I’m Confused About DA’s Last in Jan, 2010

Conundrums to be spoken of here, so go beserk and expect some spoilers should you unveil the comments.

Update: Here are a few of my queries and conundrums that haven’t been addressed in the comments already:

1 down: Research centre plug plugging 28-across (darling) clothing 11-across (at sea) (3, 6)
Umm, huh?

3 down: Stalks onstage, it’s said? (7)
Nope.

4 down: I crack baseball side, well trimmed for online photo (9)
The direct definition seems very wrong indeed to me. Anyone willing to defend it?

DA’s Last in Jan 2010

What have we got this time?

(No spoilers about the crossword in this post until Monday)

Update: A solid DA:

I gave up on the last three, which I assumed I would never have gotten without some external assistance.

I think I was right given the comments.

I was also hoping for a pangrammatic crossword. I hope for that each week anyway, but I thought there was a good chance this week given 1 across. Shame that DA just missed out.

Golden Clues from DA’s 4th of 2010

21 down: Refuse ball-girl by chance, almost (6)
Excellent way to refer to a name: ball-girl by chance, almost = deb by risk almost = debris = refuse.

3 down: A salesman catches my aircraft, not a military ride (4, 4)
A deliciouly difficult clue that employs one of DA’s classic tricks: a salesman catches my aircraft not = a rep catches my jet no t = arep catchy myje = army jeep = a military ride.

25 across: Mighty river halved by eccentric explorer (2, 4)
Excellent sentence meaning: mighty river halved by eccentric = Amazon halved by dag = Da Gama = explorer.

6 down: Jumbo pilot wheeled meat away (6)
DA as the king of direct clues: wheeled meat away = wheeled ham out = mahout = Jumbo pilot.

12 across: Retrograde developer of modern cinema? (8, 6)
Clever cryptic definition: retrograde developer of modern cinema? = Benjamin Button.

10 across: Messiah admits sermonising, reaching out, aggravated stress (8)
Great clue that I also thought clunky at the same time: messiah admits sermonising, reaching out, aggravated = messiah admits preaching – reaching aggravated = messiah admits p aggravated = messiahp aggravated = emphasis = stress.

Bullshit Query from DA’s 4th of 2010

16 down: Largely tense bunch of doctors animated comedy (8)
A tough one if you’ve never heard of the show: largely tense bunch of doctors = largely future ama = Futurama = animated comedy.

My peeve: tense = future. I’ve seen that kind of thing before, for instance black = jet, and not complained, but I reckon that it’s not quite right. Future and jet are merely adjectives that can’t really be substituted for the noun they’re modifying, otherwise we’d have big = house because you often read big house, or light = blue for a similar reason.

I’m pretty sure, though, that this kind of thing is a common feature of cryptics, but, like ellipses, I think I’ll have to grin and bear it while thinking their use questionable.

The Motherlode: Crosswords from Way Back

Happy times peoples!

If you install Across Lite onto your computers so as to load up any one of these crossword files, you can do any Fairfax cryptic from as far back as 2004.

What that of course means is that we all might gain access to any one of the DAs that are considered lost yet form part of the DA Pantheon.

Three cheers for anyone who can find one of the lost treasures in that stack of crossword puzzle files, and if anyone can remember roughly when any of those treasures were published, comment away.

Update: I forgot to thank Oster for turning me and the rest of us onto the crossword files. So thanks Oster!

A further update: With one click, you can download all of DA’s crosswords zipped up from as far back as 2004.

A further further update: here are all the Fairfax crossword files zipped up for you.

The Confusions from DA’s 4th of 2010

Ask your DA questions here.

Update: You fine people have already solved the queries I had (on TOTO, DURRELL) except the following:

21 down: Refuse ball-girl by chance, almost (6)
Like, what’s going on here?

And in other perplexities:

6 down: Jumbo pilot wheeled meat away (6)
Isn’t wheeled a rather crap reversal indicator? Or is there a better way to read this clue?

25 down: Mighty river halved by eccentric explorer (2, 4)
All the great seafaring explorers of the world have had great names: Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, Amerigo Vespucci, Hernando de Soto, Marco Polo and, of course, Vasco Da Gama.

Question: dag and eccentric aren’t really synonyms are they?

DA’s 4th of 2010

I’m looking forward to a quality showing.

(No spoilers until Monday on this post).

Update: DA’s back:

Not anything brilliant by DA’s standards, but a solid performance nonetheless.

I had a solid crack solo on Saturday before CL, FS and M? — all very eager newbies — managed to lend a hand on a couple while at Poached on Rathdowne in Carlton.

Overall, pretty good without anything standing out.

The Gold of DA’s Third of the Year

2 down: She fell sick after Juliet (4)
Loved the direct clue: sick after Juliet = ill after J (NATO phonetic alphabet) = Jill = she fell (from the nursery rhyme).

8 across: So attached to food store (8)
Excellent clue hiding: so attached to food store = very attached to deli = delivery = cricket theme.

26 across: He’s covered in facial hairs? (3, 5)
I like it and hate it at the same time, but considering the importance of a good mo in the history of cricket, I had to include it as gold: he’s covered in facial hairs? = he covered in tashes = the ashes = cricket theme.

22 down: Not for worry? Not depressed? (6)
So very deftly worked: not for worry = con vex = convex = not depressed.

5 down: Tedious second zip? (8)
Difficult yet clever, as are most of DA’s succinct clues: second zip = mo + not one = monotone = tedious.

Update: RB pointed out the palindromic brilliance in the following clue that turns what was bullshit into gold:

4 down: Sounds mentally focus lean rider (7)
Palindromic awesomeness: sounds mentally focus lean = sounds psych up list = cyc up list = cyclist = rider.

The Bullshit of DA’s Third of the Year

6 down: Fund inquiries for how today’s theme translates to diehards? (5, 5)
This is very almost a great clue: how today’s theme translates to diehards = means tests = fund inquiries.

The problem: a means test isn’t really a fund inquiry as far as I can tell. I reckon funds inquiries might have been OK, but fund inquiries is not right for mine.

11 across: A virtual game with 50/50 participation? (3-7)
It’s rather inelegant: a virtual game with 50/50 participation = a virtual rounders with ll = a rounder with ll = all-rounder = cricket theme.

What’s not quite right: I don’t think the clue does enough to explain how the ll can appear between a and rounder.

22 across: Caught yours truly (6)
It’s cheeky and presumptuous and obscure: caught yours truly = c Astle (DA’s surname) = castle (the wickets apparently, but not in Chambers at least) = cricket theme.

24 across: Bond writer christened Murray (4)
I had never heard of the author, but the triple definition just breaks the rules unnecessarily: writer christened Murray = Bail = bond = cricket theme.

18 down: Cloud over (zero degrees), obscuring face of watch instrument (8)
Sometimes DA stretches things too far: cloud over (zero degrees) obscuring face of watch = duolc – o + timer – t = dulcimer = instrument.

The problem: the zero degrees. To make that mean get rid of an o is quite a stretch, especially when you consider zero degrees would be represented as two zeroes, or 0°.

4 down: Sounds mentally focus lean rider (7)
Another almost great clue: sounds mentally focus lean = sounds psych list = cyclist = rider.

My problem: even though Chambers only says “usu with up” and not always with up, to mentally focus is to psych up, not to psych.

Update: RB’s moment of divine inspiration, as described in the comments, makes 4 down no longer bullshit but gold!