To hatch a scheme, to plot.
A small group of plotters who hatch a scheme against the government or persons in authority. The word also refers to the scheme itself.
But now the British say Santa's corpulence isn't cute, it's a health hazard, an apple-shaped advertisement for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. After a study released in October found that, by 2050, more than half of Britain's population will be obese, a cabal of fitness zealots at malls and shops in Merry Olde England decreed that their Santas must be trim. That's right—skinny Santas, buff Santas and, we tremble to think of it, Santas with six-pack abs. According to news reports, a shopping center in Kent even set up a boot camp for Santas who couldn't slim down on their own.
—“Skinny Santas?” Los Angeles Times, December 24, 2007
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