Saturday, September 19, 2020

Saturday, September 19, 2020 — Ladies of the Screen


Today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon, an eclectic mix of clues that extend from the funny papers to cosmetic pushers, classical Indian music to Japanese wrestling, and French brandy to Greek legends, should be a delight for anagram lovers as this type of clue constitutes more than a third of the puzzle.

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

Symbols and Markup Conventions
  •  "*" - anagram
  • "~" - sounds like
  • "<" - indicates the preceding letters are reversed
  • "( )" - encloses contained letters
  • "_" - replaces letters that have been deleted
  •  "†" - indicates that the word is present in the clue
  • "//" - marks the boundary between wordplay and definition when no link word or link phrase is present
  • "/[link word or phrase]/" - marks the boundary between wordplay and definition when a link word or link phrase is present
  • "solid underline" - precise definition
  • "dotted underline" - cryptic definition
  • "dashed underline" - wordplay
  • "double underline" - both wordplay and definition
Click here for further explanation and usage examples of the symbols and markup conventions used on this blog.


1a   Brandy // from the east may run cold (6)

{C|OG|NAC}< —  reversal of (from the east) {CAN (may) + GO (run; function, operate) + C(old)}

4a   Old vehicles, // new crusades (4,4)

{USED CARS}* — anagram of (new) CRUSADES

10a   Fleck trio’s first // choral composition (5)

MOTE|T —  MOTE (fleck) + T (Trio's first [letter]}

11a   Mobile polymeric // work from a metric artist? (5,4)

{LYRIC POEM}* — anagram of (mobile) POLYMERIC

12a   Actress // swimming around mariners’ canoes (6-4,4)

{CARRIE_ANNE MOSS}* — anagram of (swimming around) MARINERS CANOES

Carrie-Anne Moss[7] is a Canadian actress who, following early roles on television, rose to international prominence for her role of Trinity in The Matrix film series.

14a   Rideau Cottage resident // audited actual money (7)

TRUDEAU~ — sounds like (audited) {TRUE (actual) + DOUGH (money)}

Justin Trudeau[7] is Prime Minister of Canada. Since becoming Prime Minister in 2015, he and his family have occupied Rideau Cottage[7], a residence located on the grounds of Rideau Hall, the estate of the Governor General of Canada. In doing so, he has eschewed 24 Sussex Drive, the official residence of the Prime Minister, which has been allowed to fall into such a state of disrepair that it is deemed unfit for human habitation.

15a   Orally narrate stories about the first female // city in Israel (3,4)

{TEL AVIV}* — sounds like (orally) {TELL (narrate stories) + OF (about) + EVE (the first female)}

17a   Justin has teams exhibiting // too quickly, perhaps (2,5)

_IN| HAS|TE_ — hidden in (exhibiting) JustIN HAS TEams

The PM makes another appearance.

19a   Everything is about // Ms. Janney (7)

ALL|IS|ON — ALL (everything) + IS (†) + ON (about)

Allison Janney[7] is an American actress who, following years of minor and uncredited film and television appearances, achieved her breakthrough with the role of C. J. Cregg in the NBC political drama The West Wing, for which she received four Primetime Emmy Awards. She also won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of LaVona Golden in the black comedy film I, Tonya (2017).

21a   Funny actress, // funny “ha ha” recreation (9,5)

{CATHERINE O'HARA}* — anagram of (funny) HA HA RECREATION

Catherine O'Hara[7] is a Canadian-American actress, writer, and comedian who first drew notice as an actress in 1974 as a member of The Second City improvisational comedy troupe in Toronto. Among her best known roles are Kate McCallister, the mother of Kevin, in the Home Alone films and Moira Rose in the Canadian television sitcom Schitt's Creek.

24a   A C string—one on // Weird Al’s instrument (9)

A|C|CORD|I|ON — A (†) + C (†) + CORD (string) + I ([Roman numeral] one) + ON (†)

"Weird Al" Yankovic[7] is an American entertainer known for humorous songs that make light of pop culture and often parody specific songs by contemporary musical acts. He also performs original songs that are style pastiches of the work of other acts, as well as polka medleys of several popular songs, most of which feature his trademark accordion.

25a   Story of a suspect // I bail out (5)

ALIBI* — anagram of (out) I BAIL

26a   One who comes // in the direction of bid (8)

AT|TENDER — AT (in the direction of; Sir, enemy fighters at two o'clock!) + TENDER (bid)

27a   Handsome guy // is following a Mafia boss (6)

A|DON|IS — IS (†) following (†) {A (†) + DON (Mafia boss)}


1d   Funny pages feature // cosmic trip with character moving to a new spot (5,5)

COMIC STRIP — COSMIC TRIP (†) with S moving three positions to the right (with character moving to a new spot)

2d   Barbarian with rugged // experience (2,7)

GO TH|ROUGH — GOTH (barbarian) + (with) ROUGH (rugged)

3d   Dancer // recited a set of steps (7)

ASTAIRE~  — sounds like (recited) {A (†) + STAIR (set of steps)}

Fred Astaire[5] (1899–1987) was an American dancer, singer, and actor.

5d   Grant inspiring wild // baseball activity in March (6,8)


6d   I’m caught by sticker // point (7)

DEC(IM)AL —  IM (I'm) contained by (caught by) DECAL (sticker)

7d   A turkey’s // small bits (5)

A|TOM|S — A (†) + TOM (turkey) + S ('s)

One might also conceivably parse this clue as:
  • A turkey’s small // bits (5)
A|TOM|S — A (†) + TOM (turkey) + ('s; interpreted as a contraction for 'has') S(mall)

However, I find this parsing far from elegant.

8d   Wrestler // held back by Benito Mussolini (4)

SUMO< — reversed (back) and hidden in (held ... by) BenitO MUSsolini 

Benito Mussolini[7] (1883–1945) was an Italian Fascist dictator who was Prime Minister of Italy from the fascist coup d'état in 1922 to his deposition in 1943.

9d   Enjoyable journey // transformed us real epicures (8,6)

{PLEASURE CRUISE}* — anagram of (transformed) US REAL EPICURES

13d   Alva Edison reorganized // some saleswomen (4,6)

{AVON LADIES}* — anagram of (reorganized) ALVA EDISON

Thomas Alva Edison[7] (1847–1931) was an American inventor and businessman.

16d   Roman VIP // fixed Pisan vase (9)

VESPASIAN* — anagram of (fixed) PISAN VASE

Vespasian[7] (AD 9–79) was Roman emperor from 69 to 79.

18d   Was a harangue somewhat // uncool? (7)

_S|A|HARAN_ — hidden in (somewhat) waS A HARANgue

20d   Confused an older // Mr. Cohen (7)

LEONARD* — anagram of (confused) AN OLDER

Leonard Cohen[7] (1934–2016) was a Canadian singer, songwriter, poet, and novelist.

22d   Tie // a person with a brogue (5)

A|SCOT — A (†) + SCOT (person with a brogue)

23d   Scrap a // sitar piece (4)

RAG|A — RAG (scrap) + A (†)

A sitar[7] is a large, long-necked Indian lute with movable frets, played with a wire pick.

A raga[14] is a piece of Indian music based on a traditional scale or pattern of notes which is also called a raga.


I was tempted to title the review "Something for Everyone" based on the varied mix of subjects touched on in the clues. However, one can hardly ignore the two award-winning Canadian actresses prominently featured in the puzzle.

Key to Reference Sources: 

  [1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
  [2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
  [3]   - (American Heritage Dictionary)
  [4]   - TheFreeDictionarycom (Collins English Dictionary)
  [5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
  [6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Advanced 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. Hello Falcon and fellow puzzlers,

    Good fun with a bit of Canadiana today. No help required. Thought 15a was excellent. Last one in was 26a, had to think about it, but only for a minute.

    Thank you for posting Falcon. Have a nice weekend everyone!


  2. Oh, a bit chilly this am in the GTA. Maybe it will keep potential COVID-19 carriers at home.
    Lots of anagrams today to make life a little easier for most. Nice to see our PM got mentioned. Didn't know 19a, but could guess it from the cross letters. Liked 3d. My last one in was also 26a, somehow 'one who comes' kept putting the wrong image in my mind. I'm impressed, MG, that you only had to think about it for a minute.
    Thanks for posting, Falcon! Hope you're staying warm.

  3. Falcon-
    1d Funny pages feature // cosmic trip with character moving to a new spot (5,5)

    Would this parsing be more elegant:
    {COMIC STRIP}* — anagram of (with character moving to a new spot) COSMIC TRIP

    1. Sorry, Henry, I would say not. Eight of the nine letters (characters) maintain their existing order and only one changes position relative to the others. I think the wordplay is quite clear that only one character moves to a new spot.

  4. I don't watch movies or television so I just had to work a bit harder on 12a and 21a. Otherwise, a pleasurable cruise through.