Saturday, May 13, 2017

Saturday, May 13, 2017 — Honour Thy Mother


I got off to a bit of a slow start with today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon but it all came together in the end.

Happy Mother's Day to any mothers in the readership.

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   Reformed state criminal // having a motherly quality (13)

MATERNALISTIC* — anagram (reformed) of STATE CRIMINAL

9a   Change around mother/’s/ old school (4,5)

AL(MA MA)TER — ALTER (change) containing (around) MAMA (mother)

10a   Field next to Kentucky /is/ wet when it shouldn’t be (5)

LEA|KY — LEA (field) + (next to) KY (Kentucky; abbrev.)

11a   Doughnut’s eaten by each // model (5)

P(O|S)ER — {O ([letter that looks like a] doughnut) + S ('s)} contained in (eaten by) PER (each)

12a   Some opossums // destroyed trail sign (9)

RINGTAILS* — anagram (destroyed) of TRAIL SIGN

13a   No-goodnik // celeb nabbed by father (7)

DA(STAR)D — STAR (celeb) contained in (nabbed by) DAD (father)

15a   Mother gets on in years, /and/ hurts (7)

DAM|AGES — DAM (mother) + AGES (gets on in years)

17a   Outrages /for/ gents interrupted by tot (7)

M(ADD)ENS — MENS (gents) containing (interrupted by) ADD (TOT)

The gents[5] is an informal British term for a men's public toilet.

The men's is a public toilet for men.

19a   Collecting vote, former U.S. president // attacked (7)

FOR(AYE)D — FORD (former U.S. president [Gerald Ford[7]]) containing (collecting) AYE ([affirmative] vote)

21a   Very drunken anger about a // card game (9)

SO|LIT(A)IRE — SO (very) + {LIT (drunken) + IRE (anger)} containing (about) A (†)

23a   Unfortunate one // in close range (5)

_LOSE|R_ — hidden in (in) cLOSE Range

25a   Figure on ice // had a bite in the sound (5)

EIGHT~ — sounds like (in the sound) ATE (had a bite)

In figure skating, compulsory figures[7] involves using blades to draw circles, figure 8s, and similar shapes in ice. Skaters are judged on the accuracy and clarity of the figures and the cleanness and exact placement of the various turns on the circles.

Delving Deeper
Compulsory figures were formerly included as a component of singles competitions but were eliminated from international events in 1990. The United States was the last country to retain a separate test and competitive structure for compulsory figures, but the last national-level figures championship was held in 1999. Moves in the field (known in the United Kingdom as field moves) replaced compulsory figures as a discipline to teach the same turns and edge skills.

26a   Exotic hash pipes // in good condition (9)

SHIPSHAPE* — anagram (exotic) of HASH PIPES

27a   Mother’s mop is a terribly // dramatic change (13)

METAMORPHOSIS* — anagram (terribly) of MOTHERS MOP IS A


1d   Malady striking a kid/’s/ mother, BTW (5)

MUM|PS — MUM (mother) + PS (BTW [initialism for by the way])

2d   Conqueror/’s/ gentler path (9)

TAMER|LANE — TAMER (gentler) + LANE (path)

Tamerlane[5] (1336–1405) was Mongol ruler of Samarkand 1369–1405; Tartar name Timur Lenk (‘lame Timur’). Leading a force of Mongols and Turks, he conquered Persia, northern India, and Syria and established his capital at Samarkand. He was the ancestor of the Mogul dynasty in India.

3d   Fitted with new wheels, /or/ taken out of service (7)

RETIRED — double definition

4d   April 1, Dee // dressed for cooking (7)

APR|ONE|D — APR (April; abbrev.) + ONE (1) + D (dee)

5d   Bit of land // is leased (5)

IS|LET — IS (†) + LET (leased)

6d   Drink one at a time // in a mocking way (9)

TEA|SINGLY — TEA (drink) + SINGLY (one at a time)

7d   Mustangs // put into service in some of the Bahamas (7)

CAY(USE)S — USE (put into service) contained in (in) CAYS (some of the Bahamas)

8d   Snake in scarlet // made a harsh noise (6)

R(ASP)ED — ASP (snake) contained in (in) RED (scarlet)

14d   Incidental bit of info /in/ Spanish: yes, please (9)

SIDELIGHT — SI (Spanish: yes; Spanish word meaning 'yes') + DELIGHT (please)

16d   Painters/’/ airy sprays capturing Russian range (9)

M(URAL)ISTS — MISTS (airy sprays) containing (capturing) URAL (Russian range)

The setters would appear to have taken some licence here. I would think that the Russian range is either the Urals or Ural Mountains but not simply Ural.

17d   Mr. Moto’s first // name wrong (7)

MISTER|M — MISTER (Mr.) + M (Moto's first [letter])

18d   Cross is crudely // cut (7)

SCISSOR* — anagram (crudely) of CROSS IS

19d   Like Rubens // himself, abstractly (7)

FLEMISH* — anagram (abstractly) of HIMSELF

Sir Peter Paul Rubens[5] (1577–1640) was a Flemish painter. The foremost exponent of northern Baroque, he is best known for his portraits and mythological paintings featuring voluptuous female nudes, as in Venus and Adonis (c.1635).

20d   Nothing inside removes water from // boats (6)

D(O)RIES — O (nothing; letter that looks like a zero) contained in (inside) DRIES (removes water from)

22d   Carry male // symbol (5)

TOTE|M — TOTE (carry) + M (male; abbrev.)

24d   Starts from scratch with action by ship/’s/ deck cleaners (5)

SWABS — initial letters of (starts from) Scratch With Action By Ship

Swab[3] (noun) is slang for a sailor.


The title of today's review is inspired by 1a, 9a, 15a, 27a and 1d which all mention the lady we will honour tomorrow.
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 all,

    I found today's puzzle to be a bit of a mix of the usual high quality clues from C & R and others that seemed a bit forced. Did not like 21a. Did like 2d and 19d. Had to look up 7d. Many references to mother's were appropriate for this weekend. 2.5*/2.5* for me. Have a good weekend.


  2. Had a tough time today. 2d and 7d were too obscure for me and had to be looked up. 24d was the first time I've come across that particular type of wordplay. 5d was tricky for me as it was almost a "runs through" clue. But, had my fill order been different, I wouldn't have been led astray.

    Still can't get 20d.

    1. Hi Chris,

      Re 24d: I thought this sort of clue is fairly common.

      Re 20d: The answer is the plural form of a small boat. I think they're usually row boats. I associate them (maybe wrongly) with the Maritimes.

    2. I've read about them, but this was my first one in the wild.

      Got it. Spent too much time on bailing sumps and bilges.

  3. Certainly harder than usual. Wordplay in 21a, 4d, 16d kept me on my toes.

  4. Good morning Falcon and folks!

    A couple of harder clues but nothing too obscure. Last one in was 17a - could not see the "tot" for a long time. We had a clue similar to 24d just recently.

    Thank you for posting Falcon!

  5. Good early Saturday evening, everyone! Had to go at it late because of other commitments. Hadn't heard of 2d or 7d (well maybe 7d sometime in the dim and distant past). So used our friendly internet tools. Spent too much time drying to figure out Mr Moto's first name (I.A.Moto) before the parsing hit me. Good job on the blog, Falcon! I had to see your parsing of 19a because I had little clue of how to do it. In 27a in your blog, is there a reason to leave out the implicit link?

    1. Re: 27a

      Waldo managed to slip by me again but obviously he was not able to evade your eagle-eye.

      Thanks for uncovering him.

  6. I needed help to finish this one: I just couldn't unravel the clue for 1d, nor could I come up with a word that would fill in the missing squares for 7d (I now remember hearing the word on 1950s TV westerns, but I don't think I ever saw it written out). I, too, liked the nifty 19d anagram as well as the cross of 1a and 4d.