The Bullshit (from the 23rd of January)

19 down: They take seconds to fight? (8)

Although I liked this clue, to my mind, it’s not quite right.  The answer is duellers, but although duellers = they take seconds is fine, duellers = to fight ain’t. Expressed alternatively, it could be that duellers = they take seconds to fight, but then that’s not much of a cryptic clue.

Either way, me say bullshit.

Update: OK, so I don’t think it’s bullshit anymore.

12 thoughts on “The Bullshit (from the 23rd of January)

  1. the double meaning is in the word “seconds” – they take not very long to fight, and they also take someone along to the fight as a back-up

  2. I’m often the first one to criticise DA, but for mine this is a fair, albeit straightforward, instance of an obscure definition.

  3. Yup, I got that duellers take seconds with them to any duel; my problem is that I don’t understand what the direct clue and the indirect clue are.

    Either the direct clue is they take seconds to fight, which means there is no indirect clue, or the direct clue is they take seconds and to fight doesn’t make any sense as an indirect clue for duellers.

    What goes against the cryptic crossword rules is using the same word as part of the indirect and direct part of the clue (unless it’s an &lit clue, which this clue is not).

  4. I agree with you AS. I got this pretty easily, but the clue appears to have no wordplay, which I have always understood is essential in a cryptic clue, including &lit clues. It looks like a clue from a straight (non-cryptic) crossword of the general knowledge variety. I think DA crossed the line here. But maybe I am just grumpy because I had never heard of most of the beaches.

  5. I’m OK with this now. I now think of it as a double definition clue except that the two definitions aren’t separate, but the one phrase has a double meaning, as haiku says.

  6. For me, they take seconds to fight = duellers = they take seconds to fight or they take seconds = duellers = seconds to fight aren’t proper cryptic crossword clues.

    Have I missed something, though?

  7. It’s not the obscure or oblique definitions that is annoying me here, it’s the poor structure.

  8. OK, I’ve come around now.

    If I can abide E = senselessness = E, then I can abide they take seconds to fight = duellers = they take seconds to fight.

  9. Well, I’m over a month late on this one, but I think I can add something here. I recommend all those who didn’t like the DUELLERS clue (and I didn’t either!) read DA’s article in The Age Dec 26-27, 2008 (first published in Meanjin 4 – summer 2008). This clue type is one of DA’s 10 most common clue categories: he calls this type “Tee-hee (also dubbed a pun clue, or oblique definition. Question marks are a handy sign)”. He gives some examples:
    Ran in Park? (5) = IDLED
    Meat product swallowed by gull? (4,3) = PORK PIE
    Accounts here in the red? (5,4) = BLOOD BANK

    I don’t like the first one, but I think the other two are quite clever. As you can see this type of clue doesn’t fit the usual construct of direct clue plus indirect clue. Both haiku and Michael Fuller were comfortable with this type of clue. I’m not wildly enthusiastic, but I think we’ll just have to get over it, because DA will surely do it again!

  10. Going through old crosswords at the moment (only bother with DA) and found you hadn’t twigged to ninety-mile.
    Nile is a river, plus anagram of enmity

    Ni – nety – mi -le

    Damming as a synonym for contains is perhaps stretching things.

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