Saturday, October 22, 2016

Saturday, October 22, 2016 — Music on the Cutting Edge


I would say that today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon comes as close to a "read and write" as a solver is likely to encounter.

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   Young lady and companion reversed // trip (7)

MISS|TEP< — MISS (young lady) + reversal (reversed) of PET (companion)

5a   Chat about Kia subcompact // racing vehicle (7)

CHA(RIO)T — CHAT (†) containing (about) RIO (Kia sub compact)

The Kia Rio[7] is a subcompact car produced by the South Korean automobile manufacturer Kia.

In the print edition of the National Post as well as in the ePaper online, the word "subcompact" appears as two words — split across two lines — with no hyphen to indicate the split.

9a   Four aboard noble-minded // cruise (9)

GALLIVANT — IV ([Roman numeral for] four) contained in (aboard) GALLANT (noble-minded)

"Cruise" as in ⇒ Friday nights we would cruise around town in my friend's convertible hoping to pick up chicks.

I have always thought of gallant more in the sense of noble deeds than noble thoughts. However, the first definition of gallant[11] given by the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary is (adj) brave, spirited, or noble-minded ⇒ (i) a gallant knight; (ii) a gallant attempt.

10a   Superman actor // regarding pre-holiday time (5)

RE|EVE — RE (regarding) + EVE (pre-holiday time)

Christopher Reeve[7] (1952–2004) was an American actor, film director, producer, screenwriter, author, and activist. He achieved stardom for his acting achievements, in particular his motion picture portrayal of the comic book superhero Superman.

11a   Gullible about Tasmania’s first // aborigine (6)

NA(T)IVE — NAIVE (gullible) containing (about) T (Tasmania's first [letter])

In general, an aborigine[10] is an original inhabitant of a country or region who has been there from the earliest known times.

In particular, an Aborigine[10] (also called: Aboriginal) is a member of the indigenous people who were living in Australia when European settlers arrived.

Scratching the Surface
Tasmania[5] is a state of Australia consisting of the mountainous island of Tasmania itself and several smaller islands; population 497,529 (2008); capital, Hobart. It was known as Van Diemen’s Land until 1855.

12a   Caretakers/’/ worries about a road (8)

STEW(A|RD)S — STEWS (worries) containing (about) {A (†) + RD (road; abbrev.)}

13a   A “C” string— one on // musical instrument (9)

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

16a   Intend to say // “nasty” (4)

MEAN — double definition

18a   Period before Easter // advanced (4)

LENT — double  definition; the second denoting to have advanced funds (to someone)

19a   Cuts // fabric prices (9)

LACE|RATES — LACE (fabric) + RATES (prices)

22a   Observing // far from sweet finish (8)

NOT|ICING — NOT (far from; as in not your grandpa's Buick) + ICING (sweet finish [on a cake (or figuratively, on most anything)])

23a   Low point // time and time again interrupting period of growth (6)

BO(T|T)OM — {T (time) + (and ... again) T (time)} contained in (interrupting) BOOM (period of growth)

26a   Go wandering after the first // walk (5)

_AMBLE — [R]AMBLE (go wandering) with the initial letter removed (after the first; i.e., the portion of the word that follows the first letter)

27a   Actor sued poor // teachers (9)

EDUCATORS* — anagram (poor) of ACTOR SUED

28a   Electra’s brother // going through forest estate (7)

_OREST|ES_ — hidden in (going through) fOREST EStates

In Greek mythology, Orestes[5] is the son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. At the urging of his sister Electra[5], he killed their mother and her lover Aegisthus to avenge their father's murder.

29a   Urge when entering Ken/’s/ room (7)

K(ITCH)EN — ITCH (urge) contained in (when entering) KEN


1d   Red // spy sheltered by Mom (7)

M(AGENT)A — AGENT (spy) contained in (sheltered by) MA (Mom)

2d   Leave // city in Croatia (5)

SPLIT — double definition

Split[5] is a seaport on the coast of southern Croatia; population 177,500 (est. 2009). Founded as a Roman colony in 78 BC, it contains the ruins of the palace of the emperor Diocletian, built in about AD 300.

3d   One caught in the very // act of stealing (8)

TH(I)E|VERY — I ([Roman numeral for] one) contained in (caught in) {THE (†) + VERY (†)}

4d   Fruit // peel on the tongue (4)

PEAR~ — sounds like (on the tongue) PARE (peel)

5d   Stupefied // beatnik with a drink added to gin (9)

CAT|A|TONIC — CAT (beatnik) + (with) {A (†) + TONIC (drink added to gin)}

A beatnik[5] was a young person in the 1950s and early 1960s belonging to a subculture associated with the beat generation* (i) her long black hair and comfortable clothes are the badge of the artist and beatnik; (ii) my beatnik costume of sandals and black sweater.

The term beaknik arose in 1950s from beat + -nik on the pattern of sputnik [a Russian satellite of that era], perhaps influenced by US use of Yiddish -nik, denoting someone or something who acts in a particular way.
* The beat generation[5] was a  movement of young people in the 1950s and early 1960s who rejected conventional society, valuing free self-expression and favouring modern jazz. Among writers associated with the movement were Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.
Cat[5] is an informal North American term (especially among jazz enthusiasts) for a man ⇒ (i) this West Coast cat had managed him since the early 80s; (ii) the cat went crazy on the horn.

6d   Missiles sometimes used in hunting // or wars mistakenly (6)

ARROWS — anagram (mistakenly) of OR WARS

7d   I approach robin’s home // with serious intent (2,7)

I|N EAR|NEST — I (†) + NEAR (approach) + NEST (robin's home)

8d   Corrupt senator/’s/ crime (7)

TREASON* — anagram (corrupt) of SENATOR

14d   Jailbirds put off // law officer (9)

CONS|TABLE — CONS (jailbirds) + TABLE (put off; US usage)

The setters of this puzzle, Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon, are Americans. While they clearly make an effort to avoid Americanisms in the puzzle, occasionally one creeps in — as is the case today with the word "table".

In Canada, as in Britain, table[5] means to present formally for discussion or consideration at a meeting more than 200 amendments to the bill have already been tabled.

On the other hand, in the US, the term table[5] has essentially the opposite connotation, meaning to postpone consideration of I'd like the issue to be tabled for the next few months.

15d   Hockey team // is holding talk that’s defamatory (9)

I(SLANDER)S — IS (†) containing SLANDER (talk that is defamatory)

The New York Islanders[7]are an American professional ice hockey team based in New York City that competes in the National Hockey League (NHL). They are a member of the league's Metropolitan Division in the Eastern Conference. Since the beginning of the 2015-16 NHL season, the team has played  its home games at the Barclays Center, located in the borough of Brooklyn, having moved there after spending the first 42 years of their existence playing at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the suburban Long Island community of Uniondale, New York.

17d   Playing organ, Art /is/ haughty (8)

ARROGANT* —anagram (playing) of ORGAN ART

18d   Way back when // Chaney bit bagel (4,3)

LON|G AG|O — LON ([American actor Lon] Chaney) + GAG (bit [of a comedy routine]) + O ([letter that looks like a] bagel)

Lon Chaney[7] (1883–1930) was an American actor during the age of silent films. He is regarded as one of the most versatile and powerful actors of early cinema, renowned for his characterizations of tortured, often grotesque and afflicted characters, and his groundbreaking artistry with makeup. Chaney is known for his starring roles in such silent horror films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925). His ability to transform himself using makeup techniques he developed earned him the nickname "The Man of a Thousand Faces."

20d   Homer or Marge/’s/ son catching little rascals (7)

S(IMPS)ON — SON (†) containing (catching) IMPS (little rascals)

The Simpsons[7] is an American family animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by the Simpson family, which consists of parents Homer and Marge and their children Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture, society, television, and many aspects of the human condition.

21d   Stress // a cold coin (6)

A|C|CENT — A (†) + C (cold; abbrev.) + CENT (coin)

24d   Pace before husband’s first // marital pledge (5)

TROT|H — TROT (pace) + (before) H (Husband's first [letter])

25d   Toss out // Chinese vessel (4)

JUNK — double definition; the second being a Chinese sailing vessel


The ironic title of today's review is inspired by 13a and 19a.
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. Enjoyable puzzle today. I especially enjoyed 9A and 5D. I figured out 2D from the clue, but had to check online to see if that was really the name of a city.

  2. Late October - it feels decidedly more autumn like. Good Saturday to all, and thanks Falcon for the posting. Easy puzzle today, shouldn't keep anyone away from their Saturday chores for long. Last one in for me was 4d, I was looking for a homonym for peel, but that proved (dare I say) fruitless.

  3. Great puzzle to start a cool Saturday. Great variety of clue types today with lots of smiles. Ended with learning about a city I had never heard of. Had to check that online.

    Thanks Falcon.

  4. Hello Falcon and company,
    I agree that the puzzle was enjoyable although I had trouble with most of the across clues on my first read-through. Thankfully, with the aid of the down clues, I was able to complete the puzzle. Last one in was the new city, same as Carl. I agree with Falcon's comments regarding the meaning of "table".

    Definitely autumn here - time for more raking!

    Thanks for posting.

  5. Agree with the degree of difficulty, 24d was a new word for me requiring checking. Similar to above, favoured 5d. 1.5/3 rating. Thanks to E&H and Falcon for the review

  6. Hello Falcon and all, I agree with the "read and write" assessment, except for 9a, which took me a while to see. I suspect that the 8d anagram has been used before, but I liked how the clue and answer matched - made me think of Julius Caesar. It was interesting to learn of the differing meanings of "table."