Saturday, February 20, 2016

Saturday, February 20, 2016 — Insights, Past and Future


I would agree with Peter's assessment (see comments below) that today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon  is a "bit tougher than usual". However, a challenging mental workout is good for the mind — just as working up a 27a on the 28a is good for the body.

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   Peachy // police officer with outstanding idiosyncrasy (9)

COP|ACE|TIC — COP (police officer) + (with) ACE (outstanding) + TIC (idiosyncrasy)

6a   Check on // a good friend in a myth (5)

DAM|ON — DAM (check) + ON (†)

In Greek historiography, Damon and Pythias[7] (or Phintias) is a legend surrounding the Pythagorean ideal of friendship. Pythias is accused and charged of creating a plot against the tyrannical Dionysius II of Syracuse. Pythias makes a request of Dionysius that he be allowed to settle his affairs on the condition that he leaves his friend, Damon, as a hostage, so if Pythias does not return, Damon would be executed. Eventually, Pythias returns to face execution to the amazement of Dionysius, who because of the sincere trust and love of their friendship, then lets both Damon and Pythias go free.

9a   Entertainer // smashed big melons (3,6)

{MEL GIBSON}* — anagram (smashed) of BIG MELONS

Mel Gibson[7] is an American* actor and filmmaker (screenwriter, producer and director). He is most well known as an action hero, for roles such as Martin Riggs in the Lethal Weapon buddy cop film series and Max Rockatansky in the first three films in the Mad Max post-apocalyptic action series.

* He was born in Peekskill, New York, and moved with his parents to Sydney, Australia when he was 12 years old. Because his mother was born in Ireland, Gibson holds dual Irish and American citizenship.

10a   Word in French, and in French // choral piece (5)

MOT|ET — MOT (word in French; French word meaning 'word') + ET (and in French; French word meaning 'and')

A motet[5] is a short piece of sacred choral music.

11a   Key for translating // notes rotates freely (7,5)

{ROSETTA STONE}* — anagram (freely) of NOTES ROTATES

The Rosetta Stone[5] is an inscribed stone found near Rosetta (now called Rashid) in Egypt in 1799. Its text is written in three scripts: hieroglyphic, demotic, and Greek. The deciphering of the hieroglyphs by Jean-François Champollion in 1822 led to the interpretation of many other early records of Egyptian civilization.

The term Rosetta stone[5] has come to denote any key to some previously undecipherable mystery or unattainable knowledge ⇒ zero point energy could be the Rosetta stone of physics.

14a   Deficiency in Bugsy actress // growing more opaque (10)

B(LACK)ENING — LACK (deficiency) contained in (in) BENING (Bugsy actress [Annette Bening])

Bugsy[7] is a 1991 American crime-drama film which tells the story of mobster Bugsy Siegel and his relationship with Virginia Hill. It stars Warren Beatty as Siegel and Annette Bening as Hill.

16a   In retrospect, low-down // fate (4)

{D|OOM}< — reversal (in retrospect) of MOO (low; sound made by a cow) + D (down; abbrev. used in crossword puzzles, for instance)

18a   Called up // bar for climbers? (4)

RUNG — double definition

19a   Women's supporters run // pubs (10)

BRAS|SERIES — BRAS (women's supporters) + SERIES (run)

A brasserie[11] is an unpretentious restaurant or tavern that serves drinks, especially beer, and simple food.

20a   Ravine or deep hole engulfing English // writer (6,6)

G(E)ORGE| OR|WELL — {GORGE (ravine) + OR (†) + WELL (deep hole)} containing (engulfing) E (English)

George Orwell[5] (1903–1950) was a British novelist and essayist, born in India; pseudonym of Eric Arthur Blair. Orwell’s work is characterized by his concern for social injustice. His most famous works are Animal Farm (1945), a satire on Communism as it developed under Stalin, and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), a dystopian account of a future state in which every aspect of life is controlled by Big Brother.

25a   Greener vegetables displaying // freshness (5)

_NER|VE_ — hidden in (displaying) greeNER VEgetables

26a   Chopped trees near // Maritimer, maybe (9)

EASTERNER* — anagram (chopped) of TREES NEAR

A Maritimer[5] is a native or inhabitant of the Maritime Provinces of Canada.

Canada's Maritime Provinces[5] (also the Maritimes) are the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, with coastlines on the Gulf of St Lawrence and the Atlantic.

This term is not to be confused with the Atlantic Provinces[5] which include the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in addition to the Maritime Provinces. The term Maritime Provinces predates the entry of Newfoundland (later to be renamed Newfoundland and Labrador) into Confederation in 1949 while the term Atlantic Provinces was obviously coined after that date.

27a   Did nothing about my group/'s/ hard effort (5)

S(WE)AT — SAT (did nothing) containing (about) WE (my group)

28a   Punk tried mall // exercise machine (9)

TREADMILL* — anagram (punk) of TRIED MALL

As an anagram indicator, I infer that punk[11] is being used in the sense of ill or sick (in other words, out of sorts) ⇒ feeling punk.


1d   Amusingly weird // summer getaway (4)

CAMP — double definition

2d   Stealthily pick up // source for dates (4)

PALM — double definition

3d   Winds that warm // pair of goose eggs found in narrow openings (8)

CHIN(OO)KS — OO (pair of goose eggs) contained in (found in) CHINKS (narrow openings)

A chinook[5] (also chinook wind) is a warm dry wind which blows down the east side of the Rocky Mountains at the end of winter [rapidly melting the accumulated snow].

Note to British Readers
The term "goose egg" is used in North America in much the same manner as "duck" is used in Britain, indicating a nil score in a sports competition.

4d   London gallery containing small // sample (5)

TA(S)TE — TATE (London gallery) containing (†) S (small; abbrev.)

The Tate Gallery[5] (commonly known simply as the Tate) is a national museum of art in London, England founded in 1897 by the sugar manufacturer Sir Henry Tate (1819–1899) to house his collection of modern British paintings, as a nucleus for a permanent national collection of modern art. It was renamed Tate Britain in 2000, when the new Tate Modern gallery opened. [I would surmise that by that time the original collection could no longer be considered "modern".]

5d   Fixed numbers // fore and aft on contestants (9)

CON_STANTS — CON (fore on CONtestants) and (†) STANTS (aft on conteSTANTS)

In mathematics, a constant[5] is a quantity or parameter that does not change its value whatever the value of the variables, under a given set of conditions.

In physics, a constant[5] is a number expressing a relation or property which remains the same in all circumstances, or for the same substance under the same conditions.

6d   Money-making machines holding 1000 // coins (5)

DI(M)ES — DIES (money-making machines) containing (holding) M ([Roman numeral for] 1000)

7d   City // grain-storage facility left Emily looking the other way (10)

{ME|TROP|OLIS}< — reversal (looking the other way) of {SILO (grain-storage facility) + PORT (left; nautical term) + EM ([diminutive form of the given name] Emily)}

8d   Lowest // profit involving insulated flask (10)

NE(THERMOS)T — NET (profit) containing (involving) THERMOS (insulated flask)

12d   Natives // ignore bias, surprisingly (10)

ABORIGINES* — anagram (surprisingly) of IGNORE BIAS

An aborigine[5] is a person, animal, or plant that has been in a country or region from earliest times.

An Aborigine[5] is an aboriginal inhabitant of Australia.

13d   Dish // Mom and I watch over, keeping company (4,6)

MA|I|N (CO)URSE — MA (mom) + (and) I (†) + NURSE (watch over) containing (keeping) CO (company; abbrev.)

15d   Pointer breaking into place where eggs are // thinnest (9)

N(ARROW)EST — ARROW (pointer) contained in (breaking into) NEST (place where eggs are)

17d   Bookish // reworking of elder law (4-4)

{WELL-READ}* — anagram of (reworking of) ELDER LAW

21d   Caller // speculated aloud (5)

GUEST~ — sounds like (aloud) GUESSED (speculated)

22d   Knock off // alien observed from the rear (5)

{WAS|TE}< — reversal (from the rear) of {ET (alien) + SAW (observed)}

Note to British Readers
Waste[5] is an informal North American term meaning to kill or severely injure (someone) ⇒ I saw them waste the guy I worked for.

23d   Insect one/'s/ averse to (4)

ANT|I — ANT (insect) + I ([Roman numeral for] one)

24d   Kind of exam // for a leader, in part (4)

_OR|A|L_ — hidden (in part) in fOR A Leader


The title of today's review is inspired by 11a (which was the key to understanding the past) and 20a (who gave us a glimpse into a scary future which unfortunately seems to be coming to pass).
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 everyone,

    I found today's offering to be bit tougher than usual. Don't know why, really, because looking back it all seems straightforward. I think the clue I like the most was 11a with honourable mentions to 2d, 7d and 20a.

    We finally have a break in the frigid temperatures in London.

    Thanks to C & R.


  2. Hi Falcon et al:
    Thanks for posting the puzzle this morning. Well, it took a bit to get started, but once rolling, it went fairly well. Nice hidden clues, and a good number of of anagrams made it easier. Like Peter, I enjoyed the many inventive clues, to which I can add 14a and 15d. Didn't think 22d was well thought out.
    Hey, great weather it TO as well!

    1. Hi Henry,

      I agree with about 22d.