Saturday, February 6, 2016

Saturday, February 6, 2016 — Low-hanging Fruit and Fibre


Yesterday being a very busy day, I didn't get around to posting the review. However, it is gratifying to see that conversation continued among members of the community in my absence.

Like those who have already commented, I found today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon to be a bit more difficult than their norm. The final few to be filled in were among those mentioned by others.

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   Kid a tenor before a // musical piece (6)

SON|A|T|A — SON (kid) + A (†) + T (tenor) + A (†)

4a   Wrong bar codes /for/ fancy fabrics (8)

BROCADES* — anagram (wrong) of BAR CODES

9a   Golden-hued // bream swimming around (5)

AMBER* — anagram (swimming around) of BREAM

Scratching the Surface
The bream[5] is a greenish-bronze deep-bodied freshwater fish (Abramis brama) native to Europe.

10a   Apprehended carrying on by northern // Irish province (9)

C(ON|N)AUGHT — CAUGHT (apprehended) containing (carrying) {ON (†) + N (northern)}

Connaught[5] is a province in the west of the Republic of Ireland.

11a   Doctor and princess holding a // hot rod contest (4,4)

DR|A|G RACE — DR (doctor; abbrev.) + (and) A (†) + GRACE (princess)

Grace Kelly[7] (1929–1982) was an American actress who, after marrying Prince Rainier III, became Princess of Monaco.

12a   Poet // disturbed Tomlin (6)

MILTON* — anagram (disturbed) of TOMLIN

John Milton[5] (1608–1674) was an English poet. His three major works, completed after he had gone blind (1652), show his mastery of blank verse: they are the epic poems Paradise Lost (1667, revised 1674) and Paradise Regained (1671), and the verse drama Samson Agonistes (1671).

Scratching the Surface
Lily Tomlin[7] is an American actress, comedian, writer, singer and producer. Tomlin began her career as a stand-up comedian, and performing Off-Broadway during the 1960s. Her breakout role was performing as a cast member on the variety show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In from 1970 until 1973.

14a   Switch // container, empty (4)

CAN|E — CAN (container) + E (empty; on a fuel gauge)

15a   Shot a jerk—/that's/ exciting (8)

DRAM|A|TIC — DRAM (shot; of spirits) + A (†) + TIC (jerk)

19a   Like an active monarch // falling in the sound (8)

REIGNING~ — sounds like (in the sound) RAINING (falling)

20a   Prohibit eating piece of raw // fibre (4)

B(R)AN — BAN (prohibit) containing (eating) R (piece [initial letter] of Raw)

23a   Peculiar toy did // something peculiar (6)

ODDITY* — anagram (peculiar) of TOY DID

25a   Firm // breaking law in opening (8)

ST(ALW*)ART or STA(LWA*)RT — anagram (breaking) of LAW contained in (in) START (opening)

27a   Gratuity left in drug smuggler's // products (9)

MUL(TIP|L)ES — {TIP (gratuity) + L (left)} contained in (in) {MULE (drug smuggler) + S ('s)}

Think of "products" in the sense it might be used by a mathematics teacher.

28a   Try to disprove // floater downstream flipped (5)

REBUT< — reversal (flipped) of TUBER (floater downstream)

29a   Author /of/ Octet going into Russian river (8)

D(EIGHT)ON — EIGHT (octet) contained in (going into) DON (Russian river)

The Don[5] is river in Russia which rises near Tula, south-east of Moscow, and flows for a distance of 1,958 km (1,224 miles) to the Sea of Azov.

Delving Deeper
The Don[5] is also the name of two rivers in the UK:
  1. a river in Scotland which rises in the Grampians and flows 131 km (82 miles) eastwards to the North Sea at Aberdeen; and
  2. a river in northern England which rises in the Pennines and flows 112 km (70 miles) eastwards to join the Ouse shortly before it, in turn, joins the Humber.
I would suspect that the Don River in Toronto may be named for one of these — likely the latter.

Len Deighton[5] is an English writer whose reputation is based on his spy thrillers, several of which have been adapted as films and for television. To the best of my knowledge, none of his works is titled Octet.

30a   Ran off, keeping prior partner // contracted (6)

FL(EX)ED — FLED (ran off) containing (keeping) EX (prior partner)


1d   Citrus fruit /and/ fish on pier (8)

SHAD|DOCK — SHAD (fish) + (on; in a down clue) DOCK (pier)

The shad[5] is any of several species of herring-like fish that spends much of its life in the sea, typically entering rivers to spawn. It is an important food fish in many regions.

Shaddock[5] is another term for pomelo[5] (also pummelo), the largest of the citrus fruits, with a thick yellow skin and bitter pulp which resembles grapefruit in flavour.

2d   Agitated robin near // low-hanging fruit? (2-7)

{NO-BRAINER}* — anagram (agitated) of ROBIN NEAR

3d   Bullfighter // going through storeroom (6)

_TORE|RO_ — hidden in (going through) sTORE ROom

A torero[5] is a bullfighter, especially one on foot.

5d   Called up // step (4)

RUNG — double definition

6d   Talks about Brazilian city // vehicles (8)

CHA(RIO)TS — CHATS (talks) containing (about) RIO (Brazilian city)

Rio de Janeiro[5] (commonly known as Rio) is a city in eastern Brazil, on the Atlantic coast; population 6,093,472 (2007). The chief port of Brazil, it was the country’s capital from 1763 until 1960, when it was replaced by Brasilia.

7d   Finger or toe, // understand? (5)

DIG|IT — split (3,2), a way to say "understand" in hippy lingo

8d   Filling // can in sink (6)

SA(TIN)G — TIN (can) contained in (in) SAG (sink)

10d   Guide // hag around skating rink (8)

C(ICE)RONE — CRONE (hag) containing (around) ICE (skating rink)

A cicerone[5] is a guide who gives information about places of interest to sightseers. The name comes from the Roman statesman, orator, and writer Marcus Tullius Cicero[5] (106-43 BC), apparently alluding humorously to his eloquence and learning.

13d   Issues // put a name backwards (8)

{EMAN|A|TES}< — reversal (backwards) of SET (put) + A (†) + NAME (†)

16d   Oral- B exec revised // breakfast reading material? (6,3)

{CEREAL BOX}* — anagram (revised) of ORAL B EXEC

Oral-B[7] is an American brand — owned by Procter and Gamble — of oral hygiene products, including toothbrushes, toothpastes, mouthwashes and dental floss.

17d   What one eats with wealthy // screen legend (8)

DIET|RICH — DIET (what one eats) + RICH (wealthy)

Marlene Dietrich[5] (1901–1992) was a German-born American actress and singer; born Maria Magdelene Dietrich. She became famous for her part as Lola in The Blue Angel (1930), one of many films she made with Josef von Sternberg. From the 1950s she was also successful as an international cabaret star.

18d   Mixture of date nuts // not mentioned (8)

UNSTATED* — anagram of (mixture of) DATE NUTS

21d   Made // cross about myself (6)

FOR(ME)D — FORD (cross; traverse a river) containing (about) ME (myself)

22d   All for new // kind of arrangement (6)

FLORAL* — anagram (new) of ALL FOR

24d   Indian city // food store getting hot (5)

DEL(H)I — DELI (food store) containing (getting) H (hot)

Delhi[5] (also Old Delhi) is a walled city on the River Jumna in north central India, which was made the capital of the Mogul empire in 1638 by Shah Jahan (1592–1666).

New Delhi[5] is the capital of India, a city in north central India built 1912–29 to replace Calcutta (now Kolkata) as the capital of British India. With Delhi, it is part of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. Pop. (with Delhi) 12,259,200 (est. 2009).

26d   Member of a singing group // coming across dial tone (4)

_AL|TO_ — hidden in (coming across) diAL TOne


The admittedly uninspired title of today's review is based on 2d and 16d as further constrained by 20a.
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 this puzzle to be much tougher than others of late but quite enjoyable. The answers to 1d and 10d were unfamiliar words to me. And for some reason I had a devil of a time parsing 14a until the light finally went on. Thanks to C & R and Falcon.


  2. Hi Falcon and everyone!
    Well, this certainly wasn't a 7d, but it took about the average amount of time to finish. Needed help from the electronic assistants on 17d (I was playing on themes of rich dish for that one) and didn't get 8d until some help. Liked 27a as an inventive clue. Also hadn't heard of 1d before, but got it from the checking letters. This was a good Saturday morning stretch!

    1. Ha! - typo above - should be - this wasn't a 2d. Don't know what my 7d's were doing!

  3. Stuck on a couple - 21d and 29a. Waiting on Falcon for the answer!

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      21d Another word for cross, as in cross a river, around a two letter word for myself gets you a word meaning "made"

      29a A three-letter Russian River starting goes around the number of an octet and results in a famous popular novelist whose first name is Len

    2. 21d involves how we cross a river and a synonym for myself.

      29a has a river said to quietly flow, containing a number.

  4. This was one of E&H's toughest yet. 1d, 8d, 24d, and the favoured 27a were last-ins: this excellent challenge increasing my normal solving time. 4/4 rating. Thanks to setters, well done!

  5. Hello Falcon and all. It's nice to be back after a month away, with no access to the cryptics. I found this one to be an enjoyable challenge. I smiled as I filled in 10D, learned way back when in a college German literature class and not seen since. The toughest "cross" for me was that SW corner: I had my mind set on "rood," but persevered in playing around with the alphabet until the correct meaning emerged. I got the author only by pattern recognition - couldn't parse the clue on its own.

    1. Welcome back, Carola

      I too spent a good deal of time playing around with "rood", which of course would give rise to ROO(ME)D as a solution.

    2. Falcon, now that you have the right answer, you might want to fix up your post, and get rid of that extra "E".

    3. Oops! Now how did that sneaky E slip in there!

      Thanks, Henry, for bringing it to my attention.