Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saturday, July 19, 2014 — Pagan Woman Slept Naked


Introduction

There were no major obstacles to completing today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon.

The inspiration for the blog title comes from the solutions to the symmetrical set of clues 5d, 8d, 26d, and 20d read as a sentence.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
███████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- 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.

Across


1a   Try to lose weight quickly (4)

FAST — double definition

3a   U.S. president doing pounds and pounds of laundry? (10)

WASHING|TON_ — WASHING (doing ... laundry) + TON (pounds and pounds)

George Washington[5] (1732–1799) was an American general and statesman, 1st President of the US 1789–97. Washington helped win the War of Independence by keeping his army together through the winter at Valley Forge and winning a decisive battle at Yorktown (1781). He chaired the convention at Philadelphia (1787) that drew up the American Constitution and subsequently served two terms as President, following a policy of neutrality in international affairs.

9a   Roll containing a chicken to cook (7)

RO(A)STER_ — ROSTER (roll) containing (†) A (†)

11a   Enraged — awfully enraged (7)

ANGERED* — anagram (awfully) of ENRAGED

Of course, one could equally well interpret the clue as:
  • 11a   Enraged — awfully enraged (7)
12a   One accommodated by inn keeper's lift (5)

HO(I)ST — I ([Roman numeral for] one) contained in (accommodated by) HOST (inn keeper)

13a   Stuck tally around this spot (7)

AD(HERE)D — ADD (tally) containing (around) HERE (this spot)

15a   Idle gab excited an unimpressed response (3,4)

{BIG DEAL}* — anagram (excited) of IDLE GAB

Voiced sarcastically

16a   Actress Richardson has a tan ruined (7)

NATASHA* — anagram (ruined) of HAS A TAN

Given the circumstances of her death, it struck me as a bit inappropriate to use Natasha Richardson in this clue. However, scanning through the list of people named Natasha, I was surprised when I failed to find anyone else with name recognition even remotely approaching hers.

Natasha Richardson[7] (1963–2009) was an award-winning English stage and screen actress. A member of the Redgrave family, she was the daughter of actress Vanessa Redgrave and director/producer Tony Richardson and the granddaughter of Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson.

Richardson died tragically on 18 March 2009 from an epidural hematoma suffered two days earlier when she fell while taking a beginner skiing lesson at the Mont Tremblant Resort in Quebec, Canada.

18a   Homer or Marge's boy taking in brats (7)

S(IMPS)ON — SON (boy) containing (taking in) IMPS (brats)

The Simpsons[7] is an American family animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its family of the same name, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture, society, television, and many aspects of the human condition.

21a   Nothing left of budget for speech (7)

O|RATION — O (nothing; letter that looks like the numeral "0") + ([to the] left of) RATION (budget)

For a Canadian audience, the clue would have been enhanced had the setters omitted the word "for", resulting in a clue reading:
  • 21a   Nothing left of Budget Speech (7)
In Canada, the Budget Speech is the means by which the Minister of Finance unveils the budget in a speech to the House of Commons.

23a   Georgia gets furious in parking spots (7)

GA|RAGES —GA ([US Postal Service abbreviation for the state of] Georgia) + RAGES (gets furious)

25a   Flag entirely camouflages spy (5)

_AG|ENT_ — hidden in (camouflages) flAG ENTirely

27a   At Bath, I arranged for natural living space (7)

HABITAT* — anagram (arranged) of AT BATH I

Bath[5] is a spa town in southwestern England; population 81,600 (est. 2009). The town was founded by the Romans, who called it Aquae Sulis, and was a fashionable spa in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

28a   Astronomer's girl, one with summer zodiac sign (7)

GAL|I|LEO — GAL (girl) + I ([Roman numeral for] one) + (with) LEO (summer zodiac sign)

In astrology, Leo[5] is the fifth sign of the zodiac, which the sun enters about 23 July.

29a   Laundry soaps discourage guys (10)

DETER|GENTS — DETER (discourage) + GENTS (guys)

30a   Positive votes — or one positive vote (4)

A|YES — A (one) + YES (positive vote)


Down


1d   Army post outside of Thebes is most advantageous (3,3,4)

FOR( THE BES)T — FORT (army post) containing (outside of) THEBES (†)

2d   Saving article in season (7)

SP(A)RING — A ([indefinite] article) contained in (in) SPRING (season)

Saving[11] is used as an adjective in the sense of thrifty or economical.

4d   Feel sick about Irma's mode of delivery (7)

A(IRMA)IL — AIL (feel sick) containing (about) IRMA (†)

5d   Not believing that guy with a following (7)

HEATHEN — HE (that guy) + (with) A (†) + THEN (following)

Heathen[11] is used as an adjective.

6d   African country's troubled reign (5)

NIGER* — anagram (troubled) of REIGN

Niger[5] is a landlocked country in West Africa, on the southern edge of the Sahara; population 15,306,300 (est. 2009): languages, French (official), Hausa, and other West African languages: capital, Niamey. Part of French West Africa from 1922, Niger became an autonomous republic within the French Community in 1958 and fully independent in 1960.

7d   Gets weary about commercial's wild speeches (7)

TIR(AD)ES — TIRES (gets weary) containing (about) AD (commercial)

8d   Apprentice painter's subject in shifting dune (4)

NUDE* — anagram (shifting) of DUNE

10d   People who make lace rags (7)

TATTERS — double definition

A tatter is someone who tats (makes lace).

14d   Flowers land among automobiles (10)

CAR(NATION)S — NATION (land) contained in (among) CARS (automobiles)

17d   Hardship for Virginia in hiking route (7)

TRA(VA)AIL — VA ([US Postal Service abbreviation for the state of] Virginia) contained in (in) TRAIL (hiking route)

19d   Mixed bag item in storage unit (7)

MEGABIT* — anagram (mixed) of BAG ITEM

A megabit is a unit of data size. In computer science, a megabit[3,4,11] is strictly defined as 220 (1,048,576) bits although it is often loosely used to mean one million bits (1,000,000) [especially by hard drive manufacturers in an effort to make their devices appear to be larger than they really are]. In network engineering, one megabit per second is a data transmission rate of one million bits per second. [Surely the definition for megabit[5] given by Oxford Dictionaries Online is imprecise to the point of being misleading.]

20d   Lingerie near neckwear (7)

NIGH|TIE — NIGH (near) + TIE (neckwear)

21d   Playing hit song without rehearsal (2,5)

{ON SIGHT}* — anagram (playing) of HIT SONG

22d   I had excellent friend, in theory (7)

ID|E|ALLY — ID ([contraction for] I had; I'd) + E (excellent; a result on a school assignment, perhaps) + ALLY (friend)

24d   Bunk or something turning (5)

ROT|OR — ROT (bunk; nonsense) + OR (†)

26d   Fall off small building (4)

SHED — double definition

Shed is used as an intransitive verb meaning to pour forth, fall off, or drop out All the leaves have shed (this being the active voice of an intransitive verb). I have to say that this is a usage which is unfamiliar to me. I would have expressed the thought as All the leaves have been shed (the passive voice of a transitive verb).
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (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] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

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