(the circled answers are those we cheated on or got wrong)
On a sunny Sunday morning, I rode my bike down to Greville Street to meet TH at Sicilian Orange. It’s a venue newly-discovered by our newly-coiffed TH, and it may turn out to be our venue of choice for the future. I had two flat whites, delicious fried eggs with mushrooms, tomato and pancetta, a not-as-delicious chicken salad and a few glasses of tap water. TH had the OJ, the delicious fried eggs as well as the water. The culinary plenty came to $50.50.
Such details are important because, even with RC so far away, the two of us managed to get through the DA with a rare fluency. Maybe the cryptic was easier than most, maybe it was the winter sun on the tail end of Garnaut week, maybe it was TH’s walking and my own bike-riding, or maybe, just maybe, it was the eggs. Whatever it was, even with some nasties, we powered through the DA with 2.5 errors (we didn’t know the name of a snake whose supporting clue was a sounds-like, which meant we ended up putting in an e for an i).
Our endeavour began in the bottom-right corner with perhaps one of the easier DA clues going around:
29 across: Old Premier, after tax, hid in county (7)
The simple answer, Kennett (Kent = county, after tax = net), is the kind you’d expect from a cryptic during the middle of the week, but it was nice that DA offered such a merciful clue to get the ball rolling.
From the bottom-right, our attentions spread in an anti-clockwise motion before finding ourselves stuck with a series of empty boxes in the bottom-left quarter of the crossword. There was nothing going on for a while until inspiration struck TH when going through the options for:
15 down: Stone once white in pot counter (4, 5)
In a moment of genius, TH channeled DA and got Stone to mean a Rolling Stone and Stone once to be Bill Wyman. There were cheers, there were guffaws, there were odd looks of puzzlement as we couldn’t quite make out why the rest of the clue made for Bill Wyman. The best we could come up with was that white = w and pot = billy, leaving the rather odd counter = man.
Notwithstanding our lack of total oneness with DA consciousness on this particular clue, we were confident enough with the answer to write it down in the thickest ink available. And with Bill Wyman down, its helpful position on the crossword proved to be the turning point as we powered on home, albeit with 11 across and 6 down proving too much for us in the end.