Saturday, February 27, 2016

Saturday, February 27, 2016 — The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


Overall, I didn't find today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon to be overly difficult. However, I puzzled over 8d for an exceedingly long time before I saw the light.

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   Block call /for/ material (6)

DAM|ASK — DAM (block) + ASK (call)

4a   Snail // races got weird (8)

ESCARGOT* — anagram (weird) of RACES GOT

9a   Martial deity // turned track green (3,3)

{WAR GOD}< — reversal (turned) of {DOG (track; pursue) + RAW (green; inexperienced) }

10a   Embracing attendant, make up /for/ shiner (5,3)

B(LACK EY)E — BE (make up; comprise) containing (embracing) LACKEY (attendant)

11a   Expression of dismay in billiards surface /that/ may be felt (9)

T(OUCH)ABLE — OUCH (expression of dismay) contained in (in) TABLE (billiards surface)

13a   Good quality // among cassettes (5)

_ASSET_ — hidden in (among) cASSETtes

14a   Making a clerical error, // blasted strip mining (11)

MISPRINTING* — anagram (blasted) of STRIP MINING

18a   Casts about in Germany /for/ small fishes (11)

F(IN|GER)LINGS — FLINGS (casts) containing (about) {IN (†) + GER (Germany; abbrev.)}

21a   Yikes— a reversed // saw (5)

{A|DAGE}< — reversal (reversed) of {EGAD (yikes) + A (†)}

22a   Dad receiving a tip on current // part of South America (9)

P(A|TAG|ON|I)A — PA (dad) containing (receiving) {A (†) + TAG (tip [of a shoelace or animal's tail]) + ON (†) + I ([electrical] current; symbol used in physics}

Tag[3] can have the following meanings (both new to me):
  1. the the plastic or metal tip at the end of a shoelace; or
  2. the contrastingly colored tip of an animal's tail.
24a   Cheer // two-master then at sea (8)

BRIG|HTEN* — BRIG (two-master; sailing vessel) + anagram (at sea) of THEN

25a   Riding // wild hog in commercial (6)

A(BOAR)D — BOAR (wild hog) contained in (in) AD (commercial)

26a   Dictates newly // critical trial (4,4)

{ACID TEST}* — anagram (newly) of DICTATES

27a   Win over // last listener (6)

END|EAR — END (last) + EAR (listener)


1d   Break // some insulation, turning vent (8)

DOWN|TIME< — DOWN (some insulation) + reversal (turning) of EMIT (vent)

2d   Noblewoman/’s/ mother agitated squire (8)

MA|RQUISE* — MA (mother) + anagram (agitated) of SQUIRE

A marquise[5] is the wife or widow of a marquis* or a woman holding the rank of marquis in her own right.

* In some European countries, a marquis[5] is a nobleman ranking above a count and below a duke.

In Britain, the equivalent titles are:
  1. marquess[5], a nobleman ranking above an earl and below a duke;
  2. marchioness[5], the wife or widow of a marquess or a woman holding the rank of marquess in her own right.
3d   Keep quiet about Biblical man/’s/ sin (5)

S(LOT)H — SH ([exhortation to] keep quiet) containing (about) LOT (Biblical man)

In the Bible, Lot[5] is the nephew of Abraham, who was allowed to escape from the destruction of Sodom (Gen. 19). His wife, who disobeyed orders and looked back, was turned into a pillar of salt.

In Christian tradition, the sins of pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth are known as the seven deadly sins[5].

5d   Obvious // field events reorganized (4-7)

{SELF-EVIDENT}* — anagram (reorganized) of FIELD EVENTS

6d   Right coins pocketed by a large // figure with wings (9)

A(R|CHANGE)L — {R (right; abbrev.) + CHANGE (coins)} contained in (pocketed by) { A (†) + L (large; abbrev.)}

An archangel[5]. is an angel of greater than ordinary rank.

7d   Oil // country by the sound (6)

GREASE~ — sounds like (by the sound) GREECE (country)

8d   Compact // snack included in sample (6)

TR(EAT)Y — EAT (snack) contained in (included in) TRY (sample)

12d   Disallow a snooze with wriggly fishes — // that’s slapstick material (6,5)

BAN|A|NA P|EELS — BAN (disallow) + A (†) + NAP (snooze) + (with) EELS (wriggly fishes)

15d   Report // civil disturbance about meat (5,4)

RI(FLE SH)OT — RIOT (civil disturbance) containing (about) FLESH (meat)

16d   Drench // one sister and companion at a party (8)

I|NUN|DATE — I ([Roman numeral for] one) + NUN (sister) + (and) DATE (companion at a party)

17d   I cast aspersions on // an NHL player (8)

I|SLANDER — I (†) + SLANDER (cast aspersions on)

The New York Islanders[7] are an American professional ice hockey team based in New York City that competes in the National Hockey League (NHL). They are a member of the league's Metropolitan Division in the Eastern Conference. The team plays its home games at the Barclays Center, located in the borough of Brooklyn.

19d   Explorer // stole about a pound (6)

B(A|LB)OA_ — BOA (stole; feather scarf) containing (about) {A (†) + LB (pound; abbrev.}

Vasco Núñez de Balboa[5] (1475–1519) was a Spanish explorer. In 1513 he reached the western coast of the isthmus of Darien (Panama), thereby becoming the first European to see the eastern shores of the Pacific Ocean.

20d   Trapped in Ottawa, pitiful // elk (6)

_WA|PITI_ — hidden in (trapped in) OttaWA PITIful

Wapiti[3,4,11] is another name for the elk, a large deer (Cervus canadensis) with large much-branched antlers, native to North America and now also common in the South Island of New Zealand. Wapiti is the principal name by which this animal is known in the UK, although it may also be referred to as the American elk or Canadian elk. In Britain, elk[5] is another name for the moose (Alces alces).

23d   Talk about // country in Africa (5)

GAB|ON — GAB (talk) + ON (about)

Gabon[5] is an equatorial country in West Africa, on the Atlantic coast; population 1,515,000 (est. 2009); languages, French (official), West African languages; capital, Libreville. Gabon became a French territory in 1888. Part of French Equatorial Africa from 1910 to 1958, it became an independent republic in 1960.


The title of today's review is inspired by 6d, 3d, and 10a.
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 puzzle to be delightful. Lots of fun clues. My favourite was 3d.

    I see that Falcon's home town makes an appearance. (Question: when did Hull change its name? I Gatineau...)

    Thanks to C & R.


    1. ... groan!

      Although I expect you really don't want to know, the answer is 2002. At that time, the municipalities of Hull, Gatineau, Aylmer, Buckingham and Masson-Angers amalgamated and adopted the name Gatineau. Apparently, there were many arguments to support the choice of the name Gatineau — and I am sure that the fact that Hull is an English name had nothing to do with the choice ; )

  2. Ouch! Did you find you were casting about for answers in this puzzle. I was down to the last four clues, and had absolutely no idea what the answers might be. Really liked 12d and 16d. Peter, my first one in was 3d - does that say anything?
    And 1a was an answer during the week, so that was a gift. Still - a good work out.

    1. Henry - I Agree - on some answers I was at sea until the light finally went on.

  3. Good challenge this week - one of E&H's best imo. Laughed long and hard at 11D, which is my favourite. 1D last in, needed Falcon's help to parse the answer (reverse emit). Thanks to setters and Falcon for the review. 4/4 rating.

    1. By any chance, did you mean 12d. I suspect the tears of laughter may have hampered your typing ;)

    2. yes- 12D - bad fingers again! :)