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

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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?

32 thoughts on “DA Has Me Confounded (for the 20th/21st of November)

  1. I reckon 15D is a fraction suss – the “we hear” might be better placed after “cleric”.
    And I think that there is a typo: unless I’m missing something, the reference to 13-down in 6A and 21A should actually be a reference to 15-down.

    And 18A might be one for the accounting experts to debate – I don’t believe it is strictly correct, although I don’t think it makes the clue harder in this case.

  2. re 6A and 21A; of course , haiku . That reference didn’t really make sense to me,but the 15D link is, I agree, what it should be.

  3. Agreed on 15D – ‘we hear’ is in the wrong place and the reference to 13D in 6D, 21A appears to be a misprint (should be 15D).

    Liked 7D!

  4. We’re finished! Well except for:
    11A Not really sure on how the “retreat to live in retirement” part works
    18A No idea what to put for the middle letter
    26A Have an answer but would love it if someone could explain this one

  5. Oster, hints:
    18A: leaves is the literal clue
    26A: verbs can appear as nouns in the surface reading
    11A: this is what i’m still stuck on, that and 1D

    While i noticed the mistake with 15D, I didn’t notice the mistake with 6D, and was cofounded trying to understand the relevance of 13D til i read above

  6. Oster, just got 11A
    hint: treat the first three letters and the last two, separately

    now i have 11a i hope i can work out 1d… only two letters to go… then again, this wouldn’t be the first time i’ve finished a DA but for only two letters

  7. Thanks MF, 11A and 18A makes complete sense now. I now get the noun/verb switch for the second word in 26A now but still don’t understand how the whole clue works.

    We looked through a thesaurus to confirm our guess for 1D. I suppose it deserves its exclamation mark but you’ll finish this DA I’m sure.

  8. Oster, you have not exhausted the usefulness of my clue

    Actually, if i’m right, then black = b, i’m not sure why that’s so though

  9. All haiku’s comments are spot on (except it’s 6D, not 6A). And whilst we’re on that clue, does the pronunciation of “frite” rhyme with “pit” or with “peat”? I would have said the latter, but then I speak funny and I call them “chips” anyway!

    Other points:
    The knowledge of astronomy required for 11A and 3D far exceeded mine (and I blame DA, not myself for this).

    In 13A&5D, I suppose “scaler” fits the surface reading better than “scale”, but surely the latter would have been better for the wordplay. Describing Charles F Richter as a “scaler” seems a bit ugly to me.

  10. RB – IIRC, “frite” en français does sound a bit more like “peat” than “pit”. And that’s not even getting to the subtle roll of the “r”! But to the extent the word is used in English (fancy restaurants?), it might be pronounced closer to “frits” (you’ll usually get more than one).

    Agree on scaler. And yes, 6D, not 6A … whoops.

  11. RB, I thought this crossword was perhaps the most inelegant of DA’s oeuvre.

    And I’m with haiku on the frite/pit thing, even though there are countless variations on how pomme frite is pronounced, which also means I’m with RB as well.

  12. 11A: retreat = den; to live = be -> in retirement = eb gives lucid star = deneb (one of the brighter stars in the firmament)

    8D: clergymen = parsons, faceless -> arsons, impounding premier = 1st ->ist gives crooks = arsonists

    12A: saw = mot; DA has used this before (a saying)

    2D: googling “Romania population” gives 21.5 million for 2008

    6A: I see what you mean, but “ash” could, for mine, denote “remains”. I don’t get the sense of thinking about ash as meaning “one ash only”.

  13. Once again, I agree with haiku. But, I also agree with you, AS, that 2D was a bit dodgy. Is the country Romania to be defined simply as its people? And another quibble is that arson is not quite the same as pyromania. As for 6A, I reckon “ash” = ‘remains” is fine. Ash is “the residue that remains when something is burned”.

  14. If 11A is DENEB, what’s 1D?

    I had it as SLING, as in to cast or throw something, as well as a plaster cast that a sling might or might not come with.

    Clearly, there’s another, better explanation that I missed.

  15. AS, the answer is shied. shed, shied and cast are all synonyms of thrown

    you can speak of something being turned to ashes, or equivalently turned to ash. the latter does not imply that there is only one ash

  16. RE 1D: AS, I originally had “sling” too, but I wasn’t totally convinced. Then I saw in the non-spoiler thread that AL had nominated it for gold. And, like you, I wasn’t getting anywhere with 11A. So I looked for a better answer! Actually I think MF’s explanation is not quite right. I’d say shied and shed were both synonyms of cast (first in the sense of “to throw”, then “to moult”)

  17. 1D: I had THROW based on the following:

    “with or without one” = WITH OR – I = WTHOR.

    The “!” invokes double duty for “cast” by one) rearranging WTHOR into THROW; and two) to “cast” is to THROW.

    That was it for me when I realised THROW was wrong. I cannot bring myself to complete a crossword once I have made a mistake, cross-out, ink blob, scribble or mess.

  18. Sorry, i meant what RB said
    wow, TT is right as well, hence the &lit!
    I think this puts the clue in a special category above gold, most ingenious clue i’ve seen from DA for a while

  19. THROW is indeed a really good answer! I can understand TT being miffed that it wasn’t the answer DA had in mind! But I’m sure it was just coincidence. After all, really good alternative (and therefore “wrong”) answers are not desirable. Are they?

  20. TT, that’s rough. I wonder if DA had noticed the possibility of multiple solutions?

    And JG, 17D goes like this: bear = carry, Cockney corny = (h)okey, all of which gives carryokey, which sounds like karaoke.

  21. RB, re 2D the key word is “affliction”. Pyromania is the medical (psychiatric) condition/affliction of arsonsits. I reckon it’s OK. I reckon identifying the country with its people is also OK.

  22. NC, my minor quibble with 2D is not what you think. I once read that arson and pyromania have different motivations (arson being a crime motivated by malice or vengeance, or, if to one’s own insured property, financial reward; pyromania being a mental disorder characterised by fascination, arousal and gratification connected with lighting fires). However, these days, anyone who illegally lights a fire for whatever reason is called an arsonist, so the distinction is probably not worth making.

  23. Good, subtle point RB. Not all arsonists are pyromaniacs and not all pyromaniacs are arsonists. But I am feeling in a generous and benevolent mood (contemplating my 60th birthday on Sunday and retirement from the workaday world on Tuesday) so I am inclined to let DA get away with this (as you say) minor quibble.

  24. Aaah. Thanks, Ian. I don’t think I’ve seen revolutionary as a backwards indicator before. Revolutionary strikes me as more appropriate to a cyclical rearrangement like LOP = OPL = PLO rather than LOP = POL. That would be counter-revolutionary!

  25. NC, I’ve seen revolutionary/revolved/rotated as a backwards indicator before. I think it works if you imagine holding the letters LOP in your hand, then turning them through 180 degrees. The trouble is that each letter would then have rotated 180 degrees too, so only the O would appear correctly! So maybe you rotate the whole word without rotating the letters!

  26. I had a different explanation — I thought revolutionary meant POL POT, who is cut and becomes POL.

    And I would consider revolutionary/revolved/rotated as anagram indicators, and anything that’s reversed is, obviously, an anagram.

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