16 thoughts on “The Early WTF Special

  1. Not too difficult once you’ve identified the ruse. Quite a clever crossword really. Perhaps a bit self-indulgent on DA’s part. Not too many chuckles for us punters this week – 19D being a notable exception – pity it relied on a (to my mind) jarring American spelling.

    I need help with the explanation for 5D: BELLEVUE
    I understand BELLE and (of course) V, but can’t justify the remaining UE or is it EU? Please help.

  2. I agree. In fact discovering DA’s set-up actually helps with many otherwise obscure clues.

    23A was rather clever when you think how hard it would be to come up with a cryptic clue for this Russian (Don’t want to give too much away if you , like me, are still working on it).

    I’ve solved all but 5 clues, but not giving up yet!

    I wonder if, in 5D, the UE comes from hUgs hEr? If not, then I’m stumped too, RB.

  3. Hi Di. Re 5D: hUgs hEr seems to be the best source for the required U,E. But this explanation implies that “counterpart regularly” is the indication to extract the 2nd letter of both “hugs’ and “her”. And I just can’t accept that. Not yet, anyway. Just to muddy the waters, I note that both U and E also feature in the words “coUntErpart” and “rEgUlarly”. Is this significant?

  4. re 5D: the counterpart of “belle” is “beau” which “regularly” gives “eu” plus the ubiquitous “v”becomes “evu”. These letters then “hugged” by “belle” gives “Bellevue”.
    I agree that once DA’s themed ploy was sorted it became a bit of a doddle to solve the puzzle.

  5. JG, 14A is COURAGE (bottle) with the U of upstart removed and the final E of life added – the V inserted making COVERAGE (insurance).

    I don’t understand how 25A across works either, apart from RUE being in there.

    I don’t have a problem with two Vs in 14A and 25A – and there are also two in 20A.

  6. Ah. Thanks AL, that’s a brilliant explanation. I always felt that the “hugs” meant I should be looking for EU in the middle rather than UE at the end, but I just couldn’t see where the EU was coming from.

    I agree with RY: once you’ve accepted one V, two V’s is no problem. The only surprise is that DA couldn’t come up with a word containing 3 V’s!

    25A: My take on this is:
    Feel remorse about = EUR
    23-across’s inmost = middle two letters of Dostoevsky = OE
    So the “stopping” directive yields O EUR E
    And adding the ubiquitous “v” gives O EU(V)R E = “writings”

  7. I liked this one a lot. As others have said, once you worked out the theme,
    many (but certainly not all!) of the clues were straightforward. Nonetheless,
    it had a nice feel to it as a whole; enjoyable to solve. 5D (Bellevue) was very clever indeed (once AL explained it). I also liked the construction of 25A (oeuvre), amongst several other good clues. And — best of all! — almost
    all of the clues were very tight and technically watertight for a change.

    (About my only issue was with 4A Look after Gippsland grain = service.
    Gippsland as an indicator for “SE”? Harrumph!)

    P.S. I could scan & post the grid if that’s any help, but how to get it online?

  8. DA is also in the SMH, right? I’d like to see a tally of NSW clues vs Vic clues. My diligently researched off-the-cuff guesswork suggests there are way more NSW clues. Surely, as a Melburnian, he’s not sucking up Sydney readers.

    Regarding the theme.

    10A was the first clue I attempted. With EAR becoming what had to be RAVE, it seemed way too easy that all you had to do was add a V. But once I’d confirmed it with 17A: NEVADAN, I was away.

    Also on the theme.

    “Wordplay elements of all clues ignore 2-down, including the clue for 2-down itself. Definitions are normal.” read like a tortured instruction. Apart from anything, it seemed to be saying that 2D was V-less. Mind you, I might have sussed FIVE had I not misspelled LEVITATE.

    Like RB, ASS is an assault on us Aussies. Someone send him Phillip Adams’ number.

    Like MF, SE for Gippsland is a stretch.

    And NOVELISTIC sounds like the sort of malaphorism (not a pismrint) footy commentators resort to.

    The crossword was actually pretty easy, without any real zingers. 7D: VEXING most appealed to the cruciverbalist in me.

  9. “I’d like to see a tally of NSW clues vs Vic clues.”

    That’s all time, not just last Friday.

  10. Give us New South Welshmen a break! We have a lot of trouble solving it here in the north west of the state and don’t need any more Victorian clues! Thanks for all your help with the solutions.

  11. TT, like you I’ve thought for many months that there are way too many NSW clues, but apart from the crossword’s appearance in the SMH, there is also the fact that David Astle was born in Sydney. So I think we’ll just have to get used to it!

    TT, the (admittedly tricky) theme instructions don’t say that 2D is V-less but that its clue is V-less (just like all the other clues). And just the wordplay part of the clue (which in this case was “egad” = FIE).

    My favourite this week was 5D BELLEVUE – the clue was precise, elegant and clever. Too elegant and clever for me, I’m afraid (thanks again, AL). And 14A COVERAGE was pretty good too.

  12. I did about average on this DA (11A, 14A, 20A, 25A and 6D missed). It did take me a long time to get my first clue though (23A = DOSTOEVSKY) and another 6 before I got the thematic 2D = FIVE). I should have got 25A = OEUVRE with 3 out of 6 letters known, but it is the kind of word that I know passively but not actively. Ditto with rectory=manse (6D). 11A was good as wordplay (although a bit dubious as a definition). The possibility of an anagram type clue just never entered my head. 20A was just a guess, as I don’t know anything about skirts or teletubbies. As for 14A, I can vaguely recall coming across the slang bottle = courage but I can’t recall where or when. Is it commonly used in Oz? It sounds English to me. All in all an enjoyable DA. I quite like that feeling of being absolutely bemused at the beginning before working out what the theme is.

  13. haiku, yes I had a problem with Dostoevsky but then resorted to Wikipedia which tells me that the word is “sometimes transliterated Dostoevsky, Dostoievsky, Dostojevskij, Dostoevski or Dostoevskii” – some choice!

    NC, “bottle” is from the Cockney Rhyming slang, I think – “bottle and glass” meaning arse – “he lost his bottle” meaning he lost his courage.

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