The Nasty Nasty (from the 10th of October)

9 across: Express disapproval of sweet-sounding retro artefact? (9)

This one’s amusing and it might have been put into DA Gold if the crossword overall wasn’t so tough. Here, though, we’ve got express disapproval = boo, sweet = meringue and sweet sounding = merang giving express disapproval of sweet-sounding = boomerang = retro artefact, and that last step, boomerang = retro artefact, is both funny and nutty.

7 down: High-class kiss blown in hearing? (3, 6)

I got this out because of cross clues, but that does not mean this one ain’t nasty. Here, kiss blown = skis, in = cool and in hearing = chool, giving kiss blown in hearing? = ski school = high-class (as in the class is at a high altitude).

Update: Although the following clue was originally considered nasty, TH put me on the right track in the comments and it’s now here for historical purposes only:

24 across: Scotch distiller pared technique linked to moisture (5)

I’m not completely sure how this one works, but it’s super nasty. Wikipedia tells me that Dewar was a Scottish chemist, or, as DA would have it, a Scotch distiller. How anyone else was meant to know that is beyond me, though. Moisture = dew, but I can’t explain the ar.

Caught Out! (from the 10th of October)

19 down: South American banker burst into Wheels of Fortune? (7)

DA has been found out! The answer here is limpopo, which Google tells me is the name of a province in South Africa and a river in southern Africa. DA was nasty enough to make banker = river, but it’s ever so splendid to see that such nastiness did him no good because he made reference to the wrong continent. The clue should have been Southern African banker burst into Wheels of Forune?, with the explanation burst = pop and wheels of fortune = limo, giving burst into Wheels of Fortune = limpopo = southern African banker.

The Discombobulation (from the 10th of October edition)

3 down: He or I suggest stove ring (7)

I’m supposing stove ring = element. The rest?

26 across: Scoutmaster’s books not reviewed? (5)

Absolutely no idea. Apparently, the answer is tonto.

4 down: Daredevil retailed alloy (5)

Here, brash = daredevil, but I can’t explain anything else.

21 down: Love album spun into huge video download (7)

The answer is vodcast, which I suppose means spun into = cast, but why love album = vod?

22 down: Joke over tennis call (3, 2)

The answer: not up. What? Does that have something to do with joke = to pun? But when is not up ever said on the tennis court? What?

Another Ouch (10th October Edition)

rough october 10th

(I solved the answers in red, the Saturday Age solved the answers in black)

Another tough one; DA is making us hurt. I flew the flag solo on Friday because the weekend was gonna be hectic. I made reasonable progress and got about a third of it done, but when I went through it again on the Saturday and found myself making no further progress, I gave up and checked the answers. The answers, however, often didn’t help me in figuring out how the clues were constructed; DA was in a nasty mood again, and this time around he seemed to be making the direct clues particularly cryptic.

To make up for my lack of success, a couple of tram rides over the weekend were spent doing a Thursday NS that I had scrounged from an old newspaper. Success was quickly forthcoming; that sense of cryptic-solving satisfaction, however, was not.

An aside: Does a lack of DA success cause me to use the non-commital semi-colon more often? Does the semi-colon reflect my sense of confusion? Does a tough DA make me less declarative? Is this uncertainty a good thing? Should I be happy that I’m not Hemingway?

Politics and the Crossword

From a lighthearted article in the New York Times about keeping track of political bias:

Did you know that OBAMA has appeared six times in New York Times crossword puzzles since January 2005, and MCCAIN has not appeared once? I didn’t either, but Politico noticed. Will Shortz, who edits Times crosswords, said the explanation has nothing to do with politics. “OBAMA is a godsend for crossword constructors because the name is short and has three vowels out of five letters,” he said. MCCAIN, with its successive c’s, is much harder. (Bob DOLE has been in Times crosswords 10 times, Bill CLINTON never.)

Taswegian Teachings (3rd October crossword)

25 down: Greek spirit depleted the Spanish winger (5)

Greek spirit = ouzo, the Spanish = el giving Greek spirit deleted the Spanish = ouzel = winger. When I got this out, I supposed ouzel referred to a rugby player, probably French, who played as a winger and was blessed with a fine name. Google then told me it was in fact a reference to a particular species of bird!

27 across: Cop combined zero with zero regularly (6)

Here, zero regularly = zr and combined zero with zero regularly = rozzer = cop. I had never heard of a rozzer before, but it sounded like a slang word for a cop, and so it proved to be. What’s most entertaining, though, is despite appearances to the contrary, it’s another way of calling a cop a pig: rozzer comes from the Hebrew word chazer, which means “pig”.

24 across: Musical 13-down (Taswegian) let short creep up stones (5, 10)

An anagram of let short creep up is Peter Sculthorpe, who, unbeknownst to me, is a renowned composer of primarily orchestral and chamber music.

Taswegian Confusion (from the 3rd of October)

8 down: 21, 13-down (natural Tasmanian) sowed and planted during thinning process (7)

The answer here is cundall, as in Peter Cundall, the Tasmanian horticulturalist. I just can’t figure out why.

3 down: Glow briefly engulfs key English director (5)

Mike Leigh is an English director, so leigh = English director makes sense, but I can’t quite figure the rest out even though glow = light and glow briefly = ligh sounds about right.

26 across: Spicy as 13-down’s (Tasmanian’s) home? (8)

The answer is devilled, and I’m kind of getting a reference to a Tasmanian devil and a town or ville, but it’s not completely watertight an explanation.

DA Gold From Under Down Under (3rd October crossword)

28 across: Steadfast 13-down (Taswegian) blessing (4)

Who’s the personification of steadfastness? David Clarence Boon of course. DA gets this exactly right: steadfast Tasmanian = boon = blessing.

14 down: Wharf dock snack (3)

This one showcases why DA is better than your run-of-the-mill compiler. Here, DA chooses two words within the same semantic range to sow the seeds of confusion before the realisation is made that polysemy is the currency of cryptics, and we get wharf = pier so that wharf dock = pie = snack.

16 across: Cold insurance contract minus cutback (3)

This one’s clever: insurance contract = policy, cut = lop, cutback = pol and insurance contract minus cutback = icy = cold.

23 across: She wrote this bloody spirit up (6)

This might have been more difficult if The Shining weren’t so popular, but it’s still a quality clue. Bloody = red and spirit = rum so that bloody spirit up = murder = she wrote this (which is a reference to that terrible TV show, Murder, She Wrote).

17 across: Impressive quartet scraps opening recital (7)

Another brilliant aural DA clue! Quartet = foursome and quarter scraps opening = oursome so that quartet scraps opening recital = awesome = impressive.

10 across: Beating loan, 6-downing (embracing) one in stock output? (8)

DA gets topical with loan = sub, stock output = dung and embracing one in stock output = duing giving loan embracing one in stock output = subduing = beating.

1 across: Pork topping fine to a 13-down (Taswegian)? A butcher oddly endorsed (5, 5)

DA being cute: a butcher oddly endorsed = auce and fine to a Tasmanian = apples (as in “she’s apples”) so that fine to a Tasmanian? A butcher oddly endorsed = apple sauce = pork topping.

Update: TH highlighted an oversight in the comments, and now I’m rectifying the situation.

7 down: Last true 13-down (Taswegian) urinating on the rocks (9)

I still take great delight in telling people that I’m Tory Plan B is an anagram of Tony Blair MP. What I won’t be telling people, though, unless I meet a particularly annoying hippy, is that urinating is an anagram of Truganini.

The Best Since Records Have Been Kept? (October 3rd Edition)

taswegian da special

(the circled answers were not the product of my own mental workings)

TH was in Sydney, I have no idea where in the world RC is these days and I was having a very slow day at work. So I took on this baby mostly during working hours and found myself mostly at Degani’s in Burnley (sans Elvis impersonator, sadly) praising the good DA’s name; I think this is his best since this blog has been started.

Following what seems to be a trend over the last couple of months, this is another themed crossword, and my solving the clue to which most others referred turned out to be a two-stage process:

13 across: Islander virulent against US intervention?

With a t as the first letter and a tentative s as the third, I figured Tasmanian was the answer even though the only explanation I had for it was that Tasmanian = islander. The other clues referring to 13-across all seemed to confirm my suspicion, but I still had no watertight explanation. Only with the solving of 24-across, which put an inopportune e in the middle of Tasmanian, did I realise the answer was going to be Taswegian and the explanation virulent against = tasgian, us = we, virulent against US intervention = Taswegian = islander.

With that, only a few clues remained of the crossword by knock-off time. Between then and the witching hour, though, progress was only made on one of the few unsolved clues, and I consulted the SMH online for the answers to the rest (for some reason, the crossword software never works in my browser on The Age website).

Now Tasmania is happily associated with one of DA’s best. Excepting Launceston, my already high estimation of the place shot through the roof, and I’m expecting cryptic-crossword aficionados to mysteriously drift southward as if this DA were a siren’s call from the other side of Bass Strait.