Soldiering on

A fair-to-middling DA for this, the first of 26 AS-less weeks of tackling the cryptic. RC and I convened late on Friday night, both plenty of beers to the good, to drink chamomile tea, listen to Fela Kuti and attempt this week’s puzzle. By the time the clock had ticked over into Saturday, half the puzzle was done, the cat was urging me to go to bed and I was drifting off to sleep at the table, so we called it a night and I polished off the rest over the course of the weekend.

I managed to get this one out in the end, which is always a cause for celebration, although there was a reasonable amount of DA confusion, a smattering of DA bullshit, and disappointingly few nuggets of DA gold. Looks like the master is still working his way back into form after the career-best McCrossword from a couple of weeks back.

Here’s how it ended up looking:

DA 6 March

PS I haven’t actually seen the solution, so do let me know if any of this lot is, like, wrong.

– TH

9 thoughts on “Soldiering on

  1. Yes, a lot not to like this Friday, with a couple of exceptions.
    “Fairbanks” was a golden answer to “Alaska’s own economic fantasy” (8D).
    Falls for new wife? = niagara was cute, too (19D), and I enjoyed
    removing “bit” from “hobbit” to get “hob” (mind you, “scrubbed a little”
    as the directions was a bit rich).

    But the rest … here’s a selection of clues that left me rather sour.

    1A Superior sort of trip, say, moved crabbily? => gilt edged
    Superior = gilt edged, OK. Moved crabbily = edged? Hmmm.
    And how does “sort of trip, say” factor in?

    11A Squash cousin announcing business gala => racquetball
    “business” as a synonym for “racquet”? Tenuous.

    21A Completely overturned footwear in empty barrel => boots and all
    “over” as a synonym for “too”? Hmmm.

    1D A lot of energy drink makes one snappy? => gator
    I’ get it, but don’t like it.

    3D Place in aviary holds our egg = encourage
    As you discuss in, “egg on” = encourage, but “egg” does not.

    4D Range gives way leads for tail-wagging dog => gamut
    range = gamut; “gives way leads” = remove “ga” = tail-wagging dog = mut
    … but a “mut” is NOT a dog … a “mutt” (with two “t”s) is a dog.
    Is there a different way of reading this clue, or is this an out-and-out error?

    14D Very wet, deficient bloke grips on shortly = monsoonal
    “deficient bloke” = mal?! Excuse me, but what is the “deficient” for?
    A political comment on Malcolm Fraser or Malcolm Turnbull??!
    Surely DA can’t intend for “deficient” to indicate the short form of the name!

    17D Taught young potentate to raise homeless person = tutored
    Not keen on “young potentate” as a reference to Tutankhamen!

    21D Regal jumbo downsizing twin saloons = babar
    Regal jumbo = Babar, obvious (and cute). Twin saloons = bar bar, OK,
    But “downsizing” as instructions to remove one of the Rs from “barbar”
    to get “babar”? Hmmmm.

    While I managed most of this crosword (bar 1A, 11A, 3D, and 4D)
    before Saturday’s paper floated past, I felt rather disappointed.

    I hope next week’s is better.

  2. regarding 4D:

    gives away leads = g a
    tail-wagging dog = mutt – t = mut
    gamut = range

  3. Can shed some light on a coupla these:

    1A: crabs move sideways, so I can live with “moved crabbily” for EDGED
    14D: bloke = MALE; deficient bloke = MAL

    And Paisley’s already explained 4D.

    Agree on the others. 14A woulda worked as RACKETBALL but not really RACQUETBALL; there’s no sound-alike indicator. And yeah, I debated FAIRBANKS for DA Gold, but don’t reckon it’s up to the standards his lordship has set in the past.

  4. 4D Range gives way leads for tail-wagging dog => gamut
    range = gamut; “gives way leads” = remove “ga” = tail-wagging dog = mut
    … but a “mut” is NOT a dog … a “mutt” (with two “t”s) is a dog.
    Is there a different way of reading this clue, or is this an out-and-out error?

    Doesn’t “tail-wagging dog” mean mut without t?

  5. > Doesn’t “tail-wagging dog” mean mut without t?

    Yeah, just realized that was the intended interpretation while having a shower!

  6. Agree with many of MF’s comments on the clues that left him “rather sour”. My thoughts on a couple of clues:

    1A: And how does “sort of trip, say” factor in?
    Well, a guilt trip is a sort of trip. And the “say” is the “we hear” indicator. Hence gilt.

    11A: I agree. Not one of DA’s best clues, but I think there was indeed a sound-alike indicator, namely “announcing”.

  7. I have given up with two to go (24A and 21D). These two have me absolutely bamboozled. I will peek at the solution posted now and get back to you.

  8. OK. Re 21D I do now have a very vague recollection of an animated and/or comic book character “Babar” wh was a princely (Indian?) elephant.

    Re 24A I have nerver heard of “karabiner”. But now that I see the dictionary entry I see it makes sense with “Hillary’s clip” as the direct clue. And I am glad that my intuition was right that the clue had to refer either to Hillary Clinton or to Sir Edmund Hillary. -brine edited = biner is clear, but where does kara = Arctic sea come from?

  9. The kara sea is part of the arctic ocean near Siberia (thank you, Wikipedia!)

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