Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saturday, May 28, 2016 — Wishful Thinking


Today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon was solved while basking in the brilliant sun on the shores of a pristine lake with a pair of loons swimming and diving in the distance. Could one wish for more?

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   Painter of The Scream taking in one // German city (6)

MUN(I)CH — MUNCH (painter of The Scream) containing (taking in) I ([Roman numeral for] one)

Edvard Munch[5] (1863–1944) was a Norwegian painter and engraver. He infused his subjects with an intense emotionalism, exploring the use of vivid colour and linear distortion to express feelings about life and death. Notable works: the Frieze of Life sequence, incorporating The Scream (1893).

Munich[5] is a city in southeastern Germany and capital of the German state of Bavaria.

4a   Greek // subsequently boxes (8)

SO|CRATES — SO (subsequently) + CRATES (boxes)

So[5] is a conjunction meaning 'and then' or 'as the next step' ⇒ and so to the final. English diarist Samuel Pepys would often record an entry in his diary at the end of the day. The last line of such entries is often "And so to bed".

Socrates[5] (469–399 BC) was a Greek philosopher. As represented in the writings of his disciple Plato, he engaged in dialogue with others in an attempt to define ethical concepts by exposing and dispelling error (the Socratic method). Charged with introducing strange gods and corrupting the young, Socrates was sentenced to death and died by drinking hemlock.

9a   Wisest // Times penned by saint (6)

S(AGES)T — AGES (times; misleadingly capitalized) contained in (penned by) ST (saint; abbrev.)

Scratching the Surface
Wisest Times would appear to be a work which exists only in Crosswordland.

10a   Runs // inside to put in a new order (8)

EDITIONS* — anagram (put in new order) of INSIDE TO

12a   Trainer he upset, // running last (2,3,4)

{IN THE REAR}* — anagram (upset) of TRAINER HE

13a   Ms. Peron /is/ held back by relatives (5)

_EVITA — hidden (held) and reversed (back) in relATIVEs

Eva Perón[5] (1919–1952) was an Argentinian politician, second wife of Juan Perón; full name María Eva Duarte de Perón; known as Evita. A former actress, after her marriage in 1945 she became de facto Minister of Health and of Labour until her death from cancer; her social reforms earned her great popularity with the poor.

14a   Conservation officer // advocating incense around others (6,6)

FO(REST) R|ANGER — {FOR (advocating) + ANGER (INCENSE)} containing (around) REST (others)

18a   Consumed doughnut in sort of milk // bar (8,4)

W(ATE|RING) HOLE — {ATE (consumed) + RING (doughnut)} contained in (in) WHOLE (sort of milk)

21a   Red range of Russia // out in the country (5)

R|URAL — R (red; abbrev.) + URAL ([mountain] range of Russia)

Minor quibble: surely the range is the Urals — not the Ural.

The Ural Mountains[5] (also the Urals) is the name of a mountain range in Russia, extending 1,600 km (1,000 miles) from the Arctic Ocean to the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan, and rising to 1,894 m (6,214 ft) at Mount Narodnaya. It forms part of the conventional boundary between Europe and Asia.

22a   Avenue out of control, // more or less? (9)

AVE|RAGING — AVE (avenue; abbrev.) + RAGING (out of control)

24a   Guys"score"— // only in their minds? (8)

MEN|TALLY — MEN (guys) + TALLY (score)

25a   World // map out in front of alien (6)

PLAN|ET — PLAN (map) + (out in front of) ET (alien)

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial[7] (often referred to simply as E.T.) is a 1982 American science fiction film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg. It tells the story of a lonely boy who befriends an extraterrestrial, dubbed "E.T.", who is stranded on Earth. He and his siblings help the extraterrestrial return home while attempting to keep it hidden from their mother and the government.

26a   Result of a short // fight with monarch (8)

SPAR|KING — SPAR (fight) + (with) KING (monarch)

The solution to this clue comes courtesy of Peter (see Comments below). I confess that I had parsed the clue incorrectly — having the definition as merely "result" — which led me to a couple of not very plausible solutions for which I managed to concoct not very convincing explanations.That work is now to be found on the cutting room floor.

27a   New trades // looked hard (6)

STARED* — anagram (new) of TRADES


1d   Mom's scraps /for/ big dogs (8)

MA|S|TIFFS — MA (mom) + S ('s) + TIFFS (scraps)

2d   Dancing grates on // skeptics (8)

NEGATORS* — anagram (dancing) of GRATES ON

Skeptic[10] is an archaic or US spelling of sceptic.

I am sceptical concerning the use of sceptic and negator as synonyms. A sceptic[10] is a person who doubts or mistrusts while a negator[10] is someone who negates (nullifies, denies, or contradicts).

3d   Class // group of actors in audition (5)

CASTE~ — sounds like (in audition) CAST (group of actors)

5d   Wayward soldiers do in // Oliver Cromwell (3,9)

{OLD IRONSIDES}* — anagram (wayward) of SOLDIERS DO IN

Old Ironsides was the nickname of Oliver Cromwell[7] (1599–1658), an English military and political leader and later Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England (which, at the time, included Wales), Scotland and Ireland. Cromwell[5] was the leader of the victorious Parliamentary forces (or Roundheads) in the English Civil War. As head of state he styled himself Lord Protector, and refused Parliament’s offer of the Crown in 1657. His rule was notable for its puritan reforms in the Church of England. After his death from natural causes in 1658 he was buried in Westminster Abbey, but after the Royalists returned to power in 1660 they had his corpse dug up, hung in chains, and beheaded.

6d   Baddie // got regent mad (6,3)

{ROTTEN EGG}* — anagram (mad) of GOT REGENT

7d   Theme including author's last // major parallel (6)

TROPIC — TOPIC (theme) containing (including) R (authoR's last [letter]}

A tropic[5] is the parallel of latitude 23°26ʹ north (tropic of Cancer) or south (tropic of Capricorn) of the equator.

8d   Walk with a flourish, // say, around tree (6)

S(ASH)AY — SAY (†) containing (around) ASH (tree)

11d   Comedian // cracked up genial grocer (6,6)

{GEORGE CARLIN}* — anagram (cracked up) of GENIAL GROCER

George Carlin[7] (1937–2008) was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, actor, and author. Carlin was noted for his black comedy and his thoughts on politics, the English language, psychology, religion, and various taboo subjects. Carlin and his "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" comedy routine were central to the 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation, in which a 5–4 decision affirmed the government's power to regulate indecent material on the public airwaves.

Were Carlin to reprise his routine today, methinks it would be somewhat shorter.

15d   Hunt around shopping center /for/ meaningless chatter (5,4)

S(MALL) TALK — STALK (hunt) containing (around) MALL (shopping center)

16d   Intimidate private // partner on the podium? (2-6)

CO-W|INNER — COW (intimidate) + INNER (private)

17d   Bearing a burden, // stood on line in conversation (8)

WEIGHTED~ — sounds like (in conversation) WAITED (stood on line)

"Stood on line" is an expression that is apparently specific to New York City. According to the stylebook for The New York Times Magazine Few besides New Yorkers stand or wait on line. In most of the English-speaking world, people stand in line. Use that wording..

19d   Plays // doctor in the morning with arsenic (6)

DR|AM|AS — DR (doctor; abbrev.) + AM (in the morning; abbreviation of Latin ante meridiem) + AS ([symbol for the chemical element] arsenic)

20d   Central Intelligence Agency has smuggled // skulls (6)

C(RAN)IA — CIA (Central Intelligence Agency; abbrev.) containing (has) RAN (smuggled)

23d   Slate for voting after the first // deal (5)

_ALLOT — [B]ALLOT (slate for voting) with the initial letter removed (after the first)


The title of today's review is inspired by 24a.
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. Enjoyable puzzle today. 16D gave me some trouble, but once I solved it, I thought it was very clever.

    1. I agree with Henry. As soon as I used his suggested "stood in line" I got it immediately.
      Thanks Henry.

  2. Good morning,

    I agree with Anonymous. Enjoyable and 16d is clever. I wasn't helped by the fact that I initially read one of the words in the clue as 'intimate'. I was also slowed down by 22a and 17d. Thanks to C & R.


  3. Add me in on "enjoyable" and 16d, my last one in....except that I still had to go back and parse the clue for 14a: it took me a long time to understand which "r" belonged where. I enjoyed the clue-answer relationships in 1d and 18a.

  4. Good day Falcon and folks!

    Enjoyable and yet I did a lot of head scratching. Many very clever clues such as 16d,4a, etc. Always great when the light bulb went off. Last one in was 18a.


  5. Hello all, and it's nice to see the regulars here! I started late today, I was at the Carassauga festival in Mississauga, but finished the puzzle quite quickly. Had to use the checking letters a lot. For 17d, I think "stood in line" makes for a better clue. I'm not 100% sure I figured out 26a, I will have to wait to see what you put in, Falcon!

    1. Re 17d, I was helped here by having learned that in New York people stand "on line" instead of "in line."

    2. "Stood in line" works better for me too. Re 26a: another word for the verb form of 'fight' and the male monarch gets a word that describes what occurs during an electrical short circuit.

    3. Peter,
      Hats off to you on 26a. I had tried to use a somewhat shorter definition having missed the electrical short circuit -- despite being an electrical engineer by profession.

    4. I too put short fight together to get 'spar', but couldn't get it to reconcile to 'result.' And, like Falcon, I am an engineer, though not electrical.

  6. 16D solving time equaled that used on the rest of the whole puzzle before it finally fell. Very clever. Also enjoyed 8D and 18a. One of E&H's best efforts imo - 4.5 / 4.5 rated.