about) CAD (churl)

11a   Change around Mom/’s/ old school (4,5)

AL(MA MA)TER — ALTER (change) containing (around) MAMA (Mom)

12a   Medium for painting of turning // leaf (5)

{FO|LIO}< — reversal (turning) of {OIL (medium for painting) + OF (†)}

13a   Big cheese // in shocking pink (7)

_KING|PIN_ — hidden in (in) shocKING PINk

15a   Saturday and Sunday, // Kenneth gets into pot (7)

WEE(KEN)D — KEN ([diminutive for] Kenneth) contained in (gets into) WEED (pot; marijuana)

17a   War and Peace heroine // has a tan, strangely (7)

NATASHA* — anagram (strangely) of HAS A TAN

This clue has been recycled from the puzzle which appeared one month ago on May 23, 2015. I must say, though, that I am glad to see that Natasha Richardson is being allowed to Rest in Peace.

Natasha Rostova[7] (in full Countess Natalya "Natasha" Ilyinichna Rostova) is a central fictional character in the 1869 novel War and Peace by Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910).

20a   Shrinks // rescued nuts (7)

REDUCES* — anagram (nuts) of RESCUED

22a   Wire // fit behind front of corset (5)

C|ABLE — ABLE (fit) following (behind) C (front of corset; initial letter of Corset)

23a   What’s new /in/ Howe’s inlet, through the sound (4,2,3)

{HOW'S BY YOU}~ — sounds like (through the sound) {HOWE'S (†) + BAYOU (inlet)}

In some parts of the US, "How's by you?" is used as a form of informal greeting. This expression is probably a direct translation of a Yiddish question form. You can read more about this construction here.

Scratching the Surface
While, in all likelihood, Howe's inlet and Howe's bayou are imaginary bodies of water, the clue does bring to mind Howe Sound[7], a roughly triangular sound, actually a network of fjords situated immediately northwest of Vancouver.

25a   One step with excellent // dancer (7)

A|STAIR|E — A (one) + STAIR (step) + E (excellent; an assessment on a test or assignment in school)

Fred Astaire[5] (1899–1987) was an American dancer, singer, and actor; born Frederick Austerlitz. He is famous for starring in a number of film musicals, including Top Hat (1935), in a successful partnership with Ginger Rogers.

Adele Astaire[7] (1896–1981) was an American dancer and entertainer; born Adele Marie Austerlitz. She was Fred Astaire's elder sister, and his partner in a 27-year career in vaudeville and theater, beginning when he was five and she was eight. 

26a   Common connector used in eastern railroad’s // quick business trips (7)

E|RR(AND)S — AND (common connector) contained in (used in) {E (eastern) + RR (railroad) + S ('s)}

27a   Makes // teenagers mad (9)

GENERATES* — anagram (mad) of TEENAGERS

28a   Change // noontime event? (5)

AM|END — cryptic definition (as indicated by the question mark)

Noontime marks the end of the morning or, in other words, the AM END.


1d   Notice a blemish in // Argo actor (4,5)

AD|A|M ARK|IN — AD (notice; commercial message) + A (†) + MARK (blemish) + IN (†)

Did you notice the blemish in the clue? (if not, click here to find out )

The actor who appeared in Argo was not Adam Arkin[7] but his father Alan Arkin[7].

hide explanation

Argo[7] is a 2012 American political thriller film directed by Ben Affleck. The film, which stars Affleck with Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, and John Goodman in supporting roles, deals with the "Canadian Caper," in which six U.S. diplomats were rescued from Tehran, Iran, during the 1979-1981 Iran hostage crisis. The film is a highly fictionalized account of the affair which glorifies the role of the CIA and minimizes the role of Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor and other Canadian embassy staff. Former US President Jimmy Carter has said:
90% of the contributions to the ideas and the consummation of the plan was Canadian. And the movie gives almost full credit to the American CIA. And with that exception, the movie is very good. But Ben Affleck's character in the film was... only in Tehran a day and a half. And the main hero, in my opinion, was Ken Taylor, who was the Canadian ambassador who orchestrated the entire process.
Affleck's defense of the gross historical inaccuracies in the film:
Because we say it's based on a true story, rather than this is a true story, we're allowed to take some dramatic license. There's a spirit of truth ....
2d   Guard/’s/ ID backwards (7)

GATEMAN< — reversal (backwards) of NAMETAG (ID)

3d   Overdose I... er... // hate (5)

OD|I|UM — OD (overdose) + I (†) + UM (er; sound of hesitation)

4d   Tilly, upon performing // unit for a bomb (7)

MEG|AT|ON — MEG (Tilly; Canadian-American actress and novelist Meg Tilly[7]) + AT (upon; at the sound of the bell ...) + ON (performing; on [stage], on [the air])

5d   Flier/’s/ two fights (7)

SPAR|ROW — SPAR (first fight) + ROW (second fight)

6d   French aid awful // villain (9)

ARCHFIEND* — anagram (awful) of FRENCH AID

7d   Humour // eluding bum (7)

INDULGE* — anagram (bum) of ELUDING

8d   Surge with zip /and/ zest (5)

GUST|O — GUST (surge [of wind]) + (with) O (zip; zilch, nada, nothing)

14d   Back // promotional display about resort city (9)

POSTE(RIO)R — POSTER (promotional display) containing (about) RIO (resort city)

Rio de Janeiro[5] (commonly known as Rio) is a city in eastern Brazil, on the Atlantic coast; population 6,093,472 (2007). The chief port of Brazil, it was the country’s capital from 1763 until 1960, when it was replaced by Brasilia.

16d   Talked about // platter consumed with added salt (9)

DISC|U(S)SED  or DISC|US(S)ED — DISC (platter; phonograph record) + USED (consumed) containing (with added) S (salt)

Thinking the platter might be a discus was definitely not helpful in sorting out the wordplay.

18d   Be sheltered by giant // Asian (7)

TI(BE)TAN — BE (†) contained in (sheltered by) TITAN (giant)

A titan[5] is a person or thing of very great strength, intellect, or importance ⇒ a titan of American industry.

In Classical Greek mythology, the Titans and Titanesses[7] were members of the second order of divine beings, descending from the primordial deities and preceding the Olympian deities. Based on Mount Othrys, the Titans most famously included the first twelve children of the primordial Gaia (Mother Earth) and Uranus (Father Heaven). They were giant deities of incredible strength, who ruled during the legendary Golden Age, and also composed the first pantheon of Greek deities.

19d   One locked in a trunk /is/ most sore (7)

A|CH(I)EST — I ([Roman numeral for] one) contained in (locked in) {A (†) + CHEST (trunk)}

20d   Crude quality /of/ anagrammed answers (7)

RAWNESS* — anagram (anagrammed) of ANSWERS

21d   Stick with urge /for/ some pepper (7)

CA(YEN)NE — CANE (stick) containing (with; a drink with extra ice) YEN (urge)

22d   Family Guy’s beginning // bell sound (5)

CLAN|G — CLAN (family) + G (guy's beginning; initial letter of Guy)

Family Guy[7] is an American adult animated sitcom originally broadcast in the US by the Fox Broadcasting Company.

24d   Asian country // dancing rumba (5)

BURMA* — anagram (dancing) of RUMBA

I thought this was the former name of Myanmar, but it would appear the situation is slightly more murky than that. Burma[10] is the former official name (until 1989, though still widely used) of Myanmar.


The title of today's piece was inspired by 1d.
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 fun solve, not overly taxing, but perfect with a favorite libation in the garden on a perfect weather day. A 1/3 rank - chuckled over 23a

    1. 23a is an expression that I had never heard before -- not many in my circle speak Yiddish. I first thought that the solution might be HOW'S BE YOU but was able to track down the correct version with help from Mr. Google.

  2. Hi Falcon!
    I thought 1d was the "actual" actor in Argo and therefore I was unable to understand the cryptic clue. Very clever.


    1. Now was the mistaken actor an unintentional mistake on the part of the setters or a very clever ruse!

  3. No wonder I couldn't parse the clue for 1D! Blemish, indeed!