The Confoundings (from the 23rd of January)

17 down: Tidied desperate ax? (8)

Neatened? Huh?

14, 26 across: Vile enmity, damming river (6, 4)

We got ninety mile from this, and whilst it looks like an anagram clue, we couldn’t quite work it out.

27 across: Bell her front, literally (5)

Even though bronte, the answer, has the be of bell in it and the ront of front in it, no explanation could be found for why.

9 across: Revoke description of extinct volcano? (6)

The answer here is avalon, which has many of the letters of volcano in it, but why or how avalon comes of it was beyond us.

25 across: Ducks by dam reflected inward (10)

Ducks I’m assuming refers to the oo of warriewood, but everything else is a mystery.

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

  1. I can explain “Bell her front, literally”. The Bronte sisters initially wrote under the noms de plume Currer, Acton and Ellis Bell – so “Bell” was their “front”.

  2. The ducks are “oo”, as you say, and are by a dam “wier” reflected (ie spelt backwards) which gives “riew”, and then all this is “inward”, or “in ward”, so Warriewood begins with “war” and ends with “d”.

  3. re14,26 across: this is indeed part anagram (a “vile” sorting of “enmity”) that is “dammed” or encased in river = Nile gives NInetymiLE beach
    17 down is a true DA beastie, be very afraid of his short clues.The solution was obviously NEATENING but how to get there from “desperate ax”? After much brain-cudgelling I think it goes like this (any thoughts welcome):
    “desper”(sounds like despair) = NEED “ate” or consumed “ax” =A+ TEN(x being the roman numeral for ten) gives NEatenED (desperate ax). Pretty wild stuff from DA, but being aware of his love for wordplay this could be a sign of things to come!

  4. Well done David – I thought my attempt wasn’t quite neat enough , but this makes it an even better DA gem. Of course: a “desperate ax” is “an ax in need” =neATENed

  5. That’s what I was wondering, too (for anyone else who is none the wiser, DA’s name is David Astle).

    Curiously, the email address submitted with the comment (which no one can see except me, the administrator) neither mentioned David nor Astle.

    So David, are you he who compiles these crosswords of delight, or is it just a coincidence that you solved the hardest clue of this particular crossword and share your first name with the clue’s creator?

  6. How intriguing!
    I must say “David”‘s comment had a certain gravitas and finality to it ( and I have to go and say “well done David”) as you would. Terrific entertainment.

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