The Gold (from the 22nd of November)

28 across: Super-duper car is Matt’s Rolls? (4, 6)

Super-duper was suspiciously odd; we had realised that. Yet by the time we had surmised that it was probably an anagram clue where car is Matt’s Rolls = super-duper, we were over the DA and checking the answers. It took a moment to sink in, and it was enjoyable when it did — super-duper = scam artist (as in someone who dupes) is quite funny.

2 down: Heckler yelled “Coffee!” (5)

An auditory and double-meaning classic! Heckler = mocker so that heckler yelled = mocha = coffee.

7 down: Desert queen to sea-monster, say, below treacherous rip (9)

The movie was great; so was this clue. Sea-monster = scylla (from The Odyssey), sea-monster say = scilla and treacherous rip = pri, which gives sea-monster, say, below treacherous rip = priscilla = desert queen.

3 down: Thus drinking during break, one left wine cocktail (9, 5)

Thanks to AL, we can give this quality clue its due. Here, thus = so, during break = in gap, thus drinking (as in consuming, which is another inventive DA containment indicator), during break = singapo, wine = riesling and one left wine = resling, all of which gives thus drinking during break, one left wine = singapore sling = cocktail.

16 across: Setter gettin’ high from hallucinogenic?

This fine clue I dedicate to Hunter S. The penny dropped here when considering the oddity of gettin’ and concluding that this hallucinogenic probably ends in in. Mescalin immediately came to mind, and then so did the explanation: setter = me and gettin’ high = scalin’, giving setter gettin’ high = mescalin = hallucinogenic.

The Mysteries of DA (22nd of November)

1 across: Handy president hit on initial deficit, chiefly (5-5)

RC had deciphered this one early on in the piece simply from the cross clues, but we did not venture to write it in lest we be left with eggs on our faces given our lack of explanation. Sure, hit = ram, on initial = o, deficit = short which gives hit on initial deficit = ramos hort, but why does handy president = ramos horta (what’s with the handy more than anything) and why does chiefly = a?

18 down: Number on arctic sledge (8)

We had correctly surmised that on arctic sledge = narcotic, but then why does number = narcotic? Or is it number on arctic = narcotic and sledge = narcotic? What?

3 down: Thus drinking during break, one left wine cocktail (9, 5)

The best we could cup up with is break = gap to provide the justification for the happy direct clue, cocktail = singapore sling. Other than that, we had nothing for why thus drinking during break = singapore sling.

A Fine DA (from the 22nd of November)

the longest of fridays

(the fineliner denotes the failures)

The beginnings of this week’s doings were done waiting for JC to attend to her dressing before outing into the evening where with RC there was a meeting and the cryptic work was given his blessing.

The next day, all three of us were at my house, scratching our heads with bemusement and digging into my mum’s food parcel for breakfast.

Overall, a fine weekend made finer with DA.

DA Gold (from 14th of November)

4,5 down: C+H-AxN+C-E? (10, 4)

Here’s a fine example of why DA still remains a thrill despite how powerless he can make you feel at times. C+H-AxN+C-E = calculated risk speaks for itself.

13 down: One buffoon rewound before a Spielberg movie disrupted movie cut worth savouring (5, 6)

Intricate clue that I greatly enjoyed working out, albeit retrospectively. One = i, buffoon = nong, Spielberg movie = ET and movie = film so that one buffoon rewound before a Spielberg movie disrupted movie = filet mignon = cut worth savouring.

20 down: Wireless bra-wearer of the male persuasion? (7)

Anything prurient always makes me laugh, and this time we’ve got wireless = trannie = bra-wearer of the male persuasion.

28 across: Italian meter-man draw amps near the electric leads (5)

What’s special here is DA’s use of words within the same semantic range. Here, draw amps near the electric leads = Dante = Italian meter-man.

Rough DA (14th of November edition)

1 across: So-called nerve shown by single alpine heroine (5)

I’m supposing alpine heroine = heidi even though I don’t know why, just like I don’t know why so-called nerve shown by single = heidi.

9 across: Love tie-clip reflection (3)

Here, love = nil. Other than that, I’ve got nothing.

10 across: 1000-kilo van has elastic arm (11)

Kalashnikov = arm, but the rest I can’t explain.

12 across: Leave senseless tenants astride a fence (6)

Leave senseless = deafen, which I suppose means tenants astride a fence = deafen makes little sense to me.

24 across: Help outspoken one proverbially pleased by cruel blow (6, 5)

Cruel blow = sucker punch, but I can’t work out the rest.

2 down: Unorganised assassin edges away, cracked (3-8)

I’m supposing ill-equipped = unorganised, but I can’t figure anything else out.

3 down: Two almost abandoned flash notion (7)

Does inkling = flash notion, or does inkling = notion? Either way, I can’t explain the rest.

8 down: Quiet about happening in itchy year? (7)

Here, itchy year = seventh (as in seven-year itch), but the rest beats me.

14 down: Rearrange a place for subconscious thought? (4, 6)

I’m supposing a place for subconscious thought = back burner, but rearrange = back burner? What?

19 down: Skied ball he’d altered (7)

Altered = morphed, so I’m supposing he’d = hed, but how does skied ball = morp?

23 down: Petty crim and illegal bookie meeting at four (4)

Petty crim = spiv and four = iv, but I don’t get illegal bookie = sp.

25 down: Mongrel PM can go (3)

Mongrel = cur, but I have nothing for PM can go = cur.

DA Failure (from the 14th of November)

Friday toughie

(Written in fineliner are my failures)

This one made me want to cry.

I was already asleep when RC texted me for a late DA on Friday night, and the remainder of the weekend was too busy for me to share the cryptic joy, so I attempted it solo over the last few days.

I feel as if my powers are failing me. Despite its being carried around in my back pocket most everywhere I went, I got out little more than a quarter of the crossword. And despite having the answers in front of me, there’s still plenty I can’t explain.


The Nasty (7th of November)

1 across: Battleship names distorted (9)

In what is becoming a disturbing trend, DA has been using bits of whole words as instructions (this often happens with words like backdown or, as we will see in the next nastiness example, with desktop, but what DA is starting to do is getting crazy). In this one, battle is the anagram signifier, so that battleship names = misshapen = distorted. If this continues, and starts being a part of more difficult clues, we can pretty much forget about getting anything out.

13 down: It is crazy, perhaps, for desktop to be clean (9)

This is something I’ve never seen before in a cryptic, and I wilt at the thought of its structure being followed in future. Here, crazy = insane, so that it is is put in the word sane, giving it is crazy, perhaps, for desktop = sanitised = to be clean. But what’s mental here is that the synonym for crazy, insane, ends up being an instruction, and that instruction is only partially within the word itself!

Can you imagine how difficult these crosswords will become if DA really starts to let loose with constructions like these?

Stephen Fry Must Be A Cryptic Freak

From his blog, which is quite amusing, Stephen Fry brings to light the following piece of anagrammatic wonder:

“Laptop machines”, by one of those preposterous twists of circumstance that make you wonder who is running things and why they haven’t got anything better to do, just happens to be an anagram of “Apple Macintosh”. If an anagram is a derivative rearrangement of essential elements, then one might be disposed to argue that such has been their rise in influence and prestige that almost every new digital product seems to be an anagram of Apple.

The Confoundings (7th November 2008)

10 across: Hawk or Magpie spun ball’s outside point to control ball… (askance) (7)

To control ball = dribble, but nothing else makes sense.

6 across: Revolutionary ran to embrace one Zeno disciple (5)

One Zeno disciple = stoic, or, more likely, Zeno disciple = stoic. The rest, though?

8 down: Twisted bachelor-ess action sequence in The Dish?

The Dish = casserole, and bachelor-ess without the b and h is an anagram of casserole, but how that all works is beyond me.

4 down: They are common students, wearing beanies (9)

Wearing beanies = ebeians, which leaves students = pl so that students, wearing beanies = plebeians = they are common, but why does students = pl?

22 across: In Sydney, train horse to drop tail after smack (7)

Google tells me that a tangara is a type of train used in Sydney (this should technically be a DA Teaching, but I don’t find it interesting enough to bother reporting), which makes In Sydney, train = tangara. Everything else, however, I can’t work out (although mustang = horse could have something to do with the explanation).

13 down: It is crazy, perhaps, for desktop to be clean (9)

To be clean = sanitised, but I can’t quite make out the rest.