Saturday, April 4, 2015

Saturday, April 4, 2015 — Cold and Wet


I found the difficulty level of today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon to be a cut above what we are accustomed to. I even resorted to calling in some electronic assistance on the final two clues — although, in hindsight, for no apparent reason.

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   Accumulated white stuff, // present and past, in bag (8)

S(NOW|P)ACK — {NOW (present) + P (past; a grammatical tense)} contained in (in) SACK (bag)

5a   Dad’s enclosing Mom’s front // areas of grass (6)

PA(M)PA|S — {PAPA (dad) + S ('s)} containing (enclosing) M (Mom's front [initial letter])

Pampas[5] (treated as singular or plural) are large treeless plains in South America ⇒ the southern pampas of Argentina.

9a   People who cut // loose ultimately among those who take part (8)

SH(E)ARERS — E (loosE ultimately [final letter]) contained in (among) SHARERS (those who take part [and leave the remainder for others])

10a   Range // roving is rare (6)

SIERRA — anagram (roving) of IS RARE

Especially in Spanish-speaking countries or the western US, sierra[5] is a term for a long jagged mountain chain.

11a   Indigo and green bathroom /in/ domed home (5)

I|G|LOO — I (indigo) + G (green) + LOO (bathroom)

The setters have used "indigo" to clue the letter I. I failed to find this usage in any of my regularly consulted dictionaries — nor does it appear in any of several other dictionaries.

Loo[5] is an informal British term for a toilet. However, I doubt that the Brits would ever refer to it as a bathroom.

Doing One's Business
In North America, somewhat bizarrely, a bathroom[5] is a room containing a toilet and washbasin which may or may not also contain a bathtub or shower. A room containing just a toilet and washbasin might be referred to as a half bath (generally when enumerating the total number of rooms in a dwelling, such as in a real estate listing ⇒ a split-level with two and a half baths).

In Britain, on the other hand, a bathroom[5] is a room containing a bathtub or shower which may or may not also contain a washbasin and a toilet.

Pity the poor North American visiting the UK who asks to use the bathroom and is handed a towel and a bar of soap and directed to a room without a toilet.

Other North American euphemisms for a toilet are washroom[5] and restroom[5]. The former may well be a term that is not used by Brits and the latter has quite a different meaning in the U.K. than it does in North America.

12a   Source of fruit // to relieve upset (5,4)

{OLIVE TREE}* — anagram (upset) of TO RELIEVE

14a   Bad management // evident in Flemish and linguistics (11)

_MISH|AND|LING_ — hidden in (evident in) FleMISH AND LINGuistics

Scratching the Surface
Flemish[5] denotes (1) the people of Flanders or (2) the Dutch language as spoken in Flanders. It is one of the two official languages of Belgium. Flanders is a region in the south-western part of the Low Countries, now divided between Belgium (where it forms the provinces of East and West Flanders), France, and the Netherlands. It was a powerful medieval principality and the scene of prolonged fighting during the First World War.

18a   Tenderly following scuba user // going off in different directions (11)

DIVER|GENTLY — GENTLY (tenderly) following (†) DIVER (scuba user)

21a   Stickily cover saint in // waterproof material (9)

TAR|PAUL|IN — TAR (stickily cover) + PAUL (saint) + IN (†)

St Paul[5] (died circa 64) was a missionary of Jewish descent; known as Paul the Apostle, or Saul of Tarsus, or the Apostle of the Gentiles. He first opposed the followers of Jesus, assisting at the martyrdom of St Stephen. On a mission to Damascus he was converted to Christianity after a vision and became one of the first major Christian missionaries and theologians. His epistles form part of the New Testament.

23a   Cold spell after opening // place underground (5)

_INTER — [W]INTER (cold spell) with the initial letter removed (after opening)

24a   Love dress with chic // source (6)

O|RIG|IN — O (love; nil score in tennis) + RIG (dress) + IN (chic)

Here I became fixated on the dress being a MINI and could not seen to make my mind go elsewhere.

25a   Being neat, // take a seat back outside feasts (8)

TI(DINES)S< — a reversal (back) of SIT (take a seat) containing (outside) DINES (feasts)

26a   Audibly alludes to // attractions (6)

SIGHTS~ — sounds like (audibly) CITES (alludes to)

I would tend to think that "to cite" is far more specific than "to allude to".

27a   Work with/ water // while lid is in view (8)

SE(AS|CAP)E — {AS (while) + CAP (lid)} contained in (in) SEE (view)

This work might be produced by an artist who sets up his easel on the shore.

I don't know why I had trouble with this one. I even had the contents of the container figured out but — rather ironically — I could not see the container.


1d   Finch // is returning with rind (6)

SI<|SKIN — reversal (returning) of IS + SKIN (rind)

A siskin[5] is a small songbird related to the goldfinch, with yellow and black in the plumage. Species include the North Eurasian (spruce) siskin (Carduelis spinus), with dark-streaked greenish-yellow plumage, as well as several in the New World.

2d   A single bad // dramatist (6)

ONE|ILL — ONE (a single) + ILL (bad)

Eugene O'Neill[5] (1888–1953) was an American dramatist. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his first full-length play, Beyond the Horizon (1920). Other notable works: The Iceman Cometh (1946) and Long Day’s Journey into Night (1956, posthumously).

3d   According to one-time // entertainer (9)

PER|FORMER — PER (according to) + FORMER (one-time)

4d   Eastern bloc processed // metal (6,5)

{CARBON STEEL}* — anagram (processed) of EASTERN BLOC

Scratching the Surface
Eastern bloc[5] denotes the countries of eastern and central Europe which were under Soviet domination from the end of the Second World War until the collapse of the Soviet communist system in 1989–91.

6d   Beer keeping four // spirited (5)

AL(IV)E — ALE (beer) containing (keeping) IV ([Roman numeral for] four)

7d   Description /of/ harbour rodent ingesting iodine (8)

PORT|RA(I)T — PORT (harbour) + {RAT (rodent) containing (ingesting) + I ([symbol representing the chemical element] iodine)}

8d   Wise about speed // of modern times (5-3)

S(PACE)-AGE — SAGE (wise) containing (about) PACE (speed)

The parsing shown above assumes that space-age is an adjective. Should one prefer space-age to be a noun, the parsing would be:
  • 8d   Wise about speed /of/ modern times (5-3)
13d   Oblivious, // occupying a true camper’s shelter I have (11)

IN|A|T|TENT|IVE — IN (occupying) + A (†) + T (true) + TENT (camper's shelter) + IVE ([contraction for] I have; I 've)

15d   Silly idea, rearranging // flowers (9)

DAYLILIES* — anagram (rearranging) of SILLY IDEA

A daylily[5] (or day lily) is any of various perennial plants of the genus Hemerocallis, native to Eurasia and widely cultivated for their large colorful flowers, which remain open for only one day.

16d   Straying into side // issues (8)

EDITIONS* — anagram (straying) of INTO SIDE

17d   Declaring // a victory sign wrong (8)

A|V|ERRING — A (†) + V (victory sign) + ERRING (wrong)

From the Vaults
From my review of DT 26677 (Decmber 27, 2011):

A V sign[7] made with the fingers and with the palm facing out may be a victory sign (as made famous by Sir Winston Churchill) or a peace sign (arising from the 1960s counterculture movement). However, in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, when made with the palm facing in, it means "F**k off". [It seems that the Brits need two fingers to get across an idea that North Americans manage to convey with a single finger.]

For a time in the UK, "a Harvey (Smith)" became a way of describing the insulting version of the V sign, much as "the word of Cambronne" is used in France, or "the Trudeau salute" is used to describe the one-fingered salute in Canada. This happened because, in 1971, show-jumper Harvey Smith was disqualified for making a televised V sign to the judges after winning the British Show Jumping Derby at Hickstead. (His win was reinstated two days later.)

Harvey Smith pleaded that he was using a Victory sign, a defence also used by other figures in the public eye. Sometimes foreigners visiting the countries mentioned above use the "two-fingered salute" without knowing it is offensive to the natives, for example when ordering two beers in a noisy pub, or in the case of United States president George H. W. Bush, who, while touring Australia in 1992, attempted to give a "peace sign" to a group of farmers in Canberra—who were protesting about U.S. farm subsidies—and instead gave the insulting V sign.

Steve McQueen in Le Mans
Steve McQueen gives a British (knuckles outward) V sign in the closing scene in the 1971 motorsport movie 'Le Mans'. A still picture of the gesture was also recorded by photographer Nigel Snowdon and has become an iconic image of both McQueen and the 24 hours of Le Mans.

19d   Two articles about next // goddess of Greece (6)

A|THEN|A — {A ([first] article) + A ([second] article)} containing (about) THEN (next)

In Greek mythology, Athena is another name for Athene[5], the patron goddess of Athens, typically allegorized into a personification of wisdom.

20d   Castaway // changed course (6)

CRUSOE — anagram (changed) of COURSE

Robinson Crusoe[5] is the hero of Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe (1719), who survives a shipwreck and lives for years on a desert island.

22d   Leaning // toward one lieutenant (5)

AT|I|LT — AT (toward; as in "pointing at") + I ([Roman numeral for] one) + LT ([abbreviation for] lieutenant)


The title of today's blog is inspired by 1a and 27a — and, perhaps, by the weather forecast.
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


  1. Late to the party, just starting to catch up on puzzles after being away from home for a month. I also found this one to be more challenging. Last in were 9A x 1D (a new word for me) - that is, until I noticed when I got here that I hadn't gone back to 27A! I'm not sure I could have gotten it on my own.

    1. Hi Carola,

      Welcome back. Being away from puzzles for a month does tend to create a little rust. I'm sure you'll quickly regain your normal form.