Saturday, April 1, 2017

Saturday, April 1, 2017 — Play Ball!


Today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon is a true tour de force. They welcome the 2017 Major League Baseball season[7] (Opening Day being tomorrow) with a puzzle in which virtually every clue relates in some way to baseball.

I expect this puzzle will be a real challenge for overseas readers — or anyone, for that matter — who is not familiar with baseball. Consider it payback for all those cricket infused puzzles you send our way. In any event, I have attempted to provide an explanation of the abundant baseball references.

I felt this gem (diamond, perhaps) of a puzzle warranted a bit of extra effort in the review. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together — and that you might learn something that you previously did not know about baseball. I certainly did.

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   Sliders // aimed at Boggs, with one inside (9)

TO|BOGG(AN)S — TO (aimed at) + BOGGS (†) containing (with ... inside) AN (one)

Baseball 101
Wade Boggs[7] is an American former professional baseball third baseman. He spent his 18-year baseball career primarily with the Boston Red Sox, but also played for the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. His hitting in the 1980s and 1990s made him a perennial contender for American League batting titles. He is 33rd on the list of career leaders for batting average among Major League Baseball players with a minimum of 1000 plate appearances. With 12 straight All-Star appearances, Boggs is third only to Brooks Robinson and George Brett in number of consecutive appearances as a third baseman. Boggs was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.

A slider[3] is a fast pitch released with the index and middle fingers close together and slightly off center so that it breaks in the same direction as a curve ball as it approaches the plate.

Inside[3] denotes a pitch passing on the side of home plate nearer the batter.

6a   Marco mishandled // bounce (5)

CAROM* — anagram (mishandled) of MARCO

Baseball 101
The surface reading evokes the image of a fielder misplaying a ball hit is his direction.

Marcos Scutaro, better known as Marco Scutaro[7], is a Venezuelan former professional baseball infielder. Scutaro made his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut with the New York Mets in 2002. Since then, he has also played for the Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants. Scutaro was named the most valuable player of the 2012 National League Championship Series while with the Giants.

9a   Married a Seattle player // involved with a fraternity (7)

M|A|SONIC — M (married; abbrev.) + A (†) + SONIC (Seattle player)

The Seattle SuperSonics[7], commonly known as the Sonics, were an American professional basketball team based in Seattle, Washington. The SuperSonics played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member club of the league's Western Conference Pacific and Northwest divisions from 1967 until 2008. After the 2007–08 season ended, the team relocated to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and now plays as the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Baseball 101
The theme of the puzzle would direct our attention to a different Seattle sports team.

The Seattle Mariners[7] are an American professional baseball team based in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) West division. The team joined the AL as an expansion team in 1977.

10a   Part-time athlete/’s/ broken promise (4-3)

{SEMI-PRO}* — anagram (broken) of PROMISE

Baseball 101
The surface reading evokes the image of a financially-strapped minor league ball player unable to meet his commitments.

11a   Man in Montreal // stadium’s rear inserted in batter’s place (5)

HOM(M)E — M (stadium's rear; final letter of stadiuM) contained in (inserted in) HOME (batter's place; home plate)

Homme[8] is the French word for man.

Baseball 101
Home plate[3] (informally home[3]) is a base, usually consisting of a hard rubber slab, at one of the corners of a diamond at which a batter stands when hitting and which a base runner must finally touch in order to score.

12a   Essays about old, // woeful plays (9)

TR(AGED)IES — TRIES (essays; as a verb) containing (about) AGED (old)

Baseball 101
The surface reading evokes the image of retrospective articles in the sports section dealing with plays such as the one described at 6a.

13a   Painting great // triumph, measured round-tripper (7,5)

WIN|SLOW| HOMER — WIN (triumph) + SLOW (measured) + HOMER (round-tripper)

Breezing Up (A Fair Wind)
Winslow Homer[7] (1836–1910) was an American landscape painter and printmaker, best known for his marine subjects. He is considered one of the foremost painters in 19th-century America and a preeminent figure in American art.

Like Henry, I initially supposed that the definition was simply "painting" reasoning that the setters were using the artist as a metonym for his work ⇒ a Winslow Homer was prominently displayed at the entrance to the gallery.

Baseball 101
A home run[3] (informally homer[3] or round tripper[a]) is a hit that allows the batter to make a complete circuit of the diamond and score a run.

[a] McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions

17a   Starting nine turned // stubborn (12)

INTRANSIGENT* — anagram (turned) of STARTING NINE

Baseball 101
Ignoring the designated hitter in the American League, there are nine players on a baseball team who are playing at any given time. The starting nine are the nine players who start the game for their team. Some of them may be replaced by substitutes as the game progresses.

22a   Hall-of-Fame hitter collects bright yellow // flowers (9)

MARI(GOLD)S — MARIS (Hall-of-Fame hitter [Roger Maris]) containing (collects) GOLD (bright yellow)

Baseball 101
In this clue, Cox and Rathvon attempt to remedy a grave injustice. Despite his accomplishments, Roger Maris has unbelievably been overlooked by Hall of Fame voters.

Roger Maris[7] (1934–1985) was an American professional baseball player who played right field for twelve seasons (from 1957 through 1968) on four Major League Baseball (MLB) teams — the Cleveland Indians, the Kansas City Athletics, the New York Yankees, and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Maris set the MLB record for home runs during the 1961 season with 61, breaking Babe Ruth's single-season record of 60 home runs in 1927. This record was challenged by then-baseball commissioner Ford Frick (who had been a friend of Babe Ruth), who said that Maris needed to break the record in 154 games instead of the current schedule of 162 games.

Maris was an American League (AL) All-Star from 1959 through 1962, an AL Most Valuable Player in 1960 and 1961, and an AL Gold Glove Award winner in 1960. Maris appeared in seven World Series, five as a member of the Yankees and two with the Cardinals.

24a   Pelts, /and/ puts out of sight (5)

HIDES — double definition

Baseball 101
The surface reading evokes the image of a home run ball being literally hit "out of the park".

Boaters congregate in San Francisco Bay outside AT&T
Park hoping to snare a “splash hit” home run ball.

25a   Giant called out /in/ squeeze (7)

TIGHTEN~ — sounds like (called out) TITAN (giant)

A titan* [5] is a person or thing of very great strength, intellect, or importance ⇒ a titan of American industry.

* In Classical Greek mythology, the Titans and Titanesses[7] were members of the second order of divine beings, descending from the primordial deities and preceding the Olympian deities. Based on Mount Othrys, the Titans most famously included the first twelve children of the primordial Gaia (Mother Earth) and Uranus (Father Heaven). They were giant deities of incredible strength, who ruled during the legendary Golden Age, and also composed the first pantheon of Greek deities.

Baseball 101
The San Francisco Giants[7] are an American professional baseball franchise based in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1883 as the New York Gothams, and renamed three years later to the New York Giants, the team eventually moved to San Francisco in 1958. The Giants compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) West division. The Giants play at AT&T field (see illustration above at 24a).

A squeeze play[10] (or squeeze for short) is a play in which the batter bunts in an attempt to score a runner from third base, with the runner starting for home as the ball is pitched.

26a   Enchanting woman // put garland around Orel (7)

L(OREL)EI — LEI (garland) contained in (put ... around) OREL (†)

Lorelei[5] is a siren said to live on the Lorelei rock, a rock on the bank of the Rhine. She is held by legend to lure boatmen to destruction with her enchanting song.

Baseball 101
Orel Hershiser[7] is an American former professional baseball pitcher who played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1983 to 2000.

He made his major league debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1983. After 12 seasons with the Dodgers, Hershisher spent time with the Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, and New York Mets before returning to Los Angeles for his final season.

During his tenure with the Dodgers, Hershiser was a three-time All-Star. Hershiser's most successful season came in 1988, when he set a major league record by pitching 59 consecutive innings without allowing a run. He helped lead the Dodgers to a championship in the 1988 World Series, and was named the National League (NL) Championship Series Most Valuable Player (MVP) and the World Series MVP. That season, he won the NL Cy Young Award and an NL Gold Glove Award. He later pitched in two more World Series and earned the American League Championship Series MVP Award.

27a   N.Y. ads blasted // Koufax (5)

SANDY* — anagram (blasted) of NY ADS

Baseball 101
Sandy Koufax[7] (born Sanford Braun) is a former American Major League Baseball (MLB) left-handed pitcher. He pitched 12 seasons for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, from 1955 to 1966. Koufax, at age 36 in 1972, became the youngest player ever elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Koufax's career peaked with a run of six outstanding years from 1961 to 1966, before arthritis in his left elbow ended his career prematurely at age 30. He was an All-Star for six seasons and was the National League's Most Valuable Player in 1963. He won three Cy Young Awards in 1963, 1965, and 1966, by unanimous votes, making him the first three-time Cy Young winner in baseball history and the only one to win three times when one overall award was given for all of major league baseball instead of one award for each league. Koufax also won the NL Triple Crown for pitchers those same three years by leading the NL in wins, strikeouts, and earned run average.

Koufax was the first major league pitcher to pitch four no-hitters and the eighth pitcher to pitch a perfect game in baseball history. Despite his comparatively short career, Koufax's 2,396 career strikeouts ranked 7th in history as of his retirement, trailing only Warren Spahn (2,583) among left-handers. Koufax, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martínez, and Nolan Ryan are the only four pitchers elected to the Hall of Fame who had more strikeouts than innings pitched.

Koufax is also remembered as one of the outstanding Jewish athletes in American sports. His decision not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur garnered national attention as an example of conflict between professional pressures and personal beliefs.

28a   Covering // old N.Y. stadium with article (9)

SHEA|THING — SHEA (old N.Y. stadium) + (with) THING (article)

Baseball 101
Shea Stadium[7] (formally known as William A. Shea Municipal Stadium) was a stadium in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, Queens, New York City. It was the home park of Major League Baseball's New York Mets from 1964 to 2008. It was demolished in 2009 to create additional parking for the adjacent Citi Field, the current home of the Mets.


1d   Chop /for/ Thomas, a player for Atlanta (8)

TOM|A|HAWK — TOM ([diminutive for] Thomas) + A (†) + HAWK (player for Atlanta)

The Atlanta Hawks[7] are a professional basketball team based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Hawks compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member team of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division.

Baseball 101
The theme of the puzzle would direct our attention to a different Atlanta sports team.

The Atlanta Braves[7] are an American professional baseball franchise that competes in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member of the National League (NL) East division. The "Braves" name, which was first used in 1912, originates from a term for a Native American warrior.

The Braves and the Chicago Cubs are the National League's two remaining charter franchises. The Braves were founded in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1871, as the Boston Red Stockings (not to be confused with the American League's Boston Red Sox). The team states it is "the oldest continuously operating professional sports franchise in America."

After various name changes, the team eventually began operating as the Boston Braves, which lasted for most of the first half of the 20th century. Then, in 1953, the team moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and became the Milwaukee Braves, followed by the final move to Atlanta in 1966. The team's tenure in Atlanta is noted for Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's career home run record in 1974.

The Braves logo includes the image of a tomahawk. The tomahawk chop is a sports celebration originated by fans of the Florida State University Seminoles football team and subsequently adopted by fans of the Atlanta Braves baseball team, Kansas City Chiefs American football team as well as the English Exeter Chiefs rugby union team. The action involves moving the forearm forwards and backwards repetitively with an open palm to simulate chopping. The action has caused controversy as a symbol of appropriation of Native American culture.

2d   Infielders with time /in/ dugout area? (8)

BASEMEN|T — BASEMEN (infielders) + T (time; abbrev.)

Baseball 101
A baseman[3] is a player assigned to first, second, or third base.

An infielder[11] is any of the four defensive players — first baseman, second baseman, shortstop, third baseman — stationed around the infield in baseball.

A dugout is either of two — one per team — usually sunken shelters at the side of a baseball field where the players stay while not on the field.

3d   Courteous, // let Gene put in a different order (7)

GENTEEL* — anagram (put in a different order) of LET GENE

Baseball 101
The surface reading conjures up an image of an uncharacteristically courteous baseball manager allowing his counterpart on the opposing team — Gene Mauch perhaps — to make alterations to his batting order.

The batting order[b] is a list of batters in the order in which they will bat ⇒ the managers presented their cards to the umpire at home plate.

[b] WordNet 3.0

Gene Mauch[7] (1925–2005) was an American professional baseball player and manager. He played in Major League Baseball as a second baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, Boston Braves, St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox.

Mauch was best known for managing four teams from 1960 to 1987. He is by far the winningest manager to have never won a league pennant, three times coming within a single victory. He managed the Philadelphia Phillies (1960–68), Montreal Expos (1969–75, as their inaugural manager), Minnesota Twins (1976–80), and California Angels (1981–82, 1985–87). His 1,902 career victories ranked 8th in major league history when he retired, and his 3,942 total games ranked 4th. He gained a reputation for playing a distinctive "small ball" style, which emphasized defense, speed and base-to-base tactics on offense rather than power hitting.

4d   Jock goes after a // tie (5)

A|SCOT — SCOT (Jock; Scottish diminutive for John corresponding to Jack in England) following (goes after) A (†)

Baseball 101
The surface reading suggests a ballplayer attempting to force a game to extra innings.

Jock[7] is a North American term for a stereotypical male athlete.

While there have been a couple of baseball players named Jock, neither of them is of any particular note. One, Jock Menefee[7] (1868–1953), was the first National League pitcher to pull off a successful steal of home (in 1902).

5d   Western city // crushed Kansas, too (9)

SASKATOON* — anagram (crushed) of KANSAS TOO

Saskatoon[7] is the largest city in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.

Baseball 101
Admittedly, one may have to stretch more than a little here to connect the clue to baseball as one would more likely refer to the team as Kansas City rather than Kansas (and the team is not even located in Kansas).

The Kansas City Royals[7] are an American professional baseball team based in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member team of the American League (AL) Central division.

6d   Arrive clutching darling, /and/ get in the game (7)

COM(PET)E — COME (arrive) containing (clutching) PET (darling)

Baseball 101
Our baseball player gives his sweetheart a hug before the game.

7d   Compensated /with/ the help of an agent? (6)

REP|AID — the help (AID) of an agent (REP) might otherwise be called "rep aid".

Baseball 101
Our improverished semi-pro ball player from 10a might benefit from the help of this agent.

8d   Teary about a // Red (6)

M(A)OIST — MOIST (teary) containing (about) A (†)

A Maoist is a follower of Mao Zedong[5] (also Mao Tse-tung and commonly referred to as simply Mao) (1893–1976) who was a Chinese statesman; chairman of the Communist Party of the Chinese People’s Republic 1949–76; head of state 1949–59. A cofounder of the Chinese Communist Party in 1921 and its effective leader from the time of the Long March (1934–35), he eventually defeated both the occupying Japanese and rival Kuomintang nationalist forces to create the People’s Republic of China in 1949, becoming its first head of state.

Baseball 101
The Cincinnati Reds[7] are an American professional baseball team based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) Central division. They were a charter member of the American Association in 1882 and joined the NL in 1890.

14d   Stuff for sale includes strategy /for/ aces’ locations? (9)

WAR(PLAN)ES — WARES (stuff for sale) containing (includes) PLAN (strategy)

Baseball 101
The surface reading suggests someone is trying to peddle the secrets of baseball's star pitchers.

In baseball, an ace[7] is the best starting pitcher on a team and nearly always the first pitcher in the team's starting rotation. Barring injury or exceptional circumstances, an ace typically starts on Opening Day. In addition, aces are usually preferred to start crucial playoff games, sometimes on three days rest.

The term may be a derivation of the nickname of Asa Brainard, (real first name: "Asahel"), a 19th-century star pitcher, who was sometimes referred to as "Ace".

A lot of modern baseball analysts and fans have started using the term "ace" to refer to the elite pitchers in the game, not necessarily to the best starting pitcher on each team. For example, the April 27, 1981 Sports Illustrated cover was captioned "The Amazing A's and Their Five Aces" to describe the starting rotation of the 1981 Oakland Athletics.

15d   Where you’ll find Indians // when idle, strangely (3,5)

{NEW DELHI}* —  anagram (strangely) of WHEN IDLE

Baseball 101
We now know where this Ohio baseball team vacations.

The Cleveland Indians[7] are an American professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) Central division.

16d   Concealing // wood for baseball bats in undercover operation (8)

ST(ASH)ING — ASH (wood for baseball bats) contained in (in) STING (undercover operation)

Baseball 101
Baseball bats[7] are made of either wood, or a metal alloy (typically aluminum). Most wooden bats are made from ash. Other woods include maple, hickory, and bamboo. Hickory has fallen into disfavor over its greater weight, which slows down bat speed, while maple bats gained popularity following the introduction of the first major league sanctioned model in 1997. The first player to use one was Joe Carter of the Toronto Blue Jays. Barry Bonds used maple bats the seasons he broke baseball's single-season home run record in 2001, and the career home run record in 2007. In 2010, the increased tendency of maple bats to shatter has caused Major League Baseball to examine their use, banning some models in minor league play.

18d   Every evening, // almost, Cobb takes left (7)

NIGH|T(L)Y — NIGH (almost) + TY (Cobb; baseball player Ty Cobb) containing (takes) L (left; abbrev.)

Baseball 101
Ty Cobb[7] (1886–1961), nicknamed The Georgia Peach, was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) outfielder. Cobb spent 22 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, the last six as the team's player-manager, and finished his career with the Philadelphia Athletics. In 1936 Cobb received the most votes of any player on the inaugural Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, receiving 222 out of a possible 226 votes (98.2%); no other player received a higher percentage of votes until 1992. In 1999, editors at the Sporting News ranked Ty Cobb 3rd on their list of "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players".

Cobb is widely credited with setting 90 MLB records during his career. He still holds several records as of the end of the 2016 season, including the highest career batting average (.366 or .367, depending on source) and most career batting titles with 11 (or 12, depending on source). He retained many other records for almost a half century or more, including most career hits until 1985, most career runs until 2001, most career games played and at bats until 1974, and the modern record for most career stolen bases until 1977. He still holds the career record for stealing home (54 times) and for stealing second base, third base, and home in succession (5 times), and as the youngest player ever to compile 4,000 hits and score 2,000 runs. Cobb ranks fifth all-time in number of games played and committed 271 errors, the most by any American League (AL) outfielder.

19d   Come into possession of // tinier bats, gaining hit (7)

IN(H)ERIT* — anagram (bats) of TINIER containing (gaining) H (hits; abbrev. commonly used in  baseball — for instance, on scoreboards)

Baseball 101
It seems that baseball bats have become smaller.

By regulation, a baseball bat[7] may be no more than 2.75 inches (70 mm) in diameter at the thickest part and no more than 42 inches (1,100 mm) long. Although historically bats approaching 3 pounds (1.4 kg) were swung, today bats of 33 ounces (0.94 kg) are common, topping out at 34 ounces (0.96 kg) to 36 ounces (1.0 kg).

20d   Hits // single in front of little kids (6)

S|MITES — S (single; unmarried) + (in front of) MITES (little kids)

Baseball 101
A single[3] is a hit enabling the batter to reach first base. Also called one-bagger or one-base hit.

21d   Start /with/ zero gear included (6)

O|RIG|IN — O ([letter that looks like a] zero) + RIG (gear) + IN (included)

Baseball 101
The clue perhaps alludes to the situation faced by an expansion team starting from scratch — no manager, no coaches, no players, no gear.

The Wikipedia article Baseball clothing and equipment[7] outlines the gear used in baseball.

23d   Defensive credit, taking loss /for/ reliever (5)

SA(L)VE — SAVE (defensive credit; see Baseball 101 following) containing (taking) L (loss; abbrev. commonly used in the team standings published on the sports page)

Baseball 101
Although this clue employs a number of baseball terms, I would say that the surface reading really does not make much sense in a baseball context.

Reliever[3] is another name for a relief pitcher[3], a pitcher who replaces another during a game.

A save[3] is the preservation by a relief pitcher of another pitcher's win. In other words, the relief pitcher successfully defends the lead handed to him by his predecessor on the mound.


I can't imagine what inspired the title of today's review!
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)
[12] - (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon


  1. Good morning Falcon et al,

    Pleasant little puzzle from C & R this morning. My favourite is 13a because I have an original print from him.

    I'm having a real problem with 8d. I want the answer to be "morose". I think that could be a synonym for "teary" and it has Pete Rose, a famous Red in it. But I can't account for the "mo". And, of course, it doesn't fit the last letter of 10a.

    Have a good day everyone!


    1. I finally figured out 8d. It has nothing to do with a baseball team or Pete Rose. Rather, it has to do with a follower of a former communist Chinese leader.

  2. I really enjoyed this puzzle. For 8d, think red as in a country in the Far East, rather than the baseball team. I interpreted "teary" more along the lines of wet instead of sad, and added the letter indicated in the clue to get the answer.

  3. Looks like I posted at the same time you figured it out on your own.

  4. Good April Fool's Day everyone! This certainly was a bit of an April Fool's joke for me, the bottom left hand corner being the last in. I worked on 22a for a while - the answer seems obvious from the checking letters, but Roger Maris has not been elected to the Hall of Fame (according to google) and that didn't leave a lot of other options. But I guess I'll have to wait to see the solution. I thought 11a was hilarious. 13a is a painter, not a painting?? Last one in was 23d, didn't figure out the parsing until now as I am writing this entry!

    1. And a Good April Fool's Day to you too! 22a must refer to Maris. I think the definition for 13a is "painting great" which would get the painter.

    2. I was putting 'great triumph' together to get the first of the charade, so yes, I agree a painting great would be a painter.

  5. It took a little elbow grease this morning but not too bad. I quickly recognized the baseball theme but then was misled by references to teams from a different sport including on that no longer exists.I thought that was a bit strange.

  6. Took advantage of the weather to get some yard work done. I hit today's puzzle in 15 Minute spurts when taking a break. 6d and 13a were the last in, having got the wrong verb tense stuck in my head for the first. I ended up using a pattern search, and felt stupid when I saw the answer. As for 13a, I don't know him, and reading the comments here gave me enough of a hint to Google the answer.

    I find it interesting to see what others have difficulty with, as it's rarely what I had trouble solving. I think our perspective on the puzzle is heavily influenced by what we've read recently.

  7. Hello Falcon and folks!

    Tricky little puzzle but also lots of fun. I knew there were a lot of references to baseball but not nearly as many as Falcon unearthed.

    Last one in for me was 22a - kept thinking that "flower" might be the usually misleading river... And I really liked 1a.


  8. As a huge baseball fan, and with today being the opening day of the regular season, I thought I would ace this puzzle. But it took me a while to get 6d and 20d. I also have a print of Winslow Homer. Enjoyed today's submission, unlike some recent ones.

  9. I interpreted "teary" more along the lines of wet instead of sad, and added the letter indicated in the clue to get the answer.