Bullshit for the Masses (15th of August)

1 down: Makin’ a blue roll (6)

Making a blue = muffing so makin’ a blue = muffin, but a muffin ain’t a roll! You might be able to get muffins and rolls from the bakery, but you can get meat pies there too and such a flimsy connection is most definitely not grounds for synonymity.

15 down: Wrung out? Old had this! (9)

This one is almost brilliant. The out looks like the anagram notifier, but out is in fact part of the anagram and wrung is the anagram notifier, so that wrung out? old had = adulthood. The problem is accounting for this! And to make matters worse, Old had this! is a terrible direct clue for adulthood. This clue is just messy — pedants be warned!

The Day DA Tore Me A New One (15th of August)

friday failure

(sadly, the circled answers were deciphered by the solution in Saturday’s Age, not by me)

I had a light Friday and a busy weekend ahead of me, so I had to attempt the DA from the 15th of August solo, without TH as my right hand. And I say attempt because, as the image attached attests, I didn’t even get half of it done.

This baby bludgeoned me. DA is back and hubris is still a force in the world. Looking through the answers on the Saturday, I was cheered to find that my failure had nothing to do with my own ineptitude — no, DA was just being curmedgeonly mean.

Has DA been reading this blog? Does he know of our recent spate of success? Is this DA having his revenge on Melbourne?

I feel like I’ve been brutalised. Am I the only one?

The DA Bullshit, Part I (from the 1st of August)

And so I inaugurate a new category: DA Bullshit.

This category is for the odd clue that frequents a DA which, whilst not exactly an error, owes too much to poetic licence.

Friday-just-past’s frequently ridiculous cryptic, which I will report on shortly, also had something to do with the creation of this category as well.

But here, as reported by NC, is the first piece of documented DA bullshit:

12 across: Pan author after good chapter’s climax that most jetsetters go through? (5,7)

(Peter) Pan author =Barrie, good = sound, chapter’s climax = r giving Pan author after good chapter’s climax = sound barrier = that most jetsetters go through.

But as NC noted, jetsetters don’t go through the sound barrier anymore. DA, we expect better!

Crimes Against Cryptic Humanity

Today’s NS in The Age committed two heinous crimes.

First up:

4 down: The way of working the middle holding again is tempting (4-3)

The answer to this one, which I did not get before cheating, is the way of working = mo, the middle = h, again = re, is = is so that the way of working the middle holding again is = more-ish = tempting. With the cross clues, I would have eventually gotten it out if it were listed as seven letters in length and without the hyphen, but to render the word as more-ish is execrable.

And secondly:

21 across: Baddy at large was not in the French West (6)

Baddy is not a word as far as I’m concerned, so I figured that it must be Aaron Baddeley’s nickname or something like that. But no, NS was using baddy as if it were baddie. Reading baddy, you’d make it rhyme with paddy, which is subtly but significantly different to baddie, but not according to NS.

Anyway, the answer was not in = out, the French = la, west = w so that not in the French West = outlaw = baddy (baddie).


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.

Golden Confusion (8th August)

1 across: Retro Rotten fan clasps date at party (5-2)

This one’s gold because it combines an informal expression that someone in polite society might have said seemingly eons ago with the Sex Pistols.

This one’s confusion because I have no idea why ees = date given that Rotten fan = punk, retro Rotten fan = knup and party = knees-up.

What’s DA On About? (8th August)

18 down: Leave cold cash for audit in wine region (8)

Bordeaux = wine region, but the closest I could get to the rest of the clue meaning the same is that cash = dough which sounds like deaux.

30 across: Sly one gutlessly rejected 22-down (player) as unknown influence? (1-6)

Unknown influence = x-factor, player = actor, but how sly one gutlessly rejected = xf is beyond me and TH.

21 across: Precious lot in NT kinda marginalised (twice) by outspoken party (6)

Kinda marginalised (twice) = kaka, and from that it’s pretty easy to get precious lot in NT = kakadu, but how does that du come about?

2 down: Virus upset a sleeper’s position (5)

Here, virus = ebola. I have nothing else, however, to offer.

DA DA on the 8th of August

Friday solo

TH was in Brisbane, RC is coughing up a lung in Beijing and I wasn’t working, so for the first time in a long time, I did the DA on the day of its release.

The fun started after my trip to the St Kilda Public Library when a hungry tummy directed me to the newly-established Dweezil, a nearby cafe that I’m supposing is a Cafe Zappa in South Melbourne offshoot. And it turned out to be quite an appropriate choice because the lady running the show happened to be a DA fan too! The Aretha on the stereo and the signed set list on the wall from Dweezil’s show, Zappa plays Zappa, were also most welcome.

Things started off slowly and perplexingly. The first cab off the rank was pretty easy:

31 across: Record subsequent rookie in the lane (1-6)

Here, record = lp, subsequent = later and record subsequent = l-plater = rookie in the lane.

What made things perplexing, though, was my inability to explain why 18 down and 30 across were what I thought they were. A text message from TH in Brisbane confirmed the same impression: they must be right, but as to why, well…

I only got a few more completed before heading home and finding myself dipping back into the cryptic periodically. I had to agree with Tom that, indeed, this one was a biatch, but I plugged away and got myself acquainted with a new expression I had never heard:

11 across: Assist in wrangling crafty chicken (6-3)

Only the help of cross clues convinced me that assist = aid so that assist in wrangling crafty = fraidy cat = chicken. And around about the time of solving that one, the top-right corner tumbled like a set of dominoes with the solution to:

6 down: Was a slug burnt minus head? (5)

Burnt = blazed and burnt minus head = lazed = was a slug. With that and the top-right corner sorted, I was beginning to feel pretty damn good about myself when I noted that only two clues remained:

24 down: Nerve required in the trenches? (5)

I had no idea what this one was, and the only way I solved it was by systematically going through the available possibilities given the cross clues. I had f_o_t, so I started with flo_t words before giving foo_t a go. With nothing forthcoming, I settled on the more fruitful fro_t combination, and a cry of “bingo!” was heard throughout the town as I stumbled upon front.

The other ball-breaker was:

13 across: Ulysses item grows (6)

I figured Ulysses referred to Ulysses S. Grant, so that Ulysses = grant = allows, which was already drawing a long bow for the drawing of an even mightier long bow to get allows = item grows. I wasn’t at all confident in the answer, but given the cross clues were good for it and I couldn’t think of anything else, I put it in. Thinking that maybe, just maybe, for a third week in a row DA would be defeated, I flicked over to the answers online and was horrified to find the answer to be blooms; Ulysses referred to the book, item referred to a couple and Blooms the couple in that book.

TH was thwarted in his attempt at DA glory by exactly the same two clues that caused me the most strife, although he did not bother with the rather undignified method of solving 24 down that I employed, nor did he imagine some tenuous justification for an answer to 13 across.

With that, though, a difficult DA was done, even if not entirely successfully, nor gracefully.

A Nasty Piece of Work from the 1st of August

15 across: Dean’s venue resolved endless bickering (3-4)

It was only with the help of cross clues that we realised that endless bickering = ickering and resolved endless bickering = ice-rink. But even though we got this out, we left Il Fornaio nonplussed by Dean’s venue = ice-rink. Later that day, though, I was driving down Hotham Street approaching Inkerman when it hit me: Torville and Dean were ice skaters! And Dean’s venue for ice-rink really is a nasty direct clue.

20 across: Veteran journo blooms after holy oil (5, 7)

Cross clues came to the rescue again so that we could get Christ Masters = veteran journo. What wasn’t so obvious, and what only Google has been to help me out with, is that chrism is another word for holy oil and that aster is a genus of flowering plants.