Sunday, July 17, 2016

Saturday, July 16, 2016 — Huff and Puff


It proved to be a bit of an adventure posting this week's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon. I am still working out the kinks -- both technical and procedural -- to enable me to post from the wilderness. The cell phone coverage at my campsite was so poor as to be useless. However, I eventually discovered that if I climbed halfway up a nearby hill I could get excellent coverage.

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   Far from a crazy // wanderer (5)

NO|MAD — cryptic definition

Split the solution (2,3) and one gets a phrase which could be substituted for the phrase "far from a crazy" in the clue. To appreciate this, one must read the entire clue both as it stands and again after having made the substitution.

4a   Puff, a crackpot // old clown (9)

PANT|A|LOON — PANT (puff) + A (†) + LOON (crackpot)

Pantaloon[5] is a Venetian character in Italian commedia dell’arte represented as a foolish old man wearing pantaloons.

9a   Sis, in a con game, // lending a hand (9)

A|S(SIS)TING — SIS (†) contained in (in) {A (†) + STING (con game)}

10a   Swine herd’s last // meals (5)

BOAR|D — BOAR  (swine) + D (herd's last; last letter of herD)

11a   Live in brand-new // tower (7)

MIN(ARE)T — ARE (live) contained in (in) MINT (brand-new)

12a   Stories about a Mexican’s first // cantina orders (7)

T(A|M)ALES — TALES (stories) containing (about) {A (†) + M (Mexican's first; first letter of Mexican)}

A cantina[5], especially in a Spanish-speaking country or the south-western US, is a bar.

A tamale[5] is a Mexican dish of seasoned meat and maize [corn] flour steamed or baked in maize husks.

13a   Pigpen with the French // design (5)

STY|LE — STY (pigpen) + (with) LE (the French)

In French, the masculine singular form of the definite article is le[8].

14a   British prince // chopped larches (7)

CHARLES* — anagram (chopped) of LARCHES

Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales[5] (b.1948) is heir apparent to Elizabeth II. He married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981; the couple had two children, Prince William Arthur Philip Louis (b.1982) and Prince Henry Charles Albert David (known as Prince Harry, b.1984), and were divorced in 1996. In 2005 he married Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles (b.1947); she became HRH the Duchess of Cornwall.

Scratching the Surface
The larch[5] is any of several species of coniferous tree with bunches of deciduous bright green needles, found in cool regions of the northern hemisphere. It is grown for its tough timber and its resin (which yields turpentine).

17a   Greek character with furniture /that/ can change shape (7)

MU|TABLE — MU (Greek character; twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet) + (with) TABLE (furniture)

18a   Sea alongside eastern // New England state (5)

MAIN|E — MAIN (sea; archaic or literary term for the open ocean) + E (eastern)

21a   See pill changed // shape (7)

ELLIPSE* — anagram (changed) of SEE PILL

23a   Sound of inferior // songwriter (7)

LOESSER~ — sounds like (sound of) LESSER (inferior)

Frank Loesser[7] (1910–1969) was an American songwriter who wrote the lyrics and music to the Broadway hits Guys and Dolls and How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, among others. He won separate Tony Awards for the music and lyrics in both shows, as well as sharing the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the latter. He also wrote numerous songs for films and Tin Pan Alley, many of which have become standards, and was nominated for five Academy Awards for best song, winning once, for "Baby, It's Cold Outside".

24a   Strongly recommends // some of our gestures (5)

_UR|GES_ — hidden in (some of) oUR GEStures

25a   Jogger taking a // rest (9)

REM(A)INDER — REMINDER ([memory] jogger) containing (taking) A (†)

26a   Revised fine harms // angler (9)

FISHERMAN* — anagram (revised) of FINE HARMS

27a   Altered right // tree measurement (5)

GIRTH* — anagram (altered) of RIGHT


1d   Close call // messed up seminars (4,4)

{NEAR MISS}* — anagram (messed up) of SEMINARS

2d   Mary taking in boy/’s/ brickwork (7)

MA(SON)RY — MARY (†) containing (taking in) SON (boy)

3d   Confuse // editors, in rambling (9)

DISORIENT* — anagram (rambling) of EDITORS IN

4d   Measure outside of a // coat? (5)

P(A)INT — PINT (measure [especially of beer]) containing (outside of) A (†)

5d   A grim, then twisted // ordeal (9)

NIGHTMARE* — anagram (twisted) of A GRIM THEN

6d   American League no-goodnik’s // record (5)

AL|BUM — AL (American League) + BUM (no-goodnik)

The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League[7] (AL), is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States and Canada.

7d   Lose car when changing // fortunetellers (7)

ORACLES* — anagram (when changing) of LOSE CARS

8d   Dustin playing // uninhibited sort (6)

NUDIST* — anagram (playing) of DUSTIN
Nudists are merely people who like to hang out with their friends.
14d   Taxi on part of journey hit // wire (9)

CAB|LEG|RAM — CAB (taxi) + (on) LEG (part of journey) + RAM (hit)

15d   Clumsily moving // a woodcutter’s work (9)

LUMBERING — double definition
Note to British readers: Lumber has quite a different meaning in North American than it does in Britain. Your lumber[5] would be junk to us, while you might refer to our lumber as deal[5].
16d   Italian poet/’s/ favourite red bridge feature (8)

PET|R|ARCH — PET (favourite) + R (red) + ARCH (bridge feature)

Petrarch (1304–1374) was an Italian poet; Italian name Francesco Petrarca. His reputation is chiefly based on the Canzoniere (circa 1351-3), a sonnet sequence in praise of a woman he calls Laura.

17d   In manuscript, true // smears (7)

M(ALIGN)S — ALIGN (true; straighten) contained in (in) MS (manuscript; abbrev.)

19d   Tavern drink, reportedly, /for/ a privileged person (7)

{IN|SIDER}~ — sounds like (reportedly) {INN (tavern) + CIDER (drink)}

20d   Refusal // to polish again? (6)

REBUFF — double definition

22d   Audibly walked /with/ stick (5)

PASTE~ — sounds like (audibly) PACED (walked)

23d   Melon: rotten // fruit (5)

LEMON* — anagram (rotten) of MELON


The title of today's review was suggested by Henry. Clearly the latter part of the title is inspired by 4a but he will have to shed light on his inspiration for the former part.
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. Hi Falcon,
    Thanks for posting. I thought maybe your laptop had fallen in the lake! Pretty easy solve today. Last one in was the songwriter.


  2. Hello, Falcon and all,
    I echo MG's thanks for keeping us in cryptics, Falcon. I also found this to be a pretty quick solve; however, I'm looking forward to the solution, as there's one answer I can't fully account for in the clue (19d). I think 23a could be tough if you didn't already know the name. My favorite clues were 25a and 17d.

  3. Hi everyone! I hope that the Americans stop retaliating murder with more murder.
    Back to the puzzle, I didn't find this quite so easy, the lower right hand corner was difficult, and 23a was my last one in as well.
    Carola - think of the apple fermented drink, and so a person that has the knowledge of what is happening is privileged.
    I thought there were a good number of interesting clues (like 25a, 27a, 23a, 15d).

    1. p.s. How about Huff and Puff for this week's title?

    2. Henry, thank you for your response. It jogged my brain into understanding the clue. I'd been unable to account for the first syllable of the "privileged person" answer, having read "Tavern drink" as a single concept, rather than two separate clue components. And I emphatically second your opening sentence. This American is heartsick.

  4. Hello all - Fun solve - don't know the songwriter, but believe I have it worked out. Thanks to E&H and Falcon. 2/3 rating.

  5. I was stumped on 23 across because I knew there was a Frank Lesser. Then I looked up his name and saw the "o".

  6. In answer to your question re the suggested title, Falcon, I found I had to work harder than usual on a few of the clues, thus the huffing and puffing. Seeing your chart above, it seems that you had easier sailing, as did some of the others in this week's comments.

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