Saturday, June 5, 2021

Saturday, June 5, 2021 — Man For All Seasons


The theme of today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon is rather apropos as we almost seem to be bouncing between seasons at the present time. Despite the calendar telling me that it is spring, less than two weeks ago we were experiencing killer frosts and it now feels like mid-summer. I spent the weekend in the woods and although the leaves are not falling, the caterpillars and their droppings certainly are.

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
  • "wavy underline" - whimsical and inferred definitions
Click here for further explanation and usage examples of the symbols and markup conventions used on this blog.


1a Buddy and others at the front damage // California mountain (7)

PAL|O|MAR — PAL (buddy) + (and) O (others at the front; initial letter of Others) + MAR (damage)

Mount Palomar[10] is a mountain in southern California, northeast of San Diego. It is the site of Mount Palomar Observatory, which has a large (200-inch) reflecting telescope.

5a Burn General Electric’s // bills (7)

CHAR|GE|S — CHAR (burn) + GE (General Electric) + S ('s)

9a Tangle up // composer of Bolero (5)

RAVEL — double definition

The Epitome of English Imprecision
English could never stand accused of being a precise language.

Ravel[10] can mean either to tangle or untangle; it can also mean to unravel.

Ergo, one should not be surprised to find that it can also mean to make or become confused or complicated.

Maurice Ravel[5] (1875–1937) was a French composer. His works are somewhat impressionistic in style, employing colourful orchestration and unresolved dissonances. Notable works: the ballets Daphnis and Chloë (1912) and Boléro (1928) and the orchestral work La Valse (1920).

10a Fettering // guy with a stick (9)

MAN|A|CLING — MAN (guy) + (with) A (†) + CLING (stick)

11a Playing violin on TV,  Aida // composer (7,7)

{ANTONIO VIVALDI}* — anagram of (playing) VIOLIN ON TV AIDA

Antonio Vivaldi[5] (1678–1741) was an Italian composer and violinist, one of the most important baroque composers. His feeling for texture and melody is evident in his numerous compositions such as The Four Seasons (concerto, 1725).

Scratching the Surface
Aida[7] is an opera by Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901). Set in the Old Kingdom of Egypt, it premièred in Cairo in 1871.

13a Obscure // section of theatre Cher checks (9)

_RE|CHER|CHÉ_ — hidden in (section of) theatRE CHER CHEcks

Scratching the Surface
Cher[7] (born Cherilyn Sarkisian) is an American singer, actress, and television host. Known for her distinctive contralto singing voice, she has been nicknamed the Goddess of Pop.

15a Plants // cup before play’s beginning (5)

C|ACT|I — C(up) + (before) ACT I (play's beginning; Act One)

17a “Sue,” she said, // “eats in Japan” (5)

SU|SHI~ — sounds like (said) {SUE + SHE}

19a Excuse // informant, one lit by brew (9)

RAT|I|ON|ALE — RAT (informant) + I ([Roman numeral] one) + ON (lit; illuminated) + (by) ALE (brew)

21a Clumsily rushes notes of a // composition (3,4,7)

{THE FOUR SEASONS}* — anagram of (clumsily) RUSHES NOTES OF A

See 11 Across

25a Room full of plants: // the lady’s element (9)

HER|BARIUM — HER (the lady's) + BARIUM ([chemical] element)

26a Hopping mad, // I reckon (5)

I|RATE — I (†) + RATE (reckon; be reckoned a world authority)

27a Sort of lettuce // packed by Candice Bergen (7)

_ICE|BERG_ — hidden in (packed by) CandICE BERGen

Scratching the Surface
Candice Bergen[7] is an American actress and former fashion model. She won five Primetime Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards for her portrayal of the title character on the CBS sitcom Murphy Brown (1988–1998, 2018-2019).

28a Rebuke // Charles X (7)

CHAS|TEN — CHAS ([abbreviation for] Charles) + TEN (X; Roman numeral ten)


1d Male hairstyles in sassy, // rocklike layer (10)

PER(M|AFROS)T — {M(ale) + AFROS (hairstyles)} contained in (in) PERT (sassy)

2d Book // IV clue: it’s complicated (9)

LEVITICUS* — anagram of (complicated) IV CLUE ITS

Leviticus[5]  is the third book of the Bible, containing details of law and ritual.

3d Mix // master’s first adaptation of Ang Lee (7)

M|ELANGE* — M (Master's first [letter]) + anagram of (adaptation of) ANG LEE

Scratching the Surface
Ang Lee[7] is a Taiwanese film director, producer, and screenwriter.

Although the spelling differs, the clue may be alluding to mixmaster[5] in the sense of a sound-recording engineer or disc jockey who is an accomplished mixer of music.

4d Where the Tiber flows, hug // lover (5)

ROME|O — ROME (where the Tiber[7] flows) + O ([letter that represents a] hug)

5d Happy, fencing in // land (9)

CONT(IN)ENT — CONTENT (happy) containing (fencing) IN (†)

6d Old // arch spy group returning (7)

ARCH|AIC< — ARCH (†) + reversal of (returning) CIA (spy group)

7d Study hard, // green skin (5)

G|RIND — G(reen) + RIND (skin)

8d Wise // flavouring (4)

SAGE — double definition

12d Genius embracing southeast // Russian director (10)

EI(SE)NTEIN — EINSTEIN (genius) containing (embracing) SE (southeast)

Sergei Eisenstein[5] (1898–1948) was a Soviet film director, born in Latvia. He is chiefly known for The Battleship Potemkin (1925), a commemoration of the Russian Revolution of 1905 celebrated for its pioneering use of montage.

14d Celebrating // love, you and me, in kind (9)

CAR(O|US)ING — {O (love; nil score in tennis) + US (you and me)} contained in (in) CARING (kind)

16d Song about a toy // like an iridescent marble (9)

CH(A|TOY)ANT — CHANT (song) containing (about) {A (†) + TOY (†)|

18d Madden, // namely, adopting NFL radio band (7)

I(NFL|AM)E — IE (namely; id est) containing (adopting) {NFL (†) + AM (radio band)}

Scratching the Surface
John Madden[7] is an American former football coach and sportscaster. He won a Super Bowl as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, and after retiring from coaching became a well-known color commentator for NFL telecasts. He is also widely known for the long-running Madden NFL video game series he has endorsed and fronted since 1988.

20d Orange jam ingredient in a // sweet potato (7)

O(CAR)IN|A — O(range) + CAR ([traffic] jam ingredient) + IN (†) + A (†)

Sweet potato[10] is an informal US name for the ocarina, an egg-shaped wind instrument with a protruding mouthpiece and six to eight finger holes, producing an almost pure tone.

22d Husky-sounding // animal on a farm (5)

horse~ — sounds like (sounding) HOARSE (husky)

23d Bush // author Albert making a comeback (5)

SUMAC< — reversal of (making a comeback) CAMUS (author Albert)

Albert Camus[5] (1913–1960) was a French novelist, playwright, and essayist, closely aligned with existentialism whose notable works include The Outsider (novel, 1942), The Plague (novel, 1947), and The Rebel (essay, 1951). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957.

24d Asian // connection pronounced (4)

THAI~ — sounds like (pronounced) TIE (connection)


The theme of today's puzzle is an 18th century Italian baroque composer and his best-known work. The setters surround him not only with a few other great composers, but also with figures from other areas of the arts and popular culture.

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)
[15]   - (Penguin Random House LLC/HarperCollins Publishers Ltd )

Signing off for today — Falcon


  1. Most difficult C&R puzzle that I can remember. One new word for me and one new definition of a word. Thanks for posting Falcon

  2. I agree, Puzzler.
    Hello all from a sunny and getting hot NYC.
    The easier mini-theme Baroque entries helped but it’s always hard when the grid entries are unfamiliar words. Such was the case for 13a, 25a and 16d. Also didn’t know that 20a was called that. Loved “jam ingredient” in the clue.
    The parsing of 19a and 1d was fun.
    Thanks for posting, Falcon.
    Stay safe and cool all.

  3. A very good morning from a very warm Winnipeg - 36 degrees yesterday and 35 forecast for today.
    Firstly, thanks to HeatherZ for last week's tip on how to 'compete' with comment editor.
    Definitely much trickier than usual with 16d an new word for me and a need to check 13a in the BRB.
    A shame that the musical theme was not developed further than two composers and a music suite.
    I really liked 26a and 18d.
    Thanks to C&R and to Falcon.

    1. So glad that the information helped! :-)

  4. Hello Falcon and friends,

    Yes it's a hot one! Agree with other comments about today's puzzle being more challenging than usual. Lower right corner held out for the longest time with 16d being last one in. Also a new word for me but definitely enough clues provided to solve. Favourite for me was 13a as I did not see the hidden word until after I solved the clue. Always feel a bit disappointed when the puzzle is done - only because I want MORE!

    Thank you for posting Falcon. Have a nice weekend all.


  5. Good Saturday to all! Thanks for the post Falcon.
    Today's offering from C&R definitely worked the little grey cells and made you stretch the word associations. I also thought there was a Baroque composer theme running for a while,
    There is a spicy tone to the puzzle with 21a, 7d, 3d, 25a.
    Had to look up 16d, and then used the checking letters to get the last one in 15a.
    Have a great weekend everyone!

  6. Easier for me than last week! More of my background knowledge. 11a just jumped out so easy connection to 21a. Then went hunting for more, not! But yes 16d was a new word for me. The challenge - to use it this week. Quite a few chuckles.

  7. Had to check a dictionary for 16d, but otherwise pretty much a read-and-write.

  8. Good afternoon, everyone. I am so late today as I was determined not to have this be a wall of shame offering for me, but at some point, one must admit defeat. (I am in awe, Richard M., that it was a read and write for you!) I "got" 16d from the parsing and couldn't believe when I looked that answer up that it was a real word. I kept wanting to put an "s" in 25a to go with "lady's", and thought I was so smart with 20d because I managed to shift my brain from the marmalade concept, searching for words that might go with musicians making music together. Ask me how that worked out. But like MG, I am sorry that it is ALL GONE - like a good ice cream cone on a hot day. It was still a very good puzzle. I liked 18d and 1d, with special mention to all the ones I didn't know!
    Have a great weekend, everyone. See you next time. Big thanks to you, Falcon.
    Best, Heather