Saturday, May 27, 2017

Saturday, May 27, 2017 — Heating Things Up


Today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon is hot stuff. I did find it considerably more of a challenge than usual.

The next two weeks will find me travelling outside the country. As I may not have access to the Internet on a regular basis, I may not be able to post the puzzles and reviews in a timely manner.

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 (//).


1a   Hot // range brand coming in green (7)

CHAR(GE)D — GE (range brand; General Electric) contained in (coming in) CHARD (green; leafy vegetable)

Hot could be used in the sense of acrimonious or as Henry suggests (see comments below) all fired up, as in excited, or electrically charged..

5a   Hot // up in tree (7)

POP(U)LAR — U (up; abbrev.) contained in (in) POPLAR (tree)

The setters appear to be using U as an abbreviation for "up", a usage for which I can find no justification in the several dictionaries that I consulted. Perhaps one might encounter this on elevator signage or on volume controls or channel selectors on electronic equipment, but usually one would merely see up and down arrows being used.

The list of acronyms at The Free Dictionary website shows U as being the abbreviation for upper and upper class but not up.

In particle physics, u is the symbol for the up quark[7]. However, I found nothing to suggest that the up quark is otherwise known simply as an up, although the up antiquark (the antiparticle of the up quark) is sometimes called antiup quark or simply antiup.

9a   Hot // one in East Germany (5)

E(A)GER — A (one) contained in (in) {E (East; abbrev.) + GER (Germany; abbrev.)}

I did initially try to use I instead of A thereby finding myself stranded atop a mountain in the Swiss Alps.

10a   Hostilities // get a ruler hot? (3-6)

WAR-M|A|KING —WARM (get ... hot) + A (†) + KING (ruler)

To properly appreciate the clue, read both the solution and the wordplay as complete phrases: WARM A KING (get a ruler hot).

11a   Vacation // quarrel broken up by me with love (4,3)

TI(ME| O)FF — TIFF (quarrel) containing (broken up by) {ME (†) + O (love; score of nil in tennis)}

12a   After most of trip, half-remember // boat (7)

TRI|REME — REME (half-remember; [first] half of the word REMEmber) following (after) TRI (most of trip; most of the letters in the word TRIp)

A trireme[5] is an ancient Greek or Roman war galley with three banks of oars.

13a  Star in Leo // prepared bed alone (8)

DENEBOLA* — anagram (prepared) of BED ALONE

I did not know this star, but I did know Deneb[5] and so tried to incorporate it into the solution. As it turns out, Deneb is located in another constellation, Cygnus.

Denebola[5,10] is the second-brightest* star in the constellation Leo.

* According to Wikipedia, Denebola[7] is the third-brightest star in Leo — and Wikipedia would appear to be correct. The editors at both Oxford Dictionaries and Collins English Dictionary seem to have fallen victim to the misconception that the Bayer designation[7] is an accurate indication of a star's relative brightness in a constellation.

15a   Abominable // Snowman’s head stuck in well again (6)

CUR(S)ED — S (Snowman's head; initial letter of the word Snowman) contained in (stuck in) CURED (well again)

Scratching the Surface
The Abominable Snowman[5] (also called yeti) is a large hairy creature resembling a human or bear, said to live in the highest part of the Himalayas.

18a   Lucy’s husband regarding // hot feeling (6)

DESI|RE — DESI (Lucy's husband) + RE (regarding)

Desi Arnaz[7] (1917–1986) was a Cuban-born American actor, musician, and television producer. He is best remembered for his role as Ricky Ricardo on the American television series sitcom I Love Lucy (which originally ran from 1951 to 1957). He co-starred on that show with Lucille Ball, to whom he was married at the time.

19a   Hot // at any time in search (8)

F(EVER)ISH — EVER (at any time) contained in (in) FISH (search; for information, perhaps)

22a   Relay including one // flame (7)

PASSION — PASS ON (relay) containing (including) I ([Roman numeral for] one)

24a   Mother’s new // container for hot drinks (7)

THERMOS* — anagram (new) of MOTHERS

26a   Pasta // tossed at the pigs (9)

SPAGHETTI* — anagram (tossed) of AT THE PIGS

27a   Composer /and/ I had gun returned (5)

{VER|DI}< — reversal (returned) of {ID (I had; contracted as I'd} + REV (gun; as you would an automobile engine)

Giuseppe Verdi[5] (1813–1901) was an Italian composer. His many operas, such as La Traviata (1853), Aida (1871), and Otello (1887), emphasize the dramatic element, treating personal stories on a heroic scale and often against backgrounds that reflect his political interests. Verdi is also famous for his Requiem (1874).

28a   Interjecting oneself, exchanges // hot outbursts (7)

T(I)RADES —TRADES (exchanges) containing (interjecting) I (myself)

29a   General puzzle // hot spot (7)

G|RIDDLE — G (general; abbrev.) + RIDDLE (puzzle)

G[11] is an abbreviation for general, a motion-picture rating advising that the film is suitable for general audiences, or for children as well as adults and, more generally, g.[11] is the abbreviation for general.


1d   Took advantage of // cold and hot (7)

C|HEATED — C (cold; abbrev.; on a water faucet) + (and) HEATED (hot)

2d   Something to chew on in a Broadway hit’s // hot discussions (9)

A|R(GUM)ENT|S — GUM (something to chew on) contained in (in) {A (†) + RENT (Broadway hit) + S ('s)}

Rent[5] is a rock musical loosely based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La Bohème. It tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive and create a life in New York City's East Village under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.

3d   Dress old Hollywood legend (5)

GARB|O — GARB (dress) + O (old; abbrev.)

Greta Garbo[5] (1905–1990) was a Swedish-born American actress; born Greta Gustafsson. She is remembered for films such as Anna Christie (1930), Mata Hari (1931), and Anna Karenina (1935). After her retirement in 1941 she lived as a recluse.

4d   Ruin // insulating material, failing completely (8)

DOWN|F|ALL — DOWN (insulating material) + FAll (failing completely) F (failing; abysmal academic result) + ALL (completely)

Thank you to MG for suggesting the parsing which is superior to my original attempt.

5d   Hot in pursuit of penny // thief (6)

P|IRATE — IRATE (hot) following (in pursuit of) P (penny)

In Britain's current decimal currency system, a penny[5] (plural pennies [for separate coins] or pence [for a sum of money]) is a bronze coin and monetary unit equal to one hundredth of a pound. The abbreviation for penny or pence is p[5].

6d   Liberality behind pitcher/’s/ trite remark (9)

P|LATITUDE — LATITUDE (liberality) following (behind) P (pitcher; position on a baseball team)

7d   Tours river /and/ island, getting into folk knowledge (5)

LO(I)RE — I (island; abbrev.) contained in (getting into) LORE (folk knowledge)

The Loire[7], at a length of 1,012 kilometres (629 mi), is the longest river in France. It rises in the highlands of the southeastern quarter of the Massif Central in the Cévennes range (in the department of Ardèche) at 1,350 m (4,430 ft) near Mont Gerbier de Jonc; it flows north for over 1,000 km (620 mi) through Nevers to Orléans, then west through Tours and Nantes until it reaches the Bay of Biscay (Atlantic Ocean) at St Nazaire.

8d   Common allergen // we put inside got hot (7)

RAG(WE)ED — WE (†) contained in (put inside) RAGED (got hot)

14d   With freshening rub, shined? (9)

BURNISHED* — an anagram (with freshening) of RUB SHINED

This is what is known as an  &lit.[7] clue, a type of clue in which the entire clue not only provides the definition (according to one interpretation) but also serves as the wordplay (according to a different interpretation). Those of you who do the weekday cryptic crosswords in the National Post may recognize this as being what Big Dave's Crossword Blog likes to call an all-in-one clue.

16d   High inside, was hot /and/ appeared to quiver (9)

S(H)IMMERED — H (high; abbrev., symbol on a gearshift lever perhaps) contained in (inside) SIMMERED (was hot)

17d   Observe object // boiling (8)

SEE|THING — SEE (observe) + THING (object)

18d   So I worked over in department // store (7)

DEP(OSI*)T — anagram (worked over) of SO I contained in (in) DEPT (department; abbrev.)

20d   Most of hot, hot stuff /in/ medical facility (7)

HO|SPICE — HO (most of hot; most of the letters of the word HOt) + SPICE (hot stuff)

21d   Merges // iTunes mistakenly (6)

UNITES* — anagram (mistakenly) of ITUNES

23d   Commotion about baby’s second // step (5)

ST(A)IR — STIR (commotion) containing (about) A (baby's second; second letter of the word bAby)

25d   Final stanza, // in drunken voices (5)

_EN|VOI_ — hidden in (in) drunkEN VOIces

An envoi[3] (alternate spelling of envoy) is a short closing stanza in certain verse forms, such as the ballade or sestina, dedicating the poem to a patron or summarizing its main ideas.


The theme of today's puzzle is immediately seared upon one's consciousness. Of the clues that don't include the word "hot", many include related words such as "flame" and "boiling". We also have an insulating material found in garments meant to keep one warm and an actress who was one of Hollywood's hottest stars in her day.

The title of the review also alludes to the possibly questionable abbreviation at 5a.
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)
[12] - (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)
[13] - (Macmillan Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon


  1. We could use some of the heat in today's puzzle to warm up this continuing cool spring weather!

    All in the puzzle is good except for parsing 1a.

    1. Hi Carl,

      Re 1a: I think it is a type of green vegetable (often preceded by 'swiss') around the two-letter abbreviation for a huge US company that makes stoves (and lots of other things) to get a word that means 'hot'.

    2. Thanks Peter. I see it now!

  2. Good morning,

    Today's puzzle took me longer than usual. Not really sure why. Had to look up 13a. Thought 20d clever. Overall I'll give this one 2.5/2.5*. Have a good day all.


  3. Someone in the recent past said that themed puzzles are not their favourite. I can see why, it's daunting when the same words keep popping up, forcing you to think of all the myriad of possibilities they can invoke. This puzzle certainly spiced up my day! And thanks for the parsing on 1a, it was stumping me, too. Last one in was 15a. Favourite was 7d - easy clue, but good misdirection.

  4. Good day Falcon and company!
    Agree that today's puzzle was a bit of a challenge. Had to google 13a to figure out where the vowels landed. Last one in was 19a.

    Couple of comments for Falcon:
    4d) - I parsed "fall" as grade F for failing and ALL for completely
    25d) - I think you missed showing that the solution is "contained" in the clue

    Thank you for posting.

    1. Hi MG,

      I agree with your parsing of 4d and have revised the review accordingly.

      With regard to 25d, well spotted. I guess I was too anxious to put the review to bed.

      And, finally, congratulations on beating Henry to the punch today.

    2. No doubt Henry will have more suggestions ;)


    3. Well done, MG! You were hot on the trail of some keen observations! I normally like to wait a bit after the solution is posted to give other people a chance to make notes, if they want to.
      So, Falcon-
      Re 1a, your explanation for Hot is the sense of acrimonious. I think it reads better to say "in the sense." But I thought that in this case, Hot meant all fired up, as in excited, or electrically charged. Admittedly, there is little in the clue to suggest what sense of Hot we are looking for.
      In 9a, you might have ended up on the Eiger, with one too many right brackets after abbrev.
      In 10a, your parsing is
      WAR-M|A|KING —WARM (get ... hot) containing (...) {A (†) + KING (ruler)}
      May I suggest
      WAR-M|A|KING —WARM (get ... hot) A (†) + KING (ruler)
      because the solution doesn't contain A KING.
      13a - that pesky anagram indicator.
      Have a great TRIp, Falcon!

    4. Hi Henry,

      All excellent points.

      Re 1a, it was a typo and was meant to be "Hot in the sense ...". A comment such as this is intended to point out at least one sense in which the meaning applies. There will often be other (or better) examples. Generally, such a comment is an indication that I had some degree of difficulty reconciling the meaning.

      In 10a, I see that I mistakenly structured the explanation on that of the clue rather than the solution.

  5. Hello, Falcon and all,
    Tougher than usual for me as well. I, too, had to look up 13a: I was pretty sure where the D had to go, but had no idea of what to do with the vowels (I did know Deneb, but wasn't sure that would be part of another star's name).

    @Henry, that was me who mentioned the themed puzzles - and I think that today, too, the theme made it harder for me, as in "All these 'hots' - I'll never figure them out!" and getting all hot and bothered before I began.

    18a + 22a-->1d-->2a + 28a. Actually, sounds like something out of 27a.