DA Taken Down (from the 16th of January)

da cryptic crossword the age completed

Officially for the first time ever, I successfully completed the DA solo. By around 5pm on a slow working day, I had managed to break this DA and proclaim victory. A victory is a victory and should be celebrated, but, goddamn it, this DA was too easy.

The problem: far too many anagram clues. I don’t know if it is just my impression, but there seemed to be a higher preponderance of the anagram clue that I expect to see pepper the crosswords appearing every other day of the week. From DA, I expect more.

So yes, victory, sweet hollow victory!

DA Nastiness (from the 2nd of January)

1 down: Power-walking leader rejected current races after start (7)

AL pointed out how this is solved, and it most certainly is nasty. The nastiness comes from current races = regatta, an oblique connection yet a connection nonetheless. And with that piece of information, you get walking leader = w, current races = regatta, current races after start = egatta, rejected current races after start = attage and walking leader rejected current races after start = wattage = power.

DA Controversy

I stumbled upon a humorous blog post about a particularly unusual DA clue.

As is the wont of inferior mortals, the author disparages what he cannot understand.

In the comments, though, a more enlightened reader claimed the following:

I had once read that the hardest ever clue was in The Times (UK) crossword some time way back in the eighties.

Clue: E (13 letters)

Try solving it before reading the comments where the excellent answer and explanation are revealed.

The Golden (from the 2nd of January)

20 down: It cops blows from Aghan-Kiev cartel (6)

Sure, it’s simple, but the direct clue is funny: from Aghan-Kiev cartel = hankie = it cops blows.

18 down: Two ants caffeinated drink (3, 4)

There are red ants and there are bull ants, and so the answer to this clever clue is two ants = red bull = caffeinated drink.

23 across: A ship in sound, moored (2, 6)

Clever aural clue that uses a synonym in the same semantic range as the answer: a ship = a tanker, which gives a ship in sound = at anchor = moored.

DA Confusion (from the 2nd of January)

1 down: Power-walking leader rejected current races after start (7)

Looks like the answer should be wattage. Explanation, however, missing.

17 down: Enojy [sic] obscure sport (8)

I can resolve NC’s confoundings with this one: obscure = misty, sport = pe and obscure sport = mistype = enojy [sic].

12 across: Retro French artist almost curses! (4)

So who’s the French artist referred to here which makes the answer egad?

Technological Nastiness (from the 9th of January)

10 across: Jonathan meets model at Java function (6)

Jonathan = apple, model = T, which gives Jonathan meets model = applet = Java function. Here, the direct clue is practically impossible without an IT background, which I have. How people having nothing to do with IT should know that Java refers to a computer language and that one of it’s functions can be to create applets is beyond me, though.

Absolutely nasty.

Interesting titbits:

  • the cryptic crossword as it appears on The Age and SMH websites is an applet
  • Jonathon Ive is the industrial designer behind many of Apple’s cool hardware designs, so the Jonathan in the clue could conceivably refer to the industrial designer rather than the fruit

The Confusion (from the 9th of November)

20 down: Kiss and make up? Fair dinkum? (6)

Fair dinkum = really is clear as day, but the rest?

19 down: Fan of a juvenile explorer on radio

Adorer = fan is all that’s certain here.

21 across: Leading female experiment curtailed mid-step… (padre) (9)

Here, leading female = matriarch, which implies that mid-step = arch, but how does experiment curtailed = matri?

22 across: (matriarch)…for father to step about? (5)

The answer here is padre, which kinda means that to step = pad, about = re and to step about = padre = for father, but how does to step = pad?

The Gold (from the 9th of January)

26 across: Where guests swing to stay bohemian, we hear! (3, 5)

The answering of this clue was RC’s shocking and hilarious epiphany, and I thank Ang Lee’s Ice Storm for my first acquaintance with the concept. It’s clear that DA is a little cheeky, and this clue only confirms the impression: to stay bohemian = keep arty and to stay bohemian, we hear = key party = where guests swing.

Absolute Gold.

8 across: Detention centre, at your request (8)

The centre makes you look in the middle of the word detention, which takes you down the wrong line of reasoning thanks to DA’s fine trickery. The answer: detention centre, at your = entreaty = request.

12 across: Like Astroboy and Bugs, I mean (5)

This is a very easy clue that DA makes difficult with his fine choice of a misleading anagram indicator in Bugs. Here, bugs, i mean = anime = like Astroboy.

24 across: Basic alarms alerting (8)

Another very easy clue (this time, one we missed) made difficult due to DA’s artistry. We were too busy thinking up double-meanings for this one when all we needed to do was read an anagram into the clue with basic = integral = alarms alerting.