20 Down: “Everyone is attached to singer Crowe (7)”

NP Cryptic Crossword - Cox & Rathvon - August 9, 2014

20 Down: “Everyone is attached to singer Crowe (7)”

We’ve an head-start on The National Post’s Saturday Cryptic Crossword (August 9, 2014 edition) – the newest creation of a legendary partnership, one that’s central to these puzzles-within-a-puzzle becoming so loved in North America. (Cryptic crosswords originated in the United Kingdom where they’ve long been favourites.)

“Hex” is the nom-de-plume of puzzle constructors Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon, explains aficionado Barry Haldiman, “though one might think it is the effect of their cryptics on solvers’ minds. They are the quintessential, or as they would clue ‘Ideal crazy quilt seats nine (14)’, ambassadors of wordplay puzzledom.” http://home.everestkc.net/nytxword/hexplex.htm

“Cryptic Royalty” they’ve been crowned by The Nation. Of Cox & Rathvon’s decades-long artistry in such publications as The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe and Canada’s National Post, it’s said: “Their impact cannot be overestimated.” http://www.thenation.com/blog/176152/cryptic-royalty

For a printable version of this sing-ular fun in pdf format – visit https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4apux86ICY4OHBSRTNwc3BYMDg/edit – answers to this NP Cryptic Crossword will be published across this land in the newspaper on Saturday, August 16.

Often in this puzzling world, it can seem we just don’t have a clue. Not this time!

National Post - Cryptic Crossword - Cox & Rathvon - August 9, 2014

click on crossword image above to see fuller-sized puzzle

Enjoy :)

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Victory for Visiting Artists Campaign!

Great news today!

Heeding a two-year+ campaign for reform by cultural groups and individuals, Theresa May, the UK’s Home Secretary, announces changes to immigration policy effective April 6, 2012. This delivers on promises made earlier this month by Immigration Minister Damian Green:“We do not want to be discouraging world-class performers from coming [to the UK]. I am aware that this has been a sore point forsome time and we are taking action”.

Starting this Spring, visiting artists can stay in the UK up to one month, under a new route, called “Permitted Paid Engagements”. This route does away with a range of onerous and arbitrary fees and regulations in place since November 2008 (red-tape that was supposed to combat terrorism and illegal immigration, and, instead, prevented many legitimate artists and academics from making short term visits to the UK).

Congratulations and thanks to Manick Govinda, Josie Appleton and all their team at the Manifesto Club who led this successful fight, and rallied support, for a greater measure of justice and sanity. Celebrate!! (more details @ http://www.manifestoclub.com/node/893)

Brings to mind what Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

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BBC’s Hallelujah doc examines Leonard Cohen’s unique mix of spirit and flesh

In late 2003, Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah” was mostly known as a male-sung ballad. Allison Crowe unleashed a vitally different interpretation on “Tidings” – her ‘03 EP that proved so popular it’s re-released the next year as a full-length CD.

Five years later, pretty much to the day, BBC Radio 2 in the UK broadcast an one-hour documentary on the song, which, by this time, was being covered almost continually. Host of “The Fourth, the Fifth, the Minor Fall” is Guy Garvey of the band Elbow.

The BBC crew caught up with Allison Crowe at View Two Gallery in Liverpool, England – where she was visiting as a guest for Beatles Week. The space was empty as an echo chamber, and special thanks go to producer Richard McIlroy who captured the audio in the moment – shared with his rapt two year-old.

Cohen’s “Hallelujah” has now been covered more than 200 times, and each performer, and audience, finds their own meaning and inspiration. For visceral Allison Crowe, as she explains in this interview excerpt from the full documentary, it’s about body and soul.


Also heard in this segment, chatting with Guy Garvey, are singer Kathryn Williams, The Bishop of Croydon – Nicholas Baines, and Cohen-collector and scholar Jim Devlin.

The BBC prefaced its broadcast on All Saint’s Day, November 1, 2008:

“Warning: Listening to this sampling of artists, critics, and other commentators talk about their perspectives on Hallelujah may put ones preconceived notions about the song at risk.”


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Chimes of Freedom Flashing

The UK’s Point Based Visa System continues to be mis-applied to artists and academics visiting for a short term, even a single concert/event. This problem is highlighted in a new podcast by Rocca Gutteridge, produced by Clare Carswell @ Without Borders Allison Crowe’s song “Immersed” is included with this show. A complementary blog posting is @ Why Is Britain Treating Artists Like Criminals?

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Skeletons and Spirits – Animation

Post V-Day, here’s the flip-side to love’s bliss.

Directed and produced by Christina Worby, City College Norwich, England comes this trippy video of Allison Crowe’s song “Skeletons and Spirits“.

YouTube Preview Image

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