Saturday, July 9, 2016

Saturday, July 9, 2016 — The Captain Tosses One Back


Today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon is about as close to 'read and write' as one is likely to find. I just started at the top and quickly worked my way to the bottom.

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   Star Trek actor // spinning aswirl in Hamlet (7,7)

{WILLIAM SHATNER}* — anagram (spinning) of ASWIRL IN HAMLET

William Shatner[7] is a Canadian actor who became a cultural icon for his portrayal of James T. Kirk, Captain of the USS Enterprise, in the Star Trek franchise.

10a   Whale // counter drifting about (7)

TROUNCE* — anagram (drifting about) of COUNTER

For the benefit of the doubters among you, whale[5] means to beat or hit ⇒ (i) Dad came upstairs and whaled me; (ii) they whaled at the water with their paddles.

11a   Walks nervously around Los Angeles // mansions (7)

PA(LA)CES — PACES (walks nervously) containing (around) LA (Los Angeles)

12a   Eel heartlessly swallowed // buoy (5)

EL|ATE — EL (eel heartlessly; E[E]L with the middle letter removed) + ATE (swallowed)

13a   Truck drivers // in the morning held by examiners (8)

TE(AM)STERS — AM (in the morning) contained in (held by) TESTERS (examiners)

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters[7] (IBT) is a labor union in the United States and Canada. Formed in 1903 by the merger of several local and regional locals of teamsters [drivers of teams of horses], the union now represents a diverse membership of other blue-collar and professional workers in both the public and private sectors. Naturally truckers — being the successors to teamsters — form one of its principal membership groups.

14a   Actress Moira/’s/ small audience of one? (7)

S|HEARER — S (small) + HEARER (audience of one)

Moira Shearer[5] (1926–2006) was a Scottish ballet dancer and actress; full name Moira Shearer King. A ballerina with Sadler’s Wells from 1942, she is perhaps best known for her portrayal of a dedicated ballerina in the film The Red Shoes (1948).

15a   Watch // verbose bum (7)

OBSERVE* — anagram (bum) of VERBOSE

18a   Puzzle solver/’s/ game for some hunters catching fish (7)

DE(COD)ER — DEER (game for some hunters) containing (catching) COD (fish)

21a   Lose odd, scattered // sketches (7)

DOODLES* — anagram (scattered) of LOSE ODD

23a   Directional aids // Company “M” okays (9)

CO|M|PASSES — CO (company; abbrev.) + M (†) + PASSES (okays)

25a   Yemen bombed // opposing force (5)

ENEMY* — anagram (bombed) of YEMEN

26a   Filled with wrath, plug // drain (4,3)

T(IRE) OUT — TOUT (plug; promote or praise energetically) containing (filled with) IRE (wrath)

27a   Concerning a boy’s // motives (7)

RE|A|SON|S — RE (concerning) + A (†) + SON (boy) + S ('s)

28a   Learning gossip, spilled // drink (9,5)

{SINGAPORE SLING}* — anagram (spilled) of LEARNING GOSSIP

A Singapore sling[5] is a cocktail made from gin and cherry brandy.


2d   Noriega ruined // a period in our history (4,3)

{IRON AGE}* — anagram (ruined) of NORIEGA

Manuel Noriega[5] is a Panamanian statesman and general, head of state 1983-9. Charged with drug trafficking by a US grand jury in 1988, he eventually surrendered to US troops sent into Panama and was brought to trial and convicted in 1992.

3d   Chaney, equipped // like a rabbit? (4-5)

LON|G-EARED — LON (Chaney) + GEARED (equipped)

Lon Chaney[7] (1883–1930) was an American actor during the age of silent films. He is regarded as one of the most versatile and powerful actors of early cinema, renowned for his characterizations of tortured, often grotesque and afflicted characters, and his groundbreaking artistry with makeup. Chaney is known for his starring roles in such silent horror films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925). His ability to transform himself using makeup techniques he developed earned him the nickname "The Man of a Thousand Faces."

4d   A superior // helper (7)

A|BETTER — A (†) + BETTER (superior)

5d   Singer // Ono raps badly (7)

SOPRANO* — anagram (badly) of ONO RAPS

Scratching the Surface
Yoko Ono[5] is an American musician and artist, born in Japan. She married John Lennon in 1969 and collaborated with him on various experimental recordings.

6d   Car parts // left among choppers (5)

AX(L)ES — L (left; abbrev.) contained in (among) AXES (choppers)

7d   Greek character easily understood // one kind of energy (7)

NU|CLEAR — NU (Greek character; thirteenth letter of the Greek alphabet) + CLEAR (easily understood)

8d   Acts of deception // mixed up users (5)

RUSES* — anagram (mixed up) of USERS

9d   Returned after-dinner dishes, // feeling tense (8)

STRESSED< — reversal (returned) of DESSERTS (after-dinner dishes)

16d   Delay /is/ somewhat dangerous to new alliances (9)

_S|TO|NEW|ALL_ — hidden in (somewhat) dangerouS TO NEW ALLiances

17d   Writer // says tie’s crooked (8)

ESSAYIST* — anagram (crooked) of SAYS TIES

19d   British PM // arrived with director Howard (7)

CAME|RON — CAME (arrived) + (with) RON (director Howard)

Ron Howard[7] is an American film director, a producer, and an actor. Howard is best known for playing two high-profile roles in television sitcoms in his childhood and early adulthood*, and for directing a number of successful feature films later in his career.
* young Opie Taylor in the sitcom, The Andy Griffith Show, for eight years, and later teenager Richie Cunningham in the sitcom, Happy Days, for six years
David Cameron[5] is a British Conservative statesman, prime minister since 2010 (2010–15 in coalition with the Liberal Democrats).

20d   Trattoria order // is put in rubbish with pair of tongs (7)

R(IS)OT|TO — IS (†) contained in (put in) ROT (rubbish; nonsense) + TO (pair [initial two letters] of TOngs)

A trattoria[5] is an Italian restaurant.

Risotto[5] is an Italian dish of rice cooked in stock with ingredients such as vegetables and meat or seafood.

21d   Rate // verse Ed edited (7)

DESERVE* — anagram (edited) of VERSE ED

22d   Cracking old wine, stretch out (3,4)

{LIE DOWN}* — anagram (cracking) of OLD WINE

23d   Alludes to // locales in the sound (5)

CITES~ — sounds like (in the sound) SITES (locales)

24d   Smell // a type of tomato (5)

A|ROMA — A (†) + ROMA (type of tomato)

Roma tomato[7] or Roma is a plum tomato popularly used both for canning and producing tomato paste because of their slender and firm nature. Commonly found in supermarkets in some countries, Roma tomatoes are also known as Italian tomatoes or Italian plum tomatoes.


The title of today's review is inspired by 1a and 28a.
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. Still can't figure out definition for 10a. There's only one word that fits, but it doesn't make sense. 16d has me stymied. But otherwise, one of the easier puzzles of late.

  2. In honour of 1a and 17d, I proffer "Captain's Log" as a title.

  3. For 16A, the answer is a hidden word which is a synonym for another part of the clue. For 10A, the answer is a synonym for one of the words in the clue (think verb rather than noun).

    Enjoyable puzzle this week overall.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Cryptoguy

      I hope you become a regular visitor.

  4. Ah. Got 16d thanks to your clue. As for 10a, I always assumed that that usage was the incorrect homonym. Apparently not.

  5. Good morning,

    Pleasant puzzle this morning. I thought 16d was superb. Took me a bit to get 10a too and I'm not convinced. But I didn't look up the various definitions of 'whale'.

    Thanks to C & R. Have a good weekend everyone!


  6. 3 down was my favourite word play

  7. Nice puzzle. Favourite was the simplicity of the word play in 26a.

    I enjoy the Cox and Rathvon Saturday puzzles which don't rely on Britishisms.

  8. Hello Falcon and all,
    I was indeed cruising along at read-and-write speed until I ran into 16d (appropriately enough). I only got the answer by pattern recognition and then required some minutes of study before I understood the role of "somewhat" in the clue. I was also slow to recognize the anagram in the nicely worded 17d. I think my favorite clue was 20d - I liked the image of the arm's-length disposal of the culinary failure.

  9. Hi everyone and a pleasant weekend to all! Falcon - I read your opening words and it must have jinxed me because I didn't immediately come up with the answers for the first 5 or so clues I looked at. I thought, oh sure! But once I got one in, the rest rolled out in satisfying fashion. Was completely deceived by 16d, even played with the idea that it was an anagram on alliances for a bit. I figured out what the word had to be, then I saw it hidden in the clue. Nicely done.

  10. Good day fellow puzzlers,
    As per the comments, very enjoyable puzzle. Last one in was 16d but did not really spend too much time "decoding". Thanks for posting Falcon.
    Cheers to all,