Saturday, January 14, 2017

Saturday, January 14, 2017 — Prejudiced Prattle


I didn't find today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon to be quite the "read and write" exercise that Henry reports in his comment below. However, that may well be due to having spent a sleepless night followed by a long lie-in this morning (accounting for the late posting of the 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 (//).


8a   So-so // festival (4)

FAIR — double definition

9a   Fruit // isn’t able to split and splice, we hear (10)

CANT|ALOUPE~ — CANT (isn't able to; can't) + sounds like (we hear) ELOPE (split and splice; run away to get married)

It would not be unreasonable to consider the wordplay to be an entire phrase which would parse as sounds like (we hear) {CANT (isn't able to; can't) +  ELOPE (split and splice; run away to get married)}.

10a   Paint // name inside train (6)

E(NAME)L — NAME () contained in (inside) EL (train; elevated railroad in Chicago)

11a   Buddy maintains // chat sessions (8)

PAL|AVERS — PAL (buddy) + AVERS (maintains)

12a   Swamp critter employs // flowers (8)

CROC|USES — CROC (swamp creature) + USES (employs)

14a   Fairy tale monster // going through progression (6)

_OGRESS_ — hidden in (going through) prOGRESSion

16a   New Testament behind young woman/’s/ false assertions (13)

MISS|TATEMENTS* — anagram (new) of TESTAMENT following (behind) MISS (young woman)

19a   Daze // Proust deconstructed (6)

STUPOR — anagram (deconstructed) of PROUST

Scratching the Surface
Marcel Proust[5] (1871–1922) was a French novelist, essayist, and critic. He devoted much of his life to writing his novel À la recherche du temps perdu (published in seven sections between 1913 and 1927). Its central theme is the recovery of the lost past and the releasing of its creative energies through the stimulation of unconscious memory — now, there's an ability that would certainly be a boon to cryptic crossword devotees.

21a   VIPs’ // situation in a crowded restaurant? (8)

NO|TABLES — split the solution (2,6) to obtain the situation described by the wordplay

23a   Biased // Spartan I stirred up (8)

PARTISAN* — anagram (stirred up) of SPARTAN I

Scratching the Surface
A Spartan[2] was a citizen or inhabitant of ancient Sparta. Today, the term is applied to someone who is disciplined, courageous and shows great endurance.

Sparta[2,5], a city in the southern Peloponnese in Greece, was a powerful city state in the 5th century BC, defeating its rival Athens in the Peloponnesian War to become the leading city of Greece. The city was noted for its austerity and its citizens were characterized by their courage and endurance in battle and by the simplicity and brevity of their speech.

26a   Something ailing // boy in May (6)

MA(LAD)Y — LAD (boy) contained in (in) MAY (†)

27a   Great // old man left holding “Chicken” sign (10)

P(HEN|OMEN)A|L — {PA (old man) + L (left)} containing (holding) {HEN (chicken) + OMEN (sign)}

28a   “In the mail,” // Penny said (4)

SENT~ — sounds like (said) CENT (penny)


1d   Scattered malt around // place to wash clothes (10)

LAUNDROMAT* — anagram (scattered) of MALT AROUND

2d   Stern combat pilots’ // twisted expressions (8)

GRIM|ACES — GRIM (stern) + ACES (combat pilots)

3d   Balances // piano practice routines (6)

SCALES — double definition

4d   Cut // fasteners back (4)

SNIP< — reversal (back) of PINS (fasteners)

5d   Everyone in cleaner // dance area (8)

B(ALL)ROOM — ALL (everyone) contained in (in) BROOM (cleaner)

6d   Replay // “Love in Dover” (2,4)

D(O) OVER or DO (O)VER — O (love; nil score in tennis) contained in (in) DOVER (†)

Scratching the Surface
Dover[5] is a ferry port in Kent, England, on the coast of the English Channel. It is mainland Britain’s nearest point to the Continent, being only 35 km (22 miles) from Calais, France.

"Love in Dover" would appear to be a composition yet to be written.

7d   Returning knocks, // practice fighting (4)

SPAR< — reversal (returning) of RAPS (knocks)

13d   Relaxed in // lingerie fabric (5)

SAT|IN — SAT (relaxed) + IN (†)

15d   Stopping // consumer’s practice outside U. S. (10)

S(US)PENDING — SPENDING (consumer's practice) containing (outside) US (U.S.)

17d   Stereo I’m playing /is/ not very exciting (8)

TIRESOME* — anagram (playing) of STEREO IM

18d   Prize winner // trained lion best (8)

NOBELIST* — anagram (trained) of LION BEST

Nobelist[5] is a North American term* for a winner of a Nobel Prize. A Nobel Prize[5] is any of six international prizes awarded annually for outstanding work in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, economics, and the promotion of peace. The Nobel Prizes, first awarded in 1901, are decided by members of Swedish learned societies or, in the case of the peace prize, the Norwegian Parliament.

* Presumably, the British term is Nobel Prize winner[5].

20d   Stones lying around on // mountaineer’s gear (6)

PIT(ON)S — PITS (stones; found in fruit) containing (around) ON (†)

22d   Story about mom/’s/ Mexican fare (6)

TA(MA)LE — TALE (story) containing (about) MA (mom)

24d   A female // tennis great (4)

A|SHE — A (†) + SHE (female)

Arthur Ashe[5] (1943–1993) was an American tennis player who won the US Open singles championship in 1968 and Wimbledon in 1975, and was the first black male player to achieve world rankings.

25d   “Nary a soul,” // sister said (4)

NONE~ — sounds like (said) NUN (sister)


The title of today's review is inspired by 23a and 11a.
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. Good morning, all! This puzzle is a near perfect example of an R&W (that's Read and Write for those who may not have seen this before)from C&R (that's Cox and Rathvon for those who may not have seen this before). I would think the most interesting thing is that last week we had Linus Pauling, this week we have what status he achieved.

  2. I tripped over a few first time through but then everything fell in place before leaving the breakfast table. 11A was a new word for me but was able to parse the answer anyway. 21A was cute.

  3. Good day Falcon and folks!
    Have to agree with Henry on this one. Twice through and done.


  4. I'm with Henry on this one. Quick completion this a.m. before heading off for the day.

  5. Hi Falcon - I hope you have been getting your sleep! Based on seeing another posting from you, I can assume you are. I see that Big Dave's blogs routinely have 50-60 comments per day. We don't have near that many. I've deduced that it is because we don't use interesting pseudonyms, like 'Miffypops.' Thus I encourage all the participants in this blog to come up with colourful names.
    RadioFlyer (aka Henry)