Saturday, December 26, 2020

Saturday, December 26, 2020 — Time Inversion


I breezed through most of today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon but the southwest quadrant put up some resistance and took as long to complete as the other three quadrants combined.

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 Fool is handed mixed // drink (3-9)

{OLD-FASHIONED}* — anagram of (mixed) FOOL IS HANDED

10a Bridge, in whatever // state of disorder (7)

AN(ARCH)Y — ARCH (bridge) contained in (in) ANY (whatever)

11a Actress // rambling around Germany (3,4)

{MEG RYAN}* — anagram of (rambling around) GERMANY

12a Condition in pioneering // playoff game (9)

SEM(IF)INAL — IF (condition) contained in (in) SEMINAL (pioneering)

13a Derby town // going through julep, somehow (5)

_EP|SOM_ — hidden in (going through) julEP SOMehow

Epsom Downs*[7] is a Grade 1 racecourse near Epsom, Surrey, England. The course is best known for hosting the Derby Stakes (popularly known as the Epsom Derby), the United Kingdom's premier thoroughbred horse race.

* The "downs" referred to in the name are part of the North Downs, a ridge of chalk hills in south east England.

14a Dads sample // baked goods (6)

PAS|TRY — PAS (dads) + TRY (sample)

15a In British Columbia, processed salami // like some vinegar (8)

B(ALSAMI*)C — anagram of (processed) SALAMI contained in (in) BC (British Columbia)

18a Launch // extremist group, holding a strike (8)

C(A|TAP)ULT — CULT (extremist group) containing (holding) {A (†) + TAP (strike)}

20a Greek city // resort filled with paintings (6)

SP(ART)A — SPA (resort) containing (filled with) ART (paintings)

24a Warning // one left with weapon (5)

A|L|ARM — A (one) + L (left) + (with) ARM (weapon)

26a Hiding // article about eruption (9)

TH(RASH)ING — THING (article) containing (about) RASH (eruption)

27a Turning right, catch // mate (7)

{PARTNE|R}< — reversal of (turning) {R(ight) + ENTRAP (catch)}

28a Raiders/’/ six sovereigns (7)

VI|KINGS — VI ([Roman numeral] six) + KINGS (sovereigns)

29a Dog // and nun wolfed rum (12)


As an anagram indicator, rum[5] is used in a dated informal British* sense meaning odd or peculiar ⇒ it’s a rum business, certainly.

* Although one often sees this indicator in British puzzles, it does seem a rather rum usage to find it in a North American puzzle. Nevertheless, I have encountered it several times in C & R puzzles.


2d Evil character, // cruel if riled (7)

LUCIFER* — anagram of (riled) CRUEL IF

3d Start to fall, being situated // up in the air (6)

F|LYING — F (start [initial letter] to Fail) + LYING (being situated)

4d African // version of “Mona Lisa” (8)

SOMALIAN* — anagram of (version of) MONA LISA

5d French painter’s // entry (7)

INGRES|S — INGRES (French painter) + S ('s)

La Grande Baigneuse (1808)
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres[5] (1780–1867) was a French painter. A pupil of Jacques-Louis David, he vigorously upheld neoclassicism in opposition to Delacroix’s romanticism. Notable works: Ambassadors of Agamemnon (1801) and La Grande Baigneuse (The Bather) (1808).

6d Poet // replies with opposite meanings (5)

NO|YES — {NO + YES} (replies with opposite meanings)

Alfred Noyes[7] (1880–1958) was an English poet, short-story writer and playwright.

Delving Deeper
Sometime during my schooldays many decades ago, we studied this poem and for some unknown reason both the poem (and the author's name) remain embedded in my memory — one of the very few works to make such a lasting impression.

The Highwayman
by Alfred Noyes

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.   
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.   
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,   
And the highwayman came riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

. . .

7d After chewing candy, I’m // full of energy (7)

DYNAMIC* — anagram of (after chewing) CANDY IM

8d Young dog eating turkey // refuse (4,2)

P(ASS) UP — PUP (young dog) containing (eating) ASS (turkey; stupid or inept person)

9d Woodchuck circling southeastern // monkey (8)

MARMO(SE)T — MARMOT (woodchuck) containing (circling) SE (southeastern)

Marmots[5] are heavily built, gregarious burrowing rodents of the genus Marmota of mountainous country in both Eurasia and North America.

The woodchuck[5] is a North American marmot (Marmota monax) with a heavy body and short legs.

16d Aliens // damage containers around central Ontario (8)

MAR|TI(A)NS — MAR (damage) + TINS (containers) containing (around) A (central [middle letter of] OntArio)

17d Talent taking time over // something pressing? (8)

FLA(T)IR|ON — FLAIR (talent) containing (taking) T(ime) + ON (over)

18d Slope gripped by trick // alpine footwear (7)

C(RAMP)ON — RAMP (slope) contained in (gripped by) CON (trick)

19d Pepper spotted around me (7)

PI(ME)NTO — PINTO (spotted; as in a pinto horse) containing (around) ME (†)

21d Writer in Russian // press relations (7)

PUSH|KIN — PUSH (press) + KIN (relations)

Aleksandr Pushkin[5] (1799–1837) was a Russian poet, novelist, and playwright.  (show more )

He wrote prolifically in many genres; his first success was the romantic narrative poem Ruslan and Ludmilla (1820). Other notable works include the verse novel Eugene Onegin (1833) and the blank-verse historical drama Boris Godunov (1831).


22d Impressive // gold rush (6)

AU|GUST — AU ([chemical symbol for] gold) + GUST (rush [of air])

23d Steer large // bull (6)

DRIVE|L — DRIVE (steer) + L (large; clothing size)

25d Something that indicates // a red line (5)

A|R|ROW — A (†) + R(ed) + ROW (line)


In today's puzzle, we experience a time inversion — in with the OLD (1a) and out with the NEW (29a).

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]   - Lexico (formerly Oxford Dictionaries Online) (Oxford Dictionary of English)
  [6]   - Lexico (formerly Oxford Dictionaries Online) (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. Happy Boxing Day Canadian friends. Thought the wordplay was particularly sharp today. Last in was 9d. Enjoy your holidays.

  2. Hello Falcon and friends,

    Had a bit of a workout today with the SE corner holding out the longest. The setters' definition of turkey definitely raised my eyebrow. Last one in for me was 17d. Guess it's out with the old and in with the new.

    Thank you for posting Falcon. Seasons greetings everyone!


    1. Raised eyebrow -- wait 'til you read the description of the parsing!

    2. Both eyebrows now raised!! ( ゚o゚)

      I was also cartographically challenged today as it was the SW corner that gave me pause.


  3. Cheers, puzzlers. A good few food and drink references for yesterday. Chuckled at 23d. Happy New Year in advance. Thanks for all the contributions.

  4. Happy Boxing Day to all!
    My eyebrows went up with the Christmas turkey as well. My last corner was a tie between the upper and lower east side. Last one in was 17d as I had the answer from the start but didn't see the parsing until I bunged in the answer. Second last was 10a.
    I hope you all got what you wanted for Christmas (mine was a Saturday morning C&R posted by Falcon!)

    1. Santa Falcon happy to oblige.

    2. Thanks Santa! And the poem "The Highwayman" was a poem we also studied in school, although the poet's name has long since been forgotten.

  5. That was upper and lower WEST sides (I guess the time inversion affected me)

  6. 8D didn't bother me a bit. I had my eyebrows permanently raised a few years ago when Maltby (in Harper's) got away with an 11-letter entry that is a synonym for "poultry droppings".

    Found it. April of 2010. Clue is "Around his kitchen, cooking is really small-time (11)"

    My eyebrows are still up there.