Saturday, September 2, 2017

Saturday, September 2, 2017 — Eat Your Veggies, Kiddies


Today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon provides a bountiful harvest. I hope your gardens have been just as productive.

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 semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues. All-in-one (&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions are marked with a dotted underline. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).


1a   Track a sack and a // vegetable (8)

RUT|A|BAG|A — RUT (track) + A (†) + BAG (sack) + (and) A (†)

5a   Vegetable // matter that’s decayed in back of auto (6)

CAR|ROT — ROT (matter that's decayed) following (in back of) CAR (auto)

9a   One who seizes // pursuer, beaten (7)

USURPER* — anagram (beaten) of PURSUER

10a   Child carried by mother or // performer with a cape (7)

MA(TAD)OR — TAD (child) contained in (carried by) {MA (mother) + OR (†)}

11a   A health resort returned something for sweetening // vegetable (9)

A|SPA|RAGUS< — A (†) + SPA (health resort) + reversal (returned) of SUGAR (something for sweetening)

12a   Perform amid 101 // succulent plants (5)

C(ACT)I — ACT (perform) contained in (amid) CI ([Roman numeral for] 101)

13a   Insect that buzzes around an indigo // cap (6)

BE(AN|I)E — BEE (insect that buzzes) containing (around) {AN (†) + I (indigo; abbrev.)}

There is some discussion in the comments as to why the word "indigo" might denote the letter "I". Henry suggests that the word "cap" is doing "double duty" as both the definition and an indicator denoting the initial letter of the word "Indigo". However, that would be a gross violation of cryptic crossword convention and I cannot believe that Cox and Rathvon would have intended to do that. I consider it far more likely that "I" is meant to be an abbreviation for "indigo". However, the only justification that I can find for that theory — albeit rather obscure — is that at one time, British forces used the word "Indigo"[7] as a code word for the letter "I" in radio communications.

15a   Spilled beer and fifth of Scotch on that guy’s // pants (8)

BREE*|C|HE|S — anagram (spilled) of BEER + (and) C (fifth [letter] of ScotCh) + (on) HE (that guy) + S ('s)

18a   Fusses about second-rate // stew ingredients (3-5)

POT-HER(B)S — POTHERS (fusses) containing (about) B (second-rate)

19a   Pay no attention to // Italian gent after introduction (6)

_IGNORE — [S]IGNORE (Italian gent) with the initial letter removed (after introduction; the portion of the word following the initial letter)

22a   California company stocking a // food-yielding pod (5)

CA|C(A)O — CA (California; abbrev.) + CO (company; abbrev.) containing (stocking) A (†)

24a   Some veggies // entirely eaten by younger family members (9)

SC(ALL)IONS — ALL (entirely) contained in (eaten by) SCIONS (younger family members)

26a   Composer Charles goes around Rio playing // piano keys (7)

IV(ORI*)ES — IVES (composer Charles; American modernist composer Charles Ives[7]) containing (goes around) an anagram (playing) of RIO

27a   Classic // vegetarian initially eating nuts (7)

V|INTAGE* — V (vegetarian initially; initial letter of Vegetarian) + anagram (nuts) of EATING

28a   General’s accommodating with regard to // salad makings (6)

G(RE)EN|S — {GEN (General; abbrev.) + S ('s)} containing (accommodating) RE (with regard to)

29a   Norm cuts // veggies (8)

PAR|SNIPS — PAR (norm) + SNIPS (cuts)


1d   Vegetable // fight (7)

RHUBARB — double definition

Here and There
This is a clue that well might stump British solvers.

From a British perspective, rhubarb[5] is an informal North American term for a heated dispute rhubarbs often broke out among these less than professional players.

2d   Pound // front of the mound (5)

T|HUMP — T (front [initial letter] of The) + HUMP (mound)

3d   Pirate bit crackers // in two pieces (9)

BIPARTITE* — anagram (crackers) of PIRATE BIT

4d   Refuse heartless // mechanic’s place (6)

GAR_AGE — GAR[B]AGE (refuse; noun) with the middle letter removed (heartless)

6d   Excited // article, with quirk (5)

ANTIC — AN (article) + (with) TIC (quirk)

7d   Send out a message about chic new // leafy vegetable (9)

RAD(ICCH*)IO or RADI(CCHI*)O — RADIO (send out a message) containing (about) an anagram (new) of CHIC

8d   Clues about large container /for/ vegetables (7)

T(URN)IPS — TIPS (clues) containing (about) URN (large container)

10d   Unhappiness // ruined my rise (6)

MISERY* — anagram (ruined) of MY RISE

14d   Vegetable // gag prefaced with skill by yours truly (9)

ART|I|CHOKE — CHOKE (gag) preceded by (prefaced with) {ART (skill) + (by) I (yours truly)}

16d   Get plans confused about first of garden // veggies (9)

E(G)GPLANTS or EG(G)PLANTS — anagram (confused) of GET PLANS containing (about) G (first [initial letter] of Garden)

17d   Humiliates // a quartet member about error (6)

A|BAS(E)S — A () + BASS (quartet member) containing (about) E (error; baseball statistic)

18d   Activity for travellers: // walking around middle of Yukon (7)

PAC(K)ING — PACING (walking) containing (around) K (middle [letter] of YuKon)

20d   Holidays // spent initially in diners (7)

EA(S)TERS — S (spent initially; initial letter of Spent) contained in (in) EATERS (diners)

21d   Lava is bad /for/ flower (6)

SALVIA* — anagram (bad) of LAVA IS

23d   Vegetable // active in absorbing oxygen (5)

ON|I(O)N — ON (active) + IN (†) containing (absorbing) O ([symbol for the chemical element] oxygen)

25d   Took a picture showing // African beast (5)

_OK|A|PI_ — hidden in (showing) toOK A PIcture


Having spent the past week with two young grandchildren, the title is by now a familiar refrain.

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. Falcon, thanks for posting this early.

    An enjoyable puzzle for a holiday weekend.

    Lots of vegetables which actually made the puzzle quite a bit easier than normal.

    18a and 17d were last in. I assume 17d involves a musician I have not heard of.

    Enjoy the beautiful last summer holiday weekend all!!

  2. Hi Carl and everyone! Great morning to solve a vegetarian puzzle. I too didn't know 18a or the word to fuss, so it was my last one in.
    Re 17d, a Bass would be a quartet member.

  3. Good morning,

    Fairly straightforward today I thought. Didn't know the 21d flower but easily solved from the clue and checking letters. Re 13a: Is 'i' supposed to be an abbreviation for 'indigo'? Have a good day!


    1. Hi Peter -
      I took 'cap' as a double duty word - it is the primary indicator (the synonym) and an clue to use the 'cap' of the word indigo - the first letter. What do you think?

    2. Hi Henry,

      Yes, I suppose you must be right. I can think of no other explanation. Thanks.


    3. The mnemonic for colors of the rainbow is ROY G BIV, each letter stands for a color, and I is indigo.

    4. Welcome to the blog, Billy_Goat

      Yes, I thought of the colours of the rainbow but could not find the abbreviation listed in any of the dictionaries that I consulted.

      British cryptic crossword publishers are rigorous in insisting that all clue elements be found in well-known dictionaries. In the case of The Daily Telegraph, it must be a specific dictionary, namely The Chambers Dictionary.

      Perhaps our American setters work to less demanding standards -- or maybe I didn't look in the correct dictionaries.

  4. Hello Falcon and folks,
    Seems that I was pretty consistent with others in that 18a was my last one in. Agree that the puzzle was definitely easier than usual once you knew the theme. Particularly liked 5a.

    Thank you for posting Falcon and hope everyone enjoys the long weekend, even if it is a tad cool.