The Many Confoundings from the 27th of February

28 across: Gums capable of creating steam? (9)

The answer is messmates. I can only think there’s been a misprint somewhere, because this one seems absolutely nonsensical.

19 down: School master for the classroom, perhaps? (7)

Supposedly, the answer is anagram. Again, I’m not convinced given the clue.

25 across: Rommel’s coy reply when asked for his battle motto? (5)

The answer is Erwin, which is Rommel’s first name, but I just need confirmation that er win = coy reply when asked for battle motto.

1 down: Resign from computing? Vice versa, with facility nausea? (10)

The answer: queasiness; the explanation: missing.

15 across: Glaring back at tree knot (4)

The internet tells me that knar = tree knot, but what does that have to do with glaring back at?

4 down: In place, practically arctic outside (7)

Here, in = popular and arctic outside = polar, but what about pu and place, practically?

16 down: High school class regarding fresh salmon movements? (8)

OK, salmon movements = upstream and high = up; the rest, though?

More 27th Feb gold

11 across:  Fellow company discreetly disrupted retailer near fateful courier

fellow = chap, company = co, retailer = seller, near = by, combining these, you get Schapelle Corby

(BTW, DA, if you read this, I was thinking retailer would be a great direct clue for a skink or other tail regrowing lizard)

7 down: Nearly gave up a fetish for the tramp life

Nearly gave up = vag, a = a, fetish = bondage, vagabondage.  Gold.

27th Feb

da messmates mess problems

(although not indicated, this crossword came with much help from the Saturday Age)

I’m sure all cryptophiles will join me in wishing AS all the best for the next 6 months in Indonesia.  So as a farewell present, I thought I’d get things rolling on this week’s entry.  AS and I chipped away at it at his house on Saturday, but needed TH’s ring-pull to make our effort respectable today.

Being a fan of many things Yugoslavian, I felt a sense of responsibility to get out “Tito’s piercing (6,4)”.  I’ve even been to Josep Broz’s grave, and I was lamenting not having opened the 18 across to see where the piercing might have been.  It then occured to me that maybe it had nothing to do with the marshal, and I discovered this nugget of DA gold

14 across:  Tito’s piercing? (6,4)

Tito = tit + o = tit with a ring = nipple ring

MC Gold (from the 20th of February)

26 across: Hiphopper beat (2, 6)

His song was huge when I was of an age where watching Saturday morning music videos was the thing to do, and I loved the application of the MC so that beat = (MC) Hammer = hiphopper.

2 down: Dope surplus initally reduced in empty kibbutz (5)

Praising DA for his frequent use of uncommon letters has become de rigeur of late, but this incorporates both a k and a z as part of intersecting clues with surplus = glut, surplus initially reduced = lut and empty kibbutz = kz so that surplus initially reduced in empty kibbutz = klutz = dope.

7 down: Real timid (5)

I just liked how this double-meaning clue working with the added bonus of the theme: real = (mc) coy = timid.

23 across: Jack in East London cuddles 13-across (anaconda) cousin, wanting a musician (6)

I was convinced this one would be ripper until some cross clues proved that the clue was otherwise. And with those cross clues, I was able to see that this was a delightfully done jack in East London = hoist – h = oist, anaconda cousing wanting a = boa – a = bo, jack in East London cuddles anaconda cousin, wanting a = oboist = musician.

27, 28 across: Quit study among trees for giant chain 4-across (emblem) (6, 6)

I spent so long thinking quit = scotch because of the mc prefix that it was only towards the end that I noticed the fantastic direct clue in quit = go, study = den, trees = larches, quit study among trees = golden arches = giant chain emblem.

The MC Confusions (from the 20th of February)

19 down: Slam a rug with 15-across (no time) for hat (6)

Hat = panama, slam = pan and I’m assuming a = a, but how does ma = rug with no time?

13 across: It crushes articles by 9-across (McCubbin) colleague, say (8)

A DA special: a skeletal subject pronoun and a verb is the direct clue in it crushes = anaconda. What makes sense is articles = ana, but that means McCubbin colleague, say = Conda, which I don’t understand and the internet has not been able to help me out on.

24 down: Acidity behind aspiring lowlife? (5)

I’m guessing acidity = oomph; the rest, though?

20 down: Overly 22-down (cling) to plane, nonetheless? (7)

Overly cling = smother, but what does that have to do with smother = to plane, nonetheless?

17 across: Cement, in part, lasts during any cheap renovations, you claim (6)

This one we only got because of the cross clues, and after cement = gypsum is worked out, what’s going on with the rest?

MC DA is the Master

DA cryptic crossword the age with the MC and golden arches

(the highlighted clue required Saturday Age assistance)

What were you thinking when you read those instructions? How long did it take for you to understand them?

Initial progress was slow, wary, somewhat confused, but once McQueen and MC Hammer were sorted out, many of the answers tumbled out neatly while RC and I guffawed and praised this crossword of brilliance.

There’s an intersecting q, there’s an intersecting z, there’s an intersecting k; there’s a humorous theme; there’s the thematic clue that many clues make use of, which itself refers to another unthemed clue; there’s some darn clever wordplay.

Overall, fantastic, joyous, superb, and we shall be talking about it for years.

P.S.  And how many of you spent too long thinking quit in the themed clue must refer to scotch, as in I scotched the rumour?

AS on Extended Leave

In two weeks as of today, I’ll be flying off to Indonesia for a six month job. That’s certainly good for me, but not so much for this blog, as the chances of my being able or willing to have a weekly crack at DA are pretty slim.

If anyone else, however, wants to keep things going and post weekly updates, let me know and I’ll make it possible.

DS, the DA Substitute

AL did a DS crossword

Following an easy DA a couple of weeks ago, when the cryptic was nowhere near as strange as today’s, AL sent me a copy of his completed DS from the Saturday. I’ve not attempted a DS in a while, but I do remember from first-hand experience how difficult and entertaining they can be. AL’s example attached example is more proof of this, and the next time DA proves to be unexpectedly easy, I might just do as AL did and have a crack at DS.

Anyway, here are what AL’s highlights:

8 down: Drag the shirty by the binding (5-8)

Hilarious clue here, with shirty = cross and binding = dressing, which gives shirty by the binding = cross-dressing = drag.

5 across: Drink and blunder in backward (6)

Here, the backward might lead a more experienced cryptic solver down the wrong path, because the solution is blunder = err and backward = shy, giving blunder in backward = sherry = drink.

6 down: Stick flipped on top of geometric work (6)

The answer is euclid = geometric work, but I don’t understand why. AL needs to come to the rescue on this one (or anyone else for that matter).

26 across: No speech is reported from the mount (5)

Awesome aural clue here, with no speech is reported = neigh = the mount.

DA in The Age, in Meanjin and on Radio National

AL sent me an email a couple of months ago concerning DA’s reading part of his self-penned essay about writing and living cryptics on the Radio National program, Lingua Franca. Then part of the essay was published in The Age, and it has since been published in full in Meanjin

Meanjin, however, costs a horrendously overpriced $25. I found that out the hard way when I brought a copy to the Chronicles bookstore counter to be purchased, thinking it would cost around $10. I bought it anyway, but not without a dose of bemusement.

Since it’s appearance in the print version of The Age, I’ve been trying to find it online so I could refer to it here. I’ve found no success so I assume the article hasn’t been published online. Nevertheless, the article is still available at on the Lingua Franca website, both in audio as read by DA himself and as a transcript.

Enjoy if you haven’t already.

The Golden (13th of February)

1 down: Nation to implant thyroid? (7)

Just a slight change in stress and you have en-gland, or the process of implanting thyroids so that implant thyroid = england = nation.

9 across: Bright pink (3)

Just a nice collection of words: bright = gay = pink.

28 across: Name honest bloke, mid-fifties (5)

Mid-fifties is an excellent cryptic reference to l-<blank>-l, and honest bloke = abe (as in Abraham Lincoln, or honest Abe) makes for honest bloke, mid-fifties = label = name.

13 down: Hardly 9-across (gay) foil (8, 3)

Quite amusing: hardly gay = straight man = foil.

22 across: Summer float stunned masterful Noel (4, 3)

Noel here means extract the letters l and e, and, combining that with the anagram indicator stunned, what we have is stunned masterful noel = surf mat = summer float.

Update: JF is right: 7-down should be in the Gold.

7 down: White-green light viewed on Iron Chef (3)

Without the cross clue, I don’t think this one would have been solved because all the important words are so well hidden. It goes: white = w and green light = ok so that white-green light = wok = viewed on Iron Chef.