The Gold (from the 2nd/3rd of October)

26 across: …to Ms, maybe? Excellent (3, 5)

This one induced a guffaw in a mostly empty cafe that in turn had me explaining the genius to the staff who ended up seeming more perplexed than amused. Brilliant: to Ms, maybe = to PC lass = top class = excellent.

13 across: …pub, where a cad carries what? (8)

Where the question mark is pivotal: a cad carries what? = a louse carries eh = alehouse = pub.

26 across: Heartless cad sounds crook (5)

Here, it’s heartless cad sounds = CD sounds = seedy = crook, and that reinterpretation of cd as CD is devilishly brilliant.

18 across: Letterman intro affected Qantas staffer (6)

This clue displays one of the great DA red herrings. Letterman as the first word looks like it refers to the TV host, and that is so close to the answer hostie that it seems like one is on the right track. But another definition is actually what’s in order: letterman intro affected = postie intro affected = hostie = Qantas staffer.

14 down: Where few rule out holiday, skipping me for cliff-climbing (9)

Exceptionally well-hidden direct clue and an excellent self-reference: out holiday, skipping me for cliff-climbing = out holiday – da + crag climbing = oligarchy = where few rule.

9 across: Row around head of Barwon River (5)

Excellent sentence meaning, where every significant word has something to do with a river: row around head of Barwon = tier around b = Tiber = river.

15 across: Spooner’s link, sheesh — it’s IT heavy (2-4)

Almost every Spoonerism deserves a golden berth: Spooner’s link, sheesh = Spooner’s tie heck = hi-tech = it’s IT heavy.

10 across: Yuan involved with price of money (9)

Another golden anagrammatic discovery: yuan involved with price = pecuniary = of money.

17 down: Cheek sag? (8)

Stunningly difficult wordplay: sag = gas backwards = backchat = cheek.

12 across: Peter, Liz, Harry freed one knot, perhaps, in… (ALEHOUSE) (7)

I’ve said my piece previously about the inconsistent use of ellipses and now I’m ready to let go and enjoy this clue: Peter, Liz, Harry freed one = pretzeli – i = pretzel = knot, perhaps, in alehouse.

7 down: Can slogan be a neighbour way to mention bloke, a neighbour? (5, 5, 5)

The sentence meaning is a little sloppy, but the wordplay is magnificent: be a neighbour way to mention bloke, a neighbour? = be a nz means to mention heinz = beanz meanz heinz = can slogan.

19 across: Alarming dogs along the border (8)

This is the last clue I solved simply because I completely missed the well-hidden anagram: alarming dogs = marginal = along the border.

Did anyone else have trouble picking up this anagram?

14 thoughts on “The Gold (from the 2nd/3rd of October)

  1. 19a was also one of the last I understood. Once seen it seemed quite obvious however.

    On a more general note – the explanatory nature of your blog has seen my DA completions soar. Nice work!

  2. Re 19A, I thought “dogs” was a most unusual anagram indicator. I thought someone (not me!) might complain about it.

  3. I only missed two this week, both Gold: 18A and 26A. Re 18A, presumably “hostie” is short for “air hostess”? Or is it applied to males as well?

    AS, your explanation for 7D is very terse. For those interested in a more expansive version (any newbie lurkers out there?) here is my attempt:

    neighbour=nz (New Zealand, a neighbour of Australia)
    be a neighbour = be a nz = BEANZ
    way=means
    to mention = “sounds like” indicator
    way to mention = MEANZ
    bloke=he
    a = i (looks like 1)
    neighbour=nz
    bloke, a neighbour = HEINZ

    Hence the answer is BEANZ MEANZ HEINZ = a can slogan (slogan on a can of baked beans)

  4. There’s a good reason why I was so terse, NC, and that was I interpreted the clue as HEINZ being a bloke that could possibly be your neighbour.

    I completely missed the HE I NZ connection.

  5. NC, just to nitpick
    i may look like 1, but more importantly it is the roman numeral for 1

  6. Nitpick away, MF! You have just cleared up a misunderstanding I have had ever since I started doing cryptics!!

  7. What about o (the letter) = 0 (the number zero)? Does my “looks like” explanation work for that, or is there another explanation?

  8. Can’t speak for everyone, but as far as I am concerned o and 0 are interchangeable. Lots of people, especially those from other countries, say “zero” when talking about 0, but I’ve always called it “Oh”. For instance, I live in Richmond and whenever I have to give my number it’s “(Oh, 3) 9429, etc.

    Incidentally, the Romans had words for none and nothing, but nothing for zero.

  9. Good point, TT.

    o and 0 are interchangeable because not only do they look similar, they can also be pronounced the same (oh).

  10. ooh, i’ve always taken it for granted that “o”=”0”, but now i’m not sure why

    TT, i also often pronounce the number “0” as “oh”, but alas “oh” and “o” are not the same thing

    They ARE the same thing in one sense, as NC points, in that they are homophones, but then there in such cases no homophone indicator is given

    what’s the “official” explanation? i assume it’s a very minor variation of the above

  11. I’ve always subscribed to the “looks alike” explanation. As well as zero, no, none, nothing etc, I’ve seen circle, ring, and even stadium all clued for the letter O.

  12. RB, as for the look alike theory, then there’s the question of whether the clue need to include a “looks alike” indicator. i dont think such an indicator is needed for “circle”, because an “o” actually IS a circle. arguably a ring as well. not sure about a stadium though

    My issue is not when the numeral “0” appears in the clue explicitly, its when the clue contains something like “none” in it. Then we have to go from “none” to “0” AND from “0” to “o”. I don’t like the idea of needing TWO steps. Appealing to the shape similarity means such clues have to be in two steps. Perhaps we can get from “none” etc straight to the letter “o”” without going via “0”

  13. Wow! My innocent 0 = o query seems to have stirred up a hornet’s nest!

    But as much as I like my cryptic clues to be completely tight and logical with no loose ends, I have come to accept that there are a certain number of rather arbitrary conventions that just have to be learnt separately. I think none/zero/0 = the letter ”o” is one of them & so an extra indicator is not needed.

    But I am so glad to have company in these rather arcane discussions. I am sure some folks like to do cryptics just for a bit of diversion mainly to get the answer and then forget it. For me though (and for a lot of us here contributing to this great blog) a beautiful and clever bit of wordplay is what gives me the greatest pleasure, even if I am unable to figure it out myself and have to learn about it here.

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