December DA Confusion (from the 11/12th of December)

Got any troubles? Comment here and a helping hand should emerge forthwith.

Update: I gave up the ghost after a ghastly, overconfident error. Not surprisingly, I have many a need for answers.

5 down: Embellishes curves after medic expired (7, 2)
The clue that gutted me: if it’s not doctors up, what is it?

9 across: Damaged whiskey made without top (10)

1 across: Is it close to dubious deaths?! (10)
I assume deaths is an anagram of something else.

4 down: Boost infinite afterlife (5)

1 down: Vietnamese detained celeb (4)
I spent a long time trying to think of words that could de-tain-ed, i.e. ascertain becomes ascer etc., but I got nothing. Should I have kept scrabbling or should I have reassessed the clue?

16 down: Vile, outré, unthinking Pom or Dane?! (9)
I didn’t get the Pom or Dane section of the clue. Ian mentioned it was DA being derogatory towards Poms and Danes, yet I still don’t get it.

23 thoughts on “December DA Confusion (from the 11/12th of December)

  1. I know spoilers are allowed here but still reluctant to spoil!

    16D. I have the answer but don’t understand the definition part of the question. How does Pom or Dane fit the answer?
    2D I have an answer but feel it can’t be right. the 2 words don’t really sound the same.
    26A. Can someone explain to me the “starting early”. how is the last letter becoming the first “starting early”?.

  2. 16d: Just DA being derogatory about poms and Danes
    2d: No, they don’t. The other problem is it’s not clear which is the definition and which is the homonym.
    26a: I think you’re right. It should have been “ending early.”

  3. I’m with RV on 2D. The letter being O or U is not clear. I thought it had implications for 10A – then realised it didn’t. Still it’s a 50/50 thing I guess and a bit of an annoyance

  4. I’m stuck on 13D – have an answer, but why?… also 27A. Can someone put me out of my misery?

  5. 13D

    Turn = U
    Cruise line clenching (sailor) = P AND (AB) O
    Tight no thanks = TAUT without TA = UT


    nearly hitched = THUMBE (D)
    a love backlash = LIN A (A NIL backwards)

  6. I’m all but finished. Was stuck on 26a and, consequently, 22d. I’ve got them answered, but hey 22d is a little obscure isn’t it – even for DA? I have a possible answer for 24 across – it’s the only word I can think of that fits. Trouble is, I can see no link with the clue! Is a reed instrument far off the track? if it is, where should I be going with this, last, frustrating clue?
    Ha ha, just loved 1a and 27a!

  7. SM, I think a reed instrument (an idea I played around with for a while) is way off track in terms of meaning, though close in terms of spelling. Think of a synonym for ‘gents’ as a starting point, and think of ‘dated payment’.

  8. 2D: Have we had that particular “o” vs “u” homophone debate before? You say “tumato”, I say “tomato”.

    6A: Is it STOW, and if so, how is that related to “Quadrant”? (The magazine?)

    24A: I worked it out from the constructor part of the clue, but I’d never previously heard of the “dated payment” in question. Google to the rescue. As AS would say: recondite.

    22D: DREI?

  9. TT – 2A: yes we have
    6A – that’s what I had. A google suggests that there is a “quadrant of Stow” in Ohio, but that’s pretty obscure.
    24A: also obscure
    22D: I had dull = dire, with “picked up” as the mix-up indicator – with DREI = TRIO in German

  10. re6A: (S)outh TO (W)est is a quadrant = pack =stow
    re22D: I think the “picked up” is another term for DA’s oft used “on the radio” or “broadcast”. So “dull” = dry (sounds like drei in Dusseldorf) German for three or trio.

  11. 5D: Curves = Esses; Medic = Dr; Expired = Up. All of that gives Dresses up = Embellishes

    9A: Whiskey = Malt. Made = Created, without top = reated, gives Maltreated = Damaged

    1A; Close = Nigh. Dubious deaths = tshade. Which gives Nightshade = Is it close to dubious deaths!?

    4D: Afterlife = Heaven; and infinite here means without end: gives heave = boost

    1D: You should have reassessed: Celeb = NAME which is detained in VietNAMEse

    16D: I liked this a lot. Vile outre = EUROT, unthinking = RASH which gives a vile, outre, unthinking Pom or Dane (or German, French, etc) = EUROTRASH

    But now I have to get back to Dancecentrum in Stuttgart in time to see Kraftwerk …

  12. And – AL – those 6A and 22D explanations are much better than my googling and dire suggestion. “Picked up” as an aural clue is quite sneaky!

  13. Re 16D, at first I thought the definition for EUROTRASH was merely “Pom or Dane?” with the “?” being interpreted as meaning “for example” or “say” to make it clear that those two nationalities were being used as examples. But this still seemed unsatisfactory, casting a gratuitous slur on Europeans as a whole, rather than on just those two nationalities.

    But now I see haiku’s explanation above makes more sense (the WHOLE clue is the definition). So it’s not all Europeans who are Eurotrash; just those vile, outre, unthinking ones. (The “!” at the end suggests &lit, too).

    Discussion point: I think I’ve read somewhere that in a true &lit the WHOLE clue should make up the wordplay. If that is so then this is not a true &lit. Also, to be a true &lit, should the WHOLE clue form the definition (as in this case)?

  14. Re 26A: Thanks Ian (above) – “ending early” makes more sense. Looks like a DA error.

    Now for my regular homophone spot: 2D has already been singled out (golf = gulf?) As haiku says, we’ve had that before, and I didn’t like it then either. But how about 20A (assault rifle = a sole trifle?) Surely the vowel sound in the second syllable is different? Or is it just my Lancashire accent?

  15. RB, while UNTHINKING = RASH is the most concise, UNTHINKING AUSTRALIAN = RASH or UNTHINKING POM OR DANE = RASH are all viable, if more verbose, alternatives. And in this case, I think DA wanted to refer to Europeans without using the word EUROPEANS, which would made the answer so much easier to figure out.

    GOLF sounds like GULF is definitely bullshit. I’ll write that up soon enough in a bullshit post.

    A SOLE TRIFLE I would grant as a homophone of ASSAULT RIFLE, though.

    I do have a problem with PICKED UP as a homophone indicator. I reckon that’s too oblique.

  16. AS, I’m having trouble with understanding your 1st sentence. I don’t see how “unthinking Pom or Dane” (or Australian etc) could equal “rash”. Can “rash” be used as a noun to mean “unthinking person”?

  17. Hmmm…. maybe my Greek background has me accepting something that might be considered non-standard in English.

    In Greek, any adjective can refer to a person with that particular trait. For instance, in Greek you don’t need to say THE TALL PERSON, just THE TALL and the person/object is implied.

    You can kind of do that in English, as in Ethelred the Unready, or perhaps Thatcher the Rash instead of Thatcher the Unthinking Pom.

    Is that too much of a stretch of the English language and should I just accept that it’s not Greek, or is there something in what I’ve just suggested?

  18. I now see what you’re getting at. But I reckon it’s too much of a stretch, even for DA. (Liked your description of the Iron Lady!)

  19. 1 down: Vietnamese detained celeb (4)

    NAME is not the first word I saw:

    1 down: Vietnamese detained volatile Sicilian (4)

  20. AS, I also think that “unthinking Pom or Dane” = rash is too much of a stretch.
    Although the attribute = “person with the attribute” thing has infiltrated AFL coach/commentator jargon with “talls” = “tall footballers”.

    Hence I agree with RB that this is not a true &lit, and the definition part of the clue = Pom or Dane = eurotrash. Not so good. The clue would work better with an extra word though (although not an &lit) Why not:
    Vile, outré, unthinking tasteless Pom or Dane?! (9)

    I am aware of the hubris involved in trying to improve a DA clue.

  21. with regard to 3d and terra nullius. I presume the answer comes from “nature” and “Australia” minus the first and last a. In that case where does the second L come from, and where does the second T go? And BTW, thanks a million for this site. My DA clearance rate has soared from 20% to at least 45% with your tutelage.

  22. 3D: Misguided nature seizing Central Australia = TERANU seizing R = TERRANU
    poorly reflecting = ILL reflecting = LLI
    on us = US

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