DA on the 5th of September

It’s the first week of Spring, and I write this from Sydney the night before DA’s appearance. Not sure if I’ll get a chance to have a crack at DA’s Spring special, but that shouldn’t stop you all from commenting.

Update: Wow — I got spanked. Granted, I was in Sydney and busy and didn’t devote so much time to the crossword as I normally would, but there’s no doubt I withered in the face of Spring’s first DA.

This was all I got (and I cheated a little on a couple):

DA Mosey

Nasty. So nasty, I even resorted to destroying the Sudoku puzzle on the flight back to Melbourne rather than continue staring blankly at the crossword.

A lot of help would be most welcome.

31 thoughts on “DA on the 5th of September

  1. Lots of entertainment in this week’s puzzle.22A and 24A made me chuckle and the two biggies( 2D and 7D) were so contorted I almost got a headache sorting them out.Hard to pick a standout it was all good.

  2. I can’t agree with AL, for me it was a hard slog all the way, I kept looking to check that it was DA and not someone else! For example, 13A!?!

  3. 13A was OK, but still struggling with 13D, (and 9A, 15A, 24A, and 16D); but did get a chuckle out of 2D.

  4. JG, LJ

    13D: “Mother of Cockney pet shows where to find Ajax?”

    Whenever you see “Cockney” you assume there’s an H missing at the start of a word.

    “pet” = hamster
    hamster – h = AMSTER
    “mother” = DAM


    “Ajax” of Amsterdam is the Collingwood of soccer teams in Holland.

  5. TT, I worked out the clue, but only with the help of Google. DA expects us to know about soccer teams in Holland??

  6. Well I really enjoyed it. Quite a few chuckles (eg 17A, 16D, 21D) and some nicely tortuous clues. It’s true there were a few fairly obscure answers (for me, this included 9A – which I know of as musical notation but not as a “diacritical mark”, 18A – which I got only because I’d seen it in another crossword recently, 5D, 20D). 13D too would have been very obscure, but not for this soccer fan – a couple of decades ago they were one of the most successful clubs in Europe, not just Holland.

    I can’t fully explain 5D: I can explain DIM (gloomy), ENO (aspiring one), and the VEL seems to be clued by “soul”. I’ve learnt from Google that “vel” is the divine spear of a Hindu deity, and also the first name of a Sam-Cooke-inspired singer called Vel Omarr. I’m guessing that the latter is the likely explanation because of its soul music link, but “soul” as a clue for VEL seems really dodgy to me.

    I also have a query/whinge about 1A: it seems GRAND is clued by “fortune”. These days, a grand is just petty cash, not really a fortune. Or have I missed something?

  7. Thanks TT; that just leaves 15A and 16D – and an explanation for 9A, although I get the ‘mark’ I don’t see the ‘rejected drug action’. Re 5D; according to Wikipedia Lev means “heart” in Hebrew, so maybe that’s the ‘soul’.

    2D remains the stand-out for me.

  8. JG

    There doesn’t seem to be any limit to what DA expects us to know.

    If Hindu deities crack a mention, then why not Dutch soccer teams? And, as RB says, Ajax is big. In fact, for me, bigger than diacritical marks.


    5D: Ditto.

    I will invent a new clue.

    5D: “Gloomy Dixie singer drums up racy read”

  9. LJ

    16D is good.

    XXSX = XXX with an S = thirty with an S = THIR S TY

    When you are THIRSTY you “need” a XXXX, the famous (infamous, from this tee-totalitarian perspective) Queensland beer.

  10. Thanks TT; you’re right it is good, but not sure I would have got in a hurry. Also, that helps with 15A, most of which I understand, but not sure about ‘sall’ – if it’s from assault with ends off, then shouldn’t there be a ‘sounds like’ indicator?

  11. 5D is quite tricky and had me foxed for a while:gloomy = DIM, soul = ONE
    “aspiring” gives ENO and to hide = VEIL away one gives VEL and so DIME NOVEL.

  12. I like mine better.

    5D: “Gloomy Dixie singer drums up racy read”

    “gloomy” = DIM

    “Dixie singer drums” = Levon Helm, who was born in Dixie (Arkansas) and who was the drummer of The Band and singer of their hit The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.

    Levon “up” = NOVEL


    Oops. Forgot the E. Pretend it is from Raceeee.

  13. We’re a bit with LJ about 9A. We’re happy with BREVE as the answer but not as happy proving it. Best we’ve come up with is “E” as the drug and VERB as the action, reversed.

    23A was pleasing.

  14. once again, i cruise through a DA, and think i’ve really improved my skills, only to be quickly disabused of that notion the following DA

    my remaining questions:
    24A: is it mosey? if so, i don’t get why ‘poles’ is plural and what western is doing there. if it’s not, i have no idea what it is

    25A: i feel like i’m perpetually close, but haven’t quite got it yet

  15. SGBandSPB: that’s precisely my reasoning for 9A, and seems fine to me. breve being a written mark in romanian and vietnamese ă

    RB: If a grand is merely “petty cash” for you, then i deeply envy you. I guess calling it a fortune is a bit rich though (pardon the pun), i think it’s just a stretch so DA can mislead with the common phrase ‘small fortune’

  16. 25A: is it short read? shorten – en + re + ad
    is it short lead? something that’s literally a narrow margin, but i don’t get the cryptic part
    does a narrow margin mean a short read? you can have very long, yet still quite narrow, margins…

  17. MF

    24A: “Cash poles exchanged for western stroll”

    Yes, it is MOSEY.

    “Cash” = money

    One “pole” = N

    “Exchanged” for the other pole, S

    Money -> MOSEY

    “western stroll” = “Mosey on over here, pardner,” said John Wayne

  18. MF

    You’re gonna kick yourself. You’re missing it by a short head.

    25A: “Narrow margin cut (cut again) before the commercial”

    “cut” = SHORN

    “cut again” = SHOR

    “before the commercial” = THE AD

    “Narrow margin” = SHORT HEAD

  19. TT: thanks for cluing me in on the wester/wayne element. It still seems poles should be singular, otherwise i would think there would have to be an n AND an s, which had to be swapped around.

  20. I get where you’re coming from vis-a-vis plural vs. singular. Most probably DA used “poles” because of the need to swap both the N and S poles, plural.

  21. TT
    25A: i WOULD kick myself, but i have no idea what ‘narrow margin’ or ‘short head’ mean in this context. Google isn’t helping me. Where does the again come from? does ‘again’ = ‘n’ somehow?

  22. Oh, righto.

    You often hear “short head” at the track. It is horse racing vernacular for a very close finish, or a “close margin”. (Nothing to do with, say, stock broking or merchant banking.)

    “cut” = SHORN is “cut again” for SHOR. The “again” doesn’t refer to cutting twice, it refers to the word “cut” being used twice in a row in the clue.

  23. 1A: MF – OK, a grand is a bit more than petty cash, but it is most certainly not a fortune unless you are completely destitute. And I’m sure you’re right that DA chose that word so he could use the phrase “small fortune”. (It’s worth noting here that GRAND comes from “fortune” not “small fortune”, as “small” has already been used, giving BABY). As for misleading, I think there’s “fair” misleading (leading the solver up the garden path – DA does this all the time and we love him for it) and unfair misleading (providing inaccurate definitions). And I feel that, in this case, DA came perilously close to the latter.

    5D: We’ve had a few explanations for this. I reckon AL has nailed it, accounting for the position of “aspiring” in the clue, and accounting for VEL being veil minus i. The only thing I’m still unsure about is how “soul”=ONE. Is it some religious/spiritual thing or is it simply soul=person=one?

    9A: I agree with SGBandSPB and MF that drug=E and action=VERB. But was anybody else concerned about the latter def? A verb is a word that indicates an action; it is not a synonym for action. Can anyone devise a sentence where “verb” and “action” are synonymous? Am I being too picky this week?

    25A: DA loves to use the same word twice in a clue (with different meanings, of course). In this case, the first “cut” gives rise to its synonym “shorn”. And the second “cut” is merely a directive to lop off the last letter of “shorn”. But trying to explain it is quite tricky – I hope I haven’t muddied the waters.

  24. I think that there is a lot to be picky about this week: HAMPER does not equal CRIPPLE (7D) and an ENGLISH DIRECTORY is an A to Z or an A-Z (23A), for starters.

  25. 17A: Why is KNITTED JUMPERS in capitals?


    Are you referring to the stuff between A and Z in A to Z and A-Z? Now that you raise it, I reckon you’ve got a point. Maybe AZ is XW (crossword) code for the English street directory.

  26. Come to think of it. I reckon we’ve had the :CAPITAL LETTERS debate once before. Something to do with making the clue look sensible as an ad.

  27. You’re right, JG, now you mention it, I did share your concerns about 7D (“cripple” is much more severe than “hamper”) and 23A ( A to Z, or A-Z).

    TT: As you know, DA’s done this sort of thing before – he uses unnecessary capitals to improve the surface reading (to make it look like a newspaper headline, or in this case an ad)

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