Sunday, July 16, 2017

Saturday, July 15, 2017 — The Cat's Meow


This week's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon should be a joy to cat lovers.

Apologies for the late posting this week. I won't belabour the technical issues, but I tried for two days to post the puzzle without success.

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 semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues. All-in-one (&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions are marked with a dotted underline. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).


1a   Cat chased by belligerent person holding a // hatchet (8)

TOM(A)HAWK — {TOM ([male] cat) followed by (chased by) HAWK (belligerent person)} containing (holding) A (†)

5a   Animal meant to charm // mother’s bed (6)

MA|S|COT — MA (mother) + S ('s) + COT (bed)

10a   Chapter One: Manifestation of the Cheshire Cat/’s/ acute shame (7)

CH|A|GRIN — CH (chapter; abbrev.) + A (one) + GRIN (manifestation of the Cheshire Cat)

The Cheshire cat[5] is a cat depicted with a broad fixed grin, as popularized through English author Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865).

11a   Most unfriendly // ocelots snarled (7)

COOLEST* — anagram (snarled) of OCELOTS

12a   Leave a scratch mark on // small kernel (5)

S|CORE — S (small; abbrev.) + CORE (kernel)

13a   Group of players // in for chest radiology (9)

_OR|CHEST|RA_ — hidden in (in) fOR CHEST RAdiation

14a   Puccini opera left half-done, in proportion (2,5)

TO SCA|LE — TOSCA (Puccini opera) + LE (left half-done; initial half of the word 'LEft')

Tosca[7] is an opera in three acts by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924) to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica (1857–1919) and Giuseppe Giacosa (1847–1906). It premiered at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome on 14 January 1900.

15a   Critically judge the Rex // cat (7)

PAN|THE|R — PAN (critically judge) + THE (†) + R (Rex; abbrev.)

In the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms*, Rex[5] (abbreviation R[5]) [Latin for king] denotes the reigning king, used following a name (e.g. Georgius Rex, King George — often shortened to GR) or in the titles of lawsuits (e.g. Rex v. Jones, the Crown versus Jones — often shortened to R. v. Jones).

* A Commonwealth realm[7] is a sovereign state that is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and shares the same person, currently Elizabeth II, as its head of state and reigning constitutional monarch, but retains a crown legally distinct from the other realms. There are currently sixteen Commonwealth realms, the largest being Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom with the remainder being smaller Caribbean and Pacific island nations.

17a   Confused leopard // released under supervision (7)

PAROLED* — anagram (confused) of LEOPARD

20a   Cubist painter, bad actor, /and/ suspense writer (7)

GRIS|HAM — GRIS (cubist painter [Juan Gris]) + HAM (bad actor)

Juan Gris[5] (1887–1927) was a Spanish painter; born José Victoriano Gonzales. His main contribution was to the development of the later phase of synthetic cubism. His work features the use of collage and paint in simple fragmented shapes.

John Grisham[7] is an American bestselling writer, attorney, politician, and activist best known for his popular legal thrillers.

22a   Ways of rescuing // 51 cats (9)

LI|FELINES — LI ([Roman numeral for] 51) + FELINES (cats)

24a   Harte spinning // globe (5)

EARTH* — anagram (spinning) of HARTE

Scratching the Surface
In all likelihood, the surface reading refers to American short story writer and poet Bret Harte[7] (1836–1902) who is best remembered for his short fiction featuring miners, gamblers, and other romantic figures of the California Gold Rush.

26a   Lyricist // Pound swallowed by wild tiger (7)

GI(LB)ERT* — LB (pound; abbrev.) contained in (swallowed by) an anagram (wild) of TIGER

Sir W. S. Gilbert[5] (1836–1911) was an English dramatist; full name William Schwenck Gilbert. He is best known as a librettist who collaborated on light operas with the composer Sir Arthur Sullivan. Notable works: HMS Pinafore (1878), The Pirates of Penzance (1879), and The Mikado (1885).

Conventionally Correct
Cryptic crossword convention holds that it is permissible to misleadingly capitalize a word which is not required to be capitalized (as C&R have done in the case of "Pound" in this clue).

However, the converse is not acceptable. Setters should not omit capitalization where it is required.

I strongly suspect that the reference in the surface reading of the clue is to American expatriot poet and critic Ezra Pound[5] (1885–1972), resident in Europe 1908–45. Initially associated with imagism, he later developed a highly eclectic poetic voice, drawing on a vast range of classical and other references and establishing a reputation as a modernist poet. Notable works: Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920) and Cantos (series, 1917–70).

27a   Father of Odysseus // relates with changes (7)

LAERTES* — anagram (with changes) of RELATES

In Greek mythology, Laertes[10] is the father of Odysseus.

28a   Part of an ear of corn // missing upon returning (6)

{TA|SSEL}< — reversal (returning) of {LESS (missing) + AT (upon; at the stroke of midnight)}

29a   For each sister taking a number, // some cats (8)

PER|SI(A|N)S — PER (for each) + SIS (sister; contraction) containing (taking) {A (†) + N ([unknown or unspecified] number)}


1d   So, puss flipped // Mexican food (5)

{TAC|OS}< — reversal (flipped) of {SO (†) + CAT (puss)}

2d   Cats’ cries around spot /in/ grassy fields (7)

ME(AD)OWS — MEOWS (cats' cries) containing (around) AD ([commercial] spot)

3d   Plant found in a marsh // or planted in ice pellets (9)

H(OR|SET)AIL —{OR (†) + SET (planted)} contained in (in) HAIL (ice pellets)

4d   Cracking up women is // charming (7)

WINSOME* — anagram (cracking up) of WOMEN IS

6d   Came to // wonder about fine (5)

AW(OK)E — AWE (wonder) contained in (about) OK (fine)

7d   Evita character can’t stand leftward-facing // cat (7)

CHE|ETAH< — CHE (Evita character) + reversal (leftward-facing) of HATE (can't stand)

Evita[7] is a musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. It concentrates on the life of Argentine political leader Eva Perón [known familiarly as Evita], the second wife of Argentine president Juan Perón. The story follows Evita's early life, rise to power, charity work, and eventual death.

Rice created a character, Che, to serve as a narrator. Although he had recently discovered Che Guevara was Argentine, he did not necessarily intend that the character be based upon him, despite inserting specific biographical details into the lyrics that clearly apply to Guevara. When Harold Prince later became involved with the project, he insisted that the actors portraying Che should use Guevara as a role model. In the 1996 film adaptation, the character returned to his more anonymous roots. This was also the case for the 2006 London revival.

Directional dyslexia
This clue may have been contrived as an across clue which has found itself serving as a down clue. "Leftward-facing" would be an excellent reversal indicator in an across clue but is hardly appropriate in a down clue.

The clue really should read:
  • Evita character can’t stand upward-facing cat (7)
or, better by far, Peter's suggestion of:
  • Evita character can’t stand revolutionary cat (7)

8d   About time Margaret brought back // four-letter word (9)

TE(T)RAGRAM< — reversal (brought back) of MARGARET containing (about) T (time; abbrev.)

9d   Arctic cover // employed by police captain (3,3)

_ICE CAP_ — hidden in (employed by) polICE CAPtain

14d   Best // to bind outside front of foot (3-6)

TO|P-(F)LIGHT — TO (†) + PLIGHT (bind; predicament) containing (outside) F (front [initial letter] of Foot)

16d   Lionesses roaming about, // silent (9)

NOISELESS* — anagram (roaming about) of LIONESSES

18d   Disturbs // two females breaking laws (7)

RU(FF)LES — FF (two females) contained in (breaking) RULES (laws)

19d   Finished circling at // present (6)

DON(AT)E — DONE (finished) containing (circling) AT (†)

20d   Breaking leg is the Parisian // ballerina’s role (7)

GISEL*|LE — anagram (breaking) of LEG IS + LE (the Parisian; masculine singular form of the French definite article)

Giselle[7] is a romantic ballet in two acts that was first performed by the Ballet du Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique in Paris, France in 1841 with Italian ballerina Carlotta Grisi as Giselle.

21d   Drink, /and/ breathe out (4,3)

{HERB TEA}* — anagram (out) of BREATHE

23d   Lord, // for example, appearing in story (5)

LI(EG)E — EG (for example; abbrev. [Latin exempli gratia 'for the sake of example']) contained in (appearing in) LIE ([untrue] story)

The term liege[10] can mean either a liege lord or a liegeman.

Historically, a liege lord[10] was a feudal lord entitled to allegiance and service and a liegeman[5] was a a vassal who owed feudal service or allegiance to a nobleman — a vassal[5] being a holder of land by feudal tenure on conditions of homage and allegiance. [In other words, loyalty came at a price.]

25d   Entertains // large groups of people (5)

HOSTS — double definition


The inspiration for the title of this piece should be purr-fectly self-evident. A tip of the hat to Henry from whom the idea was unabashedly stolen.
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)
[12] - (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)
[13] - (Macmillan Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon


  1. Hi Falcon and everyone!
    Sorry, Falcon, to hear of your technical problems. I know a lot of people are frustrated when they can't get their hands on the Saturday puzzle.
    Fortunately I was able to pick up a copy on Saturday, and did both puzzles on the two diversion pages (Thanks, Peter for showing me the way...)
    This weeks C&R is the cat's meow, as it were. Quite simple and since cats are my favourite pets, well, what can I say.

  2. Hello, Falcon and all, and thank you, Falcon, for posting. It's a treat to have the puzzles, whether on Saturday or later. In real life I'm allergic to cats, but in here in Crypticdom I found them a delight. For me the top half was much easier than the lower tier. Last in: 14d.

    p.s. Falcon, thanks also for the July 10 bonus puzzle; I left a comment there, too.

  3. Hi Everyone,

    I found this one to be fairly straightforward. Re 7d: wouldn't it have been better to say "Evita character can't stand revolutionary cat"? I think "leftward-facing" is too misleading for a Down answer.