Ale Induced Splendour (24th of October edition)


(The red clues were from the Saturday Age)

RC is back in town after many months of absence, and Friday night we caught up over wine and a DA.

Themed crosswords have been a feature of DA’s efforts of late, but we had never before been greeted with the peculiar instruction:

Please note: all across clues are 22-across, and go otherwise undefined.

We weren’t sure how to correctly interpret the instruction. My guess was that the answers to the across clues in sequence would constitute a poem or the lyrics to a song. The absence of short clues for English’s prepositions, pronouns and articles put paid to such a notion, so we plunged headlong into the down clues, hoping something would come of our efforts over time.

We did manage to get a few answers out, but it was RC who made the important breakthrough on the humorous 7-down:

7 down: Residents liable to be punished by thematic overindulgence? (6)

Somehow, from somewhere in the dark recesses of his prodigious mind, RC managed to drag out livers as a synonym for residents so that residents = livers = liable to be punished by thematic overindulgence. And, with that, we had ourselves the theme locked up.

Clearly, alcohol had something to do with the theme, and when RC in a flash turned to 12-across and proclaimed it to be Stella Artois, we knew we had for ourselves an amber-ale-themed crossword.

Notwithstanding the theme being revealed, further progress was arduous; DA had still managed to make the crossword quite difficult even for boys well-versed in beer. We called it a night having done about half the crossword some time after midnight, and we were both impressed by the amount of mental strain involved in getting as far as we did, which wasn’t all that far at all.

I answered a few more clues on Saturday before admitting defeat and consulting the answers on Sunday. How a few of the clues work still baffles me; how my favourite of all beers, Tsingtao, went unsolved baffles me still more.

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