Saturday, August 22, 2015

Saturday, August 22, 2015 — BBQ Calamities


As I was camping over the weekend at a location where I had no access to the Internet, today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon is making its appearance somewhat later than usual.

Similar to smaug (comment below), I thought the setters "turned up the difficulty level this week". However, the workout was very enjoyable.

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

Legend: "*" anagram; "~" sounds like; "<" letters reversed

"( )" letters inserted; "_" letters deleted; "†" explicit in the clue

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (& lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).


1a   Group of seven // had pet bats (6)

HEPTAD* — anagram (bats) of HAD PET

Scratching the Surface
The setters, by failing to capitalize one letter, appear to have missed an opportunity to turn the surface reading into an allusion to the Group of Seven — arguably Canada's most famous painters.

The Group of Seven[7], also known as the Algonquin School, was a group of Canadian landscape painters from 1920 to 1933, originally consisting of Franklin Carmichael (1890–1945), Lawren Harris (1885–1970), A. Y. Jackson (1882–1974), Frank Johnston (1888–1949), Arthur Lismer (1885–1969), J. E. H. MacDonald (1873–1932), and Frederick Varley (1881–1969). Later, A. J. Casson (1898–1992) was invited to join in 1926; Edwin Holgate (1892–1977) became a member in 1930; and LeMoine FitzGerald (1890–1956) joined in 1932.

Two artists commonly associated with the group are Tom Thomson (1877–1917) and Emily Carr (1871–1945). Although he died before its official formation, Thomson had a significant influence on the group. In his essay "The Story of the Group of Seven", Harris wrote that Thomson was "a part of the movement before we pinned a label on it"; Thomson's paintings The West Wind and The Jack Pine are two of the group's most iconic pieces. Emily Carr was also closely associated with the Group of Seven, though was never an official member.

Believing that a distinct Canadian art could be developed through direct contact with nature, the Group of Seven is best known for its paintings inspired by the Canadian landscape, and initiated the first major Canadian national art movement. The Group was succeeded by the Canadian Group of Painters in 1933 [having grown to 10 or 12 members, depending on how you count them, the old name was likely beginning to seem rather inappropriate], which included members from the Beaver Hall Group who had a history of showing with the Group of Seven internationally.

4a   Cover for a sword // wound covering poet (8)

SCAB|BARD — SCAB (wound) + (covering; standing in front of) + BARD (poet)

It is easy to see how "covering" would work as a charade indicator in a down clue where it would be used in the sense of sitting atop. However, it took more than a little head scratching to justify its use in an across clue. If one thinks of "covering" in the sense of a guard in basketball covering (standing in front of) an opposing player, I think it works.

9a   Craft’s carrying the first of six // crows (6)

BOA(S)T|S — {BOAT (craft) + S ('s)} containing (carrying) S (the first of six; initial letter of Six)

10a   Note // bug by Russian river (1,7)

G NAT|URAL —GNAT (bug) + (by) URAL (Russian river)

The Ural River[5] is a river, 1,575 miles (2,534 km) long, that rises at the southern end of the Ural Mountains in western Russia and flows through western Kazakhstan to the Caspian Sea at Atyraū.

In music, a note is natural[7] when it is neither flat nor sharp (nor double-flat or double-sharp).

11a   Guys who shoot // arrived with some noodle soup (9)

CAME|RAMEN — CAME (arrived) + (with) RAMEN (some noodle soup)

In Japanese cuisine, ramen[5] are quick-cooking noodles, typically served in a broth with meat and vegetables.

13a   Spot taken by Sylvester, // alas (5)

S(AD)LY — AD (spot) contained in (taken by) SLY ([diminutive for] Sylvester; well-known examples being Sylvester Stallone[7], Sly Stone[7])

14a   Popular Southeastern story // strongly attached (11)

IN|SE|PARABLE — IN (popular) + SE (southeastern) + PARABLE (story)

18a   Diana’s wrong about courtyard // falling apart (11)

DI|S|SI(PATIO)N — DI ([diminutive for] Diana) + S ('s) + SIN (wrong) containing (about) PATIO (courtyard)

21a   Region /of/ some arboreal monkeys (5)

_REAL|M_ — hidden (some) in aboREAL Monkeys

22a   Prong keeping tick off // fruit (9)

T(ANGER)INE — TINE (prong) containing (keeping) ANGER (tick off)

24a   One of the Osmonds embracing Horton // by the sea (8)

MARI(TIM)E — MARIE (one of the Osmonds) containing (embracing) TIM (Horton)

Marie Osmond[7] is an American singer, film screenwriter, actress, doll designer, and a member of the show business family the Osmonds. Although she was never part of her family's singing group, she gained success as a solo country music artist in the 1970s and 1980s. Her best known song is a cover of the country pop ballad "Paper Roses." From 1976 to 1979, she and her singer brother Donny Osmond hosted the TV variety show Donny & Marie.

Tim Horton (1930–1974) (born Miles Gilbert Horton) was a Canadian professional ice hockey player, a defenceman for 24 seasons in the National Hockey League. He played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Buffalo Sabres. Also a successful businessman, Horton was a co-founder of the Tim Hortons restaurant chain.

25a   Reddish-brown /and/ gold mark left by fire (6)

AU|BURN — AU ([symbol for the chemical element] gold; from Latin aurum) + BURN (mark left by fire)

26a   Hold back, // take a break, and shower (8)

REST|RAIN — REST (take a break) + (and) RAIN (shower)

27a   Pitches // left in spots (6)

SPIE(L)S — L (left) contained in (in) SPIES (spots)


1d   Greeting composer, is // grilling agents? (8)

HI|BACH|IS — HI (greeting) + BACH (composer) + IS (†)

Johann Sebastian Bach[5] (1685–1750) was a German composer. An exceptional and prolific baroque composer, he produced a massive body of work — twenty children. He also managed to write some music in his spare time.

2d   Fortuneteller enthralls school // songwriter (8)

P(S)ALMIST — PALMIST (fortuneteller) containing (enthralls) S (school)

3d   Moving // atmosphere around street (5)

ASTIR — AIR (atmosphere) containing (around) ST (street; abbrev.)

5d   TV host /and/ jailbird soon eating cheese (5,6)

CON|AN O(BRIE)N — CON (jailbird) + ANON (soon) containing (eating) BRIE (cheese)

Conan O'Brien[7] is an American television host, comedian, writer, producer, musician, and voice actor. He is best known for hosting several late-night talk shows; since 2010 he has hosted Conan on the cable channel TBS.

The setters have chosen to make things a bit more difficult for the solver by omitting the apostrophe in the numeration.

6d   David’s wife // has bath be arranged (9)

BATHSHEBA* — anagram (arranged) of HAS BATH BE

In the Old Testament, Bathsheba[10] is the wife of Uriah, who committed adultery with David and later married him and became the mother of his son Solomon (II Samuel 11–12).

7d   Wear // a beard after conversion (6)

ABRADE* — anagram (after conversion) of A BEARD

8d   Waits /during/ office hours, catching overhead train (6)

D(EL)AYS — DAYS (office hours) containing (catching) EL (overhead train)

Th El[5] is a US term for (1) an elevated railroad (especially that in Chicago) or (2) a train running on an elevated railroad. [Although this definition comes from a British dictionary, I thought it would be apropos to replace the British railway with the American railroad.]

12d   March is a long book by one // Oscar winner of 1992 (6,5)

MAR|IS|A| TOME|I — MAR (March; abbrev.) + IS (†) + A (†) + TOME (book) + (by) I ([Roman numeral for] one)

Marisa Tomei[7] is an American actress who came to international attention in 1992 with the comedy My Cousin Vinny, for which she received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

15d   Measuring device // the first pope put around basilica structure (9)

PE(DOME)TER — PETER (the first pope) containing (put around) DOME (basilica structure)

St Peter[5] is an Apostle; born Simon. Peter (‘stone’) is the name given him by Jesus, signifying the rock on which he would establish his Church. He is regarded by Roman Catholics as the first bishop of the Church at Rome, where he is said to have been martyred in about AD 67. He is often represented as the keeper of the door of heaven.

16d   Mock // crazy, cruel Idi (8)

RIDICULE* — anagram (crazy) of CRUEL IDI

Scratching the Surface
Idi Amin Dada[7] (c. 1925–2003) was the third President of Uganda, ruling from 1971 to 1979. As commander of the Ugandan Army, he led a military coup in January 1971 that deposed Milton Obote.

Amin's rule was characterized by human rights abuses, political repression, ethnic persecution, extrajudicial killings, nepotism, corruption, and gross economic mismanagement. The number of people killed as a result of his regime is estimated by international observers and human rights groups to range from 100,000 to 500,000.

17d   Deduce numbers /for/ blazes (8)

INFER|NOS — INFER (deduce) + NOS (numbers; abbrev.)

19d   Edge inside for each // coat of paint (6)

P(RIM)ER — RIM (edge) contained in (inside) PER (for each)

20d   National League team // cuts around front of diamond (6)

PA(D)RES — PARES (cuts) containing (around) D (front of diamond; initial letter of Diamond)

The San Diego Padres[7] are an American professional baseball franchise based in San Diego, California. The Padres are a member of Major League Baseball (MLB)'s National League West division.

23d   Fit // end of the joke (5)

_E|QUIP — E (end of the; final letter of thE) + QUIP (joke)


The title of today's piece is inspired by 1d and 17d.
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)
Signing off for today — Falcon


  1. E&H turned up the difficulty level this week imo. A really enjoyable, nicely set challenge. Needed search assistants to see if the thespian was actually a person. NE corner caused issues with an incorrectly banged in 1A, leading to extra time needed to repair the error. Chuckled at 1D, Howled with laughter at 10A, my favourite, Rate at 3.5/4.

  2. What? No Internet at the campground?! Just kidding. I do look forward to my weekend cryptic fix, so will check back for sure. Thanks for thinking of us while you're away.

  3. A nice workout. Enjoyed puzzling out the clues (e.g., 18A); had to rely on pattern recognition for a couple (17D, 19D).

  4. Hello Falcon et al,
    Thank you for posting - too cheap to go out and buy the paper in your absence. Not too tasking. Last one in was 27A and probably favourite clue.

  5. Hi Falcon and everyone-
    Well, this week I picked up a copy of the FP, and more or less methodically went through the clues. The only one that snagged me was 18a because, even though the pattern and the definition fit a solution, I couldn't figure out how the charade pointed to the answer. Then I realized I was using 'wrong' as an anagram indicator instead of as a charade word, and then it fell into place.

  6. Thank you to everyone for your comments -- and for being patient.

  7. Last Saturday's Puzzle 15 August: 2d (PURIFIED) & 14a (STEVE AUSTIN) is evidence that the translated version (Falcon) of a Poem can be better than the Poet's (Setters).
    At least I think so. Poetic License?