DA Gold (23rd of May)

26ac: Rugby conservative? (3,6)

Yet another demonstration of why DA is a master. The answer here is old school, expertly combining some slang originally from the USA with a nice piece of sporting trivia.

4dn: The smart set up commonest Scrabble piece (5)

Scrabble and a cryptic clue combined — could there be a finer logophilic combination? The E tile is the commonest in Scrabble, and when you read that backwards, you get elite.

A Happy DA

23rd of May DA from Il Fornaio with AS and RC

25/5. AS and I (RC) got together to do battle with Friday’s cryptic at Il Fornaio, St Kilda. We decided that a crossword that good warranted a return to our blog project. I’ve been a little disappointed by a few of DA’s efforts in recent times, but this was a return to form. If you’ve been leaving DA for a while, I recommend giving this one a go.

I first drew blood with 6ac:

Confuse Dahl’s Goliath concealing electro-ends (5)

As a Roald Dahl fan, the BFG jumped out at me, obviously needing the ends of electro to give befog. I liked it.

5 dn was one of those word-hidden-in-clue types, with a solid direct clue, platypus, which gave monotreme fairly easily. It was the last e of this that somehow gave me the hint I needed to get the sensational & lit. type clue in 17ac:

Isn’t arid, see? Wrong! (5,6)

AS realised it was an anagram quickly, but didn’t immediately get it as &lit. It comes out as Sinai Desert: An anagram of isnt arid see, but you also needed to read the whole clue again, like it isnt arid? Wrong – no, it is arid – Sinai Desert. Brilliant!

13dn was a bit of a disappointment:

A psycho turns up during fairly polite search (4,5).

We got a few other letters so I picked the search as cast about, but we could not figure out why. Any ideas?

The guess of cast about gave us an o at the start of 26ac:

rugby conservative? (3,6).

I usually get two-word clues, but this was proving elusive until the o. It’s old school. Sensational (Rugby is actually an old public school in England where the game was first played).

With Sinai Desert and old school in the bag, we got the ominous-looking 15dn:

TriREMe? (9)

I thought REM had to be something about dreams and AS realised it had to be Dreamboat, as a trireme is an ancient Greek warship. How anyone completes the crossword without a good Greek next to them is a mystery to me.

The last of the main highlights was 23ac:

Alien gains little weight, a-la Amadeus (9).

We had plenty on it with M_ _ _ R_I_N, and we realised that the alien was martian. We discussed all sorts of weights, including ounces, for quite a while before slapping the table with delight – Mozartian!!! = martian with ounce (Oz) in it.

So they were the main cheers, here are the jeers.

9ac: It theatrically cuts brief female wrangle (5) = fleam.

We got that it’s an anagram of most of female, but I dont think you should be expected to know a full range of surgical instruments, and realising theatrically refers to an operating theatre is a long bow.

3dn: Mainly lead on period paint (7).

It’s tempera. Period = era. Ok, and I’ll take lead on = tempt. But I went out with an icon painter for a fair while and I’ve never heard of tempera. Some recollection came back when wikipedia reminded me that it’s a paint made of egg yolk.

Anyway, a thoroughly enjoyable crossword. I wonder how TH faired on it alone?????