Saturday, September 24, 2016

Saturday, September 24, 2016 — Hot Spanish Drinks


I found today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon to be a bit more difficult than usual and I resorted to the use of some electronic aids to crack the last couple of clues. However, I would say that the clueing in one of those clues is highly suspect.

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 all-in-one (& lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).


7a   Celebrity Paris catching morning // show on Broadway (8)

H(AM)ILTON — Hilton (celebrity Paris) containing (catching) AM (morning)

Paris Hilton[7] is an American businesswoman, socialite, television personality, model, actress, singer, DJ, and author. She is the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels.

Reflections on Superficiality
Paris Hilton is one of those people who can justly be described as "famous for being famous"[7]. In the words of British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge (who apparently first used the term) "In the past if someone was famous or notorious, it was for something—as a writer or an actor or a criminal; for some talent or distinction or abomination. Today one is famous for being famous."

Hamilton: An American Musical[7] is a musical about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, with music, lyrics and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The show, inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by historian Ron Chernow, achieved both critical acclaim and box office success. The show has been running on Broadway since August 2015. In 2016, Hamilton received a record-setting 16 Tony nominations, winning 11, including Best Musical, and was also the recipient of the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

9a   Vocally cheer // one way to serve coffee (2,4)

{AU LAIT}~ — sounds like (vocally) OLÉ ([Spanish] cheer)

10a   Stones acquiring Greg/’s/ collections (10)

AG(GREG)ATES — AGATES (stones) containing (acquiring) GREG (†)

11a   Hot drink for a South American // partner (4)

MATE — double definition

Maté[10] is a stimulating milky beverage made from the dried leaves of the maté tree, an evergreen tree (Ilex paraguariensis) cultivated in South America for its leaves, which contain caffeine.

12a   Praise shattered // old empire (6)

PERSIA* — anagram (shattered) of PRAISE

14a   Standing in doorway, wear // suit (8)

ENTR(EAT)Y — EAT (wear; erode) contained in (standing in) ENTRY (doorway)

Suit[10] is used in the sense of a petition or appeal made to a person of superior rank or status or the act of making such a petition.

15a   Stops hosting private member // affairs with food (6,7)

D(INNER| PART)IES — DIES (stops) containing (hosting) {INNER (private) + PART (member)}

17a   Like a plain // fish trapped in lock (8)

TR(EEL)ESS — EEL (fish) contained in (trapped in) TRESS (lock [of hair])

19a   Amid change, a great // caprice (6)

V(A|G)ARY — {A (†) + G (great; abbrev.)} contained in (amid) VARY (change)

I seriously question the wordplay in this clue. As best I can determine, G is not a recognized abbreviation for great (although I stand to be corrected). That is a shame as the clue could just as effectively — if not more effectively — been phrased as:
  • Amid change, a grand caprice (6)
Do you not agree that "grand caprice" sounds far more elegant than "great caprice"?

21a   A Spaniard’s approval for the audience // on a cruise (4)

A|SEA~ — A (†) + sounds like (for the audience) SI (a Spaniard's approval; Spanish word meaning 'yes')

22a   Nice knight errant // getting dense (10)

THICKENING* — anagram (errant) of NICE KNIGHT

Scratching the Surface
In the surface reading, a knight errant[10] (especially in medieval romance) is a knight who wanders in search of deeds of courage, chivalry, etc.

Note: Thank you to MG for pointing out the initial error in the underlining.

24a   Bird // count reorganized around area (6)

TOUC(A)N — anagram (reorganized) of COUNT containing (around) A (area; abbrev.)

25a   Certain Swiss // factor in inheriting trucks (8)

GENE|VANS — GENE (factor in inheriting) + VANS (trucks)


1d   500 fish hang in the breeze (6)

D|ANGLE — D ([Roman numeral for] 500) + ANGLE (fish)

2d   Bar flipped /for/ storyteller (4)

LIAR< — reversal (flipped) of RAIL (bar)

3d   Stop moving // DC ballplayer into place for a play (8)

STAG(NAT)E — NAT (DC ballplayer) contained in (into) STAGE (place for a play)

The Washington Nationals[7] are a professional baseball team based in Washington, D.C. The Nationals ("Nats" for short) are a member of the East division of the National League (NL) in Major League Baseball (MLB). Formerly the Montreal Expos, the franchise was moved to Washington in 2005 and renamed the Nationals — the name of two former Washington franchises, the first moving to Minnesota to become the Minnesota Twins and the second moving to Arlington, Texas as the Texas Rangers.

4d   Hound // fool, in gamble (6)

B(ASS)ET — ASS (fool) contained in (in) BET (gamble)

5d   Shellfish by northern strait // awkwardly moving higher (10)

CLAM|BERING — CLAM (shellfish) + BERING (northern strait; Bering Strait, located between Alaska and Siberia)

6d   Orders // acid test redone (8)

DICTATES* — anagram (redone) of ACID TEST

Setters love clues like this in which either the first or last word could easily be the anagram indicator.

8d   Warning to strangers // shifting near stop signs (2,11)

{NO TRESPASSING}* — anagram (shifting) NEAR STOP SIGNS

13d   Cutting // movie’s last run in film festival (10)

SUND(ER)ANCE — {E (movie's last; last letter of moviE) + R (run; baseball — or cricket — term)} contained in (in) SUNDANCE (film festival)

The Sundance Film Festival[7] is an American film festival that takes place annually in Utah. With 46,731 attendees in 2012, it is the largest independent film festival in the United States.

A new word for me, sunderance[10] (derived from the verb sunder) denotes a breaking apart or breaking into pieces.

15d   Number one, Sir Edward returned // jeers (8)

{DE|RIS|I|ON}< — reversal of (returned) {NO (number; abbrev.) + I ([Roman numeral for] one) + SIR (†) + ED ([diminutive for] Edward)}

16d   Withdrawing // gun endorsement in Germany’s capital (8)

REV|OK|IN|G — REV (gun; to increase the speed of revolution of [an engine]) + OK (endorsement) + IN (†) + G (Germany's capital; initial [capitalized] letter of Germany)

18d   Surviving // mariner’s device missing the front (6)

_EXTANT — [S]EXTANT (mariner's device) with the initial letter removed (missing the front)

20d   Arguments // won finally in wrecks (3-3)

RUN-INS — N (won finally; final letter of woN) contained in (in) RUINS (wrecks)

23d   Jack talking /in/ part of a church (4)

NAVE~ — sounds like (talking) KNAVE (jack; in a deck of cards)


The title of today's review is inspired by 9a, 11a, and 21a.

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)
Signing off for today — Falcon


  1. This puzzle seemed to be more challenging than what we have seen lately. I liked 5D a lot. 13D gave me difficulty - I was able to derive the word from the cross letters and the clue, but I had to look up the word to make sure it was real.

  2. Good morning Falcon et al,

    I hope everyone had a good summer! I found today's offering to be fairly straightforward. Perhaps a bit tougher than usual. Quite enjoyable. Not sure I like 14a because of the word 'standing'. Thanks to C & R.


  3. This puzzle was more interesting and less challenging for me than last week's.

    I didn't get 13d which I should have.

    I agree Falcon that 19a would be better with "grand". I am not used to some of the short forms used by C&R and often just fill in from other clues.

  4. Hi everyone - on the first weekend of fall. Speaking of falling, I spent too much time on 5d, I had the first part and the second part, but I didn't see the answer when I put them together, so I looked elsewhere for the solution. When I figured out 9a, I saw my error.
    Lots of good misdirects today.

  5. I put the double g in the wrong spot in 10 a. Which led me to waste hours on 2d before finally giving up and checking here. I did enjoy the argument with my wife who insisted the capital of Germany is Berlin.

  6. Hello Falcon and folks,
    I agree that 13d was pretty tricky but I was able to derive it with the cross checking letters. Also agree that a grand caprice would have been a much better clue. Finally, I would have underlined "getting dense" as the solution in 22a.

    Thank you for posting on this chilly Saturday. Is camping officially over for the year?


    1. Hi MG,
      You are absolutely correct on the definition in 22a.

      And yes, the camping gear has been packed away.

  7. Hello Falcon and all,
    I found this one mostly straightforward except for three: 13d and 16d, which I got from pattern recognition and then puzzled out the clues, and 14a, which took me some minutes to parse. In 19a, I agree that "grand" would have been better; I was probably confusing "great" with "grand," as I guessed a G with no hesitation.

    1. Hi Carola,
      Your experience on the three clues you mention closely mirrors my own.

  8. I think the clues to 3d and 14a were pushing it. It's nice to be creative, but these two were over the top!

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