Saturday, October 17, 2015

Saturday, October 17, 2015 — Too Hot for American Eyes


As I tackled today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon, I found myself starting off at a fast clip, but progress slowed markedly as I approached the bottom of the grid.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.

Signing off for the moment — Falcon

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   Inquire after beginning of the // job (4)

T|ASK — ASK (inquire) following (after) T (beginning [letter] of The)

3a   Shortages // leave a lasting mark on urban areas (10)

SCAR|CITIES — SCAR (leave a lasting mark on) + CITIES (urban areas)

9a   Ultimate in plot: // shot (7)

B(LAST)ED — LAST (ultimate) contained in (in) BED ([garden] plot)

11a   Skilled worker // trains a bum (7)

ARTISAN* — anagram (bum) of TRAINS A

12a   Stick with popular // sculptor (5)

ROD|IN — ROD (stick) + (with) IN (popular)

Auguste Rodin[5] (1840–1917) was a French sculptor. He was chiefly concerned with the human form. Notable works: The Thinker (1880) and The Kiss (1886).

Being more in the mood for affection than contemplation, I think it only fitting to focus on the later work.

Marble version of The Kiss in the Musée Rodin, ParisBronze version of The Kiss in the Tuileries Garden, Paris

Delving Deeper
The date of The Kiss seems to be somewhat unclear. Oxford Dictionaries Online lists it as 1886 while Wikipedia — within a single article — shows it variously as 1882 and 1889. The confusion may relate to the fact that several versions of the sculpture in various sizes and materials exist.

Rodin indicated that his approach to sculpting women was of homage to them and their bodies, not just submitting to men but as full partners in ardor. The consequent eroticism in the sculpture made it controversial. A bronze version of The Kiss (74 centimetres (29 in) high) was sent for display at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The sculpture was considered unsuitable for general display and relegated to an inner chamber with admission only by personal application.

The Kiss figured into the plot of the All in the Family episode "Archie and The Kiss," where Archie tries to make Gloria give back a reproduction of the sculpture she had been given by the Bunkers' friend, Irene Lorenzo. Archie expresses his disgust over the morality of the sculpture and sexuality in artwork.[7]

13a   Split // victory at a Canadian game? (7)

V|A|MOOSE — V (victory) + A (†) + MOOSE (Canadian game [animal])

The question mark in the clue is a hint that the game might not be hockey.

V[10] is the symbol for victory - the victory-freedom sign[7] is commonly associated with British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill in World War II.

15a   Dotty married // beau (7)

ADMIRER* — anagram (dotty; crazy or eccentric) of MARRIED

British dictionaries hold dotty[3,4,11] to be a British term; American dictionaries would appear to have failed to take notice of this claim.

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, I took dotty[3] to mean obsessively infatuated or enamored. However, as Carola points out in her comment below, "Dotty" could be a nickname for Dorothy — which I think is a better interpretation than mine.

16a   One proposing a drink // to late bloomer (7)

TO|ASTER — TO (†) + ASTER (late bloomer; fall flower)

18a   Smug, Lee chopped // some vegetables (7)

LEGUMES* — anagram (chopped) of SMUG LEE

21a   Seasonal drink // was set out on a cruise (7)

WAS|SAIL — WAS (†) + SAIL (set out on a cruise)

23a   Leader of Moldova occupying czar/’s/ passenger vehicle (7)

M|IN|IVAN — M (leader [initial letter] of Moldova) + IN (occupying) + IVAN (czar)

Ivan is the name of six rulers of Russia, the most famous being Ivan IV[5] (1530–1584), grand duke of Muscovy 1533–47 and first tsar [czar] of Russia 1547–84; known as Ivan the Terrible. He captured Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberia, but the Tartar siege of Moscow and the Polish victory in the Livonian War (1558–82) left Russia weak and divided. In 1581 he killed his eldest son Ivan in a fit of rage, the succession passing to his mentally disturbed second son Fyodor.

Scratching the Surface
Moldova[5] (also called Moldavia) is a landlocked country in southeastern Europe, between Romania and Ukraine; population 4,320,700 (est. 2009); languages, Moldavian (official), Russian; capital, Chişinău.

A former constituent republic of the Soviet Union, Moldova was formed from territory ceded by Romania in 1940. It became independent as a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States in 1991.

25a   Cook // while surrounded by decay (5)

RO(AS)T — AS (while; although) contained in (surrounded by) ROT (decay)

27a   Crazy, not like // English author (7)

TOLKIEN* — anagram (crazy) of NOT LIKE

J. R. R. Tolkien[5] (1892–1973) was a British novelist and literary scholar, born in South Africa; full name John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. He is famous for the fantasy adventures The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-5), set in Middle Earth.

28a   Moroccan port // built of granite? (7)

TANGIER* — anagram (built of) GRANITE

Tangier[5] (also Tangiers) is a seaport on the northern coast of Morocco, on the Strait of Gibraltar commanding the western entrance to the Mediterranean; population 762,583 (2004). Portuguese from the end of the 15th century, Tangier was ruled by the sultan of Morocco 1684–1904, when it came under international control; it passed to the newly independent monarchy of Morocco in 1956.

29a   Greek goddess, // as such, calling device (10)

PERSE|PHONE — PER SE (as such) + PHONE (calling device)

In Greek mythology, Persephone[5] is a goddess, the daughter of Zeus and Demeter.

Persephone was carried off by Hades and made queen of the underworld. Demeter refused to let the earth produce its fruits until her daughter was restored to her, but because Persephone had eaten some pomegranate seeds in the other world, she was obliged to spend part of every year there. Her story symbolizes the return of spring and the life and growth of corn.

30a   Considerably // abundant source (4)

WELL — double definition

As an adverb, well[3] means to a considerable extent or degree well over the estimate.

As a noun, a well[3] is an abundant source a well of information.


1d   Place of worship // stirred a celebrant (10)

TABERNACLE* — anagram (stirred) of A CELEBRANT

2d   Mr. Toad’s wild // fame (7)

STARDOM* — anagram (wild) of MR TOADS

Mr. Toad[7], of Toad Hall, is one of the main characters in the novel The Wind in the Willows by British writer Kenneth Grahame (1859–1932) and also the title character of the A. A. Milne play Toad of Toad Hall based on the book.

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride[7] is a dark ride in the Fantasyland area of Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. It is one of the few remaining attractions that was operational on the park's opening day in 1955 (although the current version of the ride opened in 1983). The ride's story is based on Disney's adaptation of The Wind in the Willows (1908), one of the two segments of the film The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949).

A similar attraction operated from 1971 to 1998 in the Fantasyland area of Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida.

4d   Stiff, // Letterman enters auto (7)

CA(DAVE)R — DAVE (Letterman) contained in (enters) CAR (auto)

David Letterman[7] is an American former television host, comedian, writer, producer, and actor. He hosted a late night television talk show for 33 years, beginning with the February 1, 1982, debut of Late Night with David Letterman on NBC, and ending with the May 20, 2015, broadcast of the Late Show with David Letterman on CBS. In total, Letterman hosted 6,028 episodes of Late Night and Late Show, surpassing friend and mentor Johnny Carson as the longest-serving late night talk show host in American television history.

5d   Peruse MIT // grant again? (7)

READ|MIT — READ (peruse) + MIT (†)

Grant[3] is used in the sense of to concede or acknowledge ⇒ I grant that your plan is ingenious, but you still will not find many backers.

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, MIT is the abbreviation for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology[5], a US institute of higher education, famous for scientific and technical research, founded in 1861 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

6d   Paint roller concealing // opening (5)

_INT|RO_ — hidden in (concealing) paINT ROller

7d   Study // insect pierced by head of pin (7)

INS(P)ECT — INSECT (†) containing (pierced by) P (head [initial letter] of Pin)

8d   Get lower // harmony’s sound (4)

SINK~ — sounds like ('s sound; sound of) SYNC (harmony)

10d   Kick and pound // jigsaw-like puzzle (7)

TANG|RAM — TANG (kick) + (and) RAM (pound)

14d   After some time, in court case // with three sides (10)

TRI(LATER)AL — LATER (after some time) contained in (in) TRIAL (court case)

17d   Rocky Larson, a // loser in a race (4-3)

{ALSO-RAN}* — anagram (rocky) of LARSON A

Rocky Larson appears to be a figment of the setters' imaginations.

19d   Casino patron/’s/ $1000 stroller (7)

G|AMBLER — G ($1000) + AMBLER (stroller)

20d   Be quiet about happening // place in the top ten (7)

S(EVENT)H — SH ([admonition to] be quiet) containing (about) EVENT (happening)

Of course, there are nine other possibilities for a "place in the top ten".

21d   Churchill // gets to head of nation (7)

WINS|TO|N — WINS (gets) + TO (†) + N (head [initial letter] of Nation)

Sir Winston Churchill[5] (1874–1965) was a British Conservative statesman, Prime Minister 1940-5 and 1951-5.

22d   A weakness including a bit of real // greed (7)

A|V(A|R)ICE — A (†) + VICE (weakness) containing (including) {A (†) + R (bit [initial letter] of Real)}

24d   Bill catches one // sound (5)

NO(I)SE — NOSE (bill) containing (catches) I ([Roman numeral for] one)

26d   Check // kitchen vessels on the way back (4)

STOP< — reversal (on the way back) of POTS (kitchen vessels)


The title of today's review was inspired by 12a.

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. Hello Falcon et al,
    Good little puzzle, had to confirm my suspicions with 10D.
    Really liked 27A, one of my favorite authors.
    Thanks for posting as usual!

  2. Hi MG and Falcon and everyone-
    A light and breezy way to spend a Sat afternoon - 13a and 4d were favourite's for their puns. I didn't want to believe 21d could be so simple - I suspected some treachery, but no - it was. Once I conceded on that, the last couple of words went in right away.
    2/3 for me. Henry

  3. Hi Falcon and all,
    I found this one on the easier side, with 20D giving me the most trouble.  Like Henry, I especially liked 13A - I laughed when I got it, having despaired at being supposed to know some arcane Canadian sport.  I also thought the anagram in 1D was particularly nice.
    Falcon, about the surface meaning of 15A - I took "Dotty" to be a nickname for Dorothy (as well as the "crazy" cryptic meaning).

    1. Re: 15a
      I like your interpretation better than mine. I do have a tendency to overlook the obvious in favour of the obscure. For some reason, it just didn't occur to me that this could be a woman's name.

    2. I'm sure I was influenced by knowing both a Dotty and a Dot!

  4. E&H wratched up the difficulty again! Good show setters. Like above, loved 13A - it had me for a bit. Bottom half made this a 2 day affair for me - had to put it down and re-boot the brain. Also, 10d was a new word for me - always good to get an education - 3/4 for me.