Saturday, October 29, 2016

Saturday, October 29, 2016 — Trick or Treat


Although I was held up momentarily in the southwest corner, overall I found today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon to be on the gentle side. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable solve — one that could well be considered to be a bit of a treat. It certainly should not prevent you from taking in the ball game later today.

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   Help // remove a stone from part of the face (5,2)

PIT|CH IN —PIT (remove a stone from; as in pitting cherries when making a pie) + CHIN (part of the face)

5a   Squabbles about post office // information leaks (7)

TI(PO)FFS_ — TIFFS (squabbles) containing (about) PO (post office; abbrev.)

9a   Lacrosse team with alien // belief (5)

TEN|ET — TEN (lacrosse team) + (with) ET (alien; character in Spielberg film)

The number of players comprising a team is often used as a metonym for the team itself. Thus baseball's Blue Jays might be referred to as the Toronto nine. Similarly, a men's field lacrosse team — not to mention Bo Derek[7] — could be called a ten.

Lacrosse[5] is a team game, originally played by North American Indians, in which the ball is thrown, carried, and caught with a long-handled stick having a curved L-shaped or triangular frame at one end with a piece of shallow netting in the angle. In men's field lacrosse[7], there are ten players on each team (box lacrosse[7] teams are comprised of six players, while women's field lacrosse[7] teams have 12 players).

"alien" = ET (show explanation )

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial[7] (often referred to simply as E.T.) is a 1982 American science fiction film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg. It tells the story of a lonely boy who befriends an extraterrestrial, dubbed "E.T.", who is stranded on Earth. He and his siblings help the extraterrestrial return home while attempting to keep it hidden from their mother and the government.

hide explanation

10a   Old aircraft/’s/ excursions around course (9)

TRIP(LANE)S — TRIPS (excursions) containing (around) LANE (course; track)

A lane[3] is a narrow passage, course, or track, especially a prescribed course for ships or aircraft.

11a   Adventuresome, // launder small bill in gin concoction (13)

S(WASH|BUCK)LING — {WASH (launder) + BUCK (small bill; bank note)} contained in (in) SLING (gin concoction; cocktail)

13a   The plane’s scattered // some big animals (9)

ELEPHANTS* — anagram (scattered) of THE PLANES

16a   That group’s // next in line behind leader of tour (5)

T|HEIR — HEIR (next in line) following (behind) T (leader [initial letter] of Tour)

17a   Mali’s changing // religious creed (5)

ISLAM* — anagram (changing) of MALIS

Scratching the Surface
Mali[5] is a landlocked country in West Africa, south of Algeria; population 13,443,200 (est. 2009); languages, French (official), other languages mainly of the Mande group; capital, Bamako. Former name (until 1958) French Sudan.

Conquered by the French in the late 19th century, Mali became part of French West Africa. It became a partner with Senegal in the Federation of Mali in 1959 and achieved full independence a year later, on the withdrawal of Senegal.

19a   Ace rarely lost // track event (5,4)

{RELAY RACE}* — anagram (lost; aimlessly wandering around) of ACE RARELY

21a   Beefing up, // limber guys can go without oxygen (13)

SUPPLE|MEN|TIN|G_ — SUPPLE (limber) + MEN (guys) + TIN (can; metal container) + G {GO (†) with the letter 'O' removed (without oxygen); O being the symbol for the chemical element oxygen}

25a   I’m one with Hulot’s creator about // parody (9)

IM|I|TATI|ON — IM (I'm) + I ([Roman numeral for] one) + (with) TATI (Hulot's creator) + ON (about; concerning, on the subject of)

Monsieur Hulot[7] is a character created and played by French comic Jacques Tati for a series of films in the 1950s and '60s, namely Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (1953), Mon Oncle (1959), Playtime (1967) and Trafic (1971). The character of Hulot (although played by another actor) also appears briefly in François Truffaut's Bed & Board (1970).

26a   Siren breaking // up (5)

RISEN* — anagram (breaking) of SIREN

"Up" as in, for instance, 'out of bed'.

27a   Cleaning regimen // uplifted part of a pool by the sound (7)

{HY|GIENE}~ — sounds like (by the sound) {HIGH (uplifted) + GENE (part of a [gene] pool}

28a   Runs through // underground passages holding kilo (7)

S(K)EWERS — SEWERS (underground passages) containing (holding) K (kilo; abbrev.)


1d   Bakeshop // is acquired by Patricia’s Ontario neighbour (10)

PAT(IS)S|ERIE — IS (†) contained in (acquired by) {PAT ([diminutive of] Patricia) + S ('s)} + ERIE (Ontario neighbour; Lake Erie is immediately upstream from Lake Ontario)

2d   Manner of speaking about old horse/’s/ carrying capacity (7)

TON(NAG)E — TONE (manner of speaking) containing (about) NAG (old horse)

3d   Door // that chips on the inside (5)

_HAT|CH_ — hidden in (on the inside) of tHAT CHips

4d   Errant nut shot // character in The Birth of a Nation (3,6)

{NAT TURNER}* — anagram (shot; ruined) of ERRANT NUT

The Birth of a Nation[7] refers not to the 1915 silent film directed by D.W. Griffith but to the 2016 film directed by Nate Parker based on the story of Nat Turner, the enslaved man who led a slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, in 1831.

5d   Time Richard/’s/ stunt (5)

T|RICK — T (time; abbrev.) + RICK ([diminutive of] Richard)

6d   Fortune-telling // friend misty about end of year (9)

PAL|MIST(R)Y — PAL (friend) + MISTY (†) containing (about) R (end [final letter] of yeaR)

7d   Manage to get // $1,000 in last performance (7)

FINA(G)LE — G ($1,000; abbreviation for 'grand') contained in (in) FINALE (last performance)

8d   Small grey // window frame (4)

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

12d   Athletes seeking jobs // get seen far astray (4,6)

{FREE AGENTS}* — anagram (astray) of GET SEEN FAR

14d   Tossed me the opal, /or/ part of a diamond (4,5)

{HOME PLATE}* — anagram (tossed) of ME THE OPAL

15d   “Silent Sam” arranged // some tough workplaces (4,5)

{SALT MINES}* — anagram (arranged) of SILENT SAM

Scratching the Surface
More than likely, "Silent Sam" is merely a convenient combination of letters for the setters. However, I did find a few instances of the term although it would be extremely difficult to relate any of them to the clue.

Silent Sam[7] is the American name for the wordless Swedish comic strip Adamson, created by Oscar Jacobsson (1889-1945) in 1920. It has also been published under the name Adamson's Adventures. The comic strip, about a silent, cigar-smoking man (Adamson) with a big hat and frequent misadventures, was published in hundreds of newspapers all over the world. After Jacobsson died in 1945, it was drawn by the Dane Viggo Ludvigsen until 1964. Ironically, the strip featured in the Wikipedia article contains dialogue!

Silent Sam The Dancing Midget[7] was a stage name for Sammy Davis, Jr. as a child.

Silent Sam[7] is a controversial statue of a Confederate soldier by Nova Scotian sculptor John Wilson* on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The statue was funded by the University Alumni and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It was erected in 1913 as a memorial to the 321 alumni who lost their lives in the American Civil War and all students who joined the Confederate States Army. More than one thousand members of the university fought in the American Civil War in either the Northern or Southern armies, comprising at least 40% of the student body, a statistic that was unequaled by any other school. Wilson created a "silent" statue by not including a cartridge box on the Confederate soldier's belt so he cannot fire his gun.
* John Wilson (1877–1954) was a Nova Scotian sculptor who produced public art throughout North America. He was a professor in the School of Architecture at Harvard University for 32 years. He is most famous for his American Civil War monuments, the Confederacy Statue (Silent Sam) in North Carolina and his Washington Grays Monument (the 'Pennsylvania Volunteer') in Philadelphia.

18d   Los Angeles scam // with staying power (7)

LA|STING — LA (Los Angeles) + STING (scam)

20d   A flimsy paper // under discussion (2,5)

A|T ISSUE — A () + TISSUE (flimsy paper)

22d   Folk knowledge about one // French river (5)

LO(I)RE — LORE (folk knowledge) containing (about) I ([Roman numeral for] one)

The Loire[5] is a river of west central France. France’s longest river, it rises in the Massif Central and flows 1,015 km (630 miles) north and west to the Atlantic at St-Nazaire.

23d   Grit // found in Grüner Veltliner (5)

_NER|VE_ — hidden in (found in) GrüNER VEltliner

Scratching the Surface
Grüner Veltliner[7] (Green Veltliner) is a variety of white wine grape variety grown primarily in Austria, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

24d   Bad-mouth hot // item on a menu (4)

DIS|H — DIS (bad-mouth) + H (hot; abbrev.)


The holdouts today were 24d and 27a, the last two clues to surrender.

Although I was considering a title for the review built around foretelling the outcome of the World Series based on 6d and 14d, I settled instead for one inspired by 5d. "Wait", you may well say, "there is no 'treat'" to which I would respond "Ah, but the expression promises only one or the other."
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. Fun puzzle today. I had to circle around several times but everything eventually fell into place. Especially liked 11A and 21A.

  2. Good morning,

    I found this one to be quite straightforward. Lots of anagrams (8 I think and more if partial anagrams are added). Having some trouble parsing 11a. Answer is obvious enough (think Errol Flynn). And the elements are there. Abbreviation for 'small', synonym for launder, slang word for dollar bill, anagram (concoction) of 'gin'. That leaves me with an unexplained 'L' and a lack of order. I must be missing something. It's shaping up to be a beautiful fall day in London. Thanks to C & R.


    1. Think of a drink purportedly from Singapore.

  3. Nice puzzle again this week. A bit harder than last week.

    Peter, I had a second look at 11A which I had trouble parsing too. I see now that we want a gin concoction that is not an anagram.

  4. Good morning to all - it's shaping up to be a great fall day, and Happy Halloween! I thought there might be a halloween theme (with 5d) put that didn't happen. Took a while to chip at the answers, and there were some clever clues and a nicely hidden one, but got them all in good order. Had to verify the character in 4d, but that was it.

  5. Still unable to fully parse 21 a. I've got limber guys, and assumed the suffix, but can't parse.

  6. Good day Falcon and folks!
    Nice little puzzle today. Last one in was 27a only because I was thinking of the wrong kid of pool!

    Thank you for posting.