Saturday, March 22, 2014

Saturday, March 22, 2014 — Back to Basics


I didn't spot any clear theme in today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon. I did feel that it posed a bit more of a challenge than usual. It certainly didn't help that my grasp of first principles was found wanting.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

Legend: "*" anagram; "~" sounds like; "<" letters reversed
"( )" letters inserted; "_" letters deleted; "†" explicit in the clue
Definitions are underlined in the clue, with subsidiary indications being marked by means of a dashed underline in semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.


1a   Ire Douglas Wilder causes conversationalists (10)

DIALOGUERS* — anagram (wilder) of IRE DOUGLAS

Douglas Wilder[7] is an American politician, who served as the first African American to be elected as governor of Virginia and first African-American governor of any state since Reconstruction. Wilder served as the 66th Governor of Virginia from 1990 to 1994. When earlier elected as Lieutenant Governor, he was the first African American elected to statewide office in Virginia. His most recent political office was Mayor of Richmond, Virginia, which he held from 2005 to 2009.

6a   Some sheep employ speaking (4)

EWES~ — sounds like (speaking) USE (employ)

9a   Talk with Jerry Seinfeld's friend, "the Queen of her domain" (10)

CHAT|ELAINE — CHAT (talk) + (with) ELAINE (Jerry Seinfeld's friend)

Elaine Benes[7] is a fictional character on the American television sitcom Seinfeld (1989–1998), played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Elaine's best friend is her ex-boyfriend Jerry Seinfeld.

10a   Key is left by entrance at front (4)

IS|L|E_ — IS (†) + L (left) + E (entrance at front; initial letter (at front) of Entrance)

11a   Dinosaur stepped on back of coin (10)

DIME|TROD|ON — {TROD (stepped) + ON (†)} following (back of) DIME (coin)

12a   Tree used in landscape architecture (4)

_PE|AR_ — hidden in (in) landscaPE ARchitecture

14a   Shelter the French band in prison? (7)

SHACK|LE — SHACK (shelter) + LE (the French; masculine singular form of the French definite article)

16a   Gas consumed recent arrival (7)

NEON|ATE — NEON (gas) + ATE (consumed)

17a   Huge variety of cocaine (7)

OCEANIC* — anagram of (variety of) COCAINE

19a   Place in Iraq caught commercial's sound (7)

BAGHDAD~ — sounds like ('s sound; sound of) {BAGGED (caught) + AD (commercial}

20a   Looks at end of the agreement (4)

E|YES — E (end [final letter] of thE) + YES (agreement)

21a   Latinesque dancing in a row? (10)

SEQUENTIAL* — anagram (dancing) of LATINESQUE

24a   Gemstone belonging to Hopalong (4)

_OPAL_ — hidden in (belonging to) HOPALong

Hopalong Cassidy[7] is a fictional cowboy hero created in 1904 by American author Clarence E. Mulford (1883–1956), who wrote a series of popular short stories and many novels based on the character.

In his early writings, Mulford portrayed the character as rude, dangerous, and rough-talking. Beginning in 1935, the character—as played by movie actor William Boyd in films adapted from Mulford's books—was transformed into a clean-cut on-screen hero. A total of sixty-six immensely popular films were released, only a few of which relied on Mulford's original story lines. Mulford later revised and republished his earlier works to be more consistent with the character's new, polished on-screen persona.

25a   Puzzled zebras initially headed behind grass (10)

BAMBOO|Z|LED — {Z (zebras initially; initial letter of Zebras) + LED (headed)} following (behind) BAMBOO (grass)

26a   Shuffled okay deck (4)

KAYO* — anagram (shuffled) of OKAY

27a   Write city on the Loire about YMCA poker games (5,5)

PEN|N(Y) ANTES — PEN (write) + NANTES (city on the Loire) containing Y ([shortened form of] YMCA)

Nantes[5] is a city in western France, on the Loire [river], capital of Pays de la Loire region; population 290,871 (2006).


1d   Chopped down on the rocks (5)

D|ICED — D (down) + ICED (on the rocks)

2d   Frighten Albert with weapon (5)

AL|ARM — AL ([shortened form of] Albert) + (with) ARM (weapon)

3d   Passing undisguised, a monarch (10)

OVERT|A|KING — OVERT (undisguised) + A (†) + KING (monarch)

4d   Confused Louanne with somebody else (7)

UNALONE* — anagram (confused) of LOUANNE

5d   Where some Burmese are controlled by thug (7)

RAN|GOON — RAN (controlled) + (by) GOON (thug)

Rangoon[5] is the former capital of Burma (Myanmar), a port in the Irrawaddy delta; population 4,088,000 (est. 2007). For centuries a Buddhist religious centre, it is the site of the Shwe Dagon Pagoda, built over 2,500 years ago. The modern city was established by the British in the mid 19th century and was the capital from 1886 until it was replaced by Naypyidaw in 2005.

7d   Tossed salad went nowhere? (9)

WASTELAND* — anagram (tossed) of SALAD WENT

8d   Lead in parade she organized (9)

SPEARHEAD* — anagram (organized) of PARADE SHE

13d   Writer going after hideous woman's cheese (10)

GORGON|ZOLA — ZOLA (writer) following (going after) GORGON (hideous woman)

Émile Zola[5] (1840–1902) was a French novelist and critic. His series of twenty novels collectively entitled Les Rougon-Macquart (1871–93), including Nana (1880), Germinal (1885), and La Terre (1887), attempts to show how human behaviour is determined by environment and heredity.

A gorgon[5] is a fierce, frightening, or repulsive woman. In Greek mythology, the gorgons were three sisters, Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa, with snakes for hair, who had the power to turn anyone who looked at them to stone. Medusa was killed by Perseus.

Gorgonzola[5] is a type of rich, strong-flavoured Italian cheese with bluish-green veins. 

14d   Knew roots damaged masonry (9)

STONEWORK* — anagram (damaged) of KNEW ROOTS

15d   Act as wood in a yellow primer (9)

A(BE|CEDAR)Y — {BE (act as) + CEDAR (wood)} contained in (in) {A (†) + Y (yellow)}

An abecedary[Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary] is a primer; the first principle or rudiment of anything.

18d   Burn bit of metal in forge (7)

CRE(M_)ATE — M (bit [initial letter] of Metal) contained in (in) CREATE (forge)

19d   Piece of beef with our good French liquor (7)

B_|OUR|BON — B (piece [initial letter] of Beef) + (with) OUR (†) + BON (good French;)

Bon[8] is the masculine, singular form of the French adjective meaning good.

22d   Bay leaf at first put in one bag (5)

I|N(L_)ET — L (leaf at first; initial letter of Leaf) contained in (put in) {I ([Roman numeral for] one) + NET (bag; as a verb}

23d   Rich sources for long poems (5)

L|ODES — L (long) + ODES (poems)
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

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