Saturday, December 19, 2015

Saturday, December 19, 2015 — Suspicions of Liberals Gone Wild


Perhaps my brain was not in gear, but I found today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon to be slightly on the challenging end of the spectrum. Having completed about half of it without much difficulty, progress slowed noticeably. In the end, I resorted to calling in some electronic backup to help with a couple of clues.

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 (//).


7a   Piece of furniture /in/ a room with 100 locks (S)

A|RM|C|HAIR — A (†) + RM (room; abbrev.) + (with) C ([Roman numeral for] 100) + HAIR (locks)

9a   Importance /of/ work in a restaurant announced (6)

WEIGHT~ — sounds like (announced) WAIT (work in a restaurant)

10a   In loud tones, // burst into tears about kitten's end (10)

STE(N)TORIAN* — anagram (burst) of INTO TEARS containing (about) N (kitten's end; final letter [end] of kitteN)

11a   River // near Nome's centre (4)

_AR|NO_ — centre [letters at the centre] of neAR NOme

The Arno[5] is a river which rises in the Apennines of northern Italy and flows westwards 240 km (150 miles) through Florence and Pisa to the Ligurian Sea.

Scratching the Surface
Nome[5] is a city in western Alaska, on the south coast of the Seward Peninsula. Founded in 1896 as a gold-mining camp, it became a centre of the Alaskan gold rush at the turn of the century.

12a   Greek characters // love idle talk about me (6)

O(ME)GAS — {O (love) + GAS (idle talk)} containing (about) ME (†)

"love" = O (show explanation )

In tennis, squash, and some other sports, love[5] is a score of zero or nil ⇒ love fifteen. The resemblance of a zero written as a numeral (0) to the letter O leads to the cryptic crossword convention of the word "love" being used to clue this letter.

Although folk etymology has connected the word with French l'oeuf 'egg', from the resemblance in shape between an egg and a zero, the term apparently comes from the phrase play for love (i.e. the love of the game, not for money).

hide explanation

Omega[5] is the last letter of the Greek alphabet (Ω, ω).

14a   In Germany, miss // funeral I arranged (8)

FRAULEIN* — anagram (arranged) of FUNERAL I

Fräulein[5] is a title or form of address for an unmarried German-speaking woman, especially a young woman ⇒ Fräulein Winkelmann.

15a   The Mexican returned, putting a mailing label on // sauce (5,8)

SAL|AD DRESSING — reversal (returned) of LAS (the Mexican; Mexican [Spanish] word meaning 'the') + ADDRESSING (putting a mailing label on)

17a   Headstrong // about red convertible (8)

OBDURATE* — anagram (convertible) of ABOUT RED

19a   Encourage // doctor after losing face (4,2)

_URGE ON — [S]URGEON (doctor) with the initial letter (face) removed (after losing)

21a   Speech mannerism // is observed in record (4)

L(IS)P — IS (†) contained in (observed in) LP ([long-playing] record)

22a   Don't rescue bats // without a companion (10)

UNESCORTED* — anagram (bats) of DONT RESCUE

24a   Hunts /for/ some celery (6)

STALKS — double definition

25a   Cheap and flashy // market in miniature (8)

TIN(SELL)Y — SELL (market) contained in (in) TINY (miniature)


1d   For the time being, // afternoon includes learning style (3,3)

P(RO TE)M — PM (afternoon) containing (includes) ROTE (learning style)

2d   Figure of veneration // I trick (4)

I|CON — I (†) + CON (trick)

3d   Very excited after leader of Canada // had a wild party (8)

C|AROUSED — AROUSED (very excited) following (after) C (leader [initial letter] of Canada)

4d   Carrying magic stick, run a // country in Africa (6)

R(WAND)A — {R (run; abbrev. used in baseball) + A (†)} containing (carrying) WAND (magic stick)

5d   Making a bad marriage, // rushing after I'm on the rebound? (10)

MI<|SALLYING — SALLYING (rushing) following (after) reversal (on the rebound) of IM

6d   Considering // spare ruler (8)

THIN|KING — THIN (spare) + KING (ruler)

8d   Check for foundation material // support (13)

REIN|FOR|CEMENT — REIN (check) + FOR (†) + CEMENT (foundation material)

13d   Run East European oral // survey (6,4)

{GALLUP POLL}~ — sounds like (oral) {GALLOP (run) + POLE (East European; a native or inhabitant of Poland, or a person of Polish descent)}

Gallup pole[5] (trademark) is an assessment of public opinion by the questioning of a representative sample, typically as a basis for forecasting votes in an election.

15d   Pigpen containing bagel and cheese /in/ clean condition (8)

S(O|BRIE)TY — STY (pigpen) containing (†) {O ([letter that looks like a] bagel) + (and) BRIE (cheese)}

16d   Hints // help, catching up with jailbird (8)

SO(UP|CON)S — SOS (help; a cry for assistance) containing (catching) {UP (†)) + (with) CON (jailbird)}

18d   One involved in a rave // feeling chills (6)

A|GU(I)SH — I ([Roman numeral for] one) contained in (involved in) {A (†) + GUSH (rave; enthuse over)}

20d   Single bad // dramatist (6)

O'NE|ILL — ONE (single) + ILL (bad)

Eugene O'Neill[5] (1888–1953) was an American dramatist. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his first full-length play, Beyond the Horizon (1920). Other notable works: The Iceman Cometh (1946) and Long Day’s Journey into Night (1956, posthumously).

23d   Regretted // boorish sounds (4)

RUED~ — sounds like (sounds) RUDE (boorish)


The title of today's review is inspired by 16d and 3d.
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 morning Falcon et al,

    I found this to be an average puzzle. It took me a bit to parse 15a (don't know why) and to solve 16d. Did not like 3d (brought back bad memory) or 5d. But did like 8d and 15d. It's snowing in London this morning and I really don't like it.


  2. Hi Falcon and everyone!
    Well the shape this week's puzzle discourages me because there is no help for so many first letters of the solutions. And I was pleased when I managed to get the first quadrant filled in, bottom left. Really liked 9a, 15d and 16d. With 16d, was thinking of the wrong type of hints. Needed help from the electronic assistants for a few (5d!) but all in all a healthy bit of 6d in my 7a.

  3. Hello all - I found this puzzle to be on the tougher side of the E&H spectrum - it took two sittings to get through. 4/3 timing for me.

  4. Tough! I put the puzzle down on Saturday night, stymied, with 4 answers to go. In the pre-Christmas flurry, I only got back to it again this afternoon, and seeing with new eyes did the trick. First, 18D materialized, followed by 17A, but 16D continued to put up resistance. An alphabet run for the second letter got me the word, but it took me a long time to parse the clue. After that, 25A came quickly, after I realized "miniature" wasn't "toy."

    1. Well done, Carola,

      It is amazing how taking a break from the puzzle seems to sharpen the mind. One of my fellow bloggers on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, who goes by the name of crypticsue, calls it a period of cogitation. She claims that the subconscious mind continues to process the clue in the background as we do other things.

    2. (Sorry, I didn't get the reply in the right spot!)

  5. An interesting idea! As I returned to the puzzle, I actually had the opposite in mind - I hoped I'd be aided by having forgotten the clues along with the wrong paths my parsing attempts had led me. Maybe it's a strange alchemy of both.