Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saturday, July 23, 2016 — Courtiers of Yore


As several comments have already made mention, this week's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon seems a bit more difficult than usual. However, posting the puzzle went far more smoothly than was the case the previous week. By climbing half-way up the hill behind my campsite I was able to obtain a strong signal and I remembered to properly configure all the settings on my phone and laptop.

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   Sums up // small, anxious walker from behind (6)

RECAPS< — reversal (from behind) of {S (small) + PACER (anxious walker)}

4a   Squatter // sprayed pure mist (8)

STUMPIER* — anagram (sprayed) of PURE MIST

9a   Light, sticky // doodad (9)

THIN|GUMMY — THIN (light) + GUMMY (sticky)

Thingummy[2,5, 10] (also thingy[5,10], thingamy[2,4,5,10], thingamajig[3,4,10,11], thingamyjig[4,10], thingumajig[3,10,11], thingummyjig[2,10], thingamabob[2,4,10], or thingamybob[4,10], thingumabob[2,10], thingummybob[2,10], or thingumbob[3, 10]) is a person or thing whose name one has forgotten, does not know, or does not wish to mention ⇒ one of those thingummies for keeping all the fire tools together.

If the above should provide an insufficient selection from which to choose, one might also use doohickey, doojigger, gimmick, gismo, gizmo, gubbins, thingmabob, thingmajig, whatchamacallit, whatchamacallum, whatsis, or widget.[WordNet 3.0]

11a   Doyle disturbed // long-distance call (5)

YODEL* — anagram (disturbed) of DOYLE

12a   Trump broadcast about winner’s first // poker hand (3,4)

T(W)O P|AIR — {TOP (trump; as a verb) + AIR (broadcast)} containing (about) W (winner's first; initial letter of Winner)

13a   Dorothy’s best friend taking Harry Potter’s friend/’s/ place on Lake Ontario (7)

TO(RON)TO — TOTO (Dorothy's best friend) containing (taking) RON (Harry Potter's friend)

Toto[7] is a fictional dog in L. Frank Baum's Oz series of children's books. He belongs to Dorothy Gale, the heroine of the books. Being a dog, he is man's — and girl's — best friend.

Ron Weasley[7] is a fictional character in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. His first appearance is in the first book of the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as the best friend of Harry Potter and Hermione Granger.

14a   Romantic entanglements // revealing lots in a twisted way (4,9)

{LOVE TRIANGLES}* — anagram (in a twisted way) of REVEALING LOTS

18a   Working at getting into range that is // warm (13)

COMPASS|I(ON|AT)E — {ON (working) + AT (†)} contained in (getting into) {COMPASS (range) + IE (that is; abbreviation for id est)}

22a   Nice to hear // old mice scattered (7)

MELODIC* — anagram (scattered) of OLD MICE

24a   A superior // accomplice (7)

A|BETTER — A (†) + BETTER (superior)

26a   Going back on everything // plain (5)

{LLA|NO}< — reversal (going back) of {ON (†) + ALL (everything)}

27a   Fruit // put in mesh again after opening of grocery (9)

G|REENGAGE — RE-ENGAGE (put in mesh again; as gears, for instance) following (after) G (opening [letter] of Grocery)

A greengage[5] is:
  1. (also called gage) a sweet greenish fruit resembling a small plum; or
  2. the tree (Prunus domestica italica) bearing this fruit.
28a   One bit of trivia is included in genealogy chart/’s/ pamphlet (8)

TRE(A|T|IS)E — {A (one) + T (bit [initial letter] of Trivia) + IS (†)} contained in (included in) TREE (genealogy chart)

For the doubtful among you, Collins English Thesaurus shows pamphlet as being a synonym of treatise.

29a   Stress // a leader of Canada with item featuring Queen Elizabeth’s portrait (6)

A|C|CENT — A (†) + C (leader [initial letter] of Canada) + (with) CENT (item featuring Queen Elizabeth's portrait; former coin of Canada for which the Royal Canadian Mint ceased distribution in 2013 although it remains legal tender)


1d   In the middle of hot streak, toddler and I // do some gardening (8)

RO(TOT|I)LL — {TOT (toddler) + I (†)} contained in (in the middle of) ROLL (hot streak; at the casino, perhaps)

Rototill[5] is a verb meaning to use a rototiller[5] (known in the UK as a rotavator).

2d   Yak standing in front of old // khaki cloth (5)

CHIN|O — CHIN (yak; make idle conversation) + O (old)

Chino[3,4,11] is a US term for a coarse twilled cotton fabric, often dyed khaki, used for uniforms and sometimes work or sports clothes.

3d   Leaf bug/’s/ elaborate display (7)

PAGE|ANT — PAGE (leaf) + ANT (bug)

5d   Attempt street // rendezvous (5)

TRY|ST — TRY (attempt) + ST (street)

6d   Springtime test // of a city official (7)

MAY|ORAL — MAY (springtime) + ORAL (test)

7d   Group of islands: // ones in Asian country (9)

IND(ONES)IA — ONES (†) contained in (in) INDIA (Asian country)

8d   Note only destroyed // trust (4,2)

RE|{LY ON}* — RE ([musical] note) + anagram (destroyed) of ONLY

10d   Shop in a // tennis legend’s name (7)

MART|IN|A — MART (shop) + IN (†) + A (†)

Martina Navratilova[7] is a retired Czech and American tennis player and coach. Billie Jean King, former World No. 1 player, said in 2006 that Navratilova is "the greatest singles, doubles and mixed doubles player who's ever lived." In 2005, Tennis magazine selected her as the greatest female tennis player for the years 1965 through 2005. Tennis historian and journalist Bud Collins has called Navratilova "arguably, the greatest tennis player of all time."

15d   Give up about bad // sway (9)

VAC(ILL)ATE — VACATE (give up) containing (about) ILL (bad)

16d   Playing set as an // old tennis star (7)

NASTASE* — anagram (playing) of SET AS AN

Ilie Năstase[7] is a Romanian former world No. 1 professional tennis player, one of the world's top players of the 1970s.

17d   Again, check // the seat of a chair? (8)

REAR|REST — split (4,4) the solution describes the function performed by the seat of a chair

19d   Comprehended, // will possibly question in hearing (4,3)

{MADE OUT}~  — sounds like (in hearing) MAY DOUBT (will possibly question)

20d   Vast // distribution of cocaine (7)

OCEANIC* — anagram of (distribution of) COCAINE

21d   A stubborn sort with true // charm (6)

A|MULE|T — A (†) + MULE (stubborn sort) + (with) T (true)

23d   Pens // 100 Seasons (5)

C|AGES — C ([Roman numeral for] 100) + AGES (seasons; as a verb meaning matures)

25d   Follow // start of track competition (5)

T|RACE —T (start [initial letter] of Track) + RACE (competition)


The title of today's review is inspired by 10d and 16d.
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. Good morning all,

    I found today's puzzle to be much harder than others of late. I didn't think the answer to 9a was a real word and the answers at 26a and 27a were new words to me. I'm not persuaded that the answer to 28a can mean 'pamphlet'. I found the construction of 28a and 18a to be quite involved. And I cannot parse 17d but I think I have the only possible answer. 19d was very clever.

    Thanks to C & R. Have a good weekend!


  2. I also found this puzzle to be more challenging than the past few. Though I was able to derive 18A from the definition in the clue, I am not totally sure I understand how to parse the rest of the clue. 9A and 27A were also new words for me. I know 26A because it recently appeared in a Globe and Mail cryptic. Overall, nice exercise for the neurons today.

  3. Hi Anonymous,

    Re 18a: start with a word meaning 'range' or scope, add the two letter Latin abbreviation for 'that is' and inside it ('getting into') place a two letter word for 'working' and 'at' from the clue. The result is a word meaning 'warm'.

  4. Hello all,
    I agree with the comments so far - definitely more difficult than recent puzzles. Thanks Peter for clarifying 18a for me. It was my last one in.

    Peter, you will laugh out loud once you parse 17d. Consider the solution to be two words, each 4 letters long.

    Enjoy the scorching weekend!

  5. Yes, a couple of clunky clues, but overall an amusing puzzle and a nice break from the weekday Telegraph cryptics.

    Scorching weather? It's simply fabulous in Vancouver -- mid-twenties, low humidity and a gentle sea breeze.

  6. Happy very hot Saturday to all, except apparently, those in Vancouver...
    I certainly had to massage those little gray cells today! In addition to what has already been said, it took me a while to figure out the "hearing" for 19d. I hadn't heard of 2d before. I was tickled to see the amount of Canadian content today, although I wonder if C&R will ever get Mississauga into one of the puzzles. Falcon, delighted you used my idea for the title last week - I put in an explanation in last week's comments. Lots of stuff to work with this week.

  7. Certainly a more challenging puzzle today. I had to look up a list of all fruits as 27a was new to me. Also had to find out what the British apparently call a thingamajig as 9a again was new.

    Thanks to @anonymous for 17d.

    I would agree with @Peter that for 28a I would not have thought of this meaning a pamphlet. Interestingly lists the two as synonyms.

  8. Tougher than the normal E&H for certain. Gave me some difficulty until I banged in 18A, then the puzzle revealed itself. Love the simplicity of 2d, which was my favourite. 4.5/4 rating

  9. Well, it's Tuesday morning now. Finished all of it on Saturday except for 23 down and 27 across. Will have to wait for the solution to be printed.

  10. Funmily enough, I got the two answers after looking under pen. I was thinking "writing." And my neighbours had a greengage tree when I was growing up.

  11. Just back from a week away, I tackled the puzzle this evening. I agree - a tougher one than usual. Last in were 17d and 18a, for which I had to put the puzzle aside for a bit and then come back to re-read and finally understand the clue.


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