Saturday, February 25, 2017

Saturday, February 25, 2017 — Rear Ends


With one exception, the western half of today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon went in quite readily with the eastern half putting up a substantially more spirited fight. The exception was 10d, which eluded me for the longest time. I set it aside, wrote the review and then went back to it at which point it grudgingly yielded.

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   Jot // weight goal for a batter (4)

W|HIT — W (weight; abbrev.) + HIT (goal for a batter [in baseball])

The abbreviation for weight can be w[3] (also w.[11] or W.[11]) or wt.[11].

3a   Director//’s article about long book by Spanish artist (4,6)

A(TOM E|GOYA)N — AN ([indefinite] article) containing (about) {TOME (long book) + (by) GOYA (Spanish artist; )}

Goya[5] (1746–1828) was a Spanish painter and etcher; full name Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes. He is famous for his works treating the French occupation of Spain (1808–14), including The Shootings of May 3rd 1808 (painting, 1814) and The Disasters of War (etchings, 1810–14), depicting the cruelty and horror of war.

The Third of May 1808 (1814), Goya
Atom Egoyan[7] is a Canadian director (of stage and film), writer, producer and former actor. Egoyan made his career breakthrough with Exotica (1994), a film set primarily in and around the fictional Exotica strip club. Egoyan's most critically acclaimed film is the drama The Sweet Hereafter (1997), for which he received two Academy Award nominations, and his biggest commercial success is the erotic thriller Chloe (2009).

9a   Golfer Ernie maintaining equal // numbers (7)

EL(EVEN)S — ELS (golfer Ernie; South African professional golfer Ernie Els[7]) containing (maintaining) EVEN (equal)

11a   Two sailors bathe at last, // raw (7)

TAR|TAR|E — {TAR + TAR} (two sailors) + E (bathe at last; final [last] letter of bathE)

Tar[5] is an informal, dated nickname for a sailor. The term came into use in the mid 17th century and is perhaps an abbreviation of tarpaulin, also used as a nickname for a sailor at that time.

12a   Cool // Western alliance including Ukraine, finally (5)

N(E)ATO — NATO (Western alliance) containing (including) E (Ukraine finally; final letter of UkrainE)

Scratching the Surface
Ukraine applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)[7] in 2008. Plans for NATO membership were shelved by Ukraine following the 2010 presidential election in which Viktor Yanukovych, who preferred to keep the country non-aligned, was elected President. Amid the Euromaidan* unrest, Yanukovych fled Ukraine in February 2014. The interim Yatsenyuk Government which came to power, initially said, with reference to the country's non-aligned status, that it had no plans to join NATO. However, following the Russian military intervention in Ukraine and parliamentary elections in October 2014, the new government made joining NATO a priority.

Russia's reaction to the 2008 plan of the then Ukrainian Government to join NATO was hostile. Nevertheless, the following year, NATO spokesman said that despite Russian opposition to NATO's eastward expansion the alliance's door remained open to those who met the criteria.

According to polls conducted between 2005 and 2013, Ukrainian public support of NATO membership remained low. However, since the start of the 2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine, public support for Ukrainian membership in NATO has risen greatly. June 2014 until 2016 polls showed that about 50% of those asked supported Ukrainian NATO membership.

* Euromaidan (literally 'Euro[pean] Square') was a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine, which began on the night of 21 November 2013 with public protests in Maidan Nezalezhnosti ("Independence Square") in Kiev, demanding closer European integration.

13a   Asian // crocodile’s back at the rear of the boat (7)

E|ASTERN — E (crocodile's back; final [back] letter of crocodilE) + ASTERN (at the rear of the boat)

15a   One of Jacob’s sons acquires // doodads (7)

GAD|GETS — GAD (one of Jacob's sons) + GETS (acquires)

In the Old Testament, Gad[10] is Jacob's sixth son, whose mother was Zilpah, Leah's* maid.

* Leah[10] was the first wife of Jacob and elder sister of Rachel, his second wife (Genesis 29)

16a   Jurisdiction of a noble // lad Rome meddled with (7)

EARLDOM* — anagram (meddled with) of LAD ROME

Historically, an earldom[5] was the territory governed by an earl*.

* An earl[5] is a British nobleman ranking above a viscount and below a marquess [in other words, the third highest of the five ranks of British nobility — duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron].

18a   Scottish national symbol // altered the list (7)

THISTLE* — anagram (altered) of THE LIST

The thistle is the floral emblem of Scotland[7] and is celebrated in the patriotic song "The Thistle o' Scotland"[7].

21a   Mary Jane’s angry, // careless criticism (7)

POT|S|HOT — POT (Mary Jane; slang for marijuana) + S ('s) + HOT (angry)

23a   In centre, a timely // petition (7)

_ENTRE|A|T_ — hidden in (in) cENTRE A Timely

As the definition, "petition" is a verb despite being a noun in the surface reading.

25a   Ram front of elevated, // flattopped hill (5)

BUTT|E — BUTT (ram) + E (front [initial letter] of Elevated)

27a   “Wrong letter,” I // call anew (7)

RETITLE* — anagram (wrong) of I LETTER

28a   I bore myself in retreat /for/ people of distinction (7)

{EM|ERIT|I}< — reversal (in retreat) of {I (†) + TIRE (bore) + ME (myself)}

Emeriti is the plural of emeritus, one who is retired but retains an honorary title corresponding to that held immediately before retirement[3].

29a   Arachnid behind prison camp/’s/ calcite formation (10)

STALAG|MITE — MITE (arachnid) following (behind) STALAG (prison camp)

A stalag[5] was a Second World War German prison camp, especially for non-commissioned officers and privates. The name comes from German, a contraction of Stammlager, from Stamm 'base, main stock' + Lager 'camp'.

A stalagmite[5] is a mound or tapering column rising from the floor of a cave, formed of calcium salts deposited by dripping water and often uniting with a stalactite*.

* A stalactite[5] is a tapering structure hanging like an icicle from the roof of a cave, formed of calcium salts deposited by dripping water.

30a   Icy mass // composer (4)

BERG — double definition

Alban Berg[5] (1885–1935) was an Austrian composer, a leading exponent of twelve-note composition. Notable works: the operas Wozzeck (1914–21) and Lulu (1928–35) and his violin concerto (1935).


1d   Little fellows in shiny suits, // some evenings (10)

WEE|KNIGHTS — WEE (little) + KNIGHTS (fellows in shiny suits)

2d   Anger Left and // part of Europe (7)

IRE|L|AND — IRE (anger) + L (left) + AND (†)

4d   Flowers coming after last of sweet // samplers (7)

T|ASTERS — ASTERS (flowers) following (coming after) T (last [letter] of sweeT)

5d   Sea mist splashed around // painter (7)

MATISSE* — anagram (splashed around) of SEA MIST

Henri Matisse[5] (1869–1954) was a French painter and sculptor. His use of non-naturalistic colour led him to be regarded as a leader of the Fauvists. His later painting and sculpture displays a trend towards formal simplification and abstraction, and includes large figure compositions and abstracts made from cut-out coloured paper.

Woman with a Hat, 1905, Henri Matisse
6d   Mad king losing English // stuff (5)

GORGE — G[E]ORGE (mad king) after having removed (losing) the [first] letter E (English; abbrev.)

George III[5] (1738–1820) was king of Great Britain and Ireland 1760–1820, Elector of Hanover 1760–1815 and king of Hanover 1815–20. He exercised considerable political influence, but it declined from 1788 after bouts of mental illness, as a result of which his son was made regent in 1811.

7d   Craved // vote for communist, keeping neutral (7)

YEA|R(N)ED — YEA (vote for) + RED (communist) containing (keeping) N (neutral; an indication found on a gearshift lever)

8d   Must have // struck a low blow to the ear (4)

NEED~ — sounds like (to the ear) KNEED (struck a low blow)

10d   Wearing // the latest in fake chinchilla, e.g. (7)

E|RODENT — E {the latest [final letter] in fakE} + RODENT (chinchilla, e.g.)

14d   Second, counting // small number (10)

S|MATTERING — S (second; abbrev.) + MATTERING (counting; being of significance)

17d   Restricted a chart // subject to evaluation (7)

R|A|TABLE — R (restricted; motion picture classification) + A (†) + TABLE (chart)

19d   Resistance to change // shaken up in a rite (7)

INERTIA* — anagram (shaken up) of IN A RITE

20d   You and Beatrice caught in Emily/’s/ glance (7)

E(YE|BEA)M — {YE ([archaic form of] you) + BEA (diminutive of Beatrice)} contained in (caught in) EM (diminutive of Emily)

An eyebeam[a] (or eye-beam[5]) is an archaic or rare literary term for a glance of the eye, imagined as a beam of light.

[a] Webster’s New World College Dictionary

21d   Clear about one // doctor’s case (7)

PAT(I)ENT — PATENT (clear) containing (about) I ([Roman numeral for] one}

22d   Phone link // in hotel out of order (7)

HOTLINE* — anagram (out of order) of IN HOTEL

24d   Tropical fish // seen in remote travels (5)

_TE|TRA_ — hidden in (seen in) remoTE TRAvels

A tetra[5] is a small tropical freshwater fish that is typically brightly coloured. Native to Africa and America, many tetras are popular in aquaria.

26d   In retrospect, tender // love (4)

EROS< — reversal (in retrospect) of SORE (tender)

In Greek mythology, Eros[5] is the god of love, son of Aphrodite — the Roman equivalent being Cupid. The name Eros is synonymous with sexual love or desire Eros drives us to transcend ourselves through desire.


The title of today's review is inspired by the cryptic device employed in 11a, 12a, 13a and 10d to clue the final letter of a word.

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,

    I think I must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed today. I say this because I didn't really like today's offering from C & R. Usually they have good wordplay. Today I'm not seeing it. Instead we have clues such as 9a, 12a, 27a, 10d, 17d and 10d which I found irritating. I would give this one 1*/1*. Ah well, maybe this review constitutes a 21a. Speaking of which, I would have thought a better definition for 21a would be 'malicious criticism' rather than 'careless criticism'. Have a good day all.


    1. I concur. A lot of awkward stretches today. Did like 11a though.

    2. I know, 10d was so bad, it has to be listed twice!

    3. Yes, 11a does conjure up a funny image. So too does 1d.

  2. Good morning, all! Indeed, this puzzle could be called a "beaut" or you might need an I-beam to solve it. I needed to have all my grey cells firing and the ubiquitous google available. I liked 29a the best as I spent a fair bit of time looking for names of spiders before I caught on.

    1. I didn't know that a mite is an arachnid. The prison camp had me immediately thinking of 'gulag' and the setting for Hogan's Heroes. That got me to the answer quickly. "Beaut": very good!

  3. I got hung up for quote a while on 9a, because I mistakenly fixated on a former premier of Ontario, rather than the golfer.

    1. I think the golfer visits the cryptic quite regularly. I don't think I've ever seen Mr. Eves participate.

  4. One of E&H tougher offerings imo. Held up on 3A, as I had the wrong given name stuck in my brain, and couldn't get the check letters to work for a while - duh. Always appreciate a visit from 1d, a great chestnut. 4/3 rating.