Saturday, December 24, 2016

Saturday, December 24, 2016 — Crumbs and Dregs

Seasons Greetings


You should be able to finish today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon and still have plenty of time to start your Christmas shopping.

I would like to wish readers a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah

Should you are looking for something to pass the time on Boxing Day, stop by for a bonus puzzle.

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   Fate // is fulfilled after kindergarten (6)

K|IS|MET — {IS (†) + MET (fulfilled)} following (after) K (kindergarten)

4a   Al Capone, // neckwear expert (8)

SCARF|ACE — SCARF (neckwear) + ACE (expert)

Al Capone[5] (1899–1947), nicknamed  Scarface, was an American gangster of Italian descent. He dominated organized crime in Chicago in the 1920s and was indirectly responsible for many murders, including the St Valentine’s Day Massacre.

Cutting Deeper ... (not merely scratching the surface)
Capone[7] was born in Brooklyn (New York) and began his life of crime in New York City before moving to Chicago. Capone inadvertently insulted a woman while working the door at a Brooklyn night club and was slashed by her brother Frank Gallucio. The wounds led to the nickname that Capone loathed: "Scarface". Capone's boss, racketeer Frankie Yale, insisted that Capone apologize to Gallucio, and later Capone hired him as a bodyguard. When photographed, Capone hid the scarred left side of his face, saying that the injuries were war wounds. Capone was called "Snorky", a term for a sharp dresser, by his closest friends.

9a   Arousing, // strangely, to Eric (6)

EROTIC* — anagram (strangely) of TO ERIC

10a   Source of illumination // faint around Kentucky (8)

S(KY)LIGHT — SLIGHT (faint) containing (around) KY (Kentucky; abbrev.)

11a   One also entering gets ready to shoot // some parrots (9)

COCK(A|TOO)S — {A (one) + TOO (also)} contained in (entering) COCKS (gets ready to shoot)

13a   Sports centre // brought back an earned run average (5)

{ARE|NA}< — reversal (brought back) of {AN (†) + ERA (earned run average; abbrev.)

Earned run average[11] (abbreviation ERA) is a a figure used to indicate the effectiveness of a baseball pitcher, obtained by calculating the average number of earned runs scored against the pitcher for every nine innings pitched.

14a   Inside the veranda, nonsense // occasionally (4,3,4)

_E|VER AND A|NON_ — hidden in (inside) thE VERANDA NONsense

18a   Turning neon, aged dad // departed (4,3,4)

{DEAD AND GONE}* — anagram (turning) of NEON AGED DAD

21a   Cot is remade /for/ Greek philosopher (5)

STOIC* — anagram (remade) of COT IS

22a   Stop Italian painter/’s/ meal planner (9)

DIE|TITIAN — DIE (stop; cease functioning, as a motor) + TITIAN (Italian painter)

Titian[5] (circa 1488–1576) was an Italian painter. The most important painter of the Venetian school, he experimented with vivid colours and often broke conventions of composition. He painted many sensual mythological works, including Bacchus and Ariadne (circa 1518–23).

24a   Treading shifting // slope (8)

GRADIENT* — anagram (shifting) of TREADING

25a   Jailbird gripping Ann/’s/ blaster (6)

C(ANN)ON — CON (jailbird) containing (gripping) ANN (†)

26a   From an African country, // Susan embraces some northern Europeans (8)

SU(DANES)E — SUE ([diminutive of] Susan) containing (embraces) DANES (some Northern Europeans)

27a   Pigs taking down // pieces of lumber (6)

BOAR(D)S — BOARS (pigs) containing (taking) D (down)

Note to British Readers
Lumber has quite a different meaning in North American than it does in Britain. Your lumber[5] would be junk to us, while you might refer to our lumber as deal[5].


1d   Sailing boats carrying five // crabs (8)

K(V)ETCHES — KETCHES (sailing boats) containing (carrying) V ([Roman numeral for] five)

Kvetch[3,4,11] (from Yiddish) is an informal US term meaning to complain or grumble incessantly and whiningly.

2d   Someone kissing // small sponge (8)

S|MOOCHER — S (small; abbrev.) + MOOCHER (sponge)

3d   Mrs. Peron // held back by natives (5)

{_EVITA_}< — reversed (back) and hidden in (held ... by) nATIVEs

Eva Perón[5] (1919–1952) was an Argentinian politician, second wife of Juan Perón; full name María Eva Duarte de Perón; known as Evita. A former actress, after her marriage in 1945 she became de facto Minister of Health and of Labour until her death from cancer; her social reforms earned her great popularity with the poor.

5d   Play // lacked a sane cast (5,3,3)

{CAKES AND ALE}* — anagram (cast) of LACKED A SANE

Lovely concept, spoiled only by the fact that the work is not a play.

Cakes and Ale[5] (subtitled The Skeleton in the Cupboard) is a novel (published in 1930) by the British author W. Somerset Maugham.

6d   Found out again // about piece of land cleared (9)

RE|L|EARNED — RE (about) + L (piece [initial letter] of Land) + EARNED (cleared; wages after deductions)

7d   Fish with Eastern // film director (3,3)

ANG LE|E — ANGLE (fish) + E (Eastern; abbrev.)

Ang Lee[7] is a Taiwanese-born film director, screenwriter and producer. Lee has won the Academy Award for Best Director twice: for Brokeback Mountain (2005) and for Life of Pi (2012). He also won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000).

8d   Catch // parent dancing (6)

ENTRAP* — anagram (dancing) of PARENT

12d   Send Don’s Dad mixed // trifles (4,3,4)

{ODDS AND ENDS}* — anagram (mixed) of SEND DONS DAD

15d   Craving // supplement containing certain vitamin (9)

ADDI(C)TION — ADDITION (supplement) containing (†) C (certain vitamin)

16d   Sharer of a prize // bovine, private (2- 6)

CO-W|INNER — COW (bovine) + INNER (private)

17d   Flags // sinner’s payment for audit (8)

PENNANTS~ — sounds like (for audit) PENANCE (sinner's payment)

19d   Canada’s neighbour gets more advanced // conventions (6)

US|AGES — US (Canada's neighbour) + AGES (gets more advanced)

20d   Chicken // showed fear vocally (6)

COWARD~ — sounds like (vocally) COWERED (showed fear)

23d   State // I see in marriage vow (5)

I|D(AH)O — AH (I see) contained in (in) I DO (marriage vow)


The title of today's review is inspired by 5d and 12d.
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. Busy day today so I gave this a go from the newspaper early this am. Typically great C&R puzzle. Couple of phrases 14a and 5d I had forgotten but filled in with across and down letters.

    Have a nice Christmas Falcon and other puzzlers.

  2. Good morning,

    As Carl said, this was a great puzzle. I especially liked 1a and 1d. I didn't know 5d is a play. The answer to 20d is obvious (I think) but I'm have trouble parsing all of it. Thanks to C & R and to Falcon for this site. Merry Christmas!


    1. Hi Peter,
      5d is actually not a play... play is the definition of the phrase.

      Merry Xmas!

  3. Seasons Greetings to Falcon and fellow puzzlers!

    Nice puzzle with plenty of enjoyable bits and bobs.

    Cheers to all,

  4. Merry Christmas to all my friends here on this site, I feel as if I have gotten to know you all and miss you if you haven't left a comment. This one was a bit tough or me, I figured out the hidden ones easily enough, but the rarer references and the homonyms took a while to figure out, but got them working out the odds and sods. I liked 22a. I didn't get to the puzzle until late today, but I'm glad I did.

  5. Compliments of the season to all - an enjoyable puzzle, great way to start off the morning before becoming the "prep chef", Thanks to Falcon and E&H for all!