Saturday, April 20, 2019

Saturday, April 20, 2019 — Easter Egg Hunt


I expect you will easily find the Easter eggs hidden in today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon — even though they have deserted their partners.

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 program, 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 directly from a dictionary or at least phrased in a non-misleading fashion similar to one that would be found in a dictionary
  • 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 (for example, defining topiary as "clip art")
  • a "whimsical definition": a definition "invented" by the setter often by extrapolating a non-existent meaning for a word from a similar word (for example, defining a bird as a "winger" [something possessing wings] or a river as a ''flower" [something that flows] or to extrapolate that, since disembowel means 'to remove the innards of ', that discontent must mean 'to remove the contents of')
  • a "definition by example": the presence of one of these is often flagged with a question mark (for example, defining atoll as "coral?" where an atoll is but one form that coral may take).
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 other varieties of definition (such as cryptic definitions, whimsical definitions, definitions by example, etc.) 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.



1a   Ideal place // is found in procession (8)

PARAD(IS)E — IS () contained in (found in) PARADE (procession)

5a   Philosopher // relating to Easter after losing hour (6)

PASC||AL — PASC[H]AL (relating to Easter) with the letter H removed {(after losing H(our)}

Blaise Pascal[5] (1623–1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher. (show more )

He founded the theory of probabilities and developed a forerunner of integral calculus, but is best known for deriving the principle that the pressure of a fluid at rest is transmitted equally in all directions. His Lettres Provinciales (1656–7) and Pensées (1670) argue for his Jansenist Christianity.


10a   Turning, looked towards // something brewing? (5)

DECAF< — reversal of (turning) FACED (looked towards)

11a   Pond plant // warily let loose (5,4)

{WATER LILY}* — anagram of (loose) WARILY LET

12a   Cowpoke, at times // like this, seen in focused light (7)

LAS(SO)ER — SO (like this; it must be done just like this) contained in (seen in) LASER (focused light)

13a   A rather lost // aviator (7)

EARHART* — anagram of (lost) A RATHER

Amelia Earhart[5] (1897–1937) was an American aviator. In 1932 she became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic solo. Her aircraft disappeared over the Pacific Ocean during a subsequent round-the-world flight with the loss of Earhart and her navigator.

14a   Teacher drops // antenna (6,4)

RABBI|T EARS — RABBI (teacher) + TEARS (drops [coming from the eyes])

17a   Bird // plunged downwards (4)

DOVE — double definition; a noun and a verb having markedly different pronunciations

19a   Select // sharp tool (4)

PICK — double definition; a verb and a noun having the same pronunciation

20a   Strangely blunt bee on // Texan flower (10)

BLUEBONNET* — anagram of (strangely) BLUNT BEE ON

Bluebonnet[5] is a name given to any number of purple-flowered species of the genus Lupinus predominantly found in southwestern United States and is collectively the state flower of Texas.

Delving Deeper
The shape of the petals on the flower resembles the bonnet worn by pioneer women to shield them from the sun.

On March 7, 1901, Lupinus subcarnosus became the only species of bluebonnet recognized as the state flower of Texas; however, Lupinus texensis emerged as the favorite of most Texans. So, in 1971, the Texas Legislature made any similar species of Lupinus that could be found in Texas the state flower.

23a   More grating // soprano wearing sword (7)

RA(S)PIER — S(oprano) contained in (wearing) RAPIER (sword)

24a   Nudist urbanely conceals // worry (7)

_DIST|URB_ — hidden in (conceals) nuDIST URBanely

26a   Gag Daniel butchered // bombed (4,2,3)

{LAID AN EGG}* — anagram (butchered) of GAG DANIEL

27a   Down // East, bum ride (5)

E|IDER* — E(ast) + anagram of (bum) RIDE

28a   Gives up // interest in the old Mormons (6)

YIELDS — I(interest) contained in (in) YE (the old; archaic word for 'the') + LDS (Mormons; Latter Day Saints)

29a   Banqueters // full before religious observances (8)

F|EASTERS — F (full; symbol on a fuel gauge) preceding (before) EASTERS (religious observances)


1d   Canoeist often // passing one causing confusion (7)

P|ADDLER — P (passing; result on a pass/fail exam) + ADDLER (one causing confusion)

2d   Rattles // stones (5)

ROCKS — double definition; the first being a verb meaning disconcerts

3d   Backing cover away, notice flower (8)

{DA|FFO|DIL}< — reversal of (backing) {LID (cover) + OFF (away; absent from work) + AD (notice [of a commercial nature])}

4d   Tailor/’s/ underground passage (5)

SEWER — double definition; two nouns having markedly different pronunciations

6d   Atmosphere surrounding Oregon // light show (6)

AUR(OR)A — AURA (atmosphere) containing (surrounding) OR (Oregon; abbrev.)

7d   1974 movie // with Conan revamped (9)

CHINATOWN* —  anagram of (revamped) WITH CONAN

Chinatown[7] is a 1974 American neo-noir mystery film, directed by Roman Polanski from a screenplay by Robert Towne, starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. (show more )

The film was inspired by the California Water Wars, a series of disputes over southern California water at the beginning of the 20th century, by which Los Angeles interests secured water rights in the Owens Valley.


8d   Tot’s outfit // still covered by behind (7)

LA(YET)TE — YET (still) contained in (covered by) LATE (behind)

9d   Dragon-slayer // gets ogre upset (2,6)

{ST GEORGE}* — anagram of (upset) GETS OGRE

St George[6] is the patron saint of England. He is reputed in legend to have slain a dragon and may have been martyred near Lydda in Palestine some time before the reign of Constantine.

The clue is well-timed as St. George's Day is coming up on April 23.

15d   Beginning of leak in rear // sink again (9)

BACKS(L)IDE — L (beginning [initial letter] of Leak) contained in (in) BACKSIDE (rear)

16d   Swollen // leg Andre twisted (8)

ENLARGED* — anagram of (twisted) LEG ANDRE

18d   Those raising glasses // to flowers (8)

TO|ASTERS — TO (†) + ASTERS (flowers)

19d   Discussion between enemies about southern // seasoning (7)

PAR(S)LEY — PARLEY (discussion between enemies) containing (about) S(outhern)

21d   A poet wearing Eliot/’s/ medieval garments (7)

T(A|BARD)S — {A (†) + BARD (poet)} contained in (wearing) TS (Eliot; American-born British poet T. S. Eliot[5])

A tabard[2] is a short loose sleeveless jacket or tunic, worn especially by a knight over his armour or, with the arms of the king or queen on the front, by a herald.

22d   Reptile // Liz put next to a road (6)

LIZ|A|RD — LIZ (†) + (put next to) A (†) + RD (road; abbrev.)

24d   Motherless calf/’s/ grunt interrupting female in a herd (5)

DO(GI)E — GI (grunt; US infantry soldier) contained in (interrupting) DOE (female in a herd)

Grunt[12] is US slang for a U.S. infantryman, originally in the war in Vietnam.

25d   Excessive // uranium in shifting dune (5)

UND(U)E — U ([symbol for the chemical element] uranium) contained in (in) anagram of (shifting) DUNE


There are four Easter eggs hidden in the puzzle — or, rather, there are four words that partner with the word Easter to form terms commonly associated with Easter. One may observe that these words have all found new partners; however, you will find the jilted partners commiserating with each other at 29a.
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 Easter Saturday morning to all! I expected at least one easter egg in the puzzle this week, but I think I layed one. It took some thinking to parse 28a, but I finally got the old interpretation. Quite an easy affair this week, should leave you plenty of time to get the eggs decorated and the house ready. I think I liked 15d. And 7d is one of my all time favourites.
    Happy Easter! And thanks for posting, Falcon.

  2. Good morning,

    Straightforward puzzle today with predictable theme. I especially liked 5a and 6d. Thought 22d weak. Had to look up 24d. Have a blessed Easter!


  3. What a lovely piece of cake!

  4. Hello Falcon and fellow cryptic peeps,

    An egg-cellent puzzle today and none too taxing. No eggs-cuses to use google today! Especially liked 28a.

    Thank you for posting Falcon and Happy Easter every bunny!


    1. Falcon - Maybe "Very bunny?"

      I always appreciate MG's play on words. This week, I can see where your head was located. It's not too late to fix it - 8d, a different kind of behind!

    2. I was just focused on 15d