Super DA Gold (from the 29th of May)

27-across, 18-across, 27-across, 4-across, 27-across, 2-down, 27-across, 1-down Union tradition entailing 28- or 29-down; 7-down, 17- or 20-across; 30-across 8- or 28-down; possibly 3- or 13-down, plus 25- and 32-across (9, 3, 9, 3, 9, 8, 9, 4)

I’ve sat down and made myself a couple of cryptic crosswords, and I can tell you, there’s a lot of switching and substituting that goes on so that a good collection of words can come together in a grid. That DA went ahead and made this clue to fit in a grid demonstrates his maniacal devotion to cryptics and explains why this blog exists.

As for the answer, union tradition = something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and 28- (time) or 29-down (gods) = something old; 7-down (infant), 17- (cadet) or 20-across (chick) = something new; 30-across 8-down (library book) or 28-down (time) = something borrowed; and 25-across (erotica) or 32-across (sky) = something blue.

9 across: The French steer militia regulars off 18-across (old) Pope (3, 4)

Usually cryptic crossword clues feature Roman numerals interpreted as letters. This fantastic clue inverses the relationship and has letters interpreted as Roman numerals with the French = le, steer = ox and militia regulars = iii giving the French steer militia regulars = leo xiii = old Pope.

13 across: Massacre dope when head inflated by score (3, 4)

Who doesn’t love a little bit of hidden maths with their cryptic? In what is a mightily difficult clue that was neatly explained by HS, we have dope = lowdown and dope (lowdown) head inflated by score = l (50) multiplied by 20 = 1000 (m) = mow down = massacre.

15 across: Gap sealed in a bridge, riling hornets? (7)

DA yet again demonstrates how to make a simple anagram clue look much more difficult. Here, it’s riling hornets = shorten = gap sealed in a bridge.

21 down: Diner’s admission regarding diner launch? (8)

Mirroring last week’s gold-standard vampire clue, DA comes up with another beauty relating to admissions with diner’s admission regarding diner = in it i ate = initiate = launch.

11 thoughts on “Super DA Gold (from the 29th of May)

  1. *slaps forehead*…

    Thanks TT. How stupid am I? That must have been blindingly obvious to everyone but me!!

    Let me see if I have got this right.

    15 across: Gap sealed in a bridge, riling hornets? (7)
    “gap sealed in” is an instruction to remove the space between the two words in the phrase “a bridge”, which produces “abridge” = shorten = anagram of hornets = “riling hornets”.

    Seriously, that’s beautiful. I love it. I absolutely agree this is DA Gold!!

  2. Fear not, NC, it was not at all obvious! I mulled over that phrase (gap sealed in a bridge) for a long time before seeing the light!

  3. Well, I mean that 99% of clues are divided into two parts: a wordplay part and a definition part, with the definition part being out in the open for all to see. But this clue has two wordplay parts, and no straight definition part.
    gap sealed in a bridge = abridge; ,riling hornets = shorten. Does anyone else think this is unusual or is it just me?

  4. I thought that might be what you were referring to, but I was reluctant to say so for fear of stirring up a hornets’ nest!

    I agree, this clue is very unusual. Not only is there no direct clue (although it’s nearly there: “a bridge”), but it’s also a self-referential clue (with the instruction to seal the gap). I seem to recall a similar self-referential clue from DA a while back.

  5. How do you mean “self-referential”, RB? “Gap sealed in” seems to me to be a straightforward wordplay indicator, meaning “remove the spaces between the following elements”, albeit an unusual type of wordplay (and consequently indicator) I can’t recall seeing before.

    I exaggerated when I said 99% of clues are of the wordplay + definition structure. I forgot about Double Definitions (which must be at least 5% of clues), such as 8D (fine volume = BOOK) in this 29 May crossword. These have two definition parts and no wordplay part at all.

    By analogy, I would have to call this (to me, new) clue structure a “Double Wordplay”. Can anyone come up with any previous examples?

    This discussion is getting a bit technical. Perhaps we should move to the General Cryptic Talk category?

  6. I suppose most clues refer to themselves in some way, but what is different about this clue is that “gap sealed in” refers not to other words in the clue but to the space between two words! As I said earlier, I’m sure DA has previously done something similar like, for instance, removing the apostrophe so that can’t becomes cant.

  7. The “double wordplay” clue is definitely unusual – the sort of thing you might expect in the gloriously rule-less “Crosaire” puzzle in the Irish Times, or in a pre-Ximenes (1940s say) UK newspaper puzzle. It needs help from checking letters too, as swapping the logic between the two parts could have you thinking SHORTEN was the answer. So like bi-directional reversal clues, it’s better if the two possibilities are different lengths and you therefore know which one to use, once you’ve recovered from the “where’s the def?” shock.

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