Saturday, January 28, 2017

Saturday, January 28, 2017 — Ball Lost in the Saskatchewan Woods


I would say that today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon returns to the customary level of difficulty following some more challenging offerings over the last month.

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   Printer cable loose // somewhere in Saskatchewan (6,6)

{PRINCE ALBERT}* — anagram (loose) of PRINTER CABLE

8a   Tell // Nathaniel about a railroad (7)

N(A|RR)ATE — NATE ([diminutive of] Nathaniel) containing (about) {A (†) + RR (railroad; abbrev.)}

Railroad[10] is the US term for railway. Cox and Rathvon generally avoid the use of Americanisms but clearly railway (abbreviation Rwy or Ry[10]) would not work in the clue so, for convenience, they have presumably set the location south of the border.

9a   Tree inside California // volcano crater (7)

C(ALDER)A — ALDER (tree) contained in (inside) CA (California; abbrev.)

11a   Where Henry V won, // outracing buggy (9)

AGINCOURT* — anagram (buggy) of OUTRACING

The Battle of Agincourt[5] was a battle in northern France in 1415 during the Hundred Years War, in which the English under Henry V defeated a large French army. The victory, achieved largely by use of the longbow, allowed Henry to occupy Normandy.

12a   Flimsy kind of string // item (5)

THIN|G — THIN (flimsy) + G (kind of string)

A G-string[10] is a string tuned to G, such as the lowest string of a violin (you were expecting maybe something else ... ).

... such as this

hide explanation

13a   Mother requests // some reversible fabrics (7)

DAM|ASKS — DAM (mother) + ASKS (requests)

Damask[5] is a reversible fabric, usually silk or linen, with a pattern woven into it. It is used for table linen, curtains, etc.

15a   Golden brown // beast of burden carrying a race’s leader (7)

C(A|R}AMEL — CAMEL (beast of burden) containing (carrying) {A (†) + R (race's leader; leader [initial letter] of Race)}

16a   Bars // South American wildlife emblems on Canadian coins (7)

S|A|LOONS — S (South; abbrev.) + A (American; abbrev.) + LOONS (wildlife emblems on Canadian coins)

Many readers may consider that I'm being overly pedantic with the parsing here. However, I have not found the abbreviation SA for South American in my dictionaries (South America, yes, but not South American).

19a   New Orleans, // city on the sea (7)

SALERNO* — anagram (new) of ORLEANS

Salerno[5] is a Mediterranean port on the west coast of Italy, on the Gulf of Salerno south-east of Naples.

21a   Dadaist // essential to modern styles (5)

_ERN|ST_ — hidden in (essential to) modERN STyles

Max Ernst[5] (1891–1976) was a German artist. He was a leader of the Dada movement and developed the techniques of collage, photomontage, and frottage. He is probably best known for surrealist paintings such as L’Eléphant de Célèbes (1921).

22a   A combo, having finished, // left (9)

A|BAN(DONE)D — A () + BAND (combo) containing (having; eating) DONE (finished)

24a   Struggle // skiing path, gaining a victory (7)

TR(A|V)AIL — TRAIL (skiing path) + containing (gaining) {A (†) + V (victory; Winston Churchill's famous gesture)}

25a   Take a knife to the woman’s // snake (7)

SLIT|HER — SLIT (take a knife to) + HER (the woman's; possessive pronoun)

Alternatively, one could parse the clue as:
  • Take a knife to the woman/’s/ snake (7)
SLIT|HER — SLIT (take a knife to) + HER (the woman; objective pronoun)

The solution is a verb with snake[5] meaning to move or extend with the twisting motion of a snake ⇒ a rope snaked down.

26a   What a driver calls alien // official in the woods (6,6)

FORE|ST RANGER — FORE (what a driver [golfer] calls) + ALIEN (stranger)


1d   Stop wearing styled hairdo // every day (3,4)

PER (DIE)M — DIE (stop) contained in (wearing) PERM (styled hairdo)

2d   Mr. Stern // is a top-grade Conservative (5)

IS|A|A|C — IS (†) + A (†) + A (top-grade) + C (Conservative; abbrev.)

Isaac Stern[5] (1920–2001) was a US violinist; born in Russia. He made his New York debut in 1937 at Town Hall. In 1956, he was the first American to perform in Russia after World War II, and he was invited to China in 1979. He served as president of Carnegie Hall from 1960.

3d   Audited some Europeans’ // money orders (7)

CHEQUES~ — sounds like (audited) CZECHS (some Europeans)

4d   Breaking ice, acts // very self-disciplined (7)

ASCETIC* — anagram (breaking) of ICE ACTS

5d   Proposed law includes a time period // affecting two parties (9)

BIL(A|T|ERA)L — BILL (proposed law) containing (includes) {A (†) + T (time) + ERA (period)}

6d   Metal // layer I immersed in alcohol (7)

R(HEN|I)UM — {HEN (layer [of eggs]) + I (†)} contained in (in) RUM (alcohol)

Rhenium[5] is the chemical element of atomic number 75, a rare silvery-white metal which occurs in trace amounts in ores of molybdenum and other metals.

7d   Glowing // in fire, fall (12)

IN|CAN|DESCENT — IN (†) + CAN (fire; dismiss from employment) + DESCENT (fall)

10d   Jockey // shattered leg on a record (5,7)

{ANGEL CORDERO}* — anagram (shattered) LEG ON A RECORD

Angel Cordero Jr.[7] is one of the leading thoroughbred horse racing jockeys of all time and the first Puerto Rican to be inducted into the United States' Racing Hall of Fame.

14d   Track shoe ruined // pastry (9)

SHORTCAKE* — anagram (ruined) of TRACK SHOE

Oh dear! I think this could put me off shortcake evoking the image of a recycled track shoe.

17d   Yen: a Japanese board game // in the distant past (4,3)

LONG |A|GO — LONG (yen; pine) + A (†) + GO (Japanese board game)

Go[7] is a board game for two players that originated in China more than 2,500 years ago (from whence it spread, first to Korea and Japan, and then worldwide). The game is noted for being rich in strategy despite its relatively simple rules. According to chess master Edward Lasker: "The rules of Go are so elegant, organic, and rigorously logical that if intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe, they almost certainly play Go." The name Go is derived from the Japanese name of the  game "igo".

18d   Completely absorbed by spent // bulb in the kitchen (7)

SH(ALL)OT — ALL (completely) contained in (absorbed by) SHOT (spent)

19d   Birds connected with each // city in Wales (7)

SWANS|EA — SWANS (birds) + (connected with) EA (each; abbrev.)

Swansea[5] is a city in South Wales, on the Bristol Channel.

20d   Owner of a farm // operated by pop star with one name (7)

RAN|CHER — RAN (operated) + (by) CHER (star with one name)

I wonder how readers in the West will cotton to having a ranch referred to as a farm. Perhaps "owner of a spread" might have gone over better.

23d   Making // bell-like sound, including ring (5)

D(O)ING — DING (bell-like sound) containing (including) O ([letter that looks like a] ring)


The title of today's review is inspired by 26a and 1a.
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. Nice puzzle again.

    Anytime you mention cities in Saskatchewan, I think of John Diefenbaker's long time riding in the House of Commons. (I had the privilege of being in the House of Commons while working in Ottawa in the summer of 1966 to hear master orators Diefenbaker and Pearson debate the legislation returning rail workers back to work).

    With such an easy start, and many more that came easily, I thought this was going to be a breeze.

    Things toughened up in the second half. I had to appeal to the internet for 10d and spent more time than I thought I would have to on 26a -- there are so many ways to parse the clues -- had a nice chuckle upon seeing the answer.

    18d looks simple enough but there are lots of ways to parse the clues. I think I have the answer but I cannot parse the clues to agree with it.

    1. Hint: bulb as in tulip bulb.

    2. Hi Carl,

      I think 18d is a 3 letter word for 'completely' inside a 4 letter word for 'spent' giving you a type of bulb that is like an onion.

    3. Nice. Still stuck on 6d and 12 a. I agree with Carl's assessment, particularly 10d, which would have been impossible with out perusing lists of famous jockeys. Similar help needed for 21A.

      I liked the misdirection in 19a

    4. Thanks Peter. I felt it was a bulb in the kitchen that you eat but I failed to break the completely absorbed apart.

      Chris - I hope you got 6d - think of a layer in the barn and the spirit as a something in a glass.

    5. Thanks Carl! That did it. I had the alcohol part as a strong guess. But never got my mind around layer.

  2. Good morning,

    I found this one much more difficult than others of late. Also had to look up 10d. Can't quite get 12a. Other than those, good fun. Thanks to C & R.


  3. 12a. What type of string might you find an air on?

  4. Hello everyone! Already lots of comments above on the oblique clues found today. Falcon says we're returning to simpler times, but it wasn't that simple. Didn't know 10d, like the others.

  5. Hello Falcon and company,
    Enjoyable puzzle. Some of the clues that gave folks trouble are actually old "standards" (meaning C&R use them regularly) such as 10d and 26a.


  6. Did anyone else use "starlit" for completely absorbed 18d ?