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.

December DA (from 11/12th December)

How’s this one travelling?

(No spoilers in the comments of this post till Monday)

Update: Don’t you hate confidently inking in the wrong answer?


Another very difficult crossword. Not as good as last week’s, although DA has created an &lit that perhaps surpasses last week’s career-best effort.

RC and I only briefly joined forces on Sunday, but it was long enough for me to give him a bum steer on 5 down (I was certain it was doctors up). But when I discovered that was mistaken, the crossword had been irrevocably sullied, and, as TT would have done, I did not want to continue on what was a dog’s breakfast.

Oh well.

Some Nastiness? (from 4/5th of December)

22 down: Hospital using chunk seen in foot X-ray? (5)

23 across: Dole once fishy at Job Centre (5)

17 down: Loudly loots Nero’s city to find Fu Manchu author (3, 6)

11 across: Timid little dog lost tail to large mouse (5)

10 across: New-age therapy required about $1000 between two (5)

3 down: Dry colours expressed UK poet (3, 6)

25 across: Regularly hold revue near Melbourne’s lead theatre (5)

28 across: Drunken disgrace after nog cocktail? (7)

An aspect of cryptics that I particularly enjoy is that they usually require at least some passing acquaintance with a whole host of language and trivia, high, middle and low of brow in status.

Sometimes, though, that catholicism can be used for nasty ends, and this week, I reckon DA crossed the line into overly recondite.

Now, I don’t think any one of the clues above use words of a too obscure nature, but in concert on a single crossword, that’s some nasty work. I would find it difficult to believe that anybody would have known all of the following words and their intended denotations before having done the crossword: talus, susso, Sax Rohmer, coypu, reiki, ted, odeum, sidecar.

I had no idea who or what susso, Sax Rohmer (making the wordplay aural was particularly nasty for those of us who’ve never heard of him), coypu, odeum and ted (I think this references hay, not beer) denoted. That’s quite a long list for a single crossword, and I don’t think mine would have been abnormally long.

Am I just complaining for no good reason? Should I have had a wider acquaintance with the language and trivia referred to and I’m the dunce? Was this crossword a good reason to resurrect an almost moribund category in DA Nastiness?

The Golden from 4/5th of December

27 across, 15 down: Bobbing item belongs at sea! (7, 2, 1, 6)
My vote for the best &lit going around: bobbing item belongs at sea = message in a bottle = bobbing item belongs at sea.

That anagram is ridiculously good and to wrap that in an &lit is genius.

13 across: Girl hot like Joyce? (5)
Clever and compact: Girl hot = Iris h = Irish = like Joyce.

21 down: Monkey with outspoken craft in the Howard Years? (5)
Ridiculously good masking of the direct clue and a damn good red herring in the guise of an anagram indicator: monkey with outspoken = tamper outspoken = Tampa = craft in the Howard Years.

17 down: Loudly loots Nero’s city to find Fu Manchu author (3, 6)
Exceptional: loudly loots Nero’s city = loudly sacks Roma = Sax Rohmer = Fu Manchu author.

1 across: Relegated Knight within meant trading with Storm finalist (7)
Perhaps the most difficult clue of the crossword, yet a goodie: Knight within meant trading with Storm finalist = n within denoted trading with m = demoted = relegated.

15 across: Press peeved by German decoration (4, 5)
Nice: press peeved = Iron Cross = German decoration.

5 down: Row disrupts ‘fluent’ retail tycoon (5, 4)
Excellent word bending: row disrupts ‘fluent’ = rank disrupts flowy = Frank Lowy = retail tycoon.

19 across: Watch Part 10 (5)
Clever: Part 10 = role x = Rolex = watch.

28 across: Drunken disgrace after nog cocktail? (7)
Nog seems so appropriate as an adjective: drunken disgrace after nog = sidecarg no g = sidecar = cocktail.

The Confusions from December DA (DA on the 4/5th of December)

Go ahead and ask for assistance — DA will always leave you perplexed sooner or later.

Update: Darn right there were some perplexities!

9 across: Perhaps Underbelly suit shot a copper beforehand (9)
What’s the answer here? How does it work?

6 down: Elevated home, close to Geneva Lake (5)
How is this to be spelt? How is this to be solved?

8 down: Campaign spin (5)
So what’s the double definition?

5 across: Muscle backed detectives for hanging? (7)

3 down: Dry colours expressed UK poet (3, 6)
Can’t explain the first three letters on this one.

7 down: Cream from edges trimmed in cool fried snack (5, 4)
Again, we couldn’t work out exactly how this one was spelt, nor the explanation.

December DA (for the 4/5th of December)

Whaddayareckon about this week’s? And Sydneysiders, I am envious of you for getting DA early (or more accurately put, for getting DA on time).

(no spoilers till Monday)

Update: I call this week’s the hardest in recent memory, and I call this week’s perhaps part of the DA Para-Pantheon — almost, but not quite, top-shelf:


I got almost half of it done through stabs of Saturday before RC, NF (straight from Laos) and I joined forced at Il Fornaio to fall three short of perfection. RC and I had the exquisite joy of each solving a clue whose answer we’d never heard of before, RC with 11 across and I with 25 across.

Some extremely high-quality clues, and I’m calling 27 across the best &lit clue I’ve come across.

Beatles Gold (from 27/28th of November)

Not a lot of golden stuff this week even though there was a pleasant semi-theme. Anyways, here goes:

1 down: (Beatles) 17-down’s own crab & kipper stew — just add water (9, 6)
Nice little anagrammer: crab & kipper stew — just add water = paperb ck ri + awter = Paperback Writer = Beatles’s own.

19 across: Indirectly he may conceive two hairstyles, no, in shabbier extremes (5, 5)
Nice direct definition: two hairstyles, no, in shabbier extremes = perm do no in sr = sperm donor = indirectly he may conceive.

4 down: The French contacted diminutive singer, live, for 17-down’s own (3, 2, 2)
Interesting little word in there: the French contacted diminutive singer, live = le tit be = Let It Be = Beatles’s own.

I don’t quite get diminutive singer = tit, though.