Saturday, September 3, 2016

Saturday, September 3, 2016 — Druggist Botches Actor's Orders


After taking an extended break over the long weekend, it has taken me nearly a week to catch up. Fortunately, the comments to date indicate that most of you had little trouble with this puzzle from Cox & Rathvon.

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   European // vaulter's rod (4)

POLE — double definition

3a   Fellow actor and I fire // a Central American (5,5)

{COSTA RICAN}* — COSTAR (fellow actor) + (and) I () + CAN (fire; dismiss from employment)

9a   Judge // rarebit "awful" (7)

ARBITER* — anagram (awful) of RAREBIT

Scratching the Surface
Rarebit[5] (also Welsh rarebit or, probably originally humorously, Welsh rabbit[5]) is a dish of melted and seasoned cheese on toast, sometimes with other ingredients.

11a   Soldier makes alterations to // patriotic songs (7)

ANT|HEMS — ANT (soldier) + HEMS (makes alterations to [dresses, trousers, drapes, etc.])

12a   Grand home // not at all included in damage (5)

MA(NO)R — NO (not at all) contained in (included in) MAR (damage)

13a   One of the Great Lakes // tangled in a root (7)

ONTARIO* — anagram (tangled) of IN A ROOT

15a   American teenager carries // drink container (7)

_CAN|TEEN_ — hidden in (carries) AmeriCAN TEENager

16a   Stir too sloppily, /making/ Italian dish (7)

RISOTTO* — anagram (sloppily) of STIR TOO

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

18a   Nasal cavities/'/ wrong functions (7)

SIN|USES — SIN (wrong) + USES (functions)

21a   Fellow gets older // handles (7)

MAN|AGES — MAN (fellow) + AGES (gets older)

23a   Buddy allows // simple beds (7)

PAL|LETS — PAL (buddy) + LETS (allows)

25a   Kind /of/ green bananas (5)

GENRE* — anagram (bananas) of GREEN

27a   Cryptic clue: top // lines of poetry (7)

COUPLET* — anagram (cryptic) of CLUE TOP

28a   American League falsifying // act of association (7)

AL|LYING — AL (American League; abbrev.) + LYING (falsifying)

For the benefit of overseas readers, 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.

29a   Technocrat ruined // an outer garment (6,4)

{TRENCH COAT}* — anagram (ruined) of TECHNOCRAT

30a   Put up with // pessimistic investor (4)

BEAR — double definition


1d   Sounding growing concern, help // drug seller (10)

{PHARM|ACIST}~ — sounds like (sounding) {FARM (growing concern) + ASSIST (help)}

2d   The French curse on // a Middle Eastern country (7)

LE|BAN|ON — LE (the French; French word meaning 'the') + BAN (curse) + ON (†)

Ban[5] is an archaic term for a curse ⇒ the land might be smitten by the ban which once fell upon the Canaanites.

4d   Terribly worn out // Wilder play (3,4)

{OUR TOWN}* — anagram (terribly) of WORN OUT

Our Town[7] is a 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by American playwright Thornton Wilder (1897–1975). It tells the story of the fictional American small town of Grover's Corners between 1901 and 1913 through the everyday lives of its citizens.

Far from being outworn, the play "remains popular today and revivals are frequent."

5d   Bagel put in food judge/'s/ kitchen appliance (7)

T(O)ASTER — O ([letter that looks like a] bagel) contained in (put in) TASTER (food judge)

6d   Break down, with choice word /for/ chopper blade (5)

ROT|OR — ROT (break down) + (with) OR (choice word)

Chopper[5] is an informal name for a helicopter.

7d   Cigar /and/ sandwich in bed (7)

C(HERO)OT — HERO (sandwich) contained in (in) COT (bed)

A cheroot[2,5,10] is a cigar with both ends open (cut off squarely at both ends).

8d   In the mouth, recognizes // quality of wine (4)

NOSE~ — sounds like (in the mouth) KNOWS (recognizes)

10d   Sailor achieves // goals (7)

TAR|GETS — TAR (sailor) + GETS (achieves)

Tar[5] is an informal, dated term for a sailor. The term, which dates from the 17th century, is perhaps an abbreviation of tarpaulin, which was also used as a nickname for a sailor at that time.

14d   I get orders mixed up /for/ a movie actor (3,7)

{ROD STEIGER}* — anagram (mixed up) of I GET ORDERS

Rod Steiger (1925–2002) was an American actor, noted for his portrayal of offbeat, often volatile and crazed characters. His performance opposite Sydney Poitier in the film In the Heat of the Night won him the Academy Award for Best Actor.

17d   See young lady outside of north // African country (7)

SE(N)E|GAL — {SEE (†) + GAL (young lady)} containing (outside of) N (north; abbrev.)

Senegal[5] is a country on the coast of West Africa; population 13,711,600 (est. 2009); languages, French (official), Wolof, and other West African languages; capital, Dakar.

19d   Returning, write song /for/ planet (7)

NEP<|TUNE — reversal (returning) of PEN (write) + TUNE (song)

20d   Unbeliever // pickets cast (7)

SKEPTIC — anagram (cast) of PICKETS

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 ⇒ when hammered or cast, bronze could be made into tools.

According to Oxford Dictionaries, skeptic is an archaic or North American spelling of sceptic[5]. I would hazard a guess that the word may have been brought to the New World in its original form by early settlers and the spelling subsequently changed in England.

21d   Cosmetic // Mom put around a blemish (7)

M(A|SCAR)A — MA (Mom) containing (put around) {A (†) + SCAR (blemish)}

22d   Shots // ruined fine rug (7)

GUNFIRE* — anagram (ruined) of FINE RUG

24d   Flower I call "silly" (5)

LILAC* — anagram (silly) of I CALL

26d   Get out /and/ sing jazzily (4)

SCAT — double definition


The title of the review is inspired by 1d and 14d.
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. I found this week's crossword to be the easiest puzzle we have seen in a while - read and write straight through.

  2. Well, that took all of five minutes to complete.

    For those wanting more:

    Could rum stomach ail the Big Dipper? (6,6)

    We cant just intrude! A useful idiot is in there (6,7)

    Imagine I'm Bea, the lazy green lady (9,3)

    Is leader possibly a baser moron? No, she's only acting (4,7)

    1. Richard - got them all, actually easy once you see the theme. Just a note, the first one should be (6,7) - that did throw me off a bit at the start.

    2. Oops! Also missed the apostrophe in can't. I need an editor.

    3. Very clever. However, as Henry says, the theme quickly gives them away.

      The term "dipper" was new to me so it was the "green lady" who unlocked the theme for me.

      I suppose a purist might argue that the phrases "we can't" and "Is leader" are padding -- words that are extraneous to the cryptic interpretation and are present solely to enhance the surface reading. However, the clues work for me.

      Glad to see that you skewer all victims equally.

  3. Hello Falcon and company,
    I agree that the puzzle was pretty much a write-in. For some reason, I had a brain malfunction in spelling the drug dispenser - so got stuck on 15a. Eventually realized my spelling error...

    Wow, Richard - those clues are too hard for a long weekend! ;)

    Cheers to all,

    1. Falcon will solve all four of them in about a minute, I promise you.

    2. Got them — but must confess that I slightly exceeded your expectation of "about a minute".

  4. Hi Falcon and all,
    Same here for an easy top-to-bottom fill-in. The only clue that gave me pause was 20d, where I didn't recognize "cast" as an anagram signal until I had crosses in place.

  5. Hello everyone! Another beautiful weekend, I was at the Forks of the Credit today. I was sure there was going to be a tough corner somewhere today, it just never happened. Had to think about 11d a bit, but once that went in, it marked paid to the puzzle.
    Richard - thanks for the extra clues - I'm working on them.

  6. No real problems this week - chuckled over 4d with the clever spacing in the clue. 1.5/2 rating. Richard - nicely political! Well crafted. Cheers

  7. Hi Falcon,
    Just so you know that someone actually reads through the solutions, typo in 6d solution.


    1. Thank you. Now corrected. I know I can always count on you to do a thorough job of proof-reading.