31st of July DA

RC and I got together at Il Fornaio this morning to do the DA for the first time in a long time on the day of its release!

We spent a good two hours or so having a crack, with some very nice clues to amuse us, but we couldn’t work out quite a few of the clues.

Anyway, here’s what we’ve got:

DA hadlee

The DA on the 24th

This week, I’m expecting a reference to Umberto Eco in the crossword.

I’ve been reading Foucalt’s Pendulum, which I’m both enjoying and loathing — many sections are completely unreadable, others hilariously brilliant — and the accounts of hidden meaning that make up the book demand that the Kabbalistic practices that we engage in this week must reveal obscured truths.

Update: Awesomeness.


This week’s is another fantastic example of DA’s mastery of the cryptic form, one which extends his run of crosswords involving a unique theme uniquely structured. Happily too, there was a reference to Jewish exegetes so that my prognostications could be proven correct and I can now revel in revealing secret truths.

Happily too, Sunday heralded the coming together of the holy trinity, RC, TH and I. We hit Embassy 97 because Il Fornaio was too busy. Does everyone else associate cryptic crosswords with coffee and cafes?

The Gold from the 17th of July

12 down: Freeman loses head — it opens round manic middle — and she gives her all at the death (5, 5)

Black humour at its finest: Freeman loses head — it opens round manic middle = Morgan – m + do(n)or = organ donor = she gives her all at the death.

4 down: Improperly saw tournament VIP?

Another reason cryptics are wonderful: solecisms are welcome. Here, improperly saw = seed (see in the past tense as a weak verb) = tournament VIP.

5 down: 1-down (heard) exile admits Labor leader easily beaten (10)

Nice aural clue with heard exile admits Labor leader = (sounds like) outcast + admits L = outc(l)assed = outclassed = easily beaten.

15 across: Theatrically condemned lilo containing holes (5)

A nice direct clue, and a nice image of a holey lilo: lilo containing holes = bed + 00 = booed = theatrically condemned.

20 across: Jerks — getting rocks off — spice in text (6)

Is this officially the first reference made to text messages in a DA? Here, getting rocks off — spice in text = spice – ice + sms = spasms = jerks.

2 down: Anyhow, may soured wrangle invite such belligerent rhetoric? (3, 3, 5, 4)

Again, another entertaining direct clue: anyhow, may soured wrangle = you and whose army = invite such belligerent rhetoric.

17th of July DA

Today’s a prime-numbered day, and here’s hoping for a prime DA.

Hopefully too, a day without bad puns.

egypt and a crossword from da

RC and I gave this week’s a crack at Il Fornaio, and our impatience had us looking at the answers before we otherwise would or should have.

DA on the 10th of July

RC, TH and I are all back in Melbourne, and hopefully on Sunday we’ll be having a long-missed crack at the crossword over a coffee.

Between then and now, though, go forth and talk.

Update: And now here it is!

crossword da rough work

RC and I got together at the Espy on Sunday to wither in the face of this DA onslaught. We only got half of this one done before looking at the answers and figuring out that submitting early was perhaps a wise move. This was certainly one of the hardest I’d encountered in a while, and many of the answers bordered on the wantonly recondite (taffrail, ningaloo,┬ácompos menti) in a way reminiscent of DH’s triviafests-cum-crosswords.

In short, I’m glad I didn’t waste too much time cracking a DA that I would put in the too-hard basket.

The Gold from the 3rd of July

20 down: Hurt, hearing rock in record (9)

Even with the answer in front of my face, I completely missed the anagram that was so cleverly hidden. Here, record = cd, hearing rock = hagrine (I spent a very long time misspelling geological objects) so that hearing rock in record = chagrined = hurt.

24 down: Merlot for George’s wife? (7)

Just clever: merlot = mild red = Mildred = George’s wife (from the TV series).

21 across: 8-down (great) limb rub?! (5, 4)

&lit clues are always a delight to see come off, and this most definitely does: great limb rub (anagram of great limb) = tiger balm = great limb rub.

26 across: Waves oscillate transformer (5, 4)

Another one of those surprisingly apt anagrams that DA manages to consistently come up with: waves oscillate = tesla coil = transformer.

7 down: Pointless beatnik dyed material (5)

Although clever, this clue is not Gold quality. But this crossword was the first I had done in a long time after my stay in Indonesia, so the reference to Indonesian clothes makes it noteworthy for me: pointless beatnik = beatnik – e – n = batik = dyed material.

11 across: Spooner’s wee a bed habit (7)

Spoonerisms are fantastic by definition, but this one includes a clever direct clue: Spooner’s wee = spoonerism + tiny = nightie = a bed habit.

17 across: Loaded article is sound (9)

A very-well-hidden anagram: loaded article is = anagram + article is = realistic = sound.

5 down: Hindu god changes a rock cleft (7)

Again, DA comes up with an inventive word play indicator. Here, we have changes a rock cleft = (changes a) anagram of + cleft = cganesha + c left = ganesha = Hindu god.

The Bullshit (from the 3rd of July)

9 across: Lab supplies top star (3)

By the sounds of things, most people left this clue til last, which is a sure sign of dodginess. I assumed that the answer was going to be some star that I had never heard of and left the clue undone, but, no, DA really did have lab supplies as the direct clue for ova, so that top star = nova – a (top as a verb, as in to top his head) = ova = lab supplies.

While lab supplies is strictly correct as a direct clue for ova, it’s certainly not a reasonable direct clue.

Discombobulations from the 3rd of July

The big mystery, the lab supplies clue, 9-across, has already been settled in the comment, and in my mind, it’s DA just being nasty. Now to the rest of my confusions:

20 down: Hurt, hearing rock in record (9)

The only way I get close to explaining this is to think record = cd and suppose that somehow hearing rock = hagrine. Am I accidentally correct?

3 down: Like rainbows — or one band — embodying speed of light (5)

I get like rainbows = arced and I get speed of light = c, but I’m not sure why one band = ared or one band = a red.

10 across: Harmonious lady radical concealed her spots (7)

I understand this one completely: lady radical concealed her spots = lady radical – ad – ad = lyrical = harmonious. The question: why are the two instances of ad considered the ‘spots’ to be removed?