The Bullshit from 26/27th of September

26 across: Just combine gout? (4)

Here, it’s combine gout = merge g out = mere = just.

Some consider the use of gout in this clue to be crossing the line into ridiculously difficult territory, but I’m OK with these kinds of clues (after I had some initial frustration) and consider them pretty easy to spot once you know to spot them. (I still consider part of words as the direct clue going too far, though, an example of which can be found in a DA crossword from December of last year).

No, the bullshit here is in the direct definition, for mere and just are not substitutable in a sentence. You might say “it’s a mere cigar”, but you have to say “it’s just a cigar” rather than “it’s a just cigar”. Conversely, you’d have to say “it’s merely a cigar”, not “it’s mere a cigar”.

Hence, bullshit.

Update: In what’s becoming quite the tradition, I’m corrected in the comments, this time by AL!

The Gold from 26/27th of September

22 across: Dove adjusted peck in nets, wings away from beak (8)

Two-word single word answers, i.e. horseradish or basketball, are always the hardest to guess from cross clues, but there’s something decidedly cheeky about this one that makes it even more difficult: adjusted peck in nets, wings away from beak = pcenik nets ea = peacenik = dove.

That in looks lilke the containment indicator, so much so that one doesn’t think that in is part of the initial anagram. Decidedly cheeky by DA, and brilliant!

9 across: Vocal Finn’s mate offers bean (4)

Anyone else keep thinking of the singing Finn family of New Zealand because of that delightfully misleading vocal that begins the clue? I was convinced the answer was somehow lima because Neil Finn’s son is Liam Finn. In short, brilliant: vocal Finn’s mate = vocal Sawyer = soya = bean.

17 across: Greenback invoice hurt assassin (5)

I love a clever aural clue, and here’s another: greenback invoice hurt = n in voice injure = ninja = assassin.

1 across: Quit smoking fallout – (2, 4)

This one goes out to all the lovers of punctuation out there: quit smoking fallout = end ash = en dash = –.

23 across: Hip motorboat renovated prow (6)

Fantastic clue made up of words in the same semantic range: motorboat renovated prow = launch renovated prow = haunch = hip.

5 down: Force millions out of business (6)

Another clue with a great sentence meaning with words of the same semantic range: millions out of business = commerce – mm = coerce = force.

Ye Olde English Ain’t What DA Supposes It To Be (from the 26/27th of September)

16 down: Twice your old yacht regulars crowed about being stranded? (4-4)

Here, twice your old yacht regulars = twice ye ah = yeah-yeah = crowed about being stranded.

The direct clue is too oblique for my tastes (and the answer not funny enough for that to be excused), but more problematically the ye has been misused.

Ye is a subject pronoun for the second-person plural, the Middle English equivalent of yous or you all in contemporary times, and definitely not a possessive pronoun, which your in modern day English is.

(And the ye in ye olde expressions is also not a standard feature of ye olde English, but it is quite a strange grammatical element that is not equivalent to an article, like the for instance. Instead, it seems to act merely as a marker that harks back to ye olde days).

Anyway, another spotting has been made of that most fugitive of creatures, a DA error.

The Confoundings (from the 25/26th of September)

2 down: Dire turnaround, it is integral to king, perhaps (7)

The answer is drastic, so does that mean king = tsar and that’s turned around? Or does that mean it is turned around inside drasc? Is there a draughts term meaning to king involved here?

20 down: Fruit slice satisfied foodie (7)

I got foodie = gourmet from cross clues, and without those cross clues I would have continued to be none the wiser.

DA from the 25/26th of September

The SMH and The Age continue to be out of whack! DS is still appearing in Friday’s Age newspaper, and I’m assuming that, as with last week, DA takes centre stage on Friday in the SMH.

How long will the papers be unsychronised?

Come what may, feel free to comment here.

Update: And here it is:

anagrams a plenty for DA

I was disappointed that DA didn’t appear on Friday in Melbourne because I knew I wouldn’t have too much time to do the crossword with the grand final festivities on Saturday. Nonetheless, I got most of it out rather quickly and easily (the letters that are slanted above required Monday Age assistance). The general consensus seems to be that this one was tough, but I found it reasonably easy, mostly because there were so many anagrams in this crossword, which is unlike a customary DA, and the answers left blank were more a result of general knowledge deficiencies rather than anything else.

Did anyone else notice an error, though?

The Bullshit from the 18/19th of September

20 down: Goddess Gyllenhaal — or how to describe her unusual… (DUO) (6)

25 down: (ATHENA) …coupling you heard during gala (3)

Ellipses have been the subject of discussion on this blog because of their inconsistent use. Sometimes they indicate that the sentence meaning of the clue follows onto or from the next or previous clue; other times they indicate that the answer from the previous or next clue is needed to complete the sentence meaning and derive the answer of said clue.

I find it annoying enough that you never can tell just what the ellipses are indicating, but their inconsistent use is such a standard feature of crosswords that I have to grin and bear it.

What I think definitely crosses the line is the the inconsistent use of ellipses in two clues that are thus related. In 20-down, the answer to 25-down is required to get the answer to 20-down out; in 25-down, the answer to 20-down should be completely ignored.

Quite frankly, I think that’s bullshit, and I post this thusly to air my grievance.

Update: OK, so I have been hasty in thinking 20-across needs the answer to 25-down to work, but that doesn’t change the fact that I hate ellipses!

The Gold from the 18/19th of September

2, 14-across, 11-across: Hardly where to catch angelfish, stricken by 26-across (DILEMMA)? (7, 3, 5, 3, 3, 4, 4, 3)

I delight in DA’s making long phrases the centrepieces of his crosswords. This one, cryptically clever: hardly where to catch angelfish = between the devil and the deep blue sea = stricken by dilemma.

20 down: Goddess Gyllenhaal — or how to describe her unusual… (DUO) (6)

Any clue that brings to mind Maggie Gyllenhaal is OK in my book, and the wordplay in this one makes it stupendous: Gyllenhaal — or how to describe her unusual duo = a then a (the lettering in her name) = Athena = goddess.

27 across: Sham offering unbacked TV set? Vice versa (7)

Here, two consecutive words having the same synonym as the first of the two words (TV set = box and TV = box) tripped up a lot of you (and probably me if I had attempted the crossword) — a most clever DA tactic: unbacked TV set? Vice versa = (box – x) place vice versa = placebo = sham offering.

1 down: Yo, how ya goin’? Drink? (3)

I will always applaud DA’s embracing of slang: yo, how ya goin’ = ‘sup (shortened form of whassup) = sup = drink.

23 across: They offer a schooner for sailors smuggling hash? Never (9)

The punctuation was controversial, but I liked the clue too much: sailors smuggling hash never = tars smuggling verne = taverners = they offer a schooner.

Note: 18-across and 7-down also seemed to be popular, but I don’t know the answers, so let me know what they are if you want them listed as Gold.

Update: And now I have the answers thanks to NC.

18 across: Warm response to sudden headwind? (5, 3)

A clever pun: warm response to sudden headwind? = bless you (where headwind refers to a sneeze).

7 down: Paternity agonised dill facing 26-across (DILEMMA) (2, 1, 6, 6)

Cute: paternity agonised dill = in a pretty pickle = facing dilemma.

Want to Make a General Comment? Any Cryptic Confusions Not Covered? (18th/19th September)

At the time of writing, the original post concerning last week’s crossword has 45 comments that have a number of themes runnning through them, all of which makes following the discussion as confusing as a DA cryptic can often be.

So here’s a reset post, where anyone can comment on the crossword itself or their confusions regarding its clues (I would have some if I had done last week’s crossword) and people should be able to follow what’s going on.

The DA from the 18th/19th of September

It’s been confirmed: DA has returned to Friday in the Sydney Morning Herald, and The Age will synchronise with the mother ship most likely next week.

Personally, I prefer the Friday appearance because I like a day of sizing up the crossword, feeling it out before the weekend comes when I usually take a proper look at it.

Either way, whether you’ve got the DA on Friday or Saturday, comment away.

Update: My brother’s wedding on Saturday and the impossibility of concentrating today means I only got thus far before putting my pen away:

DA, Maggie, A THEN A