Saturday, March 5, 2016

Saturday, March 5, 2016 — No Lack of Direction


I found today's offering from Cox & Rathvon to be a puzzle of two halves. The left hand side went in easily enough but I struggled with several clues on the right hand side.

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   Scorch // vocalist, for the most part (5)

SINGE_ — SINGE[R] (vocalist) with the final letter removed (for the most part)

4a   On the rocks around lift, the first sign of snow // was shimmering (9)

I(RIDE|S)CED — ICED (on the rocks; like a shot of whisky) containing (around) {RIDE (lift; as you would give to a hitchhiker) + S (the first sign [initial letter] of Snow)}

9a   Most riots disturbed // people in cars (9)

MOTORISTS* — anagram (disturbed) of MOST RIOTS

10a   School // time: fall (5)

T|RAIN — T (time; abbrev.) + RAIN (fall)

11a   Fire department needs // fifty snakes (7)

L|ADDERS — L ([Roman numeral for] fifty) + ADDERS (snakes)

The adder[5] (also called viper) is a small venomous Eurasian snake (Vipera berus) which has a dark zigzag pattern on its back and bears live young. It is the only poisonous snake in Britain.

12a   Hurt pest, returning // puzzle (7)

{TANG|RAM}< — reversal (returning) of {MAR (hurt) + GNAT (pest)}

13a   Provide opposing arguments // about still (5)

RE|BUT — RE (about; concerning) + BUT (still; yet)

15a   Puts a charm on // doors (9)

ENTRANCES — double definition (a verb and a noun)

17a   Lawyer // snarled “Cool it, sir” (9)

SOLICITOR* — anagram (snarled) of COOL IT SIR

19a   Conveyed // us in pickup’s cargo area (5)

B(US)ED — US (†) contained in (in) BED (pickup's cargo area)

21a   Cleopatra’s love married // opposite (7)

ANTONY|M — ANTONY (Cleopatra's love) + M (married; abbrev.)

Cleopatra[5] (also Cleopatra VII) (69-30 BC) was queen of Egypt 47-30 BC, the last Ptolemaic ruler. After a brief liaison with Julius Caesar she formed a political and romantic alliance with Mark Antony. Their ambitions ultimately brought them into conflict with Rome, and she and Antony were defeated at the battle of Actium in 31 BC. She is reputed to have committed suicide by allowing herself to be bitten by an asp.

Mark Antony[5] (circa 83-30 BC) was a Roman general and triumvir; Latin name Marcus Antonius. A supporter of Julius Caesar, he was appointed one of the triumvirate after Caesar’s murder. Following the battle of Philippi he took charge of the Eastern Empire, where he established his association with Cleopatra. Quarrels with Octavian led finally to his defeat at the battle of Actium and to his suicide.

23a   Goddess /of/ art is embracing Dorothy’s aunt (7)

ART(EM)IS — ART IS (†) containing (embracing) EM (Dorothy's aunt)

Dorothy Gale[7] is the fictional protagonist of many of the Oz novels by the American author L. Frank Baum (1856–1919). In the Oz books, Dorothy is an orphan raised by her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry in the bleak landscape of a Kansas farm.

In Greek mythology, Artemis[5] is a goddess, daughter of Zeus and sister of Apollo. She was a huntress and is typically depicted with a bow and arrows. Roman equivalent Diana.

25a   Grub // right in the middle of volcanic flow (5)

LA(R)VA — R (right; abbrev.) contained in (in the middle of) LAVA (volcanic flow)

26a   Examiner taking lip // one third of the school year (9)

T(RIM)ESTER — TESTER (examiner) containing (taking) RIM (lip)

27a   Breaking law, honk at // fundraising parade (9)

WALKATHON* — anagram (breaking) of LAW HONK AT

28a   Ray // gave a talk (5)

SPOKE — double definition (a noun and a verb)


1d   Second, larger // box of chocolates (7)

S|AMPLER — S (second; abbrev.) + AMPLER (larger)

A sampler[3] is:
  1. a representative collection or selection; or
  2. a variety or assortment.
2d   Prominent // editor behind word of retraction (5)

NOT|ED — ED (editor; abbrev.) following (behind) NOT (word of retraction)

3d   Serious // article penned by Hemingway (7)

E(A)RNEST — A ([indefinite] article) contained in (penned by) ERNEST (Hemingway; American writer Ernest Hemingway[7])

4d   Demanding // sister absorbed by goal (9)

IN(SIS)TENT — SIS (sister; informal short form) contained in (absorbed by) INTENT (aim)

5d   Stein revised // map detail (5)

INSET* — anagram (revised) of STEIN

Scratching the Surface
Gertrude Stein[5] (1874–1946) was an American writer*. Stein developed an esoteric stream-of-consciousness style, notably in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933). Her home in Paris became a focus for the avant-garde during the 1920s and 1930s.

* I somehow doubt that she edited atlases.

6d   Baltic country // sliding into sea (7)

ESTONIA* — anagram (sliding) of INTO SEA

7d   One in company keeps tabs on // hallway furniture (9)

CO(A)TRACKS — A (one) contained in (in) {CO (company; abbrev.) + TRACKS (keeps tabs on)}

8d   Such a lot of low- grade reversing // generators (7)

{D|YNAM|OS}< — reversal (reversing) of {SO (such) + MANY (a lot) + D (low-grade)}

14d   Mistakenly tear a bill // with two sides (9)

BILATERAL* — anagram (mistakenly) of TEAR A BILL

16d   Blast // remake of Tarantino (9)

TARNATION* — anagram of (remake of) TARANTINO

Tarnation[5] is a chiefly North American euphemism for 'damnation'.

Scratching the Surface
Quentin Tarantino[7] is an American filmmaker and actor.

17d   Eat // bird with a fork in its tail (7)

SWALLOW — double definition (a verb and a noun)

18d   Preserve farewell // choral work (7)

CAN|TATA — CAN (preserve) + TATA (farewell)

In Britain, ta-ta[5] is an informal way to say goodbye well, I’ll say ta-ta, love.

A cantata[5] is a medium-length narrative piece of music for voices with instrumental accompaniment, typically with solos, chorus, and orchestra.

19d   Puts a spread on // some aggressive sheep (7)

BUTTERS — double definition (a verb and an noun)

20d   Taking curve, veered, changing // rate (7)

DESERVE — anagram (changing) of VEERED containing (taking) S (curve; in a road, for instance)

22d   Contest // item in a book (5)

MATCH — double definition (two nouns)

24d   Movie’s opening with Preminger // slogan (5)

M|OTTO — M (movie's opening; initial letter of Movie) + (with) OTTO (Preminger; American film director Otto Preminger[7])


The title of today's review is inspired by 16d and 24d.
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 one to be pretty much a "read-and-write" except for 4a and 20d which took me about as long as the rest of the puzzle. 17d brought to mind the debate on Thursday night (two lawyers snarling at a trumped up showman).

    It's snowing, again, in London. But the weatherman is predicting spring for the coming week.

    Thanks to C & R.


    1. Yes, 4a and 20d were among those that held me up.

  2. Hi Falcon,

    Thanks for the hints. I think you forgot to enter your title.


    1. Oops!

      Thanks for your 'direction'.

  3. Hi Falcon et al-
    I also found this week's offering largely straightforward, except 1d - I kept getting interference from another, similar word, and, 19a - I was sure was spelled with 2 esses.
    Falcon, I have no idea how you got the title from the clues you identified. Ok, maybe 16d is going down, but 24d?

    1. Hi Henry,

      Both clues refer to (film) directors. So there's no lack of direction in this puzzle.


    2. As Falcon said last week...

      (But thanks)

    3. Something happened to the "Groan" I inserted in the above comment. Maybe it's invisible? Maybe Falcon has an edited out button??

    4. No editorial prerogative was exercised. I have no idea what may have happened to your 'Groan'.

    5. Re: 19a The word could have two esses -- but then it would involve being 'transported' in an entirely different sense.

  4. This week's offering gave me some problems. Never got 4a and 12a is a new one for me. Favoured 8d - which reminded me of many a report card and 11A, which had me humming the theme from a famed Rowan Atkinson series. Rated 4/4 (due to the incomplete). Thanks to Falcon for the assist and the setters for a good puzzle.