Saturday, April 2, 2016

Saturday, April 2, 2016 — The Pirates of Fantasy


A couple of fictional pirates make an appearance in today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon which I found to lie in the lower ranges of the difficulty scale.

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   Fire remains after distance // race (4)

D|ASH — ASH (fire remains) following (after) D (distance; abbrev.)

Although I did not find D as being the abbreviation for distance in my regular stable of dictionaries, the letter d[1] can be the abbreviation for depth or diameter which are both measures of distance — or even degree (an angular distance). As a capital, the letter D[1] is the abbreviation for dimension (perhaps in expressions like 2-D and 3-D, although there it would seem to stand for dimensional rather than dimension).

However, The Free Dictionary website does include distance as one of the multitude of meanings for the acronym D.

3a   Pakistan's chief current test // of manufacturing (10)

INDUS|TRIAL — INDUS (Pakistan's chief current [main river]) + TRIAL (test)

The Indus[5] is a river of southern Asia, about 2,900 km (1,800 miles) in length, flowing from Tibet through Kashmir and Pakistan to the Arabian Sea. Along its valley an early civilization flourished from circa 2600 to 1760 BC. The Indus[7] is the longest river of Pakistan.

9a   Dry spell // through hard, rough times (7)

_D|ROUGH|T_ — hidden in (through) harD ROUGH Times

11a   Fight and fight // pirate played by Depp (7)

SPAR|ROW — SPAR (fight) + (and) ROW (fight)

Johnny Depp[7] is an American actor, producer, and musician who has many prominent roles to his credit, perhaps most notably that of pirate Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean series of films. Depp based his characterization of Jack Sparrow[7] on Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and cartoon character Pepé Le Pew.

12a   Groucho's brother // in love (5)

CHIC|O — CHIC (in; fashionable) + O (love; nil score in tennis)

The Marx Brothers[5] were a family of American comedians, consisting of the brothers Chico (Leonard, 1887–1961), Harpo (Adolph Arthur, 1888–1964), Groucho (Julius Henry, 1890–1977), and Zeppo (Herbert, 1901–79). Their films, which are characterized by their anarchic humour, include Duck Soup (1933) and A Night at the Opera (1935).

13a   Liberal developed // a system of writing for the blind (7)

BRAILLE* — anagram (developed) of LIBERAL

Braille[5] is a form of written language for blind people, in which characters are represented by patterns of raised dots that are felt with the fingertips. It is named after French educationist Louis Braille[5] (1809–1852). Blind from the age of 3, by the age of 15 he had developed his own system of raised-point reading and writing, which was officially adopted two years after his death.

15a   Innocent young woman // put uranium in rebuilt engine (7)

INGEN(U)E* — U ([symbol for the chemical element] uranium) contained in (put ... in) an anagram (rebuilt) of ENGINE

16a   Cheekier // fool involved in unexpected rise (7)

S(ASS)IER* — ASS (fool) contained in (involved in) an anagram (unexpected) of RISE

18a   Figure // mule ran off (7)

NUMERAL* — anagram (off) of MULE RAN

21a   Old ruler // Mia approximated in speech (7)

PHARAOH* — sounds like (approximated in speech) FARROW (Mia; American actress Mia Farrow[7])

I always have difficulty spelling this word; it certainly doesn't help that the winner of the American Triple Crown series of thoroughbred horse races in 2015 was the misspelled American Pharoah[7]. Fittingly, the Triple Crown blanket awarded to American Pharoah after his Belmont win inadvertently used the correct spelling of "pharaoh", and hence misspelled his name. The name of the horse was chosen through a contest on social media. Marsha Baumgartner of Barnett, Missouri, who submitted the winning entry, minimized the controversy surrounding the misspelled name, stating, "Horses can't spell, anyway."

23a   Member of the band // going by is sent back (7)

{SI|DEMAN}< — reversal (sent back) of {NAMED (going by) + IS (†)}

A sideman[5] is a supporting musician in a jazz band or rock group.

25a   Carry male // emblem on a pole (5)

TOTE|M — TOTE (carry) + M (male; abbrev.)

27a   Pull fish back // to the sheltered side (7)

{LEE|WARD}< — reversal (back) of {DRAW (pull) + EEL (fish)}

28a   Composer/'s/ program swallowed by fish (7)

CO(PLAN)D —  PLAN (program) contained in (swallowed by) COD (fish)

Aaron Copland[5] (1900–1990) was an American composer, pianist, and conductor, of Lithuanian descent. He established a distinctive American style in his compositions, borrowing from jazz, folk, and other traditional music. Notable works: Music for the Theater (1925), Appalachian Spring (1944), Fanfare for the Common Man (1942).

29a   Destroys // prepared foods infiltrated by errant mole (10)

D(EMOL)ISHES — DISHES (prepared food) containing (infiltrated by) an anagram (errant) of MOLE

30a   Name of a man // involved in nepotism (4)

_OTIS_ — hidden in (involved in) nepOTISm


1d   Markdowns // incorrectly discounted (10)

DEDUCTIONS* — anagram (incorrectly) of DISCOUNTED

2d   Keeping // loop in line (7)

ST(O)RING — O ([letter that looks like a] loop) contained in (in) STRING (line)

4d   Newsworthy // situation at a crowded restaurant? (7)

NO|TABLE — split (2, 5), the solution describes the situation one might be confronted with at a crowded restaurant

5d   Opens // sensual dancing (7)

UNSEALS* — anagram (dancing) of SENSUAL

6d   Follow // beginning of the track (5)

T|RAIL — T (beginning [initial letter] of The) + RAIL (track)

7d   Middle Easterner // transposed Salieri (7)

ISRAELI* — anagram (transposed) of SALIERI

Scratching the Surface
Antonio Salieri[5] (1750–1825) was an Italian composer. His output includes over forty operas and four oratorios. Salieri lived in Vienna and taught Beethoven, Schubert, and Liszt. He was hostile to Mozart, whom he considered his rival, but a rumour that he poisoned him is now thought to be without foundation.

8d   Actor Rob/'s/ Sound of Blue (4)

LOWE — sounds like (sound of) LOW (blue; sad or depressed)

Rob Lowe[7] is an American actor who has appeared in numerous film and television roles, including portraying Deputy White House Communications Director Sam Seaborn in the series The West Wing. However, I found no evidence to suggest that he ever appeared in a production entitled Sound of Blue.

10d   Distorted anger, or // bad pun? (7)

GROANER* — anagram (distorted) of ANGER OR

14d   War god has rung /for/ a Greek inventor (10)

AR(CHIMED)ES — ARES (war god) containing (has) CHIMED (rung)

In Greek mythology, Ares[5] is the war god, son of Zeus and Hera.

Archimedes[5] (circa 287–212 BC) was a Greek mathematician and inventor, of Syracuse. He is famous for his discovery of Archimedes’ principle (legend has it that he made this discovery while taking a bath, and ran [by some accounts, naked] through the streets shouting ’Eureka!'); among his mathematical discoveries are the ratio of the radius of a circle to its circumference, and formulas for the surface area and volume of a sphere and of a cylinder.

17d   Begin // feast, consuming pie (5,2)

S(TART) UP — SUP (feast) containing (consuming) TART (pie)

19d   Give the wrong name to // Mr. M (7)

MISTER|M — MISTER ([full form for] Mr.) + M (†)

20d   German article pursuing innocent // Greek characters (7)

LAMB|DAS — DAS (German [definite] article) following (pursuing) LAMB (innocent)

Lambda[5] is the eleventh letter of the Greek alphabet (Λ, λ).

21d   Yearning behind Hook's foe/'s/ flamboyance (7)

PAN|ACHE — ACHE (yearning) following (behind) PAN (Hook's foe)

Peter Pan[7] is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie. A mischievous young boy who can fly and never grows up. Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood having adventures on the island of Neverland as the leader of the Lost Boys, interacting with fairies, pirates, mermaids, Native Americans, and occasionally ordinary children from the world outside Neverland.

Captain Hook[7] is Peter Pan's arch-enemy, whose hand was cut off in a duel with Peter Pan and then eaten by a crocodile.

22d   Draw // on pamphlet (7)

AT|TRACT — AT (on; on the count of ten) + TRACT (pamphlet)

24d   Speak like a Texan // doctor, breaking law (5)

DR|AWL — DR (doctor; abbrev.) + anagram (breaking) of LAW

26d   Good boy /is/ happy (4)

G|LAD — G (good) + LAD (boy)


The title of today's review is inspired by 11a and 21d.
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,

    Woke up to see snow on the ground this morning!

    Too many pop culture references in today's puzzle for my liking (11a, 12a, 21a, 8d, 21d). I liked 15a and 28a. I'd give this a 1.5 for difficulty and a 2 for enjoyment. Thanks to C & R.


    1. Hi Peter,

      I am intrigued by your characterization of 12a and 21d as "pop culture references". They certainly were 80 to 100 years ago — but by now they could be considered almost classical.

  2. I am stuck on 22D - can someone give me a nudge in the right direction?

    1. A five letter word for pamphlet follows a two letter word that could, I suppose, mean "on". The answer is a word that means "draw" or describes what a magnet does to metal.

    2. Thanks. I see my mistake - I had transposed the o and the a in the second half of 21A, which led me astray (I hope I have not spoiled the clue by being that specific!). Now have it sorted out.

  3. Hello Fellow Cryptic Lovers,
    Today's puzzle was pretty much a slam dunk until I misspelled 21A (which was also my favourite clue of the bunch). I had the same difficulty as Anonymous above.

  4. Good afternoon everyone on this sunny day, but which, I hear, will turn worse!
    This certainly was a 10d! Especially 21a which I also misspelled. I sailed through the puzzle until I got to the lower right hand corner. Had to call on my assistants, which, not too unusually, were helpless (there were lots of words for ruler, but not the one I needed). However, by chipping away, got all the answers.
    Falcon - great work on the answers, but you might want to fix up the fish in 28a (I know, I too mostly jump to 'eel' whenever I see fish as a clue).

    1. Thanks Henry,

      That slippery EEL snuck in from 27a.

    2. I think the scientific term for that is "Blogger Leakage."

    3. It's like the old computer monitors where an image could get burned into the screen. I should have used a screensaver.

  5. Pretty innocuous crossword this week. No real standout clues for me. 1.5/1.5 rating.

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