Saturday, October 3, 2015

Saturday, October 3, 2015 — The Reign in Spain ...


I found today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon to be a bit less of a challenge than some recent offerings. After a few weeks of relatively difficult puzzles, the setters seem to have eased up on the 20a.

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   Nirvana // is involved in march (8)

PARAD(IS)E — IS (†) contained in (involved in) PARADE (march)

5a   Lifted // front of seat and rubbed to clean (6)

S|WIPED — S (front [initial letter] of Seat) + (and) WIPED (rubbed to clean)

9a   Feline, a lion, roaming a // region of Spain (9)

CAT|A|LONI*|A — CAT (feline) + A (†) + anagram (roaming) of LION + A (†)

11a   Composer // somewhat over-directed (5)

_VER|DI_ — hidden in (somewhat) oVER-DIrected

12a   Stop before I have // something in a salad (6)

END|IVE — END (stop) + IVE (I have; as a contraction, I've)

13a   Fish // straying haphazardly (8)

STINGRAY* — anagram (haphazardly) of STRAYING

15a   Predict // toll-free travelling (8)

FORETELL* — anagram (travelling) of TOLL FREE

16a   That guy in the audience // praising choral piece (4)

HYMN~ — sounds like (in the audience) HIM (that guy)

In the definition, "praising" is an adjective ('a choral piece that gives praise').

19a   A large and small bagel, // too (4)

A|L|S|O — A (†) + L (large; abbrev.) + S (small; abbrev.) + O ([letter that looks like a] bagel)

20a   “Accelerator,” // panted Unser (3,5)

GAS PED|AL — GASPED (panted) + AL (Unser; American race car driver Al Unser)

Al Unser[7] is a retired American race car driver. He is the father of American race car driver Al Unser, Jr.[7].

23a   Record band // fading out (8)

TAPE|RING — TAPE (record; as a verb) + RING (band)

I suppose that one might conceivably argue that "record" and "tape" could also be synonyms as nouns. However, I would be far more likely to refer to a tape as a recording rather than a record.

24a   Sodium application preceding a // feeling of revulsion (6)

NA|USE|A — NA ([symbol for the chemical element] sodium) + USE (application) + (preceding) A (†)

27a   Taxer adjusted /for/ bonus (5)

EXTRA* — anagram (adjusted) of TAXER

28a   Rule Prague resident stated aloud /for/ pass to a cancelled event (4,5)

{RAIN CHECK}* — sounds like (stated aloud) {REIGN (rule) + Czech (Prague resident)}

29a   Note about a hugely popular // island of the Pacific (6)

T(A|HIT)I — TI ([musical] note; American spelling) containing (about) {A (†) + HIT (hugely popular; as an adjective)}

30a   Alarmed by blowing // card game, played the first card (8)

WHIST|LED — WHIST (card game) + LED (played the first card)

The definition is to be interpreted in the sense raised an alarm by blowing.


1d   Oral agreement // with a lot of people (6)

PACKED~ — sounds like (oral) PACT (agreement)

2d   Evaluated // damaged tread (5)

RATED* — anagram (damaged) of TREAD

3d   Rescue // lunch spot more than a little (8)

DELI|VERY — DELI (lunch spot) + VERY (more than a little)

4d   Cheap price, // boy: $1000 (4)

SON|G — SON (boy) + G ($1000; abbrev. for 'grand')

6d   Flapper holding a five, // flapping (6)

W(A|V)ING — WING (flapper; allusion to a bird's appendage) containing (holding) {A (†) + V ([Roman numeral for] five)}

7d   Picture // entry pierced by sunbeam (9)

PORT(RAY)AL — PORTAL (entry) containing (pierced by) RAY (sunbeam)

8d   Run on TV in moribund // farm activity (8)

D(AIR)YING — AIR (run on TV) contained in (in) DYING (moribund)

10d   Graceful runner, // before run (8)

ANTE|LOPE — ANTE (before) + LOPE (run)

14d   Tires ran all over // kitchen utensil (8)

STRAINER* — anagram (all over) of TIRES RAN

15d   Kind of softball // stuck on tarry gunk (4-5)

FAST|-PITCH — FAST (stuck on) + PITCH (tarry gunk)

Fast[3] is used in the sense of fixed firmly in place or secure.

Fast-pitch is a type of softball[7], a variant of baseball played with a larger ball on a smaller field.

Delving Deeper
Softball was invented in 1887 in Chicago as an indoor game. It was at various times called indoor baseball, mush ball, playground, softbund ball, kitten ball, and, because it was also played by women, ladies' baseball. The name softball was given to the game in 1926.

There are two types of softball. In the most common type, slow-pitch softball, the ball, which can measure either 11 or 12 inches in circumference depending on the league, must arch on its path to the batter, there are 10 players in a team. In fastpitch softball, the pitch is fast, there are nine players on the field at one time, and bunting and stealing are permitted. Softball rules vary somewhat from those of baseball. Two major differences are that the ball must be pitched underhand—from 46 ft. (14 m) for men or 43 ft(13.1 m) for women as compared with 60.5 ft. (18.4 m) in baseball—and that seven innings instead of nine constitute a regulation game.

Despite the name, the ball used in softball is not very soft. It is about 12 in. (30.5 cm) in circumference (11 or 12 in. for slow-pitch), which is 3 in. (8 cm) larger than a baseball. The infield in softball is smaller than on an adult or high school baseball diamond but identical to that used by Little League Baseball; each base is 60 ft (18 m) from the next, as opposed to baseball's 90 ft. (27 m).

17d   In the worst condition, // treats it badly (8)

RATTIEST* — anagram (badly) of TREATS IT

18d   Victory secured by a ball’s // forward movements (8)

A|D(V)ANCES — V (victory; famously associated with Sir Winston Churchill) contained in (secured by) {A (†) + DANCE (ball) + S ('s)}

21d   Imagined // a red convertible in front of mountain (6)

DREA*|MT — {anagram (convertible) of A RED} + MT (mountain; abbrev.)

22d   Stuck /with/ diplomacy in speech (6)

TACKED~ — sounds like (in speech) TACT (diplomacy)

25d   That lady’ll // bomb (5)

SHE|LL — SHE (that lady) + LL ('ll; contraction for 'will')

26d   Loaded // in electric heater (4)

_RIC|H_ — hidden in (in) electRIC Heater


The title of today's review is inspired by 28a and 9a.
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. Aside from originally playing the wrong speed of rounders, this week went fairly smoothly. Favoured 20A (indy car driver) and 20D, which brought on a great laugh. 2/3.5 rated. Thanks to E&H for a fun setting and for the inspired review.

  2. Hello Falcon and fellow cryptic solvers,
    Agree that the puzzle was pretty tame this week. Lots of smiles. Last one in was 16A. Smaug is too cryptic for me - "wrong speed of rounders"??

    Thanks for posting and watch out for that blustering wind!

    1. Hi MG,

      Rounders is a British game similar to baseball. Here is an excerpt from one of my blogs on a daily puzzle from last March:

      Rounders is a ball game played between two teams. The game involves hitting a small, hard, leather-cased ball with a cylindrical bat. Gameplay centres on a number of innings, in which teams alternate at batting and fielding. A maximum of nine players are allowed to field at any time. Points (known as 'rounders') are scored by the batting team when one of their players completes a circuit past four bases arranged in the shape of a diamond without being put 'out'. The game is popular among Irish and British school children. [Sound at all familiar?]

      The game of rounders[7] has been played in England since Tudor times, with the earliest reference being in 1744 in A Little Pretty Pocket-Book where it was called "base-ball" by John Newbery. In 1828, William Clarke in London published the second edition of The Boy's Own Book, which included the rules of rounders and which contained the first printed description in English of a bat and ball base-running game played on a diamond. The following year, the book was published in Boston, Massachusetts.

      Rounders is played under slightly different rules in Britain and Ireland.

      Both the 'New York game' [from which modern baseball evolved] and the now-defunct 'Massachusetts game' versions of baseball, as well as softball, share the same historical roots as rounders and bear a resemblance to the Irish version of the game.

      And the Yanks think that they invented baseball!

  3. Henry said...
    Hi Falcon and everyone -
    After reading your opening comment on this week's entry, I managed to solve it right off the I-pad, so yes - it wasn't that difficult. Not to say there were some inventive clues, like Smaug and MG noted - for me 30a and 8d. As always the heterographs (see Falcon, I do read your posts) are entertaining and sometimes hard to solve. 2/4 for me.