Saturday, July 2, 2016

Saturday, July 2, 2016 — No Introduction Needed


As some have commented already, today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon is a rather gentle exercise. The setters present a pair of personalities — a legendary musician and a classy actor — who certainly should need no introduction. A second actor, possibly less well known, also makes an appearance.

I made the preliminary post from the shores of a remote lake where I had only solar power and rather unreliable Internet access. It was truly an adventure in overcoming obstacles to assemble the necessary pieces of technology to make the posting possible. Somehow, I managed to introduce an incorrect link (since corrected) into the original version of that post. A big thank you to bpartin for bringing the faux pas to my attention.

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   Motown legend // playing Western video (6,6)

{STEVIE WONDER}* — anagram (playing) of WESTERN VIDEO

10a   Gummy stuff wrapping Ron/’s/ newspaper (9)

CH(RON)ICLE — CHICLE (gummy stuff; ingredient of chewing gum) containing (wrapping) RON (†)

11a   Forbidden // passage from Granta Books (5)

_TA|BOO_ — hidden in (passage from) GranTA BOOks

Scratching the Surface
Granta[7] is a literary magazine and publisher in the United Kingdom. The magazine, originally a student periodical, was founded in 1889 by students at Cambridge University as The Granta. The name is from a medieval form of what is today called the River Cam, the river that runs through Cambridge. In 1979, it was successfully relaunched as a magazine of "new writing", with both writers and audience drawn from the world beyond Cambridge. In 1989, the firm expanded into publishing books with the establishment of Granta Books.

12a   Gets cracked and raw // cowboy leggings (5)

CHAPS — double definition

13a   Shifting set scares // some thespians (9)

ACTRESSES* — anagram (shifting) of SET SCARES

14a   Pronounced gain /for/ seer (7)

PROPHET~ — sounds like (pronounced) PROFIT (gain)

16a   Man’s cousin, // ever so proper, had dinner (7)

PRIM|ATE — PRIM (ever so proper) + ATE (had dinner)

18a   Rearranges // vacation spots (7)

RESORTS — double definition

20a   Em and I award // itinerant worker (7)

M|I|GRANT — M (em) + (and) I (†) + GRANT (award)

22a   Gripe with log // builder (9)

CARP|ENTER — CARP (gripe) + ENTER (log; record)

24a   Chamberlain carries // trap for bugs (5)

_AMBER_ — hidden in (carries) chAMBERlain

25a   Sign to pause // movie’s start, interrupting deep sleep (5)

COM(M)A or CO(M)MA — M (movie's start [initial letter]) contained in (interrupting) COMA (deep sleep)

26a   Changing wish, tries // dish (5,4)

{IRISH STEW}* — anagram (changing) WISH TRIES

27a   Actor /with/ genuine class cast (4,8)

{ALEC GUINNESS}* — anagram (cast) of GENUINE CLASS

As an anagram indicator, cast[5] is used in the sense of to shape (metal or other material) by pouring it into a mould while molten.


2d   Storms // ripped article next to some deer (9)

TORN|A|DOES — TORN (ripped) + A ([indefinite] article) + DOES (some [female] deer)

3d   Evan’s broken // arrows (5)

VANES* — anagram (broken) of EVANS

Scratching the Surface
Evan[7] is a Welsh masculine given name, equivalent to the English name John.

4d   Charm // in French anthology (7)

_ENCH|ANT_ — hidden in (in) FrENCH ANThology

5d   Dance // on steep slides (3- 4)

{ONE-STEP}* — anagram (slides) of ON STEEP

6d   Diana, with the band, // being indecisive (9)

DI|THE|RING — DI (diminutive of Diana) + THE (†) + RING (band; jewellery or criminal group)

I have chosen to consider the solution to be a verb. However, it could equally well be an adjective in which case the clue would be marked up as:
  • Diana, with the band, /being/ indecisive (9)
7d   Puzzle // concerning form of public transportation (5)

RE|BUS — RE (concerning) + BUS (form of public transportation)

8d   Back in space, circle // frigid mass (6)

{_ICECAP_}< — reversed (back) and hidden in (in) sPACE CIrcle

9d   Rodent eating small // dessert (6)

MOU(S)SE or MOUS(S)E — MOUSE (rodent) containing (eating) S (small)

15d   Scare hero, tossing // derby (5,4)

{HORSE RACE}* — anagram (tossing) of SCARE HERO

17d   Shaking salt, a Bean // actor (4,5)

{ALAN BATES}* — anagram (shaking) of SALT A BEAN

Sir Alan Bates[7] (1934–2003) was an English actor who is known for his performance with Anthony Quinn in Zorba the Greek, as well as his roles in King of Hearts, Georgy Girl, Far From the Madding Crowd, and The Fixer, in which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. In 1969, he starred in the Ken Russell film Women in Love with Oliver Reed and Glenda Jackson. Bates went on to star in The Go-Between, An Unmarried Woman, Nijinsky, and The Rose with Bette Midler, as well as playing varied roles in television drama and on the stage.

18d   Elaborate // pair of robots by two companies (6)

RO|CO|CO — RO (pair [initial two letters] of RObots) + (by) {CO (company; abbreviation) repeated (two)}

19d   Smart, holding it /while/ in a chair (7)

S(IT)TING — STING (smart) containing (holding) IT (†)

20d   Swallow one // cocktail (7)

MARTIN|I — MARTIN (swallow; bird of the swallow family) + I ([Roman numeral for] one)

21d   Tossed // queen’s chair in the sound (6)

THROWN~ — sounds like (in the sound) THRONE (queen's chair)

23d   Dance // buff, one circling end of ballroom (5)

RU(M)B|A — {RUB (buff; polish) + A (one)} containing (circling) M (end [final letter] of ballrooM)

24d   White, // like chicken (5)

AS|HEN — AS (like) + HEN (chicken)


The title of today's review is inspired by 1a and 27a (with a thought to 17d).
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 Falcon et al,

    Straightforward solve today. Falcon, I hope you're having the same weather as we are in London today. It's clear and 21 degrees. Beautiful. Enjoy the long weekend everyone!!


  2. It must be a long weekend - just after noon on Saturday, and only Peter and I have come in to comment. The puzzle today offers little resistance to most of us. I guess E&H are taking it easy with us for the holiday. Thanks E&H! And good luck to you on the tech side, Falcon - I was worried last week when we hadn't heard from you for quite a while for last Saturday's opus.

  3. Hi Falcon,
    Thanks for your dedication in the face of the remote technology challenges. I wanted to mention the "today's puzzle from Cox and Rathvon" link seems to go to an older (May 28th puzzle. This is my usual method of accessing the puzzle and I was feeling quite smug in how easily the answers came until my conscious memory caught up with the subliminal remembrances and I realized I had done this puzzle before. I'll print out the posted image instead this week and see if I can solve it as rapidly. Just something to correct for future. Thanks for all you do!

    1. I had the same experience with the earlier puzzle :) I'd been quite fond of that grid's FOREST RANGER, and it was encountering him again that triggered my "Waaaait a minute...."

    2. Apologies for the erroneous link. It has now been corrected.

      I'm not sure what went wrong but I did have to make numerous attempts to post the puzzle before I was successful. An operation that usually takes less than 10 minutes took nearly two hours -- and used up my entire data plan for the month!

    3. Truly above and beyond, Falcon. Ouch! on the data plan - I wish there were a way for us to chip in to a "data overage" fund.

    4. Hi Carola,

      Thanks for the thought. I think Microsoft (or someone) as soon as they saw an Internet connection likely began uploading and downloading tons of stuff. Software vendors seem to think that they can just take control of your computer and do as they damn well please.

  4. Hello, all,
    Falcon, thank you for spending the time and effort to provide us with our Saturday cryptic treat. Like Peter and Henry, I found this one very much on the easy side but still with some pleasurable cluing.