Saturday, November 21, 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015 — Arts and Entertainment


Today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon is a rather entertaining one with all manner of diversions making an appearance. There is something for virtually everyone, whether you are an opera, theatre or film buff, enjoy painting or reading poetry, or like fishing, baseball, or just perusing a comic book.

It put up more of a fight than I have been accustomed too — and I thereby derived an extra degree satisfaction from completing it.

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   Rich Little’s final // destiny (4)

FAT|E — FAT (rich) + E (littlE's final [letter])

Scratching the Surface
In the deceptively capitalized surface reading, {content}

Rich Little[7] is a Canadian-American impressionist and voice actor, nicknamed "The Man of a Thousand Voices" by voice actor Mel Blanc.

3a   Beer-lover vocally imitated // Batman (5,5)

{BRUCE WAYNE}~ — sounds like (vocally imitated) {BREW (beer) + SWAIN (lover)}

Batman[7] is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Batman's secret identity is Bruce Wayne, an American billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, and owner of Wayne Enterprises.

9a   Kurosawa film about a crazy // month of fasting (7)

R(A|MAD)AN — RAN (Kurosawa film) containing (about) {A (†) + MAD (crazy)}

Akira Kurosawa[7] (1910–1998) was a Japanese filmmaker. Regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema, Kurosawa directed 30 films in a career spanning 57 years.

Ran[7] (Chinese and Japanese for "chaos", "rebellion", or "revolt", or to mean "disturbed" or "confused") is a 1985 Japanese-French jidaigeki [period drama] epic film directed and co-written by Akira Kurosawa.

Delving Deeper
The film stars Tatsuya Nakadai as Hidetora Ichimonji, an aging Sengoku-era warlord who decides to abdicate as ruler in favor of his three sons. The story is based on legends of the daimyo Mōri Motonari, as well as on the Shakespearean tragedy King Lear.

Ran was Kurosawa's last epic. With a budget of $12 million, it was the most expensive Japanese film ever produced up to that time. The film was hailed for its powerful images and use of color—costume designer Emi Wada won an Academy Award for Costume Design for her work on Ran. The distinctive Gustav Mahler–inspired film score, written by Toru Takemitsu, plays in isolation with ambient sound muted.

Ramadan[10] (or Rhamadhan or Ramazan) is:
  1. the ninth month of the Muslim year, lasting 30 days, during which strict fasting is observed from sunrise to sunset; or
  2. the fast itself.
A Journey Down the Garden Path
Not being familiar with the Japanese film, I invented one of my own, surmising that the wordplay might be an anagram (crazy) of {DARMAN [or some other permutation of those letters] containing (about) A (†)}. When a search for a suitable Kurosawa film came up dry, it was back to the drawing board. In hindsight, the idea was a bit far-fetched as — for the clue to satisfy my invented wordplay — the wording would presumably have had to be:
  • Kurosawa film crazy about a // month of fasting (7)

11a   Woman in The Tempest // cast in drama (7)

MIRANDA* — anagram (cast) IN DRAMA

Miranda[7] is one of the principal characters of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. She is the only female character to appear on stage during the course of the play and is one of only three women mentioned.

12a   Fellow holding sweetie’s middle // tight (5)

CH(E)AP — CHAP (fellow) containing (holding) E (sweEtie's middle [letter])

13a   Outside narrow lane, we // perch (7)

W(ALLEY)E — WE (†) containing (outside) ALLEY (narrow lane)

Walleye[7] (Sander vitreus, formerly Stizostedion vitreum) is a freshwater perciform [perch-like] fish native to most of Canada and to the Northern United States. A member of the family Percidae (the perch family), it is a North American close relative of the European pikeperch. In some parts of its range, the walleye is known as the walleyed pike, colored pike, yellow pike or pickerel (especially in English-speaking Canada), although the fish is not related to other species of pikes which are members of the family Esocidae.

15a   Studied // first of shots fired (7)

S|CANNED — S (first [letter] of Shots) + CANNED (fired; dismissed from employment)

16a   Pant // to employer about end of career (7)

T(R)O|USER — {TO (†) + USER (employer)} containing (about) R (end [letter] of careeR)

18a   Catch sight of buddy flipping // computers (7)

{LAP|TOPS}< — reversal (flipping) of {SPOT (catch sight of) + PAL (buddy)}

21a   Poet // might blab about heroin coming back (7)

{K(H)AY|YAM}< — reversal (coming back) of {MAY (might) + YAK (blab) containing (about) H (heroin)}

H[10] is a slang term for heroin.

Omar Khayyám[10] (?1050–?1123) was a Persian poet, mathematician, and astronomer, noted for the Rubáiyát, a collection of quatrains, popularized in the West by Edward Fitzgerald's version (1859).

23a   Breaking oath, wed // blonde (7)

TOWHEAD* — anagram (breaking) of OATH WED

25a   Had // drunk quickly after the first (5)

_OWNED — [D]OWNED (drunk quickly) with the initial letter omitted (after the first)

27a   Loan the bum // some fuel (7)

ETHANOL* — anagram (bum) of LOAN THE

28a   Pry knot loose /for/ gas (7)

KRYPTON* — anagram (loose) of PRY KNOT

Krypton[10] is an inert gaseous element occurring in trace amounts in air and used in fluorescent lights and lasers. Symbol: Kr; atomic no: 36.

29a   Greek lady/’s/ greyish-blue ring (10)

PERSE|PHONE — PERSE (greyish-blue) + PHONE (ring)

Perse[10] is a dark greyish-blue colour.

In Greek mythology, Persephone[10] is a daughter of Zeus and Demeter, abducted by Hades and made his wife and queen of the underworld, but allowed part of each year to leave it.

30a   Greek lady // in therapy (4)

_HERA_ — hidden in (in) tHERApy

In Greek mythology, Hera[10] (or Here) is the queen of the Olympian gods and sister and wife of Zeus.


1d   Deck // the Parisian after prediction (10)

FORECAST|LE — LE (the Parisian; masculine form of the French definite article) following (after) FORECAST (prediction)

The forecastle[10] (or fo'c's'le or fo'c'sle) is the part of a vessel at the bow where the crew is quartered and stores, machines, etc, may be stowed.

2d   Paint // office worker at certain age (7)

TEMP|ERA — TEMP (office worker) + (at; next to) ERA (certain age)

Tempera[11] is a water paint in which an emulsion consisting of water and pure egg yolk or a mixture of egg and oil is used as a binder or medium, characterized by its lean film-forming properties and rapid drying rate.

4d   Magritte was married /and/ made young again (7)

RENE|WED — RENE (Magritte; Belgian artist) + WED (was married)

René Magritte[7] (1898–1967) was a Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images that fall under the umbrella of surrealism. His work is known for challenging observers' preconditioned perceptions of reality.

5d   Storied kingdom // reached by fortune (7)

CAME|LOT — CAME (reached) + (by) LOT (fortune)

Come (past came) is used in the sense of to extend or reach she comes up to my shoulder.

6d   Inferior // horse swapping the lead for win (5)

[W]ORSE — [H]ORSE (†) with the initial letter replaced by (swapping the lead for) W (win)

Another Journey Down the Garden Path
I initially tried to find a synonym for "horse" to use as a starting point. I eventually discovered that I was looking into the mouth of a gift horse provided by the setters.

7d   Look for no returning // American Leaguers (7)

{YAN|KEES}< — reversal (returning) of {SEEK (look for) + NAY (no)}

The New York Yankees[7] are an American professional baseball franchise based in the Bronx borough of New York City that competes in Major League Baseball (MLB)'s American League (AL) East division.

With all the checking letters in place, the first team to come to mind was the Texas RANGERS.

8d   Kind of cheese // manufactured the wrong way (4)

EDAM< — reversal (the wrong way) of MADE (manufactured)

Edam[5] is a round Dutch cheese, typically pale yellow with a red wax coating.

10d   Take a bit from // spotted pony behind Diana (3,4)

DI|P INTO — PINTO (spotted pony) following (behind) DI ([diminutive for] Diana)

14d   Proper notice on North American // opera star (5,5)

PRIM|A D|ON|NA — PRIM (proper) + AD (notice) + ON (†) + N (North) + A (American)

In parsing the clue, I have split "North American" into its component parts as all the dictionaries that I consulted show NA as being the abbreviation for North America but not for North American.

A prima donna[10] is a female operatic star; a diva.

17d   Skill of a preacher // or a Conservative (7)

OR|A|TORY — OR (†) + A (†) + TORY (Conservative)

19d   Irritation in each // half of a battery (7)

P(ITCH)ER — ITCH (irritation) contained in (in) PER (each)

In baseball, a battery[4] is a pitcher and catcher considered as a unit.

20d   Busted the last // covert movement (7)

STEALTH* — anagram (busted) of THE LAST

21d   Family taking down runner/’s/ glove material (7)

KI(D|SKI)N — KIN (family) containing (taking; ingesting) {D (down; in a crossword puzzle} + SKI (runner)}

Yet Another Journey Down the Garden Path
I initially tried to construct a solution involving KIDD'S KIN (family of Canadian runner Bruce Kidd) without D (down).

22d   In confusion, get zany // Chinese flower? (7)

YANGTZE* — anagram (in confusion) of GET ZANY

Flower is used in the whimsical cryptic crossword sense of something that flows — in other words, a river.

The Yangtze[5] is the principal river of China, which rises as the Jinsha in the Tibetan highlands and flows 6,380 km (3,964 miles) southwards then generally eastwards through central China, entering the East China Sea at Shanghai.

24d   Holding cup, drink /and/ grimace (5)

WIN(C)E — WINE (drink) containing (holding) C (cup; abbrev.)

26d   Go on, // look in the opposite direction (4)

KEEP< — reversal (in the opposite direction) of PEEK (look)

"Keep" and "go on" are synonymous as in ⇒ Whatever happens, keep smiling.


The title of today's review was inspired by numerous clues scattered throughout 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. Much more difficult than last week. But got there in the end with a bit of research for 21a. Got the answer for 13a but have not yet figured it out. It's snowing in London and I don't like it. Thanks to C and R.

  2. narrow lane = "alley", with "we" around it.

    1. Thanks. It's so obvious I don't know why I couldn't see it. I knew what the answer must be but I didn't think it was a type of perch.

  3. I cannot figure out 29A

    1. perse (greyish-blue) + phone (ring)

  4. Hi Falcon, Peter and everyone-
    Half way through this puzzle, I was debating whether E&H were brilliant or sick. I found myself doing a lot of 24d at a number of clues - 3a (really??), 16a, as examples. I had "cathode" as a possible solution for 19d for a while, I didn't know the meaning of battery as explained by you, Falcon.
    More than usual on this puzzle, possible solutions would pop into my head, and I would have to write them down to see how they handled the charade (e.g. 16a, 21a and 7d). Good one - 4.5/3.5 for me.

    1. It's a relief to see that I was not the only one who was repeatedly "led down the garden path" on this puzzle.

  5. This was really good from E&H - loads of fun, chuckles and misdirections. Took 2 sessions to get through it. . Loved almost all of it but 21d - not being Doeskin (the chestnut) had me cooked like goose for a while, and 15a was a total blank for the longest time. 3.5/4 rated.

  6. Tough!  After a fairly easy cruise down the left side, with the exception of the bottom corner, I ran into very heavy weather when trying to maneuver into the right half. I had to put the puzzle down and come back to it three times, the third time in my head as I lay in bed being kept awake by my last hold-out, the cross of 26D and 29A.  Finally it snapped into view, but I had to confirm in the morning that the first half of 29A was actually a word.  A nice challenge, was happy to finish.