Sunday, July 9, 2017

Saturday, July 8, 2017 — Movin' to the Beat


Today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon should certainly get your feet moving.

My apologies for the late appearance of the puzzle this week. I spent the weekend camping in an area with spotty cell phone service. On Saturday, I found a location with two-bar signal strength — which while adequate for voice service proved to be marginal, at best, for data. It was like trying to operate over an ancient dial-up Internet connection. Eventually, I did manage to connect to the National Post website only to be informed that the PressReader service (which is the platform on which the National Post ePaper is hosted) was down. On Sunday, I managed to find a location with 3-bar signal strength, the PressReader service was again operational, and I was able to post the puzzle without problem.

I also learned from comments on the blog that the National Post is including a "Monday" Diversions page in the Saturday edition of the paper. However, the editors do not label it as such; the page merely appears as a second Diversions page. However, the Horoscope and On This Day features give away its true identity.

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   Disturbed, aliens go after // singer and dancer (6,7)

{GLORIA ESTEFAN}* — anagram (disturbed) of ALIENS GO AFTER

To call Gloria Estefan a dancer would seem to be a bit of an overstatement. Granted she moves her body to the music when she sings but that hardly constitutes dancing in my books.

Gloria Estefan[7] (born Gloria María Milagrosa Fajardo García) is a Cuban-American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. She started off her career as the lead singer in the group called "Miami Latin Boys" which was eventually known as Miami Sound Machine.

Estefan's breakthrough success with "Conga" in 1985 made her known worldwide. The winner of the grand prix in the 15th annual Tokyo Music Festival in Japan, it has become her signature song.

9a   Greek character catching a // Brazilian dance (7)

LAMB(A)DA — LAMBDA (Greek character; eleventh letter of the Greek alphabet) containing (catching) A (†)

The lambada[5] is a fast erotic Brazilian dance which couples perform in close physical contact.

10a   Twister // not sure what to do with a hairstyle (7)

TORN|A|DO — TORN (not sure what to do) + (with) A (†) + DO (hairstyle)

11a   More dignified // pair of students painting studio (9)

ST|ATELIER — ST (pair of students; initial two letters of the word 'STudents') + ATELIER (painting studio; workshop where an artist paints)

12a   Some music // put on the wrong way (5)

{NO|TES}< — reversal (the wrong way) of {SET (put) + ON (†)}

13a   Electra stirred // something sweet and sticky (7)

TREACLE* — anagram (stirred) of ELECTRA

Scratching the Surface
In Greek mythology, Electra[5] is the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. She persuaded her brother Orestes to kill Clytemnestra and Aegisthus (their mother’s lover) in revenge for the murder of Agamemnon.

15a   Saw // last of the two farm animals (7)

E|PIG|RAM — E (last [letter] of thE) + {PIG + RAM} (two farm animals)

17a   Six in eatery // inspired forecaster? (7)

DI(VI)NER — VI (six) contained in (in) DINER (eatery)

To divine[10] is to discern (a hidden or future reality) as though by supernatural power — or, in other words, through divine inspiration.

20a   Funny, // flaky rock picked up by colonel (7)

CO(MICA)L — MICA (flaky rock) contained in (picked up by) COL (colonel; abbrev.)

22a   Dancing rumba /in/ Asian land, formerly (5)

BURMA* — anagram (dancing) of RUMBA

Burma[5] is the former name (prior to 1989) of the Union of Myanmar, a country in southeast Asia, on the Bay of Bengal.

23a   In desert stretches, Saudi or Omani // dances (9)

S(ARAB)ANDS — ARAB (Saudi or Omani) contained in (in) SANDS (desert stretches)

A Saudi is an inhabitant of Saudi Arabia and an Omani is a resident of Oman, both of which are Arab countries on the Arabian peninsula.

The saraband[5] (also sarabande) is a slow, stately Spanish dance in triple time.

25a   Look at dock // having more leaks (7)

SEE|PIER — SEE (look at) + PIER (dock)

26a   A step in a series with excellent // dancer (7)

A|STAIR|E — A (†) + STAIR (step in a series) + (with) E (excellent; abbrev. that might be used by a teacher marking school assignments or tests)

Fred Astaire[5] (1899–1987) was an American dancer, singer, and actor; born Frederick Austerlitz. He is famous for starring in a number of film musicals, including Top Hat (1935), in a successful partnership with Ginger Rogers.

27a   Brazilian singer and dancer // dance arm in arm, moving about (6,7)

{CARMEN MIRANDA}* — anagram (moving about) of DANCE ARM IN ARM

Carmen Miranda[7], (born Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunha; 1909–1955) was a Portuguese-born Brazilian samba singer, dancer, Broadway actress, and film star who was popular from the 1930s to the 1950s. Nicknamed "The Brazilian Bombshell", she is noted for her signature fruit hat outfit she wore in her American films.


1d   Sports contest interrupted by lousy // caper (7)

GAM(BAD)E — GAME (sports contest) containing (interrupted by) BAD (lousy)

A caper[3] is a playful leap or hop.

As a general term, gambade[11] is an variant spelling of gambado which is another word for caper (in the aforementioned sense).

In the sport of dressage, gambado[4] (or gambade) is another word for curvet[4,11], a low leap by a horse with all four feet off the ground made from a rearing position, in which the horse springs up with the hind legs outstretched as the forelegs descend.

2d   Speak // out at first with judge (5)

O|RATE — O (out at first; initial letter of Out) + (with) RATE (judge)

3d   I’m mature about popular // picture (7)

IM|AG(IN)E — IM (I'm) + AGE (mature) containing (about) IN (popular)

4d   Muse of the flute // up tree, playing Beethoven’s Third (7)

EUTERPE — anagram (playing) of UP TREE + E (Beethoven's Third; third letter of BeEthoven)

In Roman and Greek mythology, Euterpe[5] is the Muse of the flutes.

5d   Transmit a strange // mania for dancing (9)

TARANTISM* — anagram (strange) of TRANSMIT A

Tarantism[5] is a psychological illness characterized by an extreme impulse to dance, prevalent in southern Italy from the 15th to the 17th century, and widely believed at the time to be caused by the bite of a tarantula.

6d   Overpraise // female toward the end (7)

F|LATTER — F (female; abbrev.) + LATTER (toward the end)

7d   No assents to // recesses (5)

NO|OKS — NO (†) + OKS (assents to)

8d   Going through clinic, lose Teddy // in a small room (8)

_C|LOSE|TED_ — hidden in (going through) cliniC LOSE TEDdy

14d   Dancing formation // turned congenial (5,4)

{CONGA LINE}* — anagram (turned) of CONGENIAL

16d   Sweet, sticky stuff // bum fed to lawn pests (8)

MOL(ASS)ES — ASS (bum) contained in (fed to) MOLES (lawn pests)

18d   Holding mass, revere abstract // Dutch painter (7)

VER(M)EER* — anagram (abstract) of REVERE containing (holding) M (mass; abbrev.)

In physics, m[5] is a symbol used to represent mass in mathematical formulae.

Jan Vermeer[5] (1632–1675) was a Dutch painter. He chiefly painted domestic genre scenes, for example The Kitchen-Maid (c.1658). His work is distinguished by its balanced composition and treatment of light.

19d   Play a guitar behind red and orange // platform (7)

R|O|STRUM — STRUM (play a guitar) following (behind) R (red; abbrev.) + (and) O (orange; abbrev.)

O for orange would seem to be a rather poorly documented abbreviation.

20d   Raider in a ship // or car is out of control (7)

CORSAIR* — anagram (out of control) of OR CAR IS

Corsair[5] is an archaic term for a pirate.

21d   Two containers in front of a // shop for wine (7)

CAN|TIN|A —{CAN + TIN} (two containers) + (in front of) A (†)

A cantina[5], especially in a Spanish-speaking country or the south-western US, is a bar.

22d   ABC is awfully // rudimentary (5)

BASIC* — anagram (awfully) of ABC IS

24d   Flying mammal atop // stick (5)

BAT|ON — BAT (flying mammal) + ON (atop)


A lot of dancing is going on in today's puzzle — much of it with a Latin beat (1a, 9a, 27a, and 14d). In addition, we have 11a Spanish dances (23a), Italians who just can't stop dancing (5d) as well as perhaps the most influential dancer in the history of Hollywood (26a).
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. Think I got it all.....had to look up 4d.

  2. Hi everyone! Well, I picked up a copy of the NP yesterday, so had a chance to get at it earlier. Bit of a toughie today. I have a solution for either side of 24d but not one for both sides. 12d was my favourite.

    1. I just noticed that the puzzle in yesterday's paper was NOT a C&R. So I did a regular Big Dave Puzzle. Well, back to the drawing board.

  3. Hello Falcon and friends,

    Not a slam dunk today for sure. Even though I solved 5d from the checking letters, had to look up the word to be sure. 23a was also new for me. Finally, 1d does not really appear in most dictionaries perse. I await Falcon's wisdom on that one. Quite liked 7d.

    Thank you for posting.

    1. Ok, I finished it off, and as MG says, 1d is hard to find. Bad, bad, bad. My favourite in this one is 16d.
      Well, I wonder what Falcon will have to say about the Nat Post and their puzzle printing process?

    2. Hi Henry,

      The Saturday National Post had two Cryptics in it. You should find the C & R on the opposite side of the page where you found the DT puzzle.


    3. Hi MG,

      Similar to your experience, 23a, 1d and 5d sent me scurrying for the dictionary to confirm that the words that I had concocted really do exist.

  4. An enjoyably lively puzzle, with the slow-moving 13a and 16d offering some balance to all of the quick stepping. 1d was new to me, too, and 5d "half" new - I knew the corresponding dance but not the mania. Nicely written clues today, I thought.