DA Gold (8th August)

10 across: Spooner’s two exhalations in open passage?

Everyone loves a Spoonerism, and who could forget DA’s nong’s rumba from wrong number (which happened to be in the same edition that contained the super-nasty he turns majestically = muralidaran — goddamn I wish I still had that cryptic!) In this one, wheeze bray = two exhalations, Spooner’s two exhalations = breezeway = open passage.

5 down: Amazed when vocal Eastenders mount transport (9)

DA shines with the accents and this one is no exception. Transport = truck, mount = horse, Eastenders mount = ‘orse, vocal Eastenders mount = awes so that vocal Eastenders mount transport = awestruck = amazed.

5-28 across: Toothless threat from devious, banal, [blank] editor (3, 4, 3, 2, 4)

This one’s just an anagram clue, but, such is DA’s artistry, those simple brackets around blank make one believe it to be not so simple. Devious, banal, [blank] editor = all bark and no bite = toothless threat.

27 down: Doctor liable to call a spade a shovel? (5)

This is my favourite of the past month. I would never have gotten this without the cross clues, but with them, Roget made for a good fit, and he seemed exactly the type to call a spade a shovel. And although I didn’t actually know this to be the case, Google later confirmed that he was indeed a doctor.

(On a side note, thesaurus means etymologically from the Ancient Greek “house of treasures” or “treasury”.)

23 across: Doc, for one, added two vaccine grams after seconds (5)

In lesser hands, this might have been a stock-standard initialism clue. But, of course, DA has to add a nice little twist, so that here we have every second letter of added two vaccine grams being the key to the clue, meaning that added two vaccine grams after seconds = dwarf = doc, for one.

Update: NC in the comments of this post on why 26 down should also be considered gold.

7 thoughts on “DA Gold (8th August)

  1. Excuse me for bragging that I got DA out on the day of publication, again! (two weeks in a row – unheard of, solo, for me).

    It did take about four hours though, an hour of which was spent puzzling over the last clue 27 down. Having R_G_T, I thought it must be some obscure or archaic word for digging implement, like “rigot” or something, until the light dawned.

    Reminds me of the occasion when AJ and I got out a DA except for one clue which we had to admit defeat on. The answer was LAGNAPPE, apparently a word meaning one of those little gifts given by shopkeepers after a purchase has been made. The word is only used in the USA around the region of Louisiana.

    In the next couple of weeks I saw the word twice (after never having seen it before in my life). The first time was in a record shop where I saw a compilation CD entitled “Lagnappe”. It was made so that profits would benefit the victims of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans!

    The second occasion was when I was reading Mark Twain’s “Life on the Mississippi”, where he gives a lengthy explanation of the word and its use.

    I think in the 8th August edition DA has got the level of difficulty just about right for me. It was challenging, but gettable, and I would not want to spend any more than fours of torturing my poor brain like that :)

  2. Lagnappe is just ridiculous. I’ve never heard of the word either until now, but I’m sure I’ll be seeing it everywhere I go from now on.

    I remember long ago, when I was first being introduced to cryptics, orchidaceous as the answer to a clue, then finding it popping up in a book I just happened to be perusing in a bookstore.

    Then there was stormy petrel just recently that I ended up encountering in a philosophy when before I could never recall bumping into it.


  3. And there perhaps should be some kind of a reward for getting a hat-trick of DAs out solo.

    Maybe The Age will send you some kind of prize?

  4. I’d like to nominate 26 down for DA Gold.

    26 down: Smutty upbringing essential to unclean brood (5)

    smutty = lewd, upbringing = reversal indicator for a down clue, essential to = “middle letter” indicator, unclean = fodder for the “essential to” indicator. So, smutty upbringing = dwel, essential to unclean = l

    Hence, smutty upbringing essential to unclean = dwell = brood.

    Bear with me while I analyse why I like this clue.

    Smutty means unclean i.e. dirty (either physically or morally), while upbringing and brood (in the sense of related youngsters) are close in meaning as well. The two phrases, “smutty upbringing” and “unclean brood” bring similar images to mind, involving unwashed, foul-mouthed street urchins, dressed in grimy clothes. The whole phrase hangs together in a quite natural sounding way.

    Of course, DA is deliberately misleading us, because the actual answer DWELL is a synonym for “brood” in a completely different sense (to dwell on or brood over a problem).

    I like the way words similar in meaning are used for different roles in this clue. A synonym for “smutty” (lewd) is fodder for the reversal indicator “upbringing”, while “unclean” is fodder for the “middle letter” indicator “essential to”, and brood is the definition.

    Only 5 letters in the clue but I still found it hard to get, even with three cross clues. And, most importantly, satisfying to get.

    That a-ha moment is the reason I love doing cryptic crosswords and a DA crossword usually has a high proportion of them (along with a wicked sense of humour).

  5. I’ve noticed DA make use of closely related words to make a clue sound more natural too, and it’s certainly a delight.

    I’ve included a link to this very comment in the DA Gold post.

  6. Re 10 A: Is “breezeway” in use in Australian English (or is it State specific)? Is it part of American or British English? It sounds vaguely familiar but I wouldn’t have known the definition until I looked it up.

  7. I distinctly remember the breezeway at my primary school. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it since then, but at the end of the school building that housed the classrooms, there was an open, rooved, rectangular area, known as the breezeway, that connecting it to the toilets.

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