Saturday, April 8, 2017

Saturday, April 8, 2017 — Catching Some Zs


Hopefully today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon left you rested and relaxed but did not put you to sleep.

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   Large birds tucked into bed // caused puzzlement (7)

B(EMUS)ED — EMUS (large birds) contained in (tucked into) BED (†)

5a   Bad dream is // wrongly interpreted (7)

MISREAD* — anagram (bad) of DREAM IS

9a   Difficulties // set up by what we own (7)

RIG|OURS — RIG (set up) + OURS (what we own)

10a   Length of row // on a higher level (7)

L|OF|TIER — L (length; abbrev.) + OF (†) + TIER (row)

11a   Parts of beds // this guy tosses in (grasping swine) (10)

HE|AD(BOAR)DS — HE (this guy) + ADDS (throws in) containing (grasping) BOAR (swine)

12a   The south of France // going through humid interval (4)

_MID|I_ — hidden in (going through) huMID Interval

Midi[7] is a colloquial name for the South of France, a defined geographical area consisting of the regions of France that border the Atlantic Ocean south of the Marais Poitevin, Spain, the Mediterranean, and Italy.

The term Midi literally means midday in French, comparable to the term Mezzogiorno from the south of Italy. The time of midday was synonymous with the direction of south because in France, as in all of the Northern Hemisphere north of the Tropic of Cancer, the sun is in the south at noon.

Interestingly, we have both MIDI (midday) and MIDNIGHT as solutions in the puzzle.

14a   Roman god // was resting on decorative vase (6)

SAT|URN — SAT (was resting) on URN (decorative vase)

In Roman mythology, Saturn[5] is an ancient god, regarded as a god of agriculture. The equivalent god in Greek mythology is Cronus.

The setters contravene the cryptic crossword convention that "on" — used as a charade indicator in an across clue — signifies 'following'  (show explanation ). While this convention is often flouted by British setters, American setters such as Cox and Rathvon may not even acknowledge it exists.

"A on B" Convention
An often ignored cryptic crossword convention provides that, in an across clue, the construction "A on B" is used to clue B + A.

The rationale for this practice is that in order for A to be placed on B, B must already have been positioned (i.e., already have been written). Since the English language is written from left to right, this means that B must come first and A is then appended to it.

Notwithstanding the above, a solver must always be vigilant for setters who flout this convention.

hide explanation

15a   Awakening // company, start to move in old sports car (6,2)

CO|M|IN|G TO — CO (company; abbrev.) + M (start [initial letter] to Move) + IN (†) + GTO (old sports car)

The Pontiac GTO[7] is an automobile that was built by Pontiac in generations from 1964 to 1974 model years, and by GM's subsidiary Holden in Australia from 2004 to 2006.

Delving Deeper
The first generation GTO was a muscle car of the 1960s and 1970s era. Although there were earlier muscle cars, the Pontiac GTO is considered by some to have started the trend with all four domestic automakers offering a variety of competing models.

The name was inspired by the Ferrari 250 GTO, the successful race car. It is an Italian abbreviation for Gran Turismo Omologato, (grand tourer homologated) which means officially certified for racing in the grand tourer class.

17a   I grope in dishevelled // bathrobe (8)

PEIGNOIR* — anagram (disheveled) of I GROPE IN

19a   Guard // southern door (6)

S|ENTRY — S (southern; abbrev.) + ENTRY (door)

22a   Wander // through mangroves (4)

_ROVE_ — hidden in (through) mangROVEs

23a   Monica's sin disturbed // people with trouble sleeping (10)

INSOMNIACS* — anagram (disturbed) of MONICAS SIN

Scratching the Surface
Is Monica merely a convenient name or is it an allusion to Monica Lewinsky[7], a former White House intern with whom President Bill Clinton admitted to having had what he called an "inappropriate relationship" while she worked at the White House, in 1995 and 1996. The affair and its repercussions, which included Clinton's impeachment, became known as the Lewinsky scandal.

26a   Playing golf, run // an eighth of a mile (7)

FURLONG* — anagram (playing) of GOLF RUN

27a   Artist // is single, embraced by companion (7)

MAT(IS|S)E — {IS (†) + S (single; abbrev., possibly in the sense of marital status} contained in (embraced by) MATE (companion)

Henri Matisse[5] (1869–1954) was a French painter and sculptor. His use of non-naturalistic colour led him to be regarded as a leader of the Fauvists. His later painting and sculpture displays a trend towards formal simplification and abstraction, and includes large figure compositions and abstracts made from cut-out coloured paper.

28a   Geezer accepting the woman/'s/ cigar (7)

C(HER)OOT — COOT (geezer) containing (accepting) HER (the woman)

The above parsing is based on the word "her" being an objective pronoun. Alternatively, were one to interpret the word "her" as a possessive pronoun, The clue could be parsed as:
  • Geezer accepting the woman's // cigar (7)
C(HER)OOT — COOT (geezer) containing (accepting) HER (the woman's)

29a   Relaxed // in a chair around end of weekend (7)

SE(D)ATED — SEATED (in a chair) containing (around) D (end [final letter] of weekenD)


1d   Sleeping place/'s/ origin, according to word of mouth (5)

BERTH~ — sounds like (according to word of mouth) BIRTH (origin)

2d   Wandering // Russian fighter let off steam (7)

MIG|RANT — MIG (Russian fighter) + RANT (let off steam)

A MiG[7] is a type of Russian jet fighter. The name comes from the initials of the two founders (Mikoyan and Gurevich) of the organization that designs the planes.

3d   Sleeping // head of state sawing logs? (10)

S|LUMBERING — S (head [first letter] of State) + LUMBERING (sawing logs)

Here and There
In North America, lumber[5] is timber sawn into rough planks or otherwise partly prepared.

In Britain, lumber[5] has a totally different meaning than it does in North America, being articles of furniture or other household items that are no longer useful and inconveniently take up storage space.

4d   I'm sad, wretched, low, /and/ gloomy (6)

DISMA*|L — {anagram (wretched) of IM SAD} + L (low; abbrev. used on weather maps)

5d   First person left poem about // instrument (8)

ME|L|ODE|ON — ME (first person) + L (left; abbrev.) + ODE (poem) + ON (about; concerning)

British dictionaries list melodeon[2,3,4,5,10,11,12] as being the name of either of two musical instruments while American dictionaries are only aware of the latter.
  • a small accordion of German origin, played especially by folk musicians.
  • a small organ popular in the 19th century, similar to the harmonium.
6d   Son of a // sleeper, perhaps (4)

S|OF|A — S (son; abbrev.) + OF (†) + A (†)

7d   Passing out, // getting roused when out cold? (7)

EXITING — EX[C]ITING (getting roused) with C (cold; abbrev.) deleted (when out)

8d   Make Room One Conservative//'s/ sleeping quarters (9)

DO|RM|I|TORY — DO (make) + RM (room; abbrev.) + I ([Roman numeral for] one) + TORY (Conservative)

A Tory[10] is a member or supporter of the Conservative Party in Great Britain or Canada.

Historically, a Tory[10] was a member of the English political party that opposed the exclusion of James, Duke of York from the royal succession (1679–80). Tory remained the label for subsequent major conservative interests until they gave birth to the Conservative Party in the 1830s.

Scratching the Surface
Quite likely, this is a red herring, but Room One[7] is a children's book by American author Andrew Clements which won the 2007 Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery.

13d   Concealed around Swiss city, had some food /and/ slept a lot? (10)

HI(BERN|ATE)D — HID (concealed) containing (around) {BERN (Swiss city) + ATE (had some food)}

Bern[5] (also Berne) is the capital of Switzerland since 1848; population 122,658 (2007).

14d   Sip of "Rico" rum /is/ sleep-inducing (9)

SOPORIFIC* — anagram (rum) of SIP OF RICO

As an anagram indicator, rum[5] is used in a dated informal British sense meaning odd or peculiar ⇒ it’s a rum business, certainly.

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, "Rico" is likely a shortened form of Puerto Rico[3] a self-governing island commonwealth of the United States in the Caribbean Sea east of Hispaniola.

16d   Sparse and poorly lit around green, back // when the day begins (8)

{MID|NI(G)HT}< — reversal (back) of {[THIN (sparse) + (and) DIM (poorly lit)] containing (around) G (green; abbrev.)}

18d   Opposite // the way poetry is written? (7)

IN|VERSE — split (2,5) the solution describes how poetry is structured

20d   Start in reworked // passage (7)

TRANSIT* — anagram (reworked) of START IN

21d   Periods of deep sleep interrupted by minute // signals to pause (6)

CO(M)MAS or COM(M)AS — COMAS (periods of deep sleep) containing (interrupted by) M (minute; abbrev.)

24d   Amphetamine // abysses seen in retrospect (5)

SPEED< — reversal (seen in retrospect) of DEEPS (abysses)

Speed[5] is an informal name for an amphetamine drug, especially methamphetamine.

25d   Child with love /for/ fictional dog (4)

TOT|O — TOT (child) + O (love; nil score in tennis)

Toto[7] is a fictional dog in L. Frank Baum's Oz series of children's books. He belongs to Dorothy Gale, the heroine of the books. The name is pronounced with a long "O", a homophone of "toe toe". The dog was originally a small terrier drawn by W. W. Denslow for the first edition of the Wizard of Oz (1900).


The inspiration for the title of today's review should be no mystery. Although the letter Z is not present in the the solutions to the clues, at least half of the clues in this puzzle pertain in some manner to sleep, rest or relaxation including a time of the day at which most people would be sleeping and a drug that might be used to prevent sleep.
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)
[13] - (Macmillan Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon


  1. Good morning,

    I counted sixteen or more direct or indirect references to sleeping in today's puzzle. Good fun. I think I'll go back to bed. Have a good day!


  2. Good day Falcon and company,
    Definitely not a snoozefest today. Favourite was 21d. Enjoyable puzzle. Thank you for posting!

  3. A few of these took some time to parse, 11a, 16d. Convinced myself 5a meant bad so couldn't get that one for the longest time.
    Thanks to C&R and Falcon

  4. A snoozefest! I love it. Yes MG, it was not one today. I will be greatly impressed if Falcon can manage to show how all the clues relate to Morpheus one way or another (even if some come from Saskatoon).
    Last in was 16d as well. I thought I would need help from our electronic allies, but was able to figure out the last of the entries using the checking letters. 26a gave me some difficulty, too, as I thought it was a double definition for a while. Happy beautiful Saturday, all!

  5. I sat down with this puzzle early this morning and thought I was quite clever to be able to complete it in ten minutes without any assistance – quite an unusual feat for me!

    On the way home at noon, after volunteering at our income tax clinic, thinking I could not be that smart to solve the cryptic in 10 minutes, I recalled that I have a book of 65 C&R cryptics from 2005 which I bought and took with me to Florida when we vacationed there a year ago last February.

    I did half the cryptics at that time, and yes, you guessed it, Cryptic 13 in the book, is exactly the same as today's C&R entry.

    Must say though, I enjoyed the puzzle the second time around as well as the fleeting thought that I must be quite smart!

  6. Hi Falcon! Here are some things to clean up in this week's blog. I think the sleepiness must have oozed into the process of writing.
    17a - anagram mark
    3d - role of LUMBERING
    4d - not a total anagram
    20d - anagram mark
    And, given as you are to providing background info (and we are grateful for that), I would have expected to see some material on the South of France and on the Wizard of Oz wonder dog.
    YOS - Henry

    1. Good thing you're not asleep at the wheel Henry!

    2. I guess I'm getting lazy. Partial anagrams (such as 4d) are a bit ugly to mark.

      Prompted by your comment, I discovered why the South of France is called Midi -- so thank you for that.

    3. I looked in Wikipedia for the South of France, and it noted the area is called Mid, but not what Midi literally meant, and I would not have found that out without your write-up. So thanks for that!
      Re the partial anagram - I recommend the mark-up look like DISMA* | L

  7. The information on le Midi actually comes from Wikipedia. One could easily misinterpret the Wikipedia article to be saying that the term "midi" is Old French. However, although it is a combination of two Old French words -- "mi" (meaning middle) and "di" (meaning day) -- the term is very much in use today.

    As for the markup, you are absolutely correct. Obviously, my brain never got out of first gear on the weekend.

  8. Two weeks late to the party but wanted to thank you for explaining the clue for EXITING.

    1. Hi Carola,

      Good to see you back on the blog. If you find yourself with some extra time, you might want to check out the Good Friday and Easter Monday bonus puzzles.

    2. Thank you, Falcon, I will. My husband and I do quite a bit of traveling in the first quarter of the year, escaping the drawn-out Wisconsin winter, and so I get way behind on the puzzles. I'm looking forward to getting back on track. In the meantime, I know I'll enjoy matching wits with the bonus puzzles.