Saturday, October 15, 2016

Saturday, October 15, 2016 — Sleepless in The Big Easy


Today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon was certainly not overly difficult — although I made it harder for myself than it need be with an incorrect entry at 24a. I did eventually sort out my error but not before undertaking fruitless journeys down a couple of blind alleys.

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   Concerns // coach, taking offense to be for Romans (10)

BU(SIN|ESSE)S — BUS (coach) containing (taking) {SIN (offense) + ESSE (to be for Romans; Latin word meaning 'to be')}

Offense is the US spelling of offence[5].

6a   Family // left in prison (4)

C(L)AN — L (left; abbrev.) contained in (in) CAN (prison; slang)

9a   Actor Ben // moving less (7)

STILLER — double definition; the first alluding to American actor, comedian, and filmmaker Ben Stiller[7].

10a   Wino bar revamped // colourful display (7)

RAINBOW* — anagram (revamped) of WINO BAR

12a   Touching // bronze fellow (7)

TAN|GENT — TAN (bronze) + GENT (fellow)

13a   Way of detecting // arson, oddly (5)

SONAR* — anagram (oddly) of ARSON

15a   Tense about performing // this evening (7)

T(ON)IGHT — TIGHT (tense) containing (about) ON (performing)

17a   Pepper // craving among supporting staff (7)

CA(YEN)NE — YEN (craving) contained in (among) CANE (supporting staff)

18a   Germany blasted // Hollywood actress (3,4)

{MEG RYAN}* — anagram (blasted) of GERMANY

Meg Ryan[7] is an American actress, director, and producer who achieved international recognition for her lead performance in When Harry Met Sally... (1989) which earned her her first of three Golden Globe nominations. The subsequent nominations were for her roles in Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and You've Got Mail (1998). She also received a Screen Actors Guild nomination for her part in When a Man Loves a Woman (1994).

21a   Comic Colbert // put one foot in front of the other chicken (7)

STEP|HEN — STEP (put one foot in front of the other) + HEN (chicken)

Stephen Colbert[7] is an American comedian, writer, producer, actor, media critic, and television host who currently hosts The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, a late-night television talk show on American television network CBS.

23a   Large part of a church/’s/ oversight (5)

L|APSE — L (large; abbrev.) + APSE (part of church)

24a   Associate // jailbird with character (7)

CON|SORT — CON (jailbird) + (with) SORT (character)

I would say that sort[5] is being used in the sense of a person of a specified nature ⇒ Frank was a genuinely friendly sort.

I did myself no favours by initially entering CONTACT — which sort of worked, although it certainly made solving 25d somewhat of a challenge.

27a   Oh, to see dancing // ballerina’s slipper (3,4)

{TOE SHOE}* — anagram (dancing) of OH TO SEE

28a   Artist in glass // spat “whatever” (7)

TIFF|ANY — TIFF (spat) + ANY (whatever; The auditorium is almost full. You will have to take whatever seats you can find.)

Louis Comfort Tiffany[7] (1848–1933) was an American artist and designer who worked in the decorative arts and is best known for his work in stained glass. Tiffany designed stained glass windows and lamps, glass mosaics, blown glass, ceramics, jewelry, enamels and metalwork.

Louis Comfort Tiffany was the son of  Charles Lewis Tiffany[7] (1812–1902) who was a nineteenth century leader in the American jewelry trade and founded New York City's Tiffany & Co. in 1837.

29a   Small hardwood // part of a window (4)

S|ASH — S (small; abbrev.) + ASH (hardwood)

30a   Greek atlas misrepresented // bodies of water (5,5)

{GREAT LAKES}* — anagram (misrepresented) of GREEK ATLAS


1d   Turkey // breasts? (4)

BUST — double definition; the first being a theatrical or cinematic flop

Turkey[5] is an informal North American term for something that is extremely or completely unsuccessful, especially a play or film ⇒ the movie flopped—the second in a trio of turkeys.

2d   Struck // second one of a sledder’s pair (7)

S|MITTEN — S (second; abbrev.) + MITTEN (one of a sledder's pair; item of clothing worn by someone using a sled)

3d   Like some hose // nozzle’s opening, only twisted (5)

N|YLON* — N (nozzle's opening; first letter [opening] of Nozzle) + anagram (twisted) of ONLY

4d   Excess // waves, even from the rear (7)

SURF|EIT< — SURF (waves) + reversal (from the rear) of TIE (even; after falling behind early in the game, the team was able to tie the score before the final whistle)

5d   Wandering // vermin caught by Eric (7)

ER(RAT)IC — RAT (vermin) contained in (caught by) ERIC (†)

7d   The French prohibit showing // Middle Eastern land (7)

LE|BAN|ON — LE (the French; French word meaning 'the') + BAN (prohibit) + ON (showing [on stage or screen])

8d   Son, we learn, renovated // seminal place for jazz (3,7)

{NEW ORLEANS}* — anagram (renovated) of SON WE LEARN

New Orleans[7], a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana, is famous as the birthplace of jazz.

11d   Yeltsin adjusted // fashionably (2,5)

{IN STYLE}* — anagram (adjusted) of YELTSIN

Scratching the Surface
Boris Yeltsin[5] (1931–2007) was a Russian statesman, president of the Russian Federation 1991–9. Impatient with the slow pace of Gorbachev's reforms, Yeltsin resigned from the Communist Party after becoming president of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in 1990. As president of the independent Russian Federation he faced opposition to his reforms and in 1993 survived an attempted coup, but was re-elected in 1996.

14d   Time invested in apes // is exciting (10)

S(T)IMULATES — T (time; abbrev.) contained in (invested in) SIMULATES (apes; mimics)

16d   Why gent upset // Ms. Paltrow (7)

GWYNETH* — anagram (upset) of WHY GENT

Gwyneth Paltrow[7] is an American actress, singer, and food writer. Her role in Shakespeare in Love (1998) won her both a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award.

19d   Tunnel diggers // take off heavy coats, so to speak (7)

GO|PHERS~ — GO (take off; scat!) + sounds like (so to speak) FURS (heavy coats)

20d   Central // Greek character easy to understand (7)

NU|CLEAR — NU (Greek character; thirteenth letter of the Greek alphabet) + CLEAR (easy to understand)

21d   Singer // occupying cars in a train (7)

_S|IN|A|TRA_ — hidden in (occupying) carS IN A TRAin

Frank Sinatra[5] (1915–1998) was an American singer and actor. His many hits include ‘Night and Day’ and ‘My Way’. He won an Oscar for his role in the film From Here to Eternity (1953).

22d   Derby prop: // front of horse next to a racecourse (3,4)

H|A|T RACK — H (front [initial letter] of Horse) + (next to) A (†) + TRACK (racecourse)

Derby[5] is the North American name for what the British call a bowler[5] (or bowler hat), a man’s hard felt hat with a round dome-shaped crown. The North American name is said to arise from American demand for a hat of the type worn at the Epsom Derby [a prestigious British horse race — not to mention a major event on the British social calendar].

Scratching the Surface ...
In the surface reading, "Derby" is likely intended to be an allusion to the Kentucky Derby.
... and Delving Deeper
In British horse racing, the British Classics[7] are a series of five races run over the flat (i.e., without jumps) for three year old thoroughbreds. Among these is the Derby Stakes[7] (popularly known as The Derby and in North America as the Epsom Derby), a race for colts and fillies run at Epsom Downs racecourse in Surrey in early June each year. It is Britain's richest horse race, and the most prestigious of the five Classics.

The name "Derby" has become synonymous with great races all over the world, and as such has been borrowed many times, notably by the Kentucky Derby. However, the Epsom Derby is the original.

In Great Britain, the name "Derby" is pronounced as though it were spelled 'Darby'.

25d   Scraps // of aluminum wrapping piece of food (5)

OF(F)AL — {OF (†) + AL ([symbol for the chemical elelment] aluminum)} containing (wrapping) F (piece [initial letter] of Food)

My initial misstep at 24a had a ripple effect here where I found myself  trying to complete the word A___L. It appeared that the wordplay might be one of two choices. Either it was AL (aluminum) containing (wrapping) XXX (piece of food) to give a synonym for "scraps" or it was AL (scraps [initial two letters] of ALuminum) containing (wrapping) XXX (piece) to give a synonym for "food". Needless to say, neither avenue produced anything other than frustration.

26d   Some whiskies // midafternoon, for sure (4)

R|YES — R (midafternoon; middle letter of afteRnoon) + YES (for sure;'Kids, would you like to go to the movies'  'Yes!')


The title of today's review was inspired by 8d and 14d with a dash of 18a.
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. Hello Falcon et al,
    I enjoyed today's puzzle. While most of it was a write-in, I got held up by 19d and 2d (kept thinking one of a sledder's pair was the letter "d"). I did not suffer the same frustration Falcon had for 24a because I solved 25d first.

    Lovely day here in southern Ontario.
    Thank you for posting!

    1. At 2d, my first thought was 'runner' for "one of a sledder's pair" but obviously SRUNNER wasn't going to cut it.

  2. I found this to be much more difficult than the usual fare from C&R. Resorted to on-line help for several clues and needed Falcon's parsing to explain others.

    Fewer postings this week, as I suspect some of the regulars gave up on this puzzle.

  3. I found this week's puzzle just a bit more difficult than recent ones with the northwest corner giving a little trouble for some reason. Still, a "one-session" solver. I groaned at 19D when it finally became clear. Thanks for posting, Falcon!

  4. Happy mid-October to all! I didn't give up, and it was more difficult than the recent fair - but that's good, it makes us think!
    I also was looking for parts of a sled for 2d, and I figured out 25d first, too, so I had to go through the alphabet to get 21a. 19d was my favourite as well.

  5. I also found this puzzle more of a challenge. Made the common error in 24a which I found difficult to get off, increasing the solving time. 4d was also an issue, being a new word for me. Favoured 22a, which brought back memories of my childhood - one of my fathers' favourite rebukes (use your head for more than just a @@@@@@@). 4/3 rating.