Saturday, October 29, 2022

Saturday, October 29, 2022 — Turning Off The Lights

Falcon has left the building

After thirteen and a half years, it is time to shutter the windows and lock the door on this forum. Following the move by the National Post to cease publication of cryptic crosswords, I had considered changing the focus of the forum to The Daily Telegraph cryptic crossword. It was the syndicated version of this puzzle that appeared in the National Post on weekdays several months following its publication in the UK.

As regular readers will know, I had scaled back the scope of my reviews of weekday puzzles over the summer, intending to resume the full reviews after Thanksgiving. That turned out to be the very moment the National Post dropped the bomb on cryptics. I did review a few Daily Telegraph puzzles in last Saturday's post. The experience of writing that post forced me to come to grips with how much time and effort go into each review. Furthermore, reviewing the DT puzzles on the day they are published in the UK would mean much tighter deadlines. With the syndicated DT puzzle in the National Post, I could be reasonably certain which puzzle would appear on a given date and could prepare the review several days in advance. However, now I would only have access to the puzzle at 7:00 pm the evening before its date of publication (midnight in the UK) when it is posted to the Telegraph Puzzles website. I would then have to solve the puzzle and write the review. While this would be the same process I follow for the reviews I write for Big Dave's Crossword Blog, that commitment is only one review each fortnight – not six days a week, week in and week out.

Moreover, the DT puzzle is already well covered by Big Dave's Crossword Blog, an excellent blog regarded by many as the best crossword blog in the world.

I also have many other interests competing for my time, most of which have been sadly neglected due to the demands of the blog. I will now have the time to pursue them more fully.

In conclusion, I would like to thank you, my loyal readers, for following this blog all these years. I would especially like to thank those who commented on the reviews. It was always a pleasure to read your insights and to answer your questions. Finally, I must extend a special note of appreciation to the blog's resident proof readers, Henry and MG, who diligently kept me on my toes by bringing to my attention the not uncommon errors, omissions and typos that crept into the blog.

 Adieu — Falcon

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Saturday, October 22, 2022 — Welcome to the New Forum


Welcome to the North American Daily Telegraph Cryptic Crossword Forum.

Although the National Post has ceased publishing cryptic crosswords, those of us addicted to them can continue to get our daily fix direct from The Daily Telegraph. In addition to various subscription options offered by the newspaper itself (the online edition of the paper, the Telegraph Puzzles website, as well as Android and Apple apps), The Daily Telegraph is also available via PressReader which is available not only by subscription but also as a free service provided to members by many public libraries.

In addition to having a new name, the blog will appear once a week on Saturday instead of daily. The format will also change. Rather than review each puzzle in detail, I plan to comment on selected clues focusing on Briticisms that are likely to be unfamiliar to North American solvers. I also invite readers to request explanations for any clues they are struggling with.

I didn't manage to include all of this weeks puzzles, running out of time before deadline.

Leave a comment to tell what you think of the new direction and format.

Statement From the National Post

I am sure we were all shocked and disappointed by the demise of cryptic crosswords in the National Post. I also did not appreciate the replacement puzzle being described in an article published on October 15 as not "the diabolical British-style [cryptic] puzzles that include references to Latin prefixes, obscure nymphs from Greek mythology and lines from Milton’s Paradise Lost. This is — many will be relieved to hear — not what is in store with the Universal daily and weekend puzzles."

This prompted me to write the following to Rob Roberts, the Editor in Chief:

Dear Mr. Roberts,

I have been a subscriber to the National Post since day one, having had my Financial Post subscription converted to a National Post subscription when the paper was launched. For many years I have been an avid fan of the cryptic crosswords carried by the National Post, both the weekday Daily Telegraph puzzle as well as the weekend Cox and Rathvon puzzle.

Your decision to discontinue these features is deeply disappointing. To add insult to injury, I found the gratuitous, disparaging remarks about cryptic crosswords made in the article published on October 15 introducing the replacement puzzle to be extremely insulting.

I have therefore cancelled my subscription.

to which he replied:

Hello, thanks for your note.

We understand your displeasure. Those features have been very popular among our readers for a very long time, and we’ve heard from a lot of people since this change was made.

There were a suite of puzzle and comics changes made for financial reasons across the Postmedia Network. Each paper exchanged their own collection of offerings for a unified collection from a single provider. 

It saved us a lot of money. And as we transition our legacy media company to a leaner, digital-oriented company we need to find any savings we can, especially those that spare us other, more painful cuts. We hope you find new favourites among these new puzzles and features.

We continue to work very hard to create a newspaper you continue to find worth subscribing to. I hope you change your mind.


Rob Roberts
Editor in Chief, National Post
365 Bloor Street East, Toronto

Emily and Henry: Not Adieu but Au Revoir

I have also been in touch with Emily and Henry who seem to have been equally blindsided by this move by the National Post. I am sure they will not mind if I share some of their remarks with readers:

We were touched by the comments attached to our last puzzle. Are Canadians inherently kinder than we Yanks are? It’s often seemed so to us. Again, we thank you and your readers for all the amiably thoughtful critiques over the years.

Now that we have some more time on our hands, we should be able to pick up the pace on launching our own website. You’ll be among the first to hear when it’s ready to go!

All the best,

Emily and Henry

What's New At Big Dave's Crossword Blog

We saw the last DT Cryptic published by the National Post in the Friday, October 13, 2022 edition of the paper. It was DT 30005 which had appeared in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, June 4, 2022. Those of you switching your source of puzzles to The Daily Telegraph will find yourself at DT 30120 which was published by the DT on Monday of this week.

A lot happened at Big Dave's Crossword Blog between June and October. In late August a bit of drama occurred when a reader took exception to the tone of some comments directed toward him by Miffypops. Some senior reviewers supported the reader's position and called out Miffypops resulting in Miffypops deciding to leave the blogging team followed by a few other bloggers in sympathy with him. This occasioned a shakeup in blogging assignments.

Expect to find pommers and myself sharing responsibility for Monday reviews, Mr K has moved to Thursday with a new blogger, Twmbarlwm, replacing him, the 2Kiwis retain their Wednesday slot, Senf has replaced Deep Threat on Friday, and crypticsue is now handling the hints on Saturday while continuing to split reviewing duty for that puzzle with Rahmat Ali.

Notes on This Week's Puzzles

The following commentary supplements reviews of these puzzle found on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, to which links are provided in the tables below.

Publication date
Puzzle number
Monday, October 17, 2022 DT 30120 Campbell (Allan Scott)
Link to review
DT 30120 – Review Falcon ★★★ ★★★


   1a  Robber /in/ gang, Italian (6)

IT for Italian can come from either the abbreviation It. (referring to the Italian language) used to describe the etymology of words in dictionary entries or an informal British name for Italian vermouth "Bartender, I'll have a gin and it".

12a   Jellyfish // petrifying woman (6)

In Greek mythology, the gorgons[5] were three sisters, Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa, with snakes for hair, who had the power to turn anyone who looked at them to stone. The only mortal gorgon was Medusa[5] whom Perseus killed by cutting off her head.

21a   Tension /caused by/ lover hiding note (6)

Some Brits appear to have had trouble with this clue, likely since, in the UK, the anglicized spelling me for this musical note seems to be more prevalent than the Italian spelling mi with which we are familiar in North America.

23a   Daily, one's mother /makes/ personal appeal (8)

Daily and char are British terms for a cleaning lady.

26a   Member of the clergy, // American patriot, approaching North Dakota (8)

Paul Revere[16B] (1735–1818) was an American patriot and silversmith, best known for his night ride on April 18, 1775, to warn the Massachusetts colonists of the coming of the British troops.


  5d   Duck taken by each female // thief (3,4)

Tea leaf is Cockney rhyming slang for thief.

The word duck in the wordplay might mislead UK solvers who are apt to interpret it as a cricket term. In British puzzles, "duck" is commonly used to indicate the letter "O" based on the resemblance of the digit "0" to this letter. In cricket, a duck[5] (short for duck's egg) is a batsman’s score of nought [zero] ⇒ he was out for a duck. This is similar to the North American expression goose egg[5] meaning a zero score in a game.

  6d   Snare // wild ones crossing over (5)

More cricket. On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation O[5] denotes over(s), an over[5] being a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end.

15d   Performer, // stripper, removing top after short time (3-6)

If you peruse the comments on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, you will find that some readers were rather shocked by what happens in the back rooms of strip clubs.

17d   Object // the Parisian found under lorry (7)

Lorry is the common British name for a truck. Artic[5] is an informal British name for an articulated lorry.

Publication date
Puzzle number
Tuesday, October 18, 2022 DT 30121 Anthony Plumb (Unconfirmed)
Link to review
DT 30121 – Review Twmbarlwm ★★ ★★★★


  1a   Athletes who get the highest // value petrol annoyed with Shell initially (4-8)

Petrol is the British term for gasoline.

12a   Fool European maiden by holding large // meeting (8)

Yet another cricket term. In cricket, a maiden[5], also known as a maiden over and denoted on cricket scorecards by the abbreviation m.[10], is an over (see Monday 6d above) in which no runs are scored.

We also see European cluing the abbreviation E and large cluing L, a symbol designating a size of clothing.

13a   Hard interrupting Italian novelist, editor // reflected (6)

Umberto Eco (1932–2016) was an Italian novelist.

H is an abbreviation for hard that one would see on pencils designating its grade of lead.

15a    Egg on sandwiches Mussolini, perhaps, // made (8)

Il Duce (the leader) was the title assumed by Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini (1883–1945).

18a    Old fogey // ruins a do, dancing (8)

Notable quote: "I object most strongly to dinosaurs being equated with old fogeys. The dinosaurs dominated our planet for some 200 million years and finally disappeared through no fault of their own. I cannot see the human race getting anywhere near such an achievement." (Grammarian on Big Dave's Crossword Blog)

19a    Feature // a page penned by religious school (6)

One finds p[5] as an abbreviation for page in textual references ⇒ see p 784.

26a    This writer is one day behind rear of coconut // shy (5)

In the surface reading, coconut shy[2,5] is a British term for a fairground stall where people throw balls at coconuts to try to knock them off stands and thereby win a prize.

Shy[5] is a dated term meaning (as a noun) an act of flinging or throwing something at a target or (as a verb) to fling or throw (something) at a target ⇒ he tore the spectacles off and shied them at her.

27d    Ford maybe // parking next to hotel guest (9)

The symbol P for parking is in common use on street signs.

Gerald Ford (1913–2006) was the 38th President of the US 1974-7.


  1d    Meaty food -- // this might go on one's crumpet (4,3)

Crumpet is British slang for the head among other things (as you can see in Green's Dictionary of Slang).

In the surface reading, crumpet[16B] refers to a light soft yeast cake full of small holes on the top side, eaten toasted and buttered which is popular in Britain. They somewhat resemble English muffins but are made from batter rather than dough.

A porkpie[10] (or porkpie hat[10]) is a hat with a round flat crown and a brim that can be turned up or down.

As the solution, a British pork pie[5,10,14] is a round, tall pie filled with minced seasoned pork, which is typically eaten cold.

I have not marked the clue as a double definition as the numeration of the second part does not march that given in the clue.

  2d    Actress, say, removing soft // coat (5)

Piano[3,5] (abbreviation p[5]), is a musical direction meaning either (as an adjective) soft or quiet or (as an adverb) softly or quietly.

  4d    In jail, guard picked up // something to eat (4)

The ugli or ugli fruit[7] is a Jamaican form of tangelo, a citrus fruit created by hybridizing a grapefruit (or pomelo), an orange and a tangerine. The name is a variation of the word "ugly", which refers to the fruit's unsightly appearance, with rough, wrinkled, greenish-yellow rind, wrapped loosely around the orange pulpy citrus inside.

  5d    Tense about a certain // prize (8)

One would encounter t.[10] as the abbreviation for tense in the field of grammar.

  6d    Journey around grand // upland area (5)

Mainly in US slang, G is a symbol for grand (a thousand dollars or pounds)[4,10]. Brits would appear to use the term grand in this sense but not the abbreviated version.

22d    Loaded // gun's first removed from convict hideout (5)

Lag[5] is an informal British term for a person who has been frequently convicted and sent to prison ⇒ both old lags were sentenced to ten years' imprisonment.

Publication date
Puzzle number
Wednesday, October 19, 2022 DT 30122 Unknown
Link to review
DT 30122 – Review 2Kiwis ★★★ ★★★


  1a    Believer // a bit wet? Not the fellow being imprisoned (10)

Wet[5] is an informal British term meaning (as an adjective) showing a lack of forcefulness or strength of character ⇒ they thought the cadets were a bit wet or (as a noun) a person exhibiting such characteristics ⇒ there are sorts who look like gangsters and sorts who look like wets.

In British political circles, the name wet[5] is applied to a Conservative with liberal tendencies ⇒ the wets favoured a change in economic policy. It is a term that was frequently used by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for those to the left of her in the British Conservative Party [which must have been just about everyone].

  6a    Desdemona's husband maybe /in/ a desolate place (4)

Desdemona[7] is a character in William Shakespeare's play Othello. She is a Venetian beauty who enrages and disappoints her father, a Venetian senator, when she elopes with Othello, a Moor.

Moor[5] is a chiefly British term for a tract of open uncultivated upland, typically covered with heather.

15a    Saw // agent dressed in brown (6)

A trepan[2] is a type of small cylindrical saw that was formerly used for removing part of a bone, especially part of the skull.

16a    A gee-gee pinned by the German // weapon (6)

In German, der[8] is one of several forms the definite article may assume.

Gee-gee[5] (in children's use or in racehorse betting) is an informal British term for a horse ⇒ (i) Even as the wrapping paper was ripped off, he worried whether his choice of choo-choos over gee-gees was the right one; (ii) Betters can also wager on other major sports, including golf, tennis and rugby, as well as the gee-gees.

20a    Country // almost liberated with introduction of political party? (6)

The African National Congress[5] (abbreviation ANC) is a South African political party and black nationalist organization.


  1d    I am upset, your setter? // I am speechless! (4)

When the creator of the puzzle references themself in the clue, one must replace the reference with a first person pronoun (I or ME).

  2d    Heads? // Crazy people (4)

Nut[3,4] is slang for the human head.

  4d    One using brain is engaged by boffin // who works in the lab? (15)

Boffin[2] is a colloquial British term for a scientist engaged in research, especially for the armed forces or the government.

  7d    Like mode of transport // traversing sporting venue? (10)

I would say ground[5] is a chiefly term for an area of land, often with associated buildings and structures, used for a particular sport ⇒ (i) a football ground; (ii) Liverpool’s new ground is nearing completion.

13d    Short period imbibing champagne substitute /that's/ more flavoursome? (7)

Asti[7] (formerly known as Asti Spumante) is a sparkling white Italian wine.

14d    Guards // so large doing turns (7)

Gaolor[10] is a British variant spelling of jailer.

20d    Repair // fine kitchen vessel without its lid (6)

F[5] is an abbreviation for fine, as used in describing grades of pencil lead.

As the definition, repair is used as a noun.

23d    Garment // is taken up for a queen to wear (4)

In the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms, during the reign of a queen, Regina[5] (abbreviation R[5]) [Latin for queen] denotes the reigning monarch, used following a name (e.g. Elizabetha Regina, Queen Elizabeth — often shortened to ER) or in the titles of lawsuits (e.g. Regina v. Jones, the Crown versus Jones — often shortened to R. v. Jones).

Publication date
Puzzle number
Thursday, October 20, 2022 DT 30123 silvanus
Link to review
DT 30123 – Review Mr K ★★★★ ★★★★


  9a    Airline service cross about // supposedly unmissable target? (4,4)

The airline is British Airways (BA) and the service is the Royal Navy (RN).

10a    Skill /of/ primarily kind old doctor in Cumbrian area (4-3)

Cumbria is a county in NW England.

Doctor Who is a British science fiction television program.

11a    Greek character visits second // gravestone, possibly (8)

Nu[5] is the thirteenth letter of the Greek alphabet (Ν, ν).

12 Little old man retired, lacking in desire (6)

15a    Rum, maybe /from/ Italy, son left half-finished (4)

The International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for Italy is I[5] [from Italian Italia].

In genealogies, s[5] is the abbreviation for son(s) m 1991; one s one d.

Rùm[7] (a Scottish Gaelic name often anglicised to Rum) is one of the Small Isles of the Inner Hebrides in Scotland.

16a    Entering southern strait, Norman occasionally /is/ sleepy (9)

The Solent[7]is the strait that separates the Isle of Wight (an island on the southern coast of England) from the mainland of England.

21a    Got a load of // fish, we're told (4)

Ide[5] is another name for the orfe[5], a silvery freshwater fish of the carp family, which is fished commercially in eastern Europe.

24a    Issue // anaesthetic (6)

In the second part of the clue, "number" is used in the whimsical cryptic crossword sense of 'something that numbs'.

27a    Caught golfer /making/ embarrassing error (7)

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation c[5] or c.[2,10] denotes caught (by).

Bernhard Langer[7] is a German professional golfer.

Clanger[5] is an informal British term for an absurd or embarrassing blunder ⇒ the minister had dropped a massive political clanger*.

* To drop a clanger[10] means to make a very embarrassing mistake.

28a    Took over from // daughter behind console (8)

In genealogies, d[5] is the abbreviation for daughter Henry m. Georgina 1957, 1s 2d.


  2d    Tripe // small number in Essex noshed regularly (8)

Tripe[5] is an informal term* for nonsense or rubbish (foolish words or speech) you do talk tripe sometimes.

* "Formally", tripe is the first or second stomach of a cow or other ruminant used as food.

  5d    PM over /in/ Irish county (4)

Theresa May[7] was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2016 to 2019.

In cricket, an over[5] is a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end.

Mayo[5] is a county in the Republic of Ireland, located in the north-west in the province of Connacht.

  7d    Understands it's stated patient individual /requires/ cosmetic surgery (4,3)

In the Bible, Job[5] was a man whose patience and piety were tried by undeserved misfortunes. However, in spite of his bitter lamentations, he remained confident in the goodness and justice of God. His name has come to epitomise patience In dealing with this series of difficult circumstances, she displayed the patience of Job.

11d    City // Spice Girl barely missed (9)

The Spice Girls[7] are an English pop girl group formed in 1994. The group comprises Melanie Brown, also known as Mel B ("Scary Spice"), Melanie Chisholm, Mel C ("Sporty Spice"), Emma Bunton ("Baby Spice"), Geri Halliwell ("Ginger Spice") and Victoria Beckham ("Posh Spice").

14d    Prime student to limit pressure before American // exam (6-4)

The cryptic crossword convention of L meaning learner or student arises from the L-plate[7], a square plate bearing a sans-serif letter L, for learner, which must be affixed to the front and back of a vehicle in various jurisdictions (including the UK) if its driver is a learner under instruction.

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

The eleven-plus[7] (11+) is a standardized examination administered to some students in England and Northern Ireland in their last year of primary education, which governs admission to grammar schools and other secondary schools which use academic selection.

18 Respectful // First Lady has tear succeeding Republican (8)

In the Bible, Eve[5,10] is the first woman, mother of the human race, fashioned by God from the rib of Adam, companion of Adam and mother of Cain and Abel* [Gen 2:18-25].

* not to mention Seth and her other sons and daughters [Gen 5:4]

A Republican[5] (abbreviation R[5])  is a member or supporter of the US Republican Party.

19d    Cook recipe accessed by upper-class // gourmet (7)

In Britain, U[5] is used informally as an adjective (in respect to language or social behaviour) meaning characteristic of or appropriate to the upper social classes ⇒ U manners.

20d    Play /and/ series of books attracting magazine (7)

In Crosswordland, the term "books"or similar expressions such as today's "series of books"is commonly used to clue either the Old Testament (OT) or the New Testament (NT). Today the setter leaves it up to the solver to figure out which one.

Hello![7] is a weekly magazine specializing in celebrity news and human-interest stories, published in the United Kingdom since 1988. It is the United Kingdom local edition of ¡Hola!, the Spanish weekly magazine. A Canadian version of the magazine, Hello! Canada, has been published since 2006.

Othello[7] (in full The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice) is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1601 and 1604.

Publication date
Puzzle number
Friday, October 21, 2022 DT 30124 proXimal (Steve Bartlett)
Link to review
DT 30124 – Review Senf ★★/★★★★ ★★/★★★★


  1a    King having // coronation (8)

The regnal ciphers (monograms) of British monarchs are initials formed from the Latin version of their first name followed by either Rex or Regina (Latin for king or queen, respectively). Thus, the regnal cipher of King Charles is CR[5] – from the Latin Carolus Rex if tradition be followed. However, the Royal Mint is issuing coins with the inscription Charles III so perhaps Latin really is a dead language (or half-dead language) and King Charles will be known as Charles Rex.

* A cipher[5] (also spelled cypher) is a monogram[5] or motif of two or more interwoven letters, typically a person's initials, used to identify a personal possession or as a logo.

  5a    Decline // accompanying soldiers in retreat (6)

The Corps of Royal Engineers[7], usually just called the Royal Engineers (abbreviation RE), and commonly known as the Sappers[7], is a corps of the British Army that provides military engineering and other technical support to the British Armed Forces.

11a    Superhuman removing leader // of ancient people (5)

Ionic[16B] is an adjective meaning of or relating to Ionia, its inhabitants, or their dialect of Ancient Greek. Ionia[16B] was an ancient region on the western coast of Asia Minor and on adjacent islands in the Aegean that was colonized by the ancient Greeks.

12a    Simple // game with short cue (6)

In Crosswordland, a game is apt to be rugby union[10] (abbreviation RU[5]), a form of rugby football played between teams of 15 players (in contrast to rugby league[5], which is played in teams of thirteen).

13a    Neighbourhood // against chains being put on little space (8)

Versus[16B] (abbreviation v or, especially US, vs) is a preposition meaning (especially in a competition or lawsuit) against or in opposition to.

22a    Perhaps Poirot's // man given many tasks (8)

Hercule Poirot[7] is a fictional Belgian detective, created by English writer Agatha Christie (1890–1976).

In Greek and Roman mythology, Hercules[5] was a hero of superhuman strength and courage who performed twelve immense tasks or ‘labours’ imposed on him and who after death was ranked among the gods.

26a    Bung // kid stuck in empty bottle (5)

Bung[10] (noun) is British slang for a bribe.

In the surface reading, bung[16B] denotes a stopper, especially of cork or rubber, for a cask, piece of laboratory glassware, etc.

27a    Fellow nurses worn-out // continued at length (7,2)

At Oxford and Cambridge universities, a fellow[10] is a member of the governing body of a college who is usually a member of the teaching staff.

A don[10] is a member of the teaching staff at a university or college, especially at Oxford or Cambridge.

28a    Overindulge /in/ Greek island group (6)

Cos is an alternative spelling of Kos[5], a Greek island in the southeastern Aegean, one of the Dodecanese group. It is the home of cos lettuce[5] (known to North Americans as romaine[5]).

Indulge means to pamper or spoil someone ⇒ My mother indulges the children dreadfully. Thus, overindulge[2] must mean to pamper or spoil someone excessively.

29a    Good man eyed new // moon (8)

The abbreviation G for good may come from its use in education as a grade awarded on school assignments or tests[a] or in numismatics as a grade of coin[7].

[a] Collins English to Spanish Dictionary

Ganymede[16B] is the brightest and largest of the four Galilean satellites of Jupiter, and the largest in the solar system (named for a beautiful Trojan youth in Greek mythology who was abducted by Zeus to Olympus and made the cupbearer of the gods).

I will return later with the Down clues.

Publication date
Puzzle number
Saturday, October 22, 2022 DT 30125 {TBD}
Link to review
DT 30125 – Hints
DT 30125
{TBD} {★★★★★} {★★★★★}

As this was a Saturday "Prize Puzzle" in Britain, there are two entries related to it on Big Dave's Crossword Blog — the first, posted on the date of publication, contains hints for selected clues while the second is a full review issued following the entry deadline for the contest. The vast majority of reader comments will generally be found attached to the "hints" posting with a minimal number — if any — accompanying the full review.

Commentary on the Saturday puzzle will be added later.

Symbols and Markup Conventions
  •  "*" - anagram
  • "~" - sounds like
  • "<" - indicates the preceding letters are reversed
  • "( )" - encloses contained letters
  • "_" - replaces letters that have been deleted
  •  "†" - indicates that the word is present in the clue
  • "//" - marks the boundary between wordplay and definition when no link word or link phrase is present
  • "/[link word or phrase]/" - marks the boundary between wordplay and definition when a link word or link phrase is present
  • "solid underline" - precise definition
  • "dotted underline" - cryptic definition
  • "dashed underline" - wordplay
  • "wavy underline" - whimsical and inferred definitions
Click here for further explanation and usage examples of the symbols and markup conventions used on this blog.


Sources referenced in the blog are identified by the following reference numbers. The reference numbers themselves are hyperlinks to the entry in the source being referenced. Click on the number to view the source.

Key to Reference Sources: 

  [1]     - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
  [2]     - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
  [3]     - (American Heritage Dictionary)
  [4]     - TheFreeDictionarycom (Collins English Dictionary)
  [5]     - Lexico (formerly Oxford Dictionaries Online) (Oxford Dictionary of English)
  [6]     - Lexico (formerly Oxford Dictionaries Online) (Oxford Advanced 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)
[14]     - (COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary)
[15]     - (Penguin Random House LLC/HarperCollins Publishers Ltd )
[16]    - (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[16B]  - (Collins English Dictionary )

Signing off for today — Falcon

Hex Cryptic Crossword — NP 221015 (Cox and Rathvon)


Copyright © 2022 Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon,
used with permission
This puzzle from Cox & Rathvon
was published in the National Post on Saturday, October 15, 2022. You can find a full review of the puzzle at Saturday, October 15, 2022 — Halls of Academe (NP 221015).

Farewell My Friends

Although this puzzle will no doubt prove to be a challenging exercise for most solvers south of the border, I encourage you to savour it as it will be your last opportunity to do so.

The National Post has discontinued publishing cryptic crossword puzzles—both the weekend Cox and Rathvon puzzle as well as the weekday Daily Telegraph Cryptic Crossword. Thus this is the last time I will be posting a blog entry in this series. I will continue to write a weekly post on the Daily Telegraph Cryptic Crossword but it will now deal with the puzzle when it is published in the Daily Telegraph rather than when it appears in syndication sometime later.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog and wish you well in your cruciverbal initiatives.

Your comments—whether they be with regard to the puzzle or the blog—are always welcome. However, I suggest you post comments pertaining to the puzzle on the review of the puzzle in order to keep all such comments in one place.

Accessing the puzzle
How to print the puzzle

The items in bold text as well as the image of the puzzle are links. You can open either a PDF or JPG version of the puzzle in a browser window by clicking on "This puzzle from Cox & Rathvon" or the puzzle image respectively. Either of these can be printed using your standard browser print controls.

Electronic version

An electronic version of the puzzle in PUZ format may be available on The Puzzler (and other cryptic crosswords) Facebook group. A Facebook account is needed to access the file and compatible crossword puzzle software is necessary to display and solve the puzzle.

Signing off forever — Falcon

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Saturday, October 15, 2022 — Halls of Academe (NP 221015)


Today's National Post Cryptic Crossword from Cox & Rathvon (NP 221015) will no doubt prove to be an educational experience – especially for solvers south of the border.

The puzzle will be posted on the blog on Saturday, October 22, 2022.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.

Is This the Final Curtain?

The opening lines of the song at the top of the post from the singer appearing in today's puzzle seem to sum up the situation in which we find ourselves. It would appear that this is the final Cox and Rathvon weekend puzzle to appear in the National Post with Friday's Daily Telegraph Cryptic Crossword being the final weekday cryptic to be published.

This blog first saw the light of day on Saturday, May 2, 2009 and, naturally, the puzzle that day was an offering from Cox and Rathvon. Looking back, I can clearly see I was more than a little presumptuous to think I could write a cryptic crossword blog, let alone one primarily dealing with British puzzles. Some of my early attempts to explain the Briticisms in the Daily Telegraph Cryptic Crossword widely missed the mark and would have given British readers a good laugh, I am sure. Despite these glaring "bloomers" (as the Brits would say) – or perhaps because of them, I noticed that a few British readers were following the blog even though the puzzles were published in Canada months after they first appeared in the UK.

The blog was intended to be a forum where solvers could discuss the puzzles but in the early days there were extremely few comments. In fact, many of the small number of comments were from Brits correcting my faulty explanations of Briticisms. As a result, I was on the verge of pulling the plug when I was contacted by Big Dave, the creator of Big Dave's Crossword Blog, a UK blog covering cryptic crossword puzzles appearing in The Daily Telegraph, who encouraged me to persevere. He eventually asked me to become a contributor to his blog and my first review appeared there on September 15, 2010.

In May 2009, I also started the Ottawa Citizen Cryptic Crossword Forum to cover The Sunday London Times Crossword that was published at that time in the Ottawa Citizen. I discontinued that blog in May 2014 when the Citizen stopped publishing the puzzle. At the time, I snidely wrote:
I am sure that the scrapping of this feature has done much to elevate the intellectual level of the paper — not to mention making room for such erudite additions as Love and the Stars. I suppose giving up our weekly crossword puzzle is a small price for us cruciverbalists to pay to ensure that the love lives of the citizens of Ottawa unfold in accordance with the dictates of the stars.
I must say my feelings today are eerily reminiscent of those expressed above.

In conclusion, I would like to thank all the readers of the blog for your support over the years especially those who have left comments. It is you who have encouraged me to keep pressing on through thick and thin. I would also like to thank Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon for the immense enjoyment their creations have given us over the years. I especially want to thank them for giving their blessing to the publication of their puzzle on the blog.

So this may be farewell but it was fun while it lasted!

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

Symbols and Markup Conventions
  •  "*" - anagram
  • "~" - sounds like
  • "<" - indicates the preceding letters are reversed
  • "( )" - encloses contained letters
  • "_" - replaces letters that have been deleted
  •  "†" - indicates that the word is present in the clue
  • "//" - marks the boundary between wordplay and definition when no link word or link phrase is present
  • "/[link word or phrase]/" - marks the boundary between wordplay and definition when a link word or link phrase is present
  • "solid underline" - precise definition
  • "dotted underline" - cryptic definition
  • "dashed underline" - wordplay
  • "wavy underline" - whimsical and inferred definitions
Click here for further explanation and usage examples of the symbols and markup conventions used on this blog.


1a School // term scam busted (8)

MCMASTER — anagram of (busted) TERM SCAM

McMaster University[7] (McMaster or Mac) is a public research university in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It was established in 1887 and has a current enrolment of about 32,000 students.

5a Pole taking interest /in/ ghost (6)

SP(I)RIT — SPRIT (pole; nautical term) containing (taking) I (interest; in financial equations)

9a Worker with stone // mother and child (5)

MA|SON — MA (mother) + (and) SON (child)

10a Louise had different // school (9)

DALHOUSIE* — anagram of (different) LOUISE HAD

Dalhousie University[7] (Dal) is a large public research university in Nova Scotia, Canada, with three campuses in Halifax, Nova Scotia, an agricultural campus in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia, and a second medical school campus in Saint John, New Brunswick. It was established in 1818 and has a current enrolment of about 21,000 students.

12a Brief, choice word about a // museum worker (7)

CUR(A)T|OR — {CURT (brief) + OR (choice word)} containing (about) A (†)

13a Monster // split, covered with goop (7)

G(REND)EL — REND (split) contained in (covered with) GEL (goop)

In Old English legend, Grendel[16B] is a man-eating monster defeated by the hero Beowulf.

14a Stigma attached to // school (7)

BRAND|ON — BRAND (stigma) + ON (attached to)

Brandon University[7] is a university located in the city of Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. It was established in 1890 and has a current enrolment of about 3000 students.

16a Fairly good, popular music // school (5)

B|ROCK — B (fairly good) + ROCK (popular music)

Brock University[7] is a public research university in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. It was established in 1964 and has a current enrolment of about 19,000 students.

19a School // run in temporary shelter (5)

T(R)ENT — R (run; baseball or cricket term) contained in (in) TENT (temporary shelter)

Trent University[7] is a public liberal arts university in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada with a satellite campus in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. It was established in 1964 and has a current enrolment of about 11,000 students.

21a Head of boys’ institute markets // school (7)

B|I|SHOPS — B (head [initial letter] of Boys) + I (institute; in acronyms of organizations such as RAIC, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada) + SHOPS (markets)

Bishop's University[7] is a small English-language liberal arts university in Lennoxville, a borough of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. It was established in 1843 and has a current enrolment of about 2,900 students.

24a One riding in taxi with clear // display case (7)

CAB(I)NET — I ([Roman numeral] one) contained in (riding in) {CAB (taxi) + (with) NET (clear; make as a profit)}

26a Experienced sailor // lad lost at sea (3,4)

{OLD SALT}* — anagram of (at sea) LAD LOST

27a Accordion-playing // school (9)

CONCORDIA* — anagram of (playing) ACCORDION

Concordia University[7] is a public research university located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Founded in 1974 following the merger of Loyola College (established 1896) and Sir George Williams University (established 1926), Concordia is one of the three universities in Quebec where English is the primary language of instruction (the others being McGill and Bishop's). It has a current enrolment of about 47,000 students.

28a Retreating in German // part of West Africa (5)

NI|GER — reversal of (retreating) IN + GER (German)

29a Ruby receives entertainment // compensation (6)

RE(FUN)D — RED (ruby) contains (receives) FUN (entertainment)

30a Box outside of the French // school (8)

CAR(LE)TON — CARTON (box) containing (outside of) LE (the French; French word meaning 'the')

Carleton University[7] is an English-language public research university in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It was established in 1942 and has a current enrolment of about 32,000 students.


1d Microphones capturing 1001 // parrots (6)

MI(MI)CS — MICS (microphones) containing (capturing) MI ([Roman numeral] 1001)

2d Wretched // bears moving in distance (9)

MI(SERAB*)LE — anagram of (moving) BEARS contained in (in) MILE (distance)

3d Artisan turned // singer (7)

SINATRA* — anagram of (turned) ARTISAN

Frank Sinatra[7] (1915–1998) was an American singer and actor.

4d Bush // senior (5)

ELDER — double definition, the former a plant and the latter an old-timer

Scratching the Surface
The surface reading is an allusion to former US president George H. W. Bush (1924–2018), father of former US president George W. Bush.

6d Saw // pirate in lead (7)

P(ROVER)B — ROVER (pirate) contained in (in) PB ([chemical symbol for] lead; from Latin plumbum)

7d Patch grass // in pastures, oddly (5)

_RES|OD_ — hidden in (in) pastuRES ODdly

8d Biblical priest, in journey east, // branching out, perhaps? (8)

TRE(ELI)K|E — ELI (biblical priest) contained in (in) TREK (journey) + E(ast)

In the Old Testament, Eli[16B] is the highest priest at Shiloh and teacher of Samuel (I Samuel 1–3).

11d Part of a journey destroys // myths (7)

LEG|ENDS — LEG (part of a journey) + ENDS (destroys)

15d Came out // only in legal document (7)

DE(BUT)ED — BUT (only; as an adverb, e.g. "There is but one God.") contained in (in) DEED (legal document)

17d Not terribly disrupted by small giggle // attack (9)

{ON(S|LAUGH)T}* — anagram of (terribly) NOT containing (disrupted by) {S (small; clothing size) + LAUGH (giggle)}

18d Racer // returned frame with beds (5,3)

{STOC|K CAR}< — reversal of (returned) {RACK (frame) + (with) COTS (beds)}

20d Something sharp about popular // pretender (7)

T(IN)HORN — THORN (something sharp) containing (about) IN (popular)

22d Vocal about racket // indicating numerical rank (7)

OR(DIN)AL — ORAL (vocal) containing (about) DIN (racket)

23d New story by new // novelist (6)

STYRO*|N_ — anagram of (new) STORY + N (new; abbreviation used especially on maps)

William Styron[7] (1925–2006) was an American novelist and essayist; major works; Lie Down in Darkness (1951), The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967), Sophie's Choice (1979)

25d Alberta park // outlaw with two female companions? (5)

BAN|F|F — BAN (outlaw) + (with) FF (two [instances of] female)

26d Japanese port // operator’s alias (5)

O|S|AKA — O ([telephone] operator) + S ('s) + AKA (alias)

Osaka[16B], the third largest city in Japan, is a port located on the southern part of the island of Honshu.


The puzzle takes me back to a road trip I made many years ago with my daughter and her friend. The two girls, in their final year of high school, were in the process of selecting which university to attend and we were visiting a number of university campuses on their short list – including two that appear in today's puzzle. The trip also involved some sightseeing diversions, among them visits to the Peterborough Lift Lock and Niagara Falls.


Sources referenced in the blog are identified by the following reference numbers. The reference numbers themselves are hyperlinks to the entry in the source being referenced. Click on the number to view the source.

Key to Reference Sources: 

  [1]     - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
  [2]     - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
  [3]     - (American Heritage Dictionary)
  [4]     - TheFreeDictionarycom (Collins English Dictionary)
  [5]     - Lexico (formerly Oxford Dictionaries Online) (Oxford Dictionary of English)
  [6]     - Lexico (formerly Oxford Dictionaries Online) (Oxford Advanced 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)
[14]     - (COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary)
[15]     - (Penguin Random House LLC/HarperCollins Publishers Ltd )
[16]    - (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[16B]  - (Collins English Dictionary )

Signing off for today (and forever?) — Falcon