Saturday, February 11, 2017

Saturday, February 11, 2017 — Obsession with Baseball


Yesterday was jam-packed with activities and after posting the puzzle from Cox & Rathvon, I was able to find merely a few moments here and there in the midst of a busy schedule to work on the solution. Thus the review appears a day late. However, it would seem that is not necessarily a bad thing, as the blog lived up to its name and truly became a forum where readers worked together in finding a solution to the puzzle

As always, I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle — and I thank all of you who regularly contribute. It is gratifying to see that readers are enjoying and benefiting from the blog.

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   Need // cup, in addition (9)

ADDI(C)TION — C (cup; abbrev. found in recipes) contained in (in) ADDITION (†)

6a   Hardy sort // crossing seas to Iceland (5)

_S|TO|IC_ — hidden in (crossing) seaS TO ICeland

9a   Using no animal products, // for example, in truck (5)

V(EG)AN — EG (for example) contained in (in) VAN (truck)

10a   Happening inside, observed // prime number (9)

S(EVENT)EEN — EVENT (happening; noun) contained in (inside) SEEN (observed)

11a   Attacked // 51-colour problem’s third part (3,4)

LI|T INT|O — LI ([Roman numeral for] 51) + TINT (colour) + O (problem's third part; third letter [part] of prOblem)

12a   Milk producer/’s/ company, by rough count (7)

CO|CONUT* — CO (company; abbrev.) + (by) anagram (rough) of COUNT

13a   Lingers around ancient // relics (4-5)

H(OLD)-OVERS — HOVERS (lingers) containing (around) OLD (ancient)

15a   Check about second // varnish ingredient (5)

RE(S)IN — REIN (check) containing (about) S (second; abbrev.)

17a   Count // one among ten in the decimal system (5)

BAS(I)E — I ([Roman numeral for] one) contained in (among) BASE (ten in the decimal system)

Count Basie[5] (1904–1984) was an American jazz pianist, organist, and bandleader; born William Basie. In 1935 he formed a big band, known as the Count Basie Orchestra, which became one of the most successful bands of the swing era.

18a   Reproduce convoluted // series of steps (9)

PROCEDURE* — anagram (convoluted) of REPRODUCE

20a   One camper interrupting Grandma/’s/ state of bliss (7)

N(I|RV)ANA — {I ([Roman numeral for] one) + RV (camper; recreational vehicle} contained in (interrupting) NANA (grandma)

Nirvana[5] is:
  • (in Buddhism) a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth. It represents the final goal of Buddhism.
  • (in Hinduism and Jainism) another term for moksha, release from the cycle of rebirth impelled by the law of karma.
22a   Answer after cutting // cloths with plaid patterns (7)

TART|ANS — ANS (answer; abbrev.) following (after) TART (cutting)

25a   Cue about a // number left after division (9)

REM(A)INDER — REMINDER (cue) containing (about) A (†)

26a   Principal eastern // neighbour of Quebec (5)

MAIN|E — MAIN (principal) + E (eastern; abbrev.)

27a   Posed wearing // silky fabric (5)

SAT|IN — SAT (posed) + IN (wearing)

28a   Double // knot with loops reversed in it (3-6)

T(WO-B<)AGGER — {reversal (reversed) of BOW (knot with loops)} contained in (in) TAGGER (it; the player in a game of tag who must catch and tag another player)

Kudos to Jonathan for deciphering the wordplay which I must admit eluded me. Like many of you, I was looking for the wordplay to be a synonym of "knot" with BOW (loops) reversed in it.

In baseball, two-bagger[3] is another name for a double[3] (also called two-base hit), a hit enabling the batter to reach second base.

Descent into Irrelevance
I spent a great deal of time trying to find a knot called a tagger — and I came remarkably close to doing so.

The Munter hitch[7], also known as the Italian hitch or the Crossing Hitch, is a simple knot, commonly used by climbers, cavers, and rescuers as part of a life-lining or belay system. To climbers, this knot is also known as HMS, the abbreviation for the German term Halbmastwurfsicherung, meaning half clove hitch belay. This technique can be used with a special "pear-shaped" HMS locking carabiner, or any locking carabiner wide enough to take two turns of the rope. The Munter hitch is named after a Swiss mountain guide, Werner Munter, who popularised its use in mountaineering around 1970.

The hitch is simply a set of wraps using a rope or cord around an object, generally a round object like a pipe, pole or more commonly, a carabiner. Its main use is as a friction device for controlling the rate of descent in belay systems.

Tower technicians also use this knot for lowering loads, and tagging heavy loads while hoisting. It is commonly referred to in the tower industry as a tag knot.

Here tag[10] is used in the sense of  a small piece of material hanging from or loosely attached to a part or piece. A tag line is a line attached to a load being hoisted to control the orientation of the object and prevent it from spinning.


1d   Oddly valid // number? (5)

ADVIL* — anagram (oddly) of VALID

"Number" is used in the whimsical cryptic crossword sense of 'something that numbs'.

Advil is a trademark of Pfizer Inc. for ibuprofen[7], a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used for treating pain, fever, and inflammation.

2d   Numeral attached to boxer’s // medicine (9)

DIGITALIS — DIGIT (numeral) + (attached to) ALI (boxer; American professional boxer Muhammad Ali[7]) + S ('s)

3d   Rule // Canada’s capital, shortly (5)

C|ANON — C (Canada's capital; initial letter [capital] of Canada) + ANON (shortly)

4d   Travelling tenor is // coming up (2,5)

{IN STORE}* — anagram (travelling) of TENOR IS

5d   Beginners’ // saintly attribute? (7)

NO|VICES — split (2, 5) the solution gives us a phrase denoting free of practices considered to be evil, degrading, or immoral

6d   Easy job, obtaining voltage // line on an oscilloscope (4,5)

SINE CUR(V)E — SINECURE (easy job) containing (obtaining) V (voltage)

"voltage" = V (show explanation )

In physics, V[5] is a symbol used to represent voltage in mathematical formulae ⇒ V = IR.

hide explanation

7d   Swimming once around a // large body of water (5)

OCE(A)N* — anagram (swimming) of ONCE containing (around) A (†)

8d   Changed accents on // name of a lake in Germany (9)

CONSTANCE* — anagram (changed) of ACCENTS ON

Lake Constance[5] is a lake in southwestern Germany on the north side of the Swiss Alps, at the meeting point of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, forming part of the course of the River Rhine.

13d   Article outlaw added to protagonist’s // hot peppers (9)

H(A|BAN)EROS — {A ([indefinite] article) + BAN (outlaw)} contained in (added to) HERO (protagonist) + S ('s)

Habanero[10] (in full habanero pepper) is a kind of chili pepper that is small, orange when ripe, and extremely hot: it is used especially in Latin American cooking.

14d   Period placed in alternative // math process (9)

OP(ERA)TION — ERA (period) contained in (placed in) OPTION (alternative)

16d   Informing // new organization of equal sign (9)

SQUEALING* — anagram of (new organization of) EQUAL SIGN

18d   Pass school’s final examination, /and/ cheer (7)

P|L|AUDIT — P (pass; abbrev. used in pass/fail academic grading systems) + L (school's final; final letter of schooL) + AUDIT (examination)

19d   Oration excited // province (7)

ONTARIO* — anagram (excited) of ORATION

21d   Send // countdown clock back (5)

REMIT< — reversal (back) of TIMER (countdown clock)

23d   Dance selection // from humdrum band (5)

_RUM|BA_ — hidden in (from) humdRUM BAnd

24d   Cut // very thin, by the sound of it (5)

SHEAR~ — sounds like (by the sound of it) SHEER (very thin)


With spring training just around the corner, 1a and 28a suggest an appropriate title for today's review — although after the headache induced by my struggles with 28a, I was tempted to fashion a title incorporating 1d.
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. I found this puzzle to be quite enjoyable. However, for 28A, I have all the intersecting letters but I am still not sure about the answer.

  2. Good afternoon,

    I'm also having a devil of a time with 28a today. Other than that I found this a fairly straightforward puzzle. I especially liked 6a, 13a and 6d. Have a good weekend everyone!


  3. According to the internet, a two-banger is a two stroke motorbike. A banger can be a problem or a knot. This is the closest I've been able to come to solving 28a.
    My first read of 17a made me think the answer was ninth (hidden) until I thought of another Count.

    1. Just one more thing - bagger or banger, the word BOW backwards in the answer is made of loops? I favour banger because it is a problem (knot). I can't see how bagger would fulfill that role.

    2. I have been assuming that the last letter of 28a is "r" because I was sure that 24d was 'shear'. Now I'm beginning to doubt my answer to 24d. Shear is another word for cut and I was thinking that as sheer it could be 'very thin' but that is a bit of a stretch. What if the answer is 'skene' (pronounced skinny)? I don't see how that could mean 'cut'. But that does get us a different final letter for 28a. From there I get to this:

      "Bow" (loops) backwards in "tangle" (knot)gets 'two-bangle'. Apparently that is a word.

    3. Intriguing, but I don't see skene being cut either. I think we are all waiting breathlessly for Falcon.

    4. Hello Falcon and folks,
      Great puzzle. 28a and 1d were last ones in - laughed out loud when I finally "got" 1d. A "double" is definitely a two-bagger. I think bow (loops reversed) is found in knot aka tagger. Think of a knot used as a tag or identifying mark. Had to google the lake in Germany. Noticed several references to math and numbers in today's puzzle.

      Thank you for posting!

  4. Found this a bit of a slog. 1a, 11a and 13a being troublesome. Didn't know 13d either. Figured 28a referenced "it" meaning tag, but could be wrong.

  5. Not 100% but I think 28A is two bagger.

  6. Giving up with 1d and 28a unsolved. The only thing that fits 'oddly valid' and my cross letters is a common analgesic. But it's not a number!

    1. Hi Chris,

      I think the anagram for valid in 1d is a product that numbs pain. Hence 'number'.

  7. I think Jonathan is on to it... In a game of tag, the person who is "IT" is the tagger. Bow reversed in tagger yields "two-bagger" meaning a two-base hit, i.e., "double" in baseball.

    1. Yes, I agree that is the correct solution. Good one!


    2. I like this answer, but it makes the "knot" part of the clue irrelevant.

    3. I think "knot with loops" = bow.

  8. A great offering for the weekend mental workout. I've seen it used as in 28a before, so was wise to E&H. ^d - sinecure for easy job is this weeks new word for me. New the German Lake, but had to google various hot peppers as they are not on my diet. More fun than difficult I thought, so 3/4 rating.