Saturday, January 21, 2017

Saturday, January 21, 2017 — Eclectic Dichotomy


Today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon was rather a bit of fun to solve presenting as it does a mix of the virtuous and the not so virtuous.

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   Self-evident // name fits, weirdly (8)

MANIFEST* — anagram (weirdly) of NAME FITS

5a   Put an end to // whisky (6)

SCOTCH — double definition

I do note that our American setters appropriately spell "whisky" as a Scot would rather than the way an Irishman or Yankee would.

10a   Gravity in terrible // song of sorrow (5)

DIR(G)E — G (gravity) contained in (in) DIRE (terrible)

In physics, g[5] is a symbol used in mathematical formulae denoting the acceleration due to gravity, equal to 9.81 m/s2.

11a   Self-driven // gent, finally wearing gold ring, was married (9)

AU(T)O|MATED — T (gent finally; final letter of genT) contained in (wearing) {AU ([symbol for the chemical element] gold} + O ([letter that looks like a] ring)} + MATED (was married)

12a   Minimal // show of relief about lawyer’s first trial (9)

S(L)IGH|TEST — SIGH (show of relief) containing (about) L (Lawyer's first [letter]) + TEST (trial)

13a   Material // otherwise left over (5)

OR|L|ON — OR (otherwise) + L (left) + ON (over; atop)

14a   Tipsy chef shows // spirit (6)

_PSY|CHE_ — hidden in (shows) tiPSY CHEf

16a   A scourge, for the most part: stray // cats (7)

COUGARS* — anagram (stray) of {A + SCOURG (scourge for the most part; SCOURG[E] with the final letter removed)}

19a   Error in records /for/ money gambled away (7)

LO(SIN)GS — SIN (error) contained in (in) LOGS (records)

21a   Slick // when wearing neutral colour (6)

GRE(AS)Y — AS (when) contained in (wearing) GREY (neutral colour)

The wordplay demands the use of the British spelling GREY rather than the US spelling GRAY.

23a   Russian currency // law broken by British (5)

RU(B)LE — RULE (law) containing (broken by) B (British; abbrev.)

The British may be breaking the law, but they likely would not spell the Russian currency thus. In Britain, ruble[10] is considered to be a alternate spelling of rouble; in North America (especially the US), rouble[10] is deemed to be an alternate spelling of ruble.

25a   Self-indulgent sort // rehearsed remark about French composer (9)

L(IBERT)INE — LINE (rehearsed remark) containing (about) IBERT (French composer)

Jacques Ibert[7] (1890–1962) was a French composer.

Scratching the Surface
Ibert pursued a successful composing career, writing (sometimes in collaboration with other composers) seven operas, five ballets, incidental music for plays and films, songs, choral works, and chamber music.

As a composer, Ibert did not attach himself to any of the prevalent genres of music of his time, and has been described as an eclectic — and thus ideally suited to appear in this puzzle. This is seen even in his best-known pieces: Divertissement (1930), for small orchestra is lighthearted, even frivolous, and Escales (1922) is a ripely romantic work for large orchestra.

27a   Selfsame // cryptic in dialect (9)

IDENTICAL* — anagram (cryptic) of IN DIALECT

28a   Shine // coming from single amethyst (5)

_GLE|AM_ — hidden in (coming from) sinGLE AMethyst

29a   Split personality’s bad side // rhymed poorly (2,4)

MR HYDE — anagram (poorly) of RHYMED

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde[7] is a novella by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894) first published in 1886. The work is also known as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or simply Jekyll & Hyde. It is about a London lawyer named Gabriel John Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr Henry Jekyll, and the evil Edward Hyde. The novella's impact is such that it has become a part of the language, with the very phrase "Jekyll and Hyde" coming to mean a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next.

30a   Part of oneself keeping quite behind schedule /is/ lonely (8)

I(SO|LATE)D — ID (part of oneself) containing (keeping) {SO (quite) + LATE (behind schedule)}


1d   Self-effacing // ways with tribe’s leader (6)

MODES|T — MODES (ways) + (with) T (tribe's leader; initial letter of Tribe)

2d   Russians disturbed about Conservative, // self-absorbed youth (9)

NAR(C)ISSUS* — anagram (disturbed) of RUSSIANS containing (about) C (Conservative; abbrev.)

In Greek mythology, Narcissus[5] is a beautiful youth who rejected the nymph Echo and fell in love with his own reflection in a pool. He pined away and was changed into the flower that bears his name.

3d   Character coming back with hot // meat (5)

FLES<|H — reversal (coming back) of SELF (character) + (with) H (hot; abbrev.)

4d   Cat // sees I am mad (7)

SIAMESE* — anagram (mad) of SEES I AM

6d   Self-assurance // comes up, or otherwise (9)

COMPOSURE — anagram (otherwise) of COMES UP OR

7d   Complete // baby, Pacino (5)

TOT|AL — TOT (baby) + AL (Pacino; American actor Al Pacino[7])

8d   Robbery interrupted by Mafia boss, // self-indulgent one (8)

HE(DON)IST — HEIST (robbery) containing (interrupted by) DON (Mafia boss)

9d   It acts strangely // passive (6)

STATIC* — anagram (strangely) of IT ACTS

15d   Mentioned about formerly // feeling too much self-importance (9)

C(ONCE)ITED — CITED (mentioned) containing (about) ONCE (formerly)

17d   Practicing self-denial, // without eating container of cookies (9)

ABS(TIN)ENT — ABSENT (without) containing (eating) TIN (container of cookies)

Absent[5] (preposition) is a formal North American term denoting without ⇒ absent a willingness to negotiate, you can't have collective bargaining.

18d   Self-sacrifice // rituals upset mass (8)

ALTRUIS*|M — anagram (upset) of RITUALS + M (mass; abbrev. used in physics)

20d   Join // Chief of Police in piece of cake (6)

S(P)LICE — P (Chief [initial letter] of Police) contained in (in) SLICE (piece of cake)

21d   Eats in a hurry, /and/ talks turkey? (7)

GOBBLES — double definition

22d   One with me in bed // was wearing a big smile (6)

BE(A|ME)D — {A (one) + ME (†)} contained in (in) BED (†)

24d   Tree /in/ sandy area by the sound (5)

BEECH~ — sounds like (by the sound) BEACH (sandy area)

26d   Mostly entertain // sovereign (5)

REGAL_ — REGAL[E] (entertain) with the final letter removed (mostly)


I often struggle to find a theme in a puzzle but not today — this one is overflowing with possibilities. The puzzle is full of personality with the terms psyche and id appearing in the solutions and the word self appearing no less than 12 times in the clues. In fact, the puzzle has a split personality (29a) with one grouping of clues and solutions suggesting sadness, solitariness, purity, selflessness, and minimalism and another grouping eliciting glee, conviviality, licentiousness, selfishness, and excess — sometimes with opposing aspects present in the same clue.

Thus, on the one hand we have abstinence (5a & 17d), sorrow (10a), minimalism (12a), a scourge (16a), loneliness (30a), chasteness (1d), calmness and control (6d), passivity (9d) and self-sacrifice (18d).

On the other hand we encounter some strong drink (5a), an individual who is far from passive (11a), a tipsy chef with more strong drink (14a), older women on the prowl (16a), sin and gambling (19a), lack of cleanliness (21a), illegal activity (23a), indulgence (25a & 8d), a nefarious character (29a), self-admiration (2d & 15d), physical desire (3d), the antithesis of minimalism (7d), gluttony (21d), joyful pleasure (22d), grandioseness (26d) along with a bit of rich food (17d and 20d).
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,

    Straightforward but fun offering today. Lot's of references to character and traits: 11a, 14a, 25a, 29a, 1d, 2d, 6d, 8d, 15d, 17d, 18d. Thanks to C & R.

    Missed last week. I was 30a in Cuba. Think I'll try it now.

    Have a good day!


  2. Nice puzzle. Got a good laugh from 29a which came last since I thought the first word was My.

    Sometimes it helps to have a second look at the puzzle which I am just doing as I write this. I tried every which way to parse 15d this a.m. At lunch it is very obvious.

    Also, I was trying hard to parse 3d which did not work because I had Fresh. I thought a serf would be a character but dang if I could rationalise the meat. One letter change at lunch takes care of that.

    A great puzzle this a.m. I really like their original clues.

  3. Good Saturday all! Great weather in January to sit down and rattle off this puzzle. OK, not exactly a rattler off, as there were some easy and not so easy clues. Needed some help from my electronic assistant on 19a, and, as Carl noted, didn't see the parsing for 15d for quite a while.
    Titles for today: All about me? Self-sustaining?

    1. Yes, I did notice that the word "self" made many appearances in the clues but was surprised to see just how many when I counted them up while writing the review.

    2. Ah, once again, Falcon you leave us hanging! (A symbolism not found in today's puzzle when there is such plethora of others.) So what title did you come up for today??

    3. Oops. After that long dissertation on the meaning of the title, I forgot to update the title!

  4. Good day Falcon and folks!

    Excellent puzzle today and definitely not too easy. Learned a French composer today although his name did not hold up that particular clue. Loved 29a.

    Thank you for posting.

  5. Catching up on all the puzzles I've missed while away from home and just popping in to thank you - I wasn't able to parse LIBERTINE, not recognizing "rehearsed remark" as a phrase. I enjoyed your analysis of the puzzle's split personality.