DA’s Teachings (11th July)

2 down: Dominant assembly reportedly leading Lucerne? (5)

I got this out after mistakenly assuming that dominant = alpha because assembly = alp, and for some unbeknownst reason I figured it must be that ha = reportedly leading Lucerne. But in my Googling, my mind expanded upon discovering that lucerne is actually another name for alfalfa, so that dominant assembly = alpha = reportedly leading Lucerne.

24 across: Sparkly Silverchair? (8)

With a cross clue, it was clear that silver = ag and that the remaining six letters would be a kind of chair. What I didn’t know was that a litter is the chair on certain wheelless and human-powered vehicles, and that silver = ag, chair = litter and aglitter = sparkly.

20 down: Lilo’s mate a pain in the long run (6)

I had no idea there was a Disney film called Lilo and Stitch, which is perhaps the reason why I never solved this clue.

11th of July Friday on 13th of July Sunday

solo sunday

(the circled answers are those I got from Saturday’s paper)

RS is in Beijing and TH was hungover, so that left me handling DA solo while the Tigers took out the Eagles by over seventy points at Subiaco. I listened to part of the game on the wireless and watched the rest of it on Foxtel at the Dick Whittington. On the Dick’s self-service TAB facilities, I placed a happy $2 bet on the Tigers winning by over sixty points for a total return of $26, and it was happy times all round as I got over three-quarters of Friday’s perplexing pearler sorted.

While I got over three-quarters of the DA done, I must admit that I still can’t explain a few of them, and of those that I didn’t complete, most I either have no explanation for or Google had to help me out with a solution. It’s clear that a second or third cryptic head would have come in handy for some extra explaining power, but more disappointingly, there was not a second or third raucous laugh in cacophonous symphony with my own after getting to the solution of the best clue of the crossword:

6 down: To fail when fishing in the Caribbean? (6)

I angled, I wangled, I wobbled, I baited; but it was only after some helpful cross clues that I got Tobago = in the Caribbean and the classic to bag 0 = to fail when fishing.

Dr. John on the headphones approves too of the fine clue, and he hopes, as do I, that the many DA perplexities about to be posted will be resolved by the collective consciousness of the cryptic community on the interwebs.

July 4th Gold

18 across: Carriage lane cut by me and you, say (6)

It took some fiddling and some scratching of heads until it was realised that me referred to DA himself (we’ve always gotten the impression that he’s a he), so that we end up having landau = carriage, lane cut = lan, me = da and you say = u.

4 down: A metal prolonged perfect metal (8)

This was earmarked for the DA Confusion category, but I managed to figure out that it’s quite a quality clue for a = a, metal = tin, perfect = plum and metal = platinum.

9 across: Guy’s g’days (3)

A quality piece of double-meaning cuteness. One of his best.

Nastiness from July 4th

11 across: Diabolical flower lodges in ear (4)

TC and I (AS) had to cheat for this one. Styx is the answer, but what’s the direct clue? The river Styx is meant to be in Hades, but that’s certainly too long a bow to draw from diabolical, isn’t it? Lodges = sticks = sounds like styx would suggest the direct clue is diabolical flower, but Google makes no mention of any flower that goes by that name.

25 across: Euro-capital put back into secret, grand IT security (6, 5)

This one is not too hard, but the direct clue is vague at best. The answer is memory stick, meaning that euro-capital put back = emor, secret = mystic and grand = k. This means, however, that IT security is the direct clue and that it’s supposed to be a synonym for memory stick, which is just a load of shit, really.

A Golden Perplexity from July 4th

15 down: Stone once white in pot counter (4, 5)

TC was rightly chuffed about his performing the necessary mental gymnastics that got him Bill Wyman to mean Stone once. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the rest of the clue out in support, and the best we could come up with was white = w, and pot = billy, leaving the rather odd counter = man.

Friday, July 4th on Sunday, July 6th

sunday tc as sicilian orange

(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.

20th June Gold

27 across: Bedridden Bard’s malice? (3-4)

A stock standard piece of DA gold. To be bedridden is to be ill, the Bard is Will, and to bear malice is to have ill-will.

20th June Perplexity

3 down: Thus turn out composer’s opening falsehoods (5)

The answer is myths. Ths is formed by removing the U of a U-turn, but the initial my? There is a composer by the name of Neil Myers, but this seems to obscure even by DA’s standards.

12, 13 across: Spooky patriarch to leave Seymour Centre, rounding shock on matriarchs (5, 6)

The answer is Gomez Addams. Go = leave, m = Seymour Centre and z = shock, but the rest?

20th June Error

25, 23 down: Vaccine inventor accepts 1999 boxer as alleged match fixer (5, 5)

DA does not often disappoint. Bamboozle, yes; disappoint, rarely; so I’m supposing this will be a category of clue that will not see much expansion.

Salk is the inventor of the polio vaccine and when IMM for 1999 and Ali for boxer are added into the mix, you get the letters to form Salim Malik, the match fixer. The error is, though, that the Roman numeral for 1999 is MIM, not IMM!