Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday, May 20, 2017 — Man of 1000 Voices


Today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon is populated with a collection of characters from Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons paying tribute to the man who gave voice to them.

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   Daffy Duck caper // went mad (7,2)

{CRACKED UP}* — anagram (daffy) of DUCK CAPER

Daffy Duck[7] is the best friend and occasional arch-rival of Bugs Bunny.

Mel Blanc voiced the character for over 50 years, from Daffy's debut in 1937 until Blanc's death in 1989.

6a   Absorbs // Elmer Fudd’s licks (5)

WICKS~ — sounds like the way Elmer Fudd would pronounce the word LICKS

Elmer Fudd[7] is the de facto archenemy of Bugs Bunny. He speaks in an unusual way, replacing his Rs and Ls with Ws, so he always refers to Bugs Bunny as a "wabbit". His signature catchphrase is, "Shhh. Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm hunting wabbits".

During the golden age of American animation, Elmer Fudd was the only major Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies male character not voiced by Mel Blanc. The character was voiced by voice actor Arthur Q. Bryan. However, during Bryan's lifetime, Mel Blanc did voice the character on three occasions. In one case, this involved a single word; in a second case, two words; and in the third case, an entire line of dialog. Following Bryan's death, a succession of actor's voiced the part until Mel Blanc took over the role in 1972 and continued to perform it until his death in 1989.

9a   Warner // Brothers’ last one: cartoon dog (5)

S|I|REN — S (brothers' last; final letter of brotherS) + I ([Roman numeral for] one) + REN (cartoon dog)

Ren Höek
Ren and Stimpy[7], created by John Kricfalusi, are the title characters in the American-Canadian animated television series The Ren & Stimpy Show. Kricfalusi created the characters during his stay in Ontario's Sheridan College. Ren is a scrawny, violently psychotic Chihuahua, and Stimpy is a fat, stupid cat. They are often at odds with each other on the show, though they do share moments of closeness together.

10a   Bugs Bunny tale // in a mode that can’t be maintained (9)

UNTENABLY* — anagram (bugs) of BUNNY TALE

Bugs Bunny[7] is a flippant, insouciant trickster whose catchphrase is "Eh... What's up, doc?", usually spoken while chewing a carrot.

Mel Blanc voiced the character for almost 50 years, from Bugs' debut in 1940 until Blanc's death in 1989.

11a   Talking like Sylvester, // I pivot into Lake Green (7)

L(I|SPIN)G — { I (†) + SPIN (pivot)} contained in (into) {L (lake; abbrev.) + G (green; abbrev.)}

Sylvester the Cat is often portrayed chasing Tweety Bird in an always futile effort to make a meal of him. Sylvester's signature exclamation is "Sufferin' succotash!" uttered in his trademark sloppy and yet stridulating lisp.

Mel Blanc voiced the character from Sylvester's debut in 1945 until Blanc's death in 1989.

The name "Sylvester" is a play on Felis silvestris, the scientific name for the wild cat species (domestic cats like Sylvester, though, are actually Felis catus).

12a   Lineup includes old // bird like Foghorn Leghorn (7)

R(O)OSTER or RO(O)STER — ROSTER (lineup) containing (includes) O (old; abbrev.)

Foghorn J. Leghorn[7] is a white Leghorn rooster with a stereotypically Southern accent, a "good ol' boy" speaking style, and a penchant for mischief. Many of the gags involved Foghorn and a canine nemesis (known as The Barnyard Dawg) engaging in one-upmanship through a series of pranks. His catchphrases include "That's a joke, ah say, that's a joke, son.".

Mel Blanc voiced the character from Leghorn's debut in 1946 until Blanc's death in 1989 with the exception of some KFC commercials in the 1980s. This makes Foghorn Leghorn one of only two characters (along with Yosemite Sam) whose voices were created by Blanc to have been voiced by someone else during his lifetime.

13a   Porky, for one, taking in neutral // sonar sound (4)

PI(N)G — PIG (Porky, for one) containing (taking in) N (neutral; symbol on a gearshift)

Porky Pig[7] is known for his severe stutter and his signature line at the end of each short, "Th-th-th-that's all folks!".

Porky was originally voiced by voice actor Joe Dougherty who actually did have a stuttering problem. Because Dougherty could not control his stutter, however, production costs became too high as his recording sessions took hours. The versatile Mel Blanc replaced Dougherty in 1937 and continued to voice the character until his death in 1989.

14a   Wild chase—not before the debut of Tweety // Bird (9)

STONECHAT* — anagram (wild) of CHASE NOT preceding (before) T (the debut [initial letter] of Tweety)

Tweety[7] occupies his time successfully avoiding becoming a meal for Sylvester the Cat. Tweety's signature lines are "I tawt I taw a puddy tat!" and "I did! I did taw a puddy tat!".

Mel Blanc voiced the character from Tweety's debut in 1942 until Blanc's death in 1989.

The stonechat[5] is any of several species of small Old World songbird of the thrush family, having bold markings and a call like two stones being knocked together.

18a   Small dog is skirting lean // boxers (9)

PUG|I(LIST)S — {PUG (small dog) + IS (†)} containing (skirting) LIST (lean; tilt)

20a   Wile E. Coyote’s favourite company // came apart (4)

ACME* — anagram (apart) of CAME

Wile E. Coyote[7] repeatedly attempts to catch and subsequently eat the Road Runner, a fast-running ground bird, but is never successful. Instead of his species' animal instincts, the Coyote uses absurdly complex contraptions (sometimes in the manner of Rube Goldberg) and elaborate plans to pursue his prey, resulting in his devices comically backfiring with the Coyote often getting injured in slapstick fashion. He obtains these devices from a mail-order company, the fictitious Acme Corporation.

Wile E. Coyote is generally silent in the Coyote-Road Runner shorts. However, he also appears without the Road Runner as an antagonist of Bugs Bunny in several cartoons in which he speaks with a refined upper-class accent voiced by Mel Blanc.

22a   Yosemite Sam employs // some Middle Easterners (7)

_SEMITE|S_ — hidden in (employs) YoSEMITE Sam

Yosemite Sam[7], along with Elmer Fudd, is the de facto archenemy of Bugs Bunny. He is commonly depicted as an extremely aggressive gunslinging prospector, outlaw, pirate, or cowboy with a hair-trigger temper and an intense hatred of rabbits, Bugs particularly.

Mel Blanc voiced the character from Yosemite Sam's debut in 1945. To play the part, Mel Blanc would yell at the top of his voice. This was a strain on his  throat, thus he always did Yosemite Sam's lines at the end of a recording session so he could rest himself overnight. As he got into his 70s, the voice became too rough on his throat; he didn't reprise the role of Sam in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) while playing all his other Looney Tunes roles in the movie. This makes Sam one of only two voices created by Blanc to be voiced by someone else during his lifetime (the other being Foghorn Leghorn).

25a   Make a cartoon /of/ an island pal (7)

AN|I|MATE — AN (†) + I (island; abbrev.) + MATE ([British term for a] pal)

26a   Funny lingo used /for/ getting Bugs out? (9)

DELOUSING* — anagram (funny) of LINGO USED

Bugs Bunny drops in for a second appearance.

27a   Forest // critter ultimately entering a lair (5)

A(R)DEN — R (critter ultimately; final letter of critteR) contained in (entering) {A (†) + DEN (lair)}

The Forest of Arden[10] is region of northern Warwickshire, England. Part of a former forest, it is the scene of William Shakespeare's play As You Like It.

28a   Small, furry hopper with long ears // put on social media (5)

S|HARE — S (small; abbrev.) + HARE (furry hopper with long ears)

29a   Slow-witted // Fudd, initially at attention, carrying message (9)

F|AT|-HE(AD)ED — F (Fudd, initially; initial letter of Fudd) + AT (†) + HEED (attention; as a noun) containing (carrying) AD (message)

Elmer Fudd returns to take a bow.


1d   Actors collectively on the French // fortress (6)

CAST|LE — CAST (actors collectively) + (on; in a down clue) LE (the French; French word meaning 'the')

2d   Checking // a piece of rope, and taking a breather (9)

A|R|RESTING — A (†) + R (piece [initial letter] of Rope) + (and) RESTING (taking a breather)

3d   Family autocrat /getting/ in a twist (7)

KIN|KING — KIN (family) + KING (autocrat)

4d   Low-grade toupees worn by tenor // pharmacists (9)

D|RUG(GIST)S — D (low-grade; in academic pursuits) + {RUGS (toupees) containing (worn by) GIST (tenor)}

5d   TV medical drama following pet // rabbit in children’s tales (5)

PET|ER — ER (TV medical drama) following (†) PET (†)

Peter Rabbit[7] is a fictional animal character in several children's stories by English writer Beatrix Potter.

6d   Attractive // goal for a loser? (7)

WIN|SOME — when split (3,4), the solution gives a result that a loser would like to achieve

7d   Copper fragment/’s/ length (5)

CU|BIT — CU ([symbol for the chemical element] copper) + BIT (fragment)

The cubit[5] was an ancient measure of length, approximately equal to the length of a forearm. It was typically about 18 inches or 44 cm, though there was a long cubit of about 21 inches or 52 cm.

8d   Awfully wet, risky // work with smoke in a plane (8)

SKYWRITE* — anagram (awfully) of WET RISKY

15d   Attack // part of cartoon’s laugh track (9)

_ONS|LAUGH|T_ — hidden in (part of) cartoONS LAUGH Track

16d   Goofy had mad hen // bumbling (3-6)

HAM-HANDED* — anagram (goofy) of HAD MAD HEN

Goofy[7] is a Walt Disney cartoon character who is a close friend of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Nearly always a bit dimwitted, he seems to have turned up at the wrong studio.

17d   Despise novel containing zero // chapters (8)

EPIS(O)DES* — anagram (novel) of DESPISE containing (†) O ([letter that looks like a] zero)

19d   Leaves, // at hearing “Why don’t we?” (7)

LETTUCE~ — sounds like (at hearing) LET US (Why don't we?)

20d   Shake // it in marble (7)

AG(IT)ATE — IT (†) contained in (in) AGATE (marble; plaything)

21d   Did some lettering // in a sty (6)

PENNED — double definition; the first is a verb, the second an adjective

23d   Sort of toast // Mr. Blanc with pair of balloons (5)

MEL|BA — MEL (Mr. Blanc; American voice actor Mel Blanc) + (with) BA (pair [initial two letters] of BAlloons)

Mel Blanc[7] (1908–1989) is best remembered for his work in animation as the voices of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin the Martian, Pepé Le Pew, Speedy Gonzales, Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, the Tasmanian Devil, and many of the other characters from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies theatrical cartoons during the golden age of American animation. He was, in fact, the voice for all of the major male Warner Bros. cartoon characters except for Elmer Fudd, whose voice was provided by fellow radio actor Arthur Q. Bryan (although Blanc later voiced Fudd, as well, after Bryan's death).

24d   Formal // scene’s first fight (5)

S|TIFF — S (scene's first; initial letter of Scene) + TIFF (fight)


Having earned the nickname "The Man of a Thousand Voices", Mel Blanc is regarded as one of the most influential people in the voice-acting industry.

He continued working right up to his death in 1989 at the age of 81.

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)
[12] - (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)
[13] - (Macmillan Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon


  1. Nice straightforward puzzle today.

  2. I'm always loath to question the accuracy of a clue. But I think 10a defines an adjective, but wordplay provides an adverb.

    1. Did you include the word "in" as part of your definition?

    2. Misread your question. Yes, in is part of the definition.

    3. Then you should have an adverb defined by "in a mode that can't be maintained".

  3. Good morning,

    I didn't really like this morning's offering from C & R. The surface reading of the clues are up to their usual standards but the answers require too much knowledge of cartoons. I think I figured out almost all of them with some on-line help in the end. All except, that is, the last three letters of 9a. That's a dog? Also, 6a: only two words fit the checking letters and I haven't the foggiest which of them is correct.
    Like Falcon, I took the definition of 10a to be "in a mode that can't be maintained" and "bugs" to be the anagram indicator. Have a good day everyone!


  4. Peter - Elmer Fudd has a speech impediment.

  5. Hello Falcon and folks!

    I quite enjoyed the puzzle although I had a few head scratchers. Grew up on Looney Tunes so quite liked the references. Favourite clue was 6d - laughed aloud.

    Thanks for posting Falcon and have a great long weekend everybody.


  6. Good beautiful Saturday from here in Mississauga! Loved this puzzle today with all the goofy references to cartoon land. Still haven't been happy with any answer to 9a. Tried everything I can think of (cartoon dogs, people named Warner, etc) I think I have all the right checking letters, but that has been my downfall before.

    1. Hi Henry,

      For 9a I think the definition is "warner" as in the noise heard before an air raid. I got it with the last letter of 'brothers' and "i" (one) and a three letter word that must be a cartoon dog. But, as I said, I've never heard of the dog.

    2. Yes, after I wrote the note, the same thread went through my mind, but - as noted above - Ren is a dog??

  7. I'm not always a fan of the "themed" cryptics, as the clues sometimes seem overly strained. But I thought the constructors made some creative and amusing use of the cartoon possibilities here, especially 9a and 10a. And being reminded of the always malfunctioning products of the 20a Corporation in itself made me laugh. I had to guess at 14a and confirm it online: totally new to me.

    1. Falcon, just adding a thanks for your entertaining write-up and behind-the-scenes information on the cast of characters.

    2. Gl-gl-gl-glad you en-en-en-enjoyed it.

  8. Enjoyed today's puzzle. Everything went in fairly easily except the NE corner which required considerably more work than the rest. Having spent early Saturday mornings in the 1960's in front of the TV, most of this was very familiar. My only disappointment was that there was no appearance by Marvin the Martian. Does anyone recall the singing frog in the time capsule cartoon? One of my favorites!

  9. Happy Victoria Day, Falcon! Like Carola, I too highly enjoyed all the characters and the write up of Mel Blanc and his many voices. I would say that reading the blog was at least as entertaining as doing the puzzle!
    Now some points -
    26a - the anagram indicator
    8d - that pesky anagram indicator
    20d - set of inclusion brackets
    re 20d - I hadn't thought of agate to mean a marble as a plaything.

    1. and p.s. in 20d, you have in (in) which as per our previous conversation you'd rather use a dagger? Th-th-th-that's all, Folks!

    2. Hi Henry,

      As always, thanks for the superb proofreading job. I appear to be getting worse rather than better at catching these "Waldos".

      As for 20d, my practice is to use a dagger if the containment indicator in the clue is the precise words "contained in" in order to avoid writing "contained in (contained in)". However, when the containment indicator is even some minor variant such as "in" or "contains", I write it as "contained in (in)" or "contained in (contains)".

      By the way, I initially used the dagger only for elements of the fodder to avoid continually having to write "from the clue". Later, I extended its use to indicators.