Saturday, November 19, 2016

Saturday, November 19, 2016 — Showing Some Cheek


In today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon, the setters take us from the core (3a) to the outer limits (29a). Along the way, they deliver a lot of enjoyment. However, the journey is not long and will not delay you appreciably from installing your snow tires in anticipation of the dump of the white stuff we have been promised.

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   Deep // kind of fish (4)

BASS — double definition

3a   Adjusted ten precise // focal points (10)

EPICENTRES* — anagram (adjusted) of TEN PRECISE

9a   Do a decorating job, either way you look at it? (7)

REPAPER — cryptic definition

The first part of the clue (with the solid underline) is the precise definition while the second part of the clue (with the dashed underline) provides the subsidiary indication. This latter part elaborates on the definition in a cryptic fashion supplying some additional information about the solution — in this case, identifying that it is a palindrome.

11a   Fife players /and/ teachers, from the sound of it (7)

TOOTERS~ — sounds like (from the sound of it) TUTORS (teachers)

12a   A grain // product from a tree (5)

A|CORN — A (†) + CORN (grain)

13a   African language // I wish Al translated (7)

SWAHILI* — anagram (translated) of I WISH AL

15a   Spotted // without frosting? (7)

NOT|ICED — split the solution (3,4) to get a phrase meaning "without frosting"

16a   Put glittery bits on // fish after salt and pepper (7)

S|P|ANGLE — ANGLE (fish; verb) following (after) {S (salt) + P (pepper)}

18a   Notch on golfer Ernie/’s/ coins (7)

NICK|ELS — NICK (notch) + (on) ELS (Ernie; South African professional golfer Ernie Els[7])

In this clue, the setters have flouted the cryptic crossword convention for the use of "on" in an across clue (show explanation ).

"A on B" Convention
A sometimes ignored cryptic crossword convention provides that, in an across clue, the construction "A on B" is used to clue B + A.

The rationale for this practice is that in order for A to be placed on B, B must already exist (i.e., already have been written). Since the English language is written from left to right, this means that B must come first and A is then appended to it. .

Notwithstanding the above, a solver must always be vigilant for setters who flout this convention.

hide explanation

21a   Heater/’s/ front including ash container (7)

F(URN)ACE — FACE (front) containing (including) URN (ash container; vessel to hold one's cremated remains)

23a   Bad omen upset // tummy (7)

ABDOMEN* — anagram (upset) of BAD OMEN

Not many positions are affected by this reorganization!

25a   Family gathering’s opening // bell sound (5)

CLAN|G — CLAN (family) + G (Gathering's opening [letter])

27a   Betray // prisoner, admitting cops (5,2)

C(HEAT) ON — CON (prisoner) containing (admitting) HEAT (cops; slang)

28a   Guard/’s/ ID returned (7)

GATEMAN< — reversal (returned) of NAMETAG (ID)

29a   Spring zodiac sign/’s/ limits (10)

BOUND|ARIES — BOUND (spring; leap) + ARIES (zodiac sign)

30a   Drunkenly does // some poetry (4)

ODES* — anagram (drunkenly) of DOES


1d   Lawyer’s association making a profit // negotiating (10)

BAR|GAINING — BAR (lawyer's association) + GAINING (making a profit)

2d   Dine-and-wine // assistance (7)

SUP|PORT — SUP (dine) + (and) PORT (wine)

4d   Took a look at // South American country’s education (7)

PERU|S|ED — PERU (South American country) + S ('s) + ED (education; abbrev.)

5d   Sword // sliced maid (7)

CUT|LASS — CUT (sliced) + LASS (maid)

6d   Girl’s name // I moan, flipping (5)

NAOMI* — anagram (flipping) of I MOAN

7d   About to drop // fish in hoop (7)

R(EEL)ING — EEL (fish) contained in (in) RING (hoop)

8d   Singular bottom // lip (4)

S|ASS — S (singular; in grammar, not plural) + ASS (bottom)

10d   Harshly review a Soderbergh film/’s/ flamboyant style (7)

PAN|A|CHE — PAN (harshly review) + A (†) + CHE (Soderbergh film)

Che[7] is a two-part 2008 biopic about Argentine Marxist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara, directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Benicio del Toro.

14d   Check guy’s // laundry supplies (10)

DETER|GENT|S — DETER (check) + GENT (guy) +S ('s)

17d   Fruit smothered in cheap ricotta (7)

_AP|RICOT_ — hidden in (smothered in) cheAP RICOTta

19d   Home in Bordeaux, // talk French perfume (7)

CHAT|EAU — CHAT (talk) + EAU (French perfume; really?)

Bordeaux[5] is a port of southwestern France on the River Garonne, capital of Aquitaine; population 235,878 (2006). It is a centre of the wine trade.

I think the reference here is to eau de cologne — which is neither French in provenance nor could scarcely be called a perfume. Eau de cologne[5] is a toilet water with a strong scent, originally made in Cologne, Germany ⇒ the drenching smell of eau de cologne.

20d   Marines disrupted // class (7)

SEMINAR* — anagram (disrupted) of MARINES

21d   Wangle // $ 1000 in last act (7)

FINA(G)LE — G ($ 1000) contained in (in) FINALE (last act)

22d   Scared // Capone with a gun (7)

AL|ARMED — AL (Capone; American mobster Al Capone[7]) + ARMED (with a gun)

24d   Old-fashioned // ad Ted revised (5)

DATED* — anagram (revised) of AD TED

26d   Evidence of scraping // small taxi (4)

S|CAB — S (small; abbrev.) + CAB (taxi)


The title of today's review is inspired by the cheeky 8d.
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. Enjoyable puzzle today - nothing too challenging. Had a little trouble with 10d - the answer was obvious from the second part of the clue, but I was not aware that Soderbergh had released a film by that name.

  2. Another nice puzzle today. Thanks for posting this, Falcon.

  3. Hello everyone! Made steady progress through the puzzle today. Nothing all that difficult. I looked up Steve's film's to see if he made one that filled the latter half of 10d, didn't find it, so I have to check the solution today - first time in a long time!

    1. The film appeared ìn my Google search, but it was broken into Part One and Part Two, leafing me to believe they were the proper names. Wikipedia lists it as a single film.

    2. Ah - it helps if you take the leading 'a' from the clue...

    3. Henry
      My initial thought was the same as yours and, like you, was thinking in terms of a four letter film title. However, as I was typing out the review the true name jumped out at me. That is one of the benefits of blogging -- one gets a second crack at the clues and is forced to think through the parsing rather than just "bung something in" (as my fellow blogger Miffypops would say).

  4. Good morning,

    Pleasant workout today. Bit of a glitch in the NE corner where I was unsure whether C & R would use the English or the American spelling for 3a. I particularly liked the combination of 1a and 1d for a reason that I won't explain. 18a would have been more fun as "Ernie and Price flipped coins". I think winter is finally arriving in London this weekend.


  5. Good day Falcon and folks!
    Very sassy puzzle indeed and quite entertaining. Laughed out loud at 11a.
    Thank you for posting.

  6. Easiest puzzle in a while. The movie clue required a search to check, but no other problems. 1.5/2 rating

  7. Thanks, Falcon, for explaining the "A on B" convention and for "springing" me from my inability to see anything but the season in 29a. Aside from not correctly parsing that clue, I found the puzzle enjoyably easy

  8. My British father would have been appalled at "tutors" sounding like "tooters"!