DS Questions

I got about three-quarters through today’s (at least for Melbourne) DS over lunch before having to head into the office and look like I’m working. I had a few questions about the clues, though, which I thought I’d ask you all about.

Now, I don’t want to spoil the fun for those of you who are still attempting the crossword, so I will leave the clues I have questions about below and make my comments in the comments section where there will be plenty of spoilers.

So, the clues:

5 down: Poison may rinse out in the heavy current

10 across: Spin to the original and saucy Latin American step

1 down: Count on accepting Christ’s ultimate disciple

The Last November DA of the Year (DA on the 27/28th of November)

Let us know what you think of DA’s latest, but no spoilers until Monday.

Update: A quality semi-theme that had me singing all day.


7-down was the first clue I solved, and I went down the wrong track thinking Motown was the theme before I became attuned to the crossword’s wavelength.

Overall, a relative easy crossword even if I still don’t know the answer to 8 across. And I was mightily impressed by how difficult it must have been getting four fifteen word clues into the crossword, all of which were themed.

Two Errors (from the 20th/21st of November)

6 down, 21 across: Spooner’s out of depression with 13-down (bombproof) snack (5, 5)
The answer works without bombproof: Spooner’s out of depression = Spooner’s from pit = pomme frite = snack.

That’s just as well because the reference to 13-down, the solution to which is bombproof, should actually be a reference to 15-down, the solution to which is deep fryer.

15 down: Soulful cleric employed in Maccas, we hear (4, 5)
Quite a good clue: soulful cleric we hear = deep friar we hear = deep fryer = employed in Maccas.

The problem that you might have noticed with my rearranging of the clue: we hear should be at the start of the clue, not the end.

The Golden (from the 20th/21st of November)

1 down: Cast, with or without one! (5)
It’s the ball-tearer: three clever, conceivable solutions, yet only one of these three fit within the crossword and is truly &lit. I wonder if DA knew of the following three possibilities:

  • cast, with or without one = cast with or – i = cast wthor = throw = cast
  • cast, with or without one = sling (a sling might or might not contain a cast) = cast
  • cast, with or without one = shied (shed) = cast, with or without one

Great clue made even harder by more than one feasible solution.

6 down, 21 across: Spooner’s out of depression with 15-down (deep fryer) snack (5, 5)
This took me a long time because it’s, as far as I’m aware, a first: a Spoonerism that passes two phonemes of a word over to the next: Spooner’s out of depression = Spooner’s from pit = pomme frite = deep fryer snack.

7 down: Buckle fast cinching little zip (5, 1. 1.)
Ridiculously good, and blasphemous to boot!: buckle fast cinching little = stfa cinching wee = sweet F.A. = zip.

16, 10 across: Acting as an extra principle of creative accounting (6, 2, 3, 7)
Wonderfully worded and humorous: acting as an extra = making up the numbers = principle of creative accounting.

19 across: Burmese remark about hound she buys? (9)
A brilliant way to hide purr: burmese remark about hound = purr about chase = purchaser = she buys.

13 across, 5 down: It crushes crims boarding vessel with scaler, say? (3, 11)
Especially difficult wordplay for a excellent clue: crims boarding vessel with scaler, say = cons boarding boat with Richter, say = boa constrictor = it crushes.

12 down: The Mafia deviant suits current one-sided band (6, 5)
No surprise that the mind-bending word-turner would refer to mind-bending mathematical shape-shifting: the Mafia deviant suits current = mob iusst rip = mobius strip = one-sided band.

22 down: Fault Flynn finally swapping hands (5)
I really like an elegant swapping of letters: Flynn finally swapping hands = Errol – l + r = error = fault.

17 down: Audience bear Cockney’s corny music machine (7)
Wonderful aural clue that’s a little surprising because the letters don’t look like they should be homophonic: audience bear Cockney’s corny = audience carry Cockney’s hokey = audience carry hokey – h = karaoke = music machine.

24 across: Just 31 days, trading places in London (7)
Excellent sleight of hand from the surface reading: just 31 days trading places = fair may trading places = mayfair = in London.

DA Has Me Confounded (for the 20th/21st of November)

Need help?

Ask questions here as freely as you like.

Update: And here are my confoundings.

11 across: Retreat to live in retirement with lucid star (5)
OK, I give up: how does this one work?

8 down: Faceless clergymen impound premier crooks (9)
How does the second part of the answer work?

12 across: Saw bloke by a channel, tatty (4-5)
And the first part of this clue works how?

2 down: How 8-down affliction finishes some 21 million Europeans? (7)
While I do know how this clue works, does anyone else take issue with the direct clue?

6 across: Quietly remains aligned with a Turkish leader (5)
I spent a long time not wanting to write the answer down because of what I saw as a plural/singular mismatch. Valid concern do you reckon?

DA DA DA from the 20th/21st of October

Good, bad, so-so?

Chat away here, but with no spoilers until Monday.

Update: It’s mostly done:


I went through this one solo, completing a fair bit of it in the audience of a Bikram yoga competition of all places.

And I gotta say: I thought this one was tough. I still don’t know 11 across, and I was kinda disappointed to find that retreat to live in retirement = tnemeriter ni evil ot = Ernie = lucid star (from Sesame Street) is definitely not how the clue works.

DA seemed a little maladroit in this one, even if some of the clues were spectacular.

DA Gold (from 16/17th of November)

14 down: K-kinky assumption lessened (9)
You just don’t expect one letter is gonna be the direct definition: kinky assumption lessened = potassiumn lessened = potassium = K.

15, 16 across: Daughter suggests London custom (8, 2, 3, 5)
The pick of the bunch, and another excellent example of the answer being the wordplay: daughter = changing of the guard (the guard is an anagram of daughter) = London custom.

11 across: – cryptic clue? (9)
Very nice indeed, and almost &lit: – cryptic clue = minus cule = minuscule = – cryptic clue.

12 down: Timeless African people climbing of mountains intact? (10)
Nice: timeless African people climbing of mountains = timeless Bantu climbing ridged = timeless utnab ridged = unabridged = intact.

8 down, 13 across: Briefly make 2-down (saga) droop? (3, 1, 4, 5, 5)
Nice double definition: make saga droop = cut a long story short = briefly.

Update: NC set me straight in the comments: this is a much cleverer clue than I was giving it credit for, and is another brilliant example of the answer being the wordplay: make saga droop = make saga sag = cut a long story short = briefly.

21 across, 1 down: Hollywood creep to defect, seizing Israeli plane abroad to central China (4, 6)
I loved the direct clue: defect, seizing Israeli plane abroad to central China = bug seizing el al os i = Bela Lugosi = Hollywood creep.

4 down: Romcom’s Richard accepts new romcom, for one (5)
Brilliant: DA got a star of romantic comedy into the answer concerning romantic comedies: romcom’s Richard accepts new = Gere accepts n = genre = romcom, for one.

The Confusions (from the 13/14th of November)

Any early confusions you need help with?

Update: Here’s the troubles:

22 across: Western writer mad to capture Manx bird (4, 4)
I’m guessing it’s a Western or a Western writer. Chances are I’ve never heard of either.

11 across: – cryptic clue? (9)
So I’ve got the answer and kind of an explanation that I’m not entirely happy with.

15 down: Ford mentioned central influence? (8)
I reckon the direct clue is bullshit. The indirect I can’t comment on.

21, 1-down: Hollywood creep to defect, seizing Israeli plane abroad to central China (4, 6)
I liked who the answer referred to; just missing an explanation.

12 down: Timeless African people climbing of mountains intact? (10)
I’m completely lost.