Saturday, May 7, 2016

Saturday, May 7, 2016 — Pairing Up


As the Brits might say, today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon is nothing to scare the horses.

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   Chief of police with angry // robber (6)

P|IRATE — P (chief [initial letter] of Police) + IRATE (angry)

4a   Called after sheep // went wild (8)

RAM|PAGED — PAGED (called) following (after) RAM (sheep)

9a   For general viewing, extreme // channel (6)

G|UTTER — G (for general viewing; film rating) + UTTER (extreme)

10a   Southern family member’s // gags (8)

S|MOTHER|S — S (southern; abbrev.) + MOTHER (family member) + S ('s)

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers reading this.

11a   Heralded // the left side of a ship, then stopped (9)

PORT|ENDED — PORT (the left side of a ship) + (then) ENDED (stopped)

13a   Statuette/’s/ round mark (5)

O|SCAR — O (round) + SCAR (mark)

Yes, round can be a noun. A round[3] is something, such as a circle, disk, globe, or ring, that is round.

An Oscar[5] (trademark in the US) is the nickname for a gold statuette given as an award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, presented annually since 1928 for achievement in the film industry in various categories.

14a   Visitor and one pal taking second // stab at a figure (11)

GUES(S)T|I|MATE — {GUEST (visitor) + I ([Roman numeral for] one) + MATE ([British term for a] pal)} containing (taking) S (second; abbrev.)

Should we be upset that a British term has found its way into an American puzzle? If the shoe were on the other foot, I am certain it would give rise to howls of outrage.

19a   Italian mister, after introduction, entertains // dunces (11)

_IGNOR|AMUSES — IGNOR {[S]IGNOR (Italian [word for] mister) with the initial letter removed (after introduction; i.e., the part of the word following the initial letter)} + AMUSES (entertains)

22a   One sorry about Latin // monarch (5)

RU(L)ER — RUER (one sorry) containing (about) L (Latin; abbrev.)

23a   Potable liquid // moving toward sea (4,5)

{SODA WATER}* — anagram (moving) of TOWARD SEA

25a   Clumsily, I grope in // dressing gown (8)

PEIGNOIR* — anagram (clumsily) of I GROPE IN

26a   Pen right in the possession of // novelist (6)

STY|R|ON — STY (pen [for pigs]) + R (right; abbrev.) + ON (in the possession of; drugs were found on the suspect)

William Styron[5] (1925–2006) was a US writer. His works include The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967); Sophie’s Choice (1979); Darkness Visible (1990), about his own battle with depression; and A Tidewater Morning: Three Tales from Youth (1993).

27a   Together, create // cipher symbol (8)

CODESIGN — CODE (cipher) + SIGN (symbol)

I started out thinking that the latter part of the clue would be the definition and that the first part might possibly be a second definition (depending on whether the word could be spelled without a hyphen). I discovered that it is just the reverse; it is the first part of the clue that is the definition.

I found the word codesign[4,10] in only one dictionary, Collins English Dictionary. However, if one were to extrapolate from the spelling of coauthor[1,2,11], then codesign would be the spelling used by most of my stable of dictionaries with the exception of The Chambers Dictionary and Oxford Dictionaries which would presumably spell the word as co-design (co-author[1,5]). The American Heritage Dictionary sits on the fence, listing both coauthor and co-author[3]. It is interesting to note that The Chambers Dictionary and Chambers 21st Century Dictionary show different spellings, co-author and coauthor respectively.

28a   Fashionable French article: // something to chew on (6)

CHIC|LE — CHIC (fashionable) + LE (French [definite] article)

Chicle[5] is the milky latex of the sapodilla tree (Manilkara zapota), formerly chewed by the Aztecs and now used to make chewing gum. Anyone care for a chiclet.


1d   Leave after Dad duped // Polynesian port (4,4)

PA|GO PA|GO — {GO (leave) following (after) PA (dad)} repeated (duped; duplicated)

Pago Pago[5] is the chief port of American Samoa, on Tutuila Island; population 4,600 (est. 2009). Fagatogo, the territorial capital, is just to the east.

2d   Cherry-covered cake // made a comeback (8)

RE(TORTE)D — RED (cherry) containing (covered) TORTE (cake)

3d   Subject: // the ego (5)

THE|ME — THE (†) + ME (ego)

5d   Got ready to shoot // mixed media (5)

AIMED* — anagram (mixed) of MEDIA

6d   Our temple redistributed // fuel (9)

PETROLEUM* — anagram (redistributed) of OUR TEMPLE

7d   Outspoken oil // country (6)

GREECE~ — sounds like (outspoken) GREASE (oil)

8d   Leave // ultimate course to the audience (6)

DESERT~ — sounds like (to the audience) DESSERT (ultimate course [of a meal])

12d   Back part of Angie Dickinson/’s/ stoop (5)

{_D|EIGN_}< — reversed (back) and hidden (part of) in ANGIE Dickenson

Angie Dickinson[7] is an American actress. She began her career on television before landing her breakthrough role in the 1959 Western film Rio Bravo, for which she received a Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year. Dickinson has appeared in more than 50 films, but is likely best known for her award-winning role as Sergeant Leann "Pepper" Anderson in the NBC crime series Police Woman.

15d   Undercover operations involving one railroad/’s/ movements (9)

ST(I|RR)INGS — STINGS (undercover operations) containing (involving) {I ([Roman numeral for] one) + RR (railroad; US term for railway)}

16d   Bitter // cold and dry outside (5)

A(C)RID — C (cold) contained in (and ... outside) ARID (dry)

17d   Weird coteries // beyond most people’s comprehension (8)

ESOTERIC* — anagram (weird) of COTERIES

18d   Alienate // sergeant with shifts (8)

ESTRANGE* — anagram (with shifts) of SERGEANT

20d   Global ring // subject for debate around mid-March (6)

T(R)OPIC — TOPIC (subject for debate) containing (around) R (mid-March; middle letter of MaRch)

21d   Joined // Pacino, and bent the truth (6)

AL|LIED — AL (Pacino; American actor Al Pacino[7]) + LIED (bent the truth)

23d   Small hockey player/’s/ try for a hit (5)

S|WING — S (small; abbrev.) + WING (hockey player; a left wing, a right wing, or a Red Wing[7])

24d   Crone // with craving (5)

W|ITCH — W (with; abbrev.) + ITCH (craving)


The title of today's review is inspired by 1d as well as by the observation that today's puzzle consists largely of charades and containment clues interspersed with anagrams [(23a, 25a), (5d, 6d), (17d, 18d)] and homophones (7d, 8d) which all occur in pairs.
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 all,

    26a has me stumped. The rest went straight in.


    1. The novelist quickly came to mind. However, I will admit that it took a bit of thought to explain the "ON".

    2. Thanks Falcon. Never heard of Styron. Worse, one of my attempts to parse got me Styron. I googled it and found nothing that suggested him. And I couldn't get Storin out of my head (Francis Urquart's victim).

  2. Good day Falcon and folks,

    Interesting theme of pairings as noted by Falcon. Enjoyed 19a. Also learned about the history of chewing gum. Minor error in solution for 9a ;)

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Thanks, MG

      Good to see that you have not lost your eagle eye -- though that faux pas should be difficult to miss. However, I had to read the entry several times before I realized what was wrong. (I was looking for a spelling mistake).

  3. Hello one and all on this really glorious Saturday (well, at least here in southern Ontario) - our hearts and prayers go out to those who had to leave Fort Mac.
    C&R certainly impressed me today with words I thought would never appear in a cryptic! Came up with the name of the novelist through the clue, but had to look it up to ascertain if the name was that of a novelist. And he wrote "Sophie's Choice!" I felt chagrinned. And my favourite drink was 23a. How could I lose?
    Falcon, your discussion on 13a with round being a noun, I am not sure why you go to these lengths, because the apostrophe could be ownership - and so the round mark of the statuette - and there it is a perfectly good adjective. When I first read the surface read of this clue, the words belly-button/navel came to mind.

    1. Often discussions such as the one to which you refer are sparked by points that raise dooubts in my mind. Yes, "round" is obviously intended to clue the letter "O" -- but why? "Round" is most commonly seen as an adjective. I suppose one could argue that in the term "O-ring", the "O" is an adjective. However, looking in the dictionary, I see that "round" can indeed be a noun (in the sense of something having a round shape) which is a better explanation (to my mind).

      Aside from special cases such as cryptic definitions and all-in-one (&lit.) clues, a clue will have a definition, wordplay, and (optionally) a link word or link phrase joining them. In this case, the definition is "statuette", the wordplay is a charade (O + SCAR) and the link word is the 's (which is interpreted as a contraction of "is" in the cryptic analysis of the clue).

      What you describe may well be the misdirection that the setters are attempting to create, making the solver think that the clue is a cryptic definition of a bellybutton -- but a bellybutton is not an OSCAR.

    2. I realized after I wrote the above, I was arguing on the surface read side, not the cryptic defn side. And of course, as you just noted above.

  4. Fun puzzle. 15d last in. Had me stumped for a time, but finally fell into place through parsing. Favoured 19A - clever. Thanks to E&H and Falcon, 2/3 rated.

  5. Hello Falcon and all, most difficult for me was 27a, which I had to get from pattern recognition before understanding the clue (which I now see I had backwards - thanks for the explanation). I was amused by 25a's clue for erstwhile honeymoon attire.

    1. You are not alone in having 27a "backwards" which is what led to my long explanation above. What I had presumed to be a word invented by the setters turned out to be in the dictionary and what I had taken to be a real word was nowhere to be found in the dictionaries!