Saturday, March 12, 2016

Saturday, March 12, 2016 — Fantasy or Reality


Today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon fell into place fairly quickly — especially when I got to the down clues.

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   Author of Jurassic Park // upset rich Catholic men (7,8)


A nice anagram but could the clue possibly be more of a gimme?

Michael Crichton[5] (1942–2008) was a US novelist whose notable works include The Andromeda Strain (1969), The Great Train Robbery (1975), Jurassic Park (1990), and Next (2006).

9a   Rush // hockey great in festival shelter (7)

T(ORR)ENT — ORR (hockey great [Bobby Orr]) contained in (in) TENT (festival shelter)

Bobby Orr[5] is a Canadian retired professional hockey player. He signed with the Boston Bruins at the age of eighteen in 1966 and played for them until 1976. He then played for the Chicago Blackhawks before retiring in 1978. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979.

10a   Gambling profits after the first // game segments (7)

_INNINGS — [W]INNINGS (gambling profits) with the initial letter removed (after the first)

The game being baseball or cricket — as you prefer.

11a   Man with skill /and/ courage (5)

HE|ART — HE (man) + (with) ART (skill)

12a   Big Ben sadly // in decline (6)

EBBING* — anagram (sadly) of BIG BEN

Scratching the Surface
Big Ben[5] is a name given to the great clock tower of the Houses of Parliament in London and its bell.

Big Ben[7] (1976–1999) was a world champion show jumping horse ridden by Canadian equestrian Ian Millar.

15a   College in Dublin // — try keeping in it (7)

TR(IN|IT)Y — TRY (†) containing (keeping) {IN (†) + IT (†)}

Trinity College[7] is the sole constituent college of the University of Dublin, a research university in Ireland. The college was founded in 1592 as the "mother" of a new university, modelled after the collegiate universities of Oxford and of Cambridge, but, unlike these, only one college was ever established; as such, the designations "Trinity College" and "University of Dublin" are usually synonymous for practical purposes. It is one of the seven ancient universities of Britain and Ireland, as well as Ireland's oldest university.

17a   Good about distant // hostilities (7)

WAR(FAR)E — WARE (good) containing (about) FAR (distant)

18a   Preserve copycat’s // hors d’oeuvres (7)

CAN|APES — CAN (preserve) + APE (copycat) + S ('s)

20a   Somewhat juicy // gossip about a legislator (7)

D(A|MP)ISH — DISH (gossip) containing (about) {A (†) + MP (legislator; abbrev. for Member of Parliament)}

21a   One among Chicago team/’s/ Caribbean natives (6)

CUB(AN)S — AN (one) contained in (among) CUBS (Chicago team)

I did eventually find the right solution — but only after having first invented the mythical indigenous people of the Caribbean known as the BULALS.

The Chicago Cubs[7] are an American professional baseball team located on the North Side of Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a members of the National League (NL) Central division; the team plays its home baseball games at Wrigley Field.

22a   French writer // enthralled by electronica music (5)

_CA|MUS_ — hidden in (enthralled by) electroniCA MUSic

Albert Camus[5] (1913–1960) was a French novelist, playwright, and essayist, closely aligned with existentialism whose notable works include The Outsider (novel, 1942), The Plague (novel, 1947), and The Rebel (essay, 1951). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957.

Scratching the Surface
Electronica[5] is a popular style of music deriving from techno and rave and having a more ambient, esoteric, or cerebral quality. [In my case, so esoteric that I have never heard of it!]

25a   Pack rat, // with more effort, keeping nothing (7)

H(O)ARDER — HARDER (with more effort) containing (keeping) O (nothing; letter that looks like a zero)

26a   Playing Ron, dial // number in a sequence (7)

ORDINAL* — anagram (playing) of RON DIAL

27a   Get real // odometer on watch adjusted (4,4,2,5)

{COME DOWN TO EARTH}* — anagram (adjusted) of ODOMETER ON WATCH


1d   After boxing event, endure // lighter alternative (10)

MATCHSTICK — STICK (endure) following (after) MATCH (boxing event)

2d   Flowers // land inside autos (10)

CAR(NATION)S — NATION (land) contained in (inside) CARS (autos)

3d   A fellow // spy (5)

A|GENT — A (†) + GENT (fellow)

4d   Ms. Tomlin holds the // supply (7)

LI(THE)LY — LILY (Ms. Tomlin; American comedienne Lily Tomlin[7]) containing (holds) THE (†)

The definition is supply in the sense of in a supple manner.

5d   Shower aftermath // rule boyfriend pronounced (7)

RAINBOW~ — sounds like (pronounced) {REIGN (rule) + BEAU (boyfriend)}

6d   Sister interrupting company with drum; // it’s puzzling (9)

CO(NUN)DRUM — NUN (sister) contained in (interrupting) {CO (company; abbrev.) + (with) DRUM (†)}

7d   Stylish // theatre award (4)

TONY — double definition

In the US, a Tony[5] is any of a number of awards given annually for outstanding achievement in the theatre in various categories.

8d   Sensory organ // recognizes through hearing (4)

NOSE~ — sounds like (through hearing) KNOWS (recognizes)

13d   A group of stars // in a crimson convertible (5,5)

CANIS MINOR — anagram (convertible) of IN A CRIMSON

Canis Minor[5] is a small constellation (the Little Dog), said to represent one of the dogs following Orion. It is close to the celestial equator and contains the bright star Procyon.

14d   Old man // Hamlet’s hue changed (10)

METHUSELAH* — anagram (changed) of HAMLETS HUE

In the Bible, Methuselah[5] was a patriarch, the grandfather of Noah, who is said to have lived for 969 years (Gen. 5:27). The term is now used to refer to a very old person ⇒ I’m feeling older than Methuselah.

16d   I’m beaten /and/ locked up (9)

IM|POUNDED — IM (I'm) + POUNDED (beaten)

19d   Bird/’s/ two different scraps? (7)

SPAR|ROW — SPAR ([first] scrap; fight, as a verb or noun*) + ROW ([second] scrap; fight, as a noun or verb*)

* Both spar[3] and row[3] can mean fight as either a verb or a noun, although I would think that the former is more commonly seen as a verb and the latter as a noun.

20d   Twist /in/ Methodist orthodoxy (7)

_DIST|ORT_ — hidden in MethoDIST ORThodoxy

Scratching the Surface
Methodist[3] means relating to Methodism, a Christian Protestant denomination originating in the 18th-century evangelistic movement of Charles and John Wesley and George Whitefield ⇒ it is next to impossible to swerve a determined Methodist from his inspired path.

The Methodist Church grew out of a religious society established within the Church of England, from which it formally separated in 1791. It is particularly strong in the US and now constitutes one of the largest Protestant denominations worldwide, with more than 30 million members. Methodism has a strong tradition of missionary work and concern with social welfare, and emphasizes the believer’s personal relationship with God.

22d   Nuclear unit // raced helter-skelter (5)

CADRE* — anagram (helter-skelter) of RACED
 A cadre[10] is:
  1. the nucleus of trained professional servicemen forming the basis for the training of new units or other military expansion; or
  2. a basic unit or structure, especially of specialists or experts; nucleus; core.
23d   Smart // baby bird, for the most part (4)

CHIC_ — CHIC[K] (baby bird) with the final letter removed (for the most part)

24d   Stealthily pick up // source of dates (4)

PALM — double definition


The title of today's review is inspired by 1a and 27a.
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. Good morning all,

    It's always nice when 1a is a long answer and is immediately apparent. I enjoyed today's puzzle, especially 4d.

    I didn't think 'dish' meant gossip (20a)and I wouldn't have thought that the answer to 22d is a 'nuclear unit'.

    And I wasn't keen on 6d. I didn't like the fact that 'drum' is in the clue and the answer. Could have been better.

    Thanks to C & R.

    Don't forget: time changes tonight.


    1. Dish is an informal North American term meaning (as a noun) gossip and (as a verb) to "distribute spiteful gossip" or "share intimate information".

      In Britain, the dish is an informal term for Information which is not generally known or available.

      In military terms, a cadre forms the nucleus of a larger mobilization and in that sense is a "nuclear unit".

      I agree with your assessment of 6d.

  2. Has 24d been used before? It looks familiar.

  3. Hi Chris,

    Yes, I'm quite sure 24d was in a puzzle just a few weeks ago.


    1. It was 2d on February 20th.

    2. I think "Talk about African nation" has been repeated a couple times as well.

  4. Hi Falcon and everyone-
    As noted, this was particularly easy, I was stuck only on 10a (looking for words starting with IGN).
    I liked your comment, Falcon, on the mythical team, the Bulals. I am not a sports fan particularly and don't know that much about team names, so when I hit 21a, the word BUICKS came to mind. Never mind that they aren't a Chicago team, and that even though some cars are named after native Americans, sadly, this one was not.

  5. Oh, and I almost forgot - I missed the other meaning of "supply" completely, and needed your analysis to understand what E&H were driving at. Nicely done!

  6. Hi Falcon and all, I found this one on the easy side as well - except for the parsing of the diabolical 4D.  I shrugged and figured I'd just learned a new three-syllable noun - until eventually the penny dropped.

  7. Had a real issue with 4D - was reading clue as Mrs Tomlinson (duh). Favoured 11a. Thanks to E&H and Falcon for the review. 1.5/3 rated.

    1. Re 11a

      It doesn't facilitate readability when the Post suppresses the spacing between words to virtually nothing!