Saturday, February 16, 2019

Saturday, February 16, 2019 — Currency Exchange


Today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon reminds me of arriving home after a trip abroad with lots of loose change weighing down one's pockets.

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

Click here for an explanation of conventions and symbols used in explaining the parsing of clues.

The purpose of this article is to explain the conventions and symbols that I use on this blog in explaining the parsing of clues.


The following symbols are used in reviews:
  • "*" anagram
  • "~" sounds like
  • "<" indicates that the preceding letters are reversed
  • "( )" encloses contained letters
  • "_" replaces letters that have been deleted
  • "†" indicates that the word is present in the clue

The review of a clue takes the following general structure:

#a/d   Clue containing parsing markup (num*)

* num = numeration

Explanations pertaining to the wordplay (or first definition in a double definition)

(Horizontal separator)

Explanations pertaining to the definition (or second definition in a double definition) and solution.

Explanatory Box
An explanatory box provides additional information about the clue. In most cases this information will not necessarily help in solving the clue but provides information about the clue. In the case of the weekday syndicated Daily Telegraph puzzles, such information is often intended to help the North American solver appreciate how the clue may be perceived by a British solver. These boxes may also provide information on people, places, films, television programmes, works of art and literature, etc. mentioned in the clue.

Although the titles of these boxes will usually be drawn from a standard list, I do occasionally throw in a title specifically suggested by the subject at hand. The standard titles include:
  • Scratching the Surface - an explanation of the surface reading of the clue
  • Delving Deeper - in-depth information pertaining to a subject mentioned in an explanation
  • The Story Behind the Picture - for weekday puzzles, information about an illustration found on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
  • What did he/she/they say? - for weekday puzzles, an explanation of a remark made in a review or comment on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
  • What are they talking about? - for weekday puzzles, an explanation of a discussion on Big Dave's Crossword Blog
One box that may provide information that could prove helpful in solving the clue is the following:
  • Here and There - for weekday puzzles, discusses words whose British meaning differs from their North American meaning

Note that there are many types of cryptic crossword clue and it is not my intention to exhaustively go through all of them here. I will only deal with clue types to the extent necessary to explain the conventions and symbols used on the blog. Furthermore, be aware that, in the world of cryptic crosswords, there seems to be an exception to every rule.

With one exception that I can think of, cryptic crossword clues provide two routes to the solution. These are commonly referred to as the definition and wordplay. While these terms serve well for most clues, there are some cases where the more formal terms of primary indication and subsidiary indication may be more appropriate.

Most cryptic crossword clues consist of a definition (primary indication) and wordplay (subsidiary indication). The definition may be a "precise definition" (a definition that is either taken straight from a dictionary or at least phrased in a non-misleading fashion) or it may be a "cryptic definition" (a definition misleadingly phrased so as to misdirect the solver either with respect to the meaning of the definition as a whole or to an incorrect sense of a word used in the definition).

The only type of clue that I can think of where there are not two ways of finding the solution are those in which the entire clue is a cryptic definition.
I identify precise definitions by marking them with a solid underline in the clue and cryptic definitions by marking them with a dotted underline.
In clues in which both definition and wordplay are present, the two parts of the clue combine to provide an overall meaningful statement (the surface reading) which usually bears no relationship to the underlying cryptic reading of the clue. In some cases, an extra word or phrase will be inserted into the clue to create a meaningful link between the definition and wordplay. I define clues which contain such a link word or link phrase as having an explicit link and clues which contain no link word or link phrase as having an implicit link.
I mark the existence of an explicit link by enclosing the link word or link phrase between forward slashes (/link/) and mark the existence of an implicit link with double forward slashes (//) positioned between the definition and wordplay.

A few examples may help to illustrate these points more clearly.

The first example is a clue used by Jay in DT 28573:

  • 4d   Fellow left work // a failure (4)
Here the definition is "a failure" which is marked with a solid underline to show that it is a precise definition. The wordplay parses as F (fellow; abbrev.) + L (left; abbrev.) + OP (work; abbrev. used in music) which gives us the solution F|L|OP. The double forward slashes (//) between the definition and wordplay indicate the existence of an "implicit link" between the two parts of the clue (that is, no extra words are inserted into the clue to form the link).

The second example is a clue used by Giovanni in DT 28575:
  • 29a   Female going to match // travels with mother in advance (10)
Here the definition "female going to match" is cryptic (the setter is attempting to misdirect our thoughts to a sports event rather than a marriage ceremony) and thus is marked with a a dotted underline. The wordplay is {RIDES (travels) + (with) MA (mother)} contained in (in) BID (advance) giving us the solution B(RIDES|MA)ID. As in the first example, the double forward slashes indicate the presence of an implicit link.

The third example is a clue used by Rufus is DT 28583:
  • 18d   Knight caught by misplaced big blow /is/ staggering (8)
Here the definition is "staggering" which is marked with a solid underline to show that it is a precise definition. The wordplay parses as N ([chess symbol for] knight) contained in (caught in) an anagram (misplaced) of BIG BLOW producing the solution WOBBLI(N)G. Finally, forward slashes mark the link word (/is/).
I also use distinctive underlining to mark &lit.[7] and semi-&lit. clues. Note that the reviewers on Big Dave's Crossword Blog generally prefer to refer to these clue types by the less pretentious names of all-in-one or semi-all-in-one clues respectively.

In an &lit. clue[7] (or all-in-one clue) the entire clue provides not only the definition (when read one way), but under a different interpretation also serves as the wordplay.
In future, I will mark such clues with a combined solid and dashed underline. Although this is a departure from past practice, it would seem to make more sense than using a dotted underline as I have in the past). Henceforth, the dotted underline will be reserved for cryptic definitions.
In a semi-&lit. clue (or semi-all-in-one clue), either:
  • the entire clue acts as the definition while a portion of the clue provides the wordplay; or
  • the entire clue acts as the wordplay while a portion of the clue provides the definition.
For these clues, I will mark the definition with a solid underline and the wordplay with a  dashed underline. This means that a portion of the clue may have a solid underline, a portion of the clue may have a dashed underline and a portion of the clue may have a combined solid and dashed underline.
One final clue type is what I characterize as a cryptic definition comprised of a precise definition combined with cryptic elaboration. For example, in DT 28560 (setter unknown) the following clue appears:
  •  26d   Heroic exploit, whichever way you look at it (4)
As the entire clue is a cryptic definition, it is marked with a dotted underline. The 'precise definition' is "heroic exploit" and is indicated by a solid underline.

Given the numeration, the precise definition could give rise to at least two solutions, DEED or FEAT. However, the 'cryptic elaboration' ("whichever way you look at it") indicates that the solution is a palindrome thereby immediately eliminating one of the two obvious choices.

Note that the part of the clue that I have called 'cryptic elaboration' does not provide a second independent route to the solution (as the wordplay would do in most other types of clue). Rather it merely provides a piece of additional information (elaboration) related to the 'precise definition'.

Again, this approach is a departure from past practice, but like the other changes mentioned previously is intended to remove inconsistencies in the way that I have been applying parsing markup to clues. The markup rules that I have been using until now evolved bit-by-bit over a long period of time resulting in some degree of internal inconsistency.

hide explanation


1a   Money // entanglement involved in causes of ruin (9)

BAN(KNOT)ES — KNOT (entanglement) contained in (involved in) BANES (causes of ruin)

6a   Bishop interpreted the meaning of // money (5)

B|READ — B (bishop; chess notation) + READ (interpreted the meaning of; as inread the tea leaves)

9a   Noticed male/'s/ $10 bill (7)

SAW|BUCK — SAW (noticed) + BUCK (male)

A sawbuck[3] is a sawhorse, especially one having a crossed pair of legs at each end. The slang usage of the term as a name for a ten-dollar bill arises from the resemblance of the crossed pairs of legs to the Roman numeral X (a pair of which appeared on the reverse of the initial series of US ten-dollar notes[3] first issued in 1862).

US Ten-dollar Note from 1863

10a   Covet an irregular // Cuban coin (7)

CENTAVO* — anagram of (irregular) COVET AN

The centavo[10] is a monetary unit* (or former monetary unit**) of various countries equal to one hundredth of their respective standard units (or former standard units).

* Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Mexico, Mozambique, Nicaragua, and the Philippines
** Ecuador, El Salvador, and Portugal

11a   Das Kapital's author audited // money in Bosnia (5)

MARKS~ — sounds like (audited) MARX (German political philosopher and economist, Karl Marx[5])

The Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark[7] is the currency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is divided into 100 pfenigs or fenings.

12a   Pocketing one hundred, Russians arranged // yellow flowers (9)

{NAR(C)ISSUS}* — anagram of (arranged) RUSSIANS containing (pocketing) C ([Roman numeral for] one hundred)

US dictionaries[3,11,12] list three plural forms for narcissus narcissus, narcissi, or narcissuses — while British dictionaries[2,4,10] list only the latter two.

13a   Unnecessary // tease with two shillings (8)

NEEDLE|S|S — NEEDLE (tease) + (with) {S + S} (two shillings)

In the British currency system used prior to the introduction of the current decimal currency system in 1971, a shilling[5] (abbreviation s[5]) was a coin and monetary unit equal to one twentieth of a pound or twelve pence.

15a   Bashes // British currency (6)

POUNDS — double definition

The pound[5] (also pound sterling) is the basic monetary unit of the UK, equal to 100 pence.

18a   Old Spanish money // placed inside vegetable (6)

PE(SET)A — SET (placed) contained in (inside) PEA (vegetable)

Until the introduction of the euro in 2002, the peseta[5] was the basic monetary unit of Spain, equal to 100 centimos.

19a   Distant object: // old English coin (8)

FAR|THING — FAR (distant) + THING (object)

A farthing[5] is a former monetary unit and coin of the UK, withdrawn in 1961, equal to a quarter of an old [pre-decimal currency system] penny.

22a   Endorse framing more than tail of one // gold coin (9)

S(OVER|E)IGN — SIGN (endorse) containing (framing) {OVER (more than) + E (tail [final letter] of onE)}

A sovereign[5] is a former British gold coin worth one pound sterling, now only minted for commemorative purposes.

24a   $1000 /in/ good South African money (5)

G|RAND — G (good; grade on a school assignment or test) + RAND (South African money)

The rand[5] (abbreviation R[10]) is the basic monetary unit of South Africa, equal to 100 cents.

25a   Mighty // long time in queue (7)

L(EON)INE — EON (long time) contained in (in) LINE (queue)

26a   Greeting composer, I // barbecue (7)

HI|BACH|I — HI (greeting) + BACH (composer; German composer Johann Sebastian Bach[5]) + I ()

A hibachi[5] is a portable cooking apparatus similar to a small barbecue.

Origin: Mid 19th century: Japanese hibachi, hi-hachi, from hi ‘fire’ + hachi ‘bowl, pot’. In Japan, a hibachi is a large earthenware pan or brazier in which charcoal is burnt to provide indoor heating.

27a   Gets exhausted carrying 1000 // coins (5)

DI(M)ES — DIES (gets exhausted) containing (carrying) M ([Roman numeral for] 1000)

28a   Tyrant/'s/ beaten, so prosper (9)

OPPRESSOR* — anagram of (beaten) SO PROSPER


1d   Infielder // tags Alberta going the wrong way (7)

{BA|SEMAN}< — reversal of (going the wrong way) {NAMES (tags) + AB (Alberta; postal abbreviation)

2d   Some old shorts // were less twisted after mid-morning (9)

N|EWSREELS* — anagram of (twisted) WERE LESS following (after) N (mid-morning; middle letter of morNing)

A short[5] is a short film as opposed to a feature film.

3d   Nothing in sisters/'/ parts of speech (5)

N(O)UNS — O (nothing; letter that looks like a zero) contained in (in) NUNS (sisters)

4d   Superficial concession // to knowledge is minute (8)

TO|KEN|IS|M — TO (†) + KEN (knowledge) + IS (†) + M(inute)

5d   Tie up // dog held by witness (6)

SE(CUR)E — CUR (dog) contained in (held by) SEE (witness)

6d   Marsupial, // bee. and one marsh bird (9)

B|AND|I|COOT — B (bee) + AND (†) + I ([Roman numeral for] one) + COOT (marsh bird)

The coot[5] is an aquatic bird of the rail family, with blackish plumage, lobed feet, and a bill that extends back on to the forehead as a horny shield.

The bandicoot[5] is a mainly insectivorous marsupial native to Australia and New Guinea.

7d   Maxes out // inspections (5)

EXAMS* — anagram of (out) MAXES

8d   Looks for water around river, /and/ takes a nap (7)

D(R)OWSES — DOWSES (looks for water) containing (around) R(iver)

14d   Religious rites // kindled desires. consuming interest (9)

LIT|URG(I)ES — LIT (kindled) + URGES (desires) containing (consuming) I(nterest)

16d   Bothers // equals wearing shades (9)

NU(IS)ANCES — IS (equals) contained in (wearing) NUANCES (shades [of meaning])

17d   Cookware with spring outside western // lender's store (4.4)

PA(W)N S|HOP — {PANS (cookware) + (with) HOP (spring)} containing (outside) W(estern)

18d   Crushed, // gadfly went ahead (7)

PEST|LED — PEST (gadfly) + LED (went ahead)

A gadfly[3] is any of various flies, especially a warble fly, botfly, or horsefly, that bite or annoy livestock and other animals. The term is used figuratively to denote:
  • a persistent irritating critic; a nuisance
  •  one that acts as a provocative stimulus; a goad
20d   More lightheaded, // strangely dig ride (7)

GIDDIER* — anagram of (strangely) DIG RIDE

21d   Someone eating bagel // dough (6)

DINER|O — DINER (someone eating) + O ([letter that looks like a] bagel)

Dinero[5] is an informal North American term for money ⇒ their pockets full of dinero.

Origin: Spanish, ‘coin, money’

I don't believe I have ever heard this term — and, if I had, I am sure I would have presumed that it was an actual foreign currency of some sort.

23d   Five-compartment // engine's sound (5)

V|ROOM — V ([Roman numeral for] five) + ROOM (compartment)

24d   Movie star/'s/ house feature (5)

GABLE — double definition

Clark Gable[5] (1901–1960) was an American actor, famous for films such as It Happened One Night (1934), for which he won an Oscar, and Gone with the Wind (1939).


Today's puzzle proved to be time well-spent. While it did not take longer to complete than usual, it did seem to require some intense mental exertion.

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)
[14] - (COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon


  1. Good cold Saturday morning to all! Time to cash in on your knowledge of currency to do this week's offering from C&R. Lots of anagrams to help. The bottom half held out but finally succumbed. Last ones in were 17d ad 22a. Really liked 26a, plus others. Best of luck! Thanks for posting, Falcon.

  2. 1a is pretty obvious from the pattern, (paper money?) But for the life of me I can't parse the clue.

  3. Hi Chris! Try 'knot' as the entanglement - you'll see the answer right away, I'm sure.

  4. Hello Falcon and fine folk,

    Yes, it's all about the Benjamins today! Pretty enjoyable puzzle - faves were 6a and 16d. Last one in was 1a - not so obvious for me.

    Thank you for posting and have a great weekend all!


  5. Good morning,

    A penny for your thoughts! I found today's offering to be not too taxing. Unlike the federal 28a. (Guess what I'm doing today!) Have a good weekend!


  6. Hello Falcon and all,
    I was looking forward to the theme-related contributions of my fellow solvers and lovers of wordplay and found the expected riches. My two cents: a little hard to get a grip up top, lower half easier. Led astray by tricky phrasing in 6a ("the meaning of money" instead of "interpreted the meaning") and 7d, which I read as a double definition rather than anagram. Two after-the-fact parsings: 22a and 16d. I thought there were some nice charades today - my favorite: 6d, for both clue and answer.

  7. Hi Falcon -
    Just a quick fix up, and a question:
    12a - touch up the markup characters a bit (inclusion of C, and curly brackets)
    The question is regarding 6a (Carola alludes to this issue in her note) I read the meaning of "interpreted the meaning of" as "read" - as in "She had her palm read." This would leave 'money' as the definition of bread. I am not sure I can see how bread can be defined as "the meaning of money."

    1. With 6a, I believe you and Carola are correct on the parsing. Having seen that "interpreted" could mean "read", I was then left with the task of trying to force fit a square peg ("the meaning of money") into a round hole ("bread"). I managed to convince myself that this was some sort of cryptic definition. However, your analysis is far superior.

  8. Super-Duper site! I am Loving it!! Will come back again,600 euros to dollars Im taking your feed also, Thanks.