Saturday, August 29, 2015

Saturday, August 29, 2015 — Rodent in Pain


Although today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon started off as a 'read and write', I did discover a few meatier clues in the lower half.

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   Cracked beer mugs /in/ sink (8)

SUBMERGE* — anagram (cracked) of BEER MUGS

5a   Surrounded by // 500 in a fog (6)

AMI(D)ST — D ([Roman numeral for] 500) contained in (in) {A (†) + MIST (fog)}

9a   Disorderly // pair of clowns spoke (9)

CL|UTTERED — CL (pair [initial two letters] of CLowns) + UTTERED (spoke)

11a   Ruth’s mother-in-law, // I complain, flipped (5)

{NAOM|I}< — reversal (flipped) of {I (†) + MOAN (complain)}

In the Old Testament, Naomi[10] is the mother-in-law of Ruth (Ruth 1:2).

12a   Some linen Tom Brokaw // put in a vault (6)

_EN|TOM|B_ — hidden in (some) linEN TOM Brokaw

Scratching the Surface
Tom Brokaw[7] is an American television journalist and author best known as the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004.

13a   On parade, // first of merrymakers making a curve (8)

M|ARCHING — M (first [initial letter] of Merrymakers) + ARCHING (making a curve)

15a   Bullfighters // adjusted to dramas (8)

MATADORS* — anagram (adjusted) of TO DRAMAS

16a   Hide // winter sports gear on the first of November (4)

SKI|N — SKI (winter sports gear) + (on) N (the first [initial letter] of November)

A cryptic crossword purist would argue that this clue flouts convention. The general practice is that in an across clue, A on B is used to clue BA. The rationale is that in order for A to be added to B, B must already be in place and, therefore, must have been written first. Nevertheless, today's setters are not the first to ignore this convention — and, undoubtedly, will not be the last.

19a   Rabbit // fur for the ears (4)

HARE~ — sounds like (for the ears) HAIR (fur)

20a   Employing language // terribly when circling globe (8)

VER(BALL)Y — VERY (terribly; I'm terribly hungry.) containing (when circling) BALL (globe)

23a   Latin cop turned // spiritual (8)

PLATONIC* — anagram (turned) of LATIN COP

24a   Carefully examined // company, and hurried outside (6)

S(CO)PED — CO (company; abbrev.) contained in (and ... outside) SPED (hurried)

27a   With the help of // university, divulge information (5)

U|SING — U (university) + SING (divulge information; in particular, to the authorities)

28a   Warrior // ape’s sound (9)

GUERRILLA~ — sounds like (sound [of]; 's sound) GORILLA

29a   Economist/’s/ walking sticks audited (6)

KEYNES~ — sounds like (audited) CANES (walking sticks)

John Maynard Keynes[7], 1st Baron Keynes (1883–1946) was an English economist. He laid the foundations of modern macroeconomics with The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936), in which he argued that full employment is determined by effective demand and requires government spending on public works to stimulate this.

30a   Accursed bats // prompting signs (3,5)

{CUE CARDS}* — anagram (bats) of ACCURSED


1d   Pine in saint/’s/ scented pouch (6)

S(ACHE)T — ACHE (pine) contained in (in) ST (saint; abbrev.)

2d   Dull // opening of line in minor hit (5)

B(L)UNT — L (opening [initial letter] of Line) contained in (in) BUNT (minor hit; baseball term)

3d   Guess // I’m included in will distribution (8)

EST(IM)ATE — IM (I'm) contained in (included in) ESTATE (will distribution)

4d   Pierce // green, metallic rock (4)

G|ORE — G (green; abbrev.) + ORE (metallic rock)

6d   German city // lots around in back (6)

MU(NI<)CH — MUCH (lots) containing (around) reversal (back) of IN

7d   Practice I put into hockeyplaying // gadget (9)

DO|OH(I)CKEY — DO (practice; I do yoga several times a week) + {I (†) contained in (put into) anagram (playing) of HOCKEY}

8d   Hurting // hockey player engulfed by sound of a bell (8)

T(WING)ING — WING (hockey player) contained in (engulfed by) TING (sound of bell)

10d   Harangue // family after day in Spain (8)

DIA|TRIBE — TRIBE (family) following (after) DIA (day in Spain; Spanish word for 'day')

14d   Notice male band // forming a bond (8)

AD|HE|RING — AD (notice) + HE (male) + RING (band)

15d   Population statistic // Tim Taylor altered (9)

MORTALITY* — anagram (altered) of TIM TAYLOR

Scratching the Surface
Tim Taylor[7] is a fictional character from the American television sitcom Home Improvement[7] that aired from 1991 to 1999. The series centers on the Taylor family, which consists of Tim, his wife Jill and their three children.

17d   Big piece split by silly imp /and/ small squirrel (8)

CH(IPM*)UNK — CHUNK (big piece) containing (split by) anagram (silly) of IMP

18d   Choose rice, mostly // having juice (8)

ELECT|RIC_ — ELECT (choose) + RIC (rice mostly; all but the final letter of RICe)

21d   Go gape at // search engine (6)

GO|OGLE — GO (†) + OGLE (gape at)

22d   One trade’s // models (6)

I|DEALS — I ([Roman numeral for] one) + DEAL (trade) + S ('s)

25d   Frozen // bagel left with standard wrapping (5)

P(O|L)AR — {O ([letter that looks like a] bagel) + L (left; abbrev.)} contained in (with ... wrapping) PAR (standard)

26d   Lover/’s/ tie mentioned aloud (4)

BEAU~  — sounds like (mentioned aloud) BOW (tie)


The title of today's piece is inspired by 8d and 17d.
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. Good challenge - had major problems in the SE corner before clearing, mainly due to bad spelling (that nasty education thing again). Loved 7d - one of my two favourites, especially upside down-under a sink. Pity the poor assistant.Other favourite, 29A, my god of existence. Rate 3.3.5

    1. Re 29a. Judging by their respective platforms, Justin would seem to be more of a student of his than is Stephen.

  2. I found the top section a romp, but, like smaug, ran into difficulties in the SE. Tried to get an "orb" into 20A and an "m" for "male" into 14D; just couldn't get 28A at all until I had crucial letters in place.

    1. I was also initially in the " orb" camp.

  3. Hello Falcon and everyone!
    This Saturday I thought I'd try solving the puzzle off my I-Pad and work on the garage door at the same time. Who says I can't multi-task? It was challenging! Do you think E&H read our comments from not that long ago and decided to twist up the degree of difficulty? Thank goodness for our ubiquitous electronic friends.

  4. p.s. I thought the puzzle could be called "A sound hockey game"

  5. Falcon - just looking at your solutions, in 30a, wouldn't "prompting signs" be underlined as the primary definition we are looking for?

    1. You are absolutely correct. Now fixed.

      It looks like I need to work more on infallibility before running for Pope.

    2. I think you'd make a wonderful pope. If you do happen to achieve this post in life, can be your number one (cardinal)?

    3. Consider yourself in the running.