Saturday, August 27, 2022

Saturday, August 27, 2022 — In All Directions (NP 220827)


A compass might prove useful in solving today's National Post Cryptic Crossword from Cox & Rathvon (NP 220827).

The puzzle will be posted on the blog on Saturday, September 3, 2022.

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

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 Capitalism anomalously displays // charm (8)

_TALISM|AN_ — hidden in (displays) capiTALISM ANomalously

5a Candy // pieces for a musician in audition (6)

SWEETS~ — sounds like (in audition) SUITES (pieces for a musician)

9a Short rant trashed // NHL player (5,4)

{NORTH STAR}* — anagram of (trashed) SHORT RANT

The Minnesota North Stars[7] moved to Dallas, Texas in 1993 and are now known as the Dallas Stars.

11a Mr. Welles, // or descendant (5)

OR|SON — OR (†) + SON (descendant)

12a At a rodeo, catch // gal with loop (5)

LASS|O — LASS (girl) + (with) O ([letter that looks like a] loop)

13a Show the way // one of Santa’s reindeer goes around some Christmas trees (4,5)

COME (FIRS)T — COMET (one of Santa's reindeer) containing (goes around) FIRS (some Christmas trees)

14a Wine god transformed // duck (7)

WIDGEON* — anagram of (transformed) WINE GOD

16a Em running across // someone with a van (5)

M|OVER — M (em) + OVER (running across)

18a Model // puzzle (5)

POSER — double definition

19a Novelist // stirred Red’s ire (7)

DREISER* — anagram of (stirred) REDS IRE

Theodore Dreiser[10] (1871–1945) was a US novelist whose works include Sister Carrie (1900) and An American Tragedy (1925)

21a Waggish one with hairless // guy’s name (9)

ARCH|I|BALD — ARCH (waggish) + I ([Roman numeral] one) + (with) BALD (hairless)

24a Dole out // a regressive tax (5)

A|LLOT< — A (†) + reversal of (regressive) TOLL (tax)

26a In play, notice // fawn (5)

TO(AD)Y — AD ([commercial] notice) contained in (in) TOY (play; as a verb)

As a verb, toady[10] means to to fawn on and flatter (someone).

27a Cartoon // shark up to no good? (5,4)

{SOUTH PARK}* — anagram of (no good) SHARK UP TO

South Park[7] is an American animated sitcom infamous for its profanity and dark, surreal humour that satirizes a wide range of topics toward an adult audience. The series revolves around four boys and their exploits in and around the titular Colorado town.

28a Shake // vermin and let loose (6)

RAT|TLE* — RAT (vermin) + (and) anagram of (loose) LET

29a Keen on researching // poker debts? (8)

STUD|IOUS — STUD (poker) + IOUS (debts)


1d Enmesh // tail of wet fish (6)

T|ANGLE — T (tail [final letter] of weT) + ANGLE (fish)

2d Instruments // fabulists heard (5)

LYRES~ — sounds like (heard) LIARS (fabulists)

3d In new arrangement, he records // Peanuts pianist (9)

SCHROEDER* — anagram of (in new arrangement) HE RECORDS

Schroeder[7] is a fictional character in the long-running comic strip Peanuts, created by American cartoonist Charles M. Schulz (1922–2000). He is distinguished by his prodigious skill at playing the toy piano.

4d Clownish // mannerism behind article (5)

AN|TIC — TIC (mannerism) following (behind) AN ([grammatical] article)

6d Material failing // Mrs. Dalloway author (5)

WOOL|F — WOOL (material) + F (failing; very poor grade on an exam)

Mrs Dalloway[7] is a novel by English writer Virginia Woolf (1882–1941), published in 1925, that details a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a fictional upper-class woman in post-First World War England.

7d Each one trying // current in New York City? (4,5)

EA|ST RIVER — EA (each) + STRIVER (one trying)

8d Nasty air recycled // clean (8)

SANITARY* — anagram of (recycled) NASTY AIR

10d Love story // from ancestors in the interior (7)

_ROM|ANCE_ — hidden in (in the interior) fROM ANCEstors

14d Two castes reconfigured // Vancouver’s location (4,5)

{WEST COAST}* — anagram of (reconfigured) TWO CASTES

15d Charms // one among finishers (7)

ENDE(A)RS — A (one) contained in (among) ENDERS (finishers)

16d Having hair on the face // has to hurt (9)

MUST|ACHED — MUST (has to) + ACHED (hurt)

Mustache[10] is the US spelling* of moustache.

* C&R generally avoid using US spellings in this puzzle, today being an exception

17d Spill // small serving dish (8)

S|PLATTER — S(mall) + PLATTER (serving dish)

20d Front of store requires // wooden posts (6)

S|TAKES — S (front [initial letter] of Store) + TAKES (requires)

22d Poem // not doing anything for the audience (5)

IDYLL~ — sounds like (for the audience) IDLE (not doing anything)

23d Cow // just passing relative (5)

D|AUNT — D (just passing; rather poor grade on an exam) + AUNT (relative)

25d Plain // going back above everything (5)

{LLA|NO}< — reversal of (going back) {ON (above) + ALL (everything}


One needs to rotate the grid 90 degrees clockwise to get the directions aligned with the compass.


Sources referenced in the blog are identified by the following symbols. 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 )

Signing off for today — Falcon


  1. Good morning from Winnipeg where Summer is 'hanging on' for as long as possible.
    Hmm - a curate's egg for me.
    I presume that 9a refers to a player from the team that left Minnesota in 1993 and relocated to Texas.
    And, once again in 19a, C&R have come up with, for me, an obscure American author who shuffled off this mortal coil 75 years ago.
    Smiles for 13a, 26a, and 1d.
    Thanks to C&R and to Falcon.

  2. Good morning. I did not particularly enjoy today's offering. I thought 13a, 16a and 26a (does this one even work?) were awkward. The spelling of the answer to 16d is awful. The novelist in 19a should have been left undisturbed and forgotten. And so, too, should the cartoon at 27a. On the other hand, I thought 7d and 10d very well done. Have a good weekend!!


    1. For me, 26a works - just. In my experience the required verbal synonym of play is usually accompanied by 'with.'

    2. Forgive me, but I don't think that's the real issue. "Fawn" (in the craven sense) is a verb, whereas the word for the answer is not, AFAIK. It appears to be a bit incongruent and I agree with Peter on this one.


    3. Hi Rudi,
      Welcome to the blog. Please don't hesitate to visit us again.

      Actually, the answer to 26a is a verb meaning to fawn on and flatter (someone). [Collins English Dictionary]

    4. As my father said following his hip replacement, I stand corrected. Thank you, Falcon.

    5. For me, they all work. And in fact, far from its being a fault, using "surface sense" to disguise a word's other meanings or parts of speech is a feature. The hardest for me was new vocabulary in 14A.

  3. Hello Falcon and friends,

    Definitely some misdirectional clues today. Thought there might be an east and west, but not to be. As always, I enjoyed the puzzle. And pretty much a read and write. No beefs from me. I believe I have read two of the not so obscure author's books - one is a classic that is on a lot of "top 100" lists. LOI was 25d - got fooled by the definition.

    Thank you for posting Falcon. Enjoy your weekend everyone!


    1. Thanks! Don't know what I was thinking!

    2. MG,
      You're not the only one to miss those directions. Interesting that North and South run west to east and East and West run north to south!

    3. Oh, I see that Richard has already made this observation.

  4. A good way to spend this beautiful, cooler day, sitting outside watching the birds amass from all directions. Enjoyed 26a. Thanks all.

  5. Greetings from a summery NYC.
    Let's see what our Falcon has to say about the verb/noun issue in 26a. Methinks "fawn" and "toady" are both being used as verbs by C&R.
    Noticed that east and west run south while north and south run east. Hmm
    Particularly enjoyed 5a (thought the first two words were the definition for a while) and 7d.
    Thanks for the post, Falcon.
    Have a good weekend and coming week all.

    1. For those interested, C&R have a variety cryptic in this week's WSJ:

    2. Re 26a - as toady can be a verb or a noun, yes they are.

  6. Not often we look at down clues to get the theme. I thought 16d should be 'had to hurt' only because I first ended it in an s. And I have to agree with Mz MG, it was definitely a read and write.


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