The Confusions from 2010’s 2nd DA

Got cryptic issues?

Voice them here.

Update: As stated below, I have no confusions because I didn’t do this one.

49 thoughts on “The Confusions from 2010’s 2nd DA

  1. Two quibbles from me:
    5d: the answer here is singular, but the definition is plural.
    14d: got the answer, don’t get the Spoonerism. Any ideas?

  2. 5d: i have no idea how the grammar of the word that is the answer works. maybe someone can enlighten us
    14d: the first word before spoonerisation can mean “to result in or entail the loss of”, still don’t quite get it though, especially the “slowly” part

    my quibbles:
    9A: Is this a mistake? is the word “openly” in fact supposed to be the opposite?
    11A: I get the double meaning used here, but i still don’t get why it gets &lit status, since only one of the meanings of the answer follows from the whole clue together

  3. I’ve still got lots left but some initial confusion:

    4D “male in centres” =? M in HUBS = HUMBS; MODEL=T. How do “leggy” and “traded places” figure in and give “ALL”

    12A “lock clasp on musical” – no idea about the cryptic part.

    16D In what sense does the answer mean “bottle”? GALLANTRY=Fortify=Bottle as in wine or something?

    14D Like others, I don’t get the spoonerism either.

    That’ll do for now, a hint on 22D would be nice though.

  4. re 4D: leggy = TALL, model = T, traded places gives ALLT with male = M in centres = HUBS and so ALL THUMBS = awkward.
    re 16D: think ticker or heart for “bottle”.
    re12A : HAIR is an early 70’s musical. A SLIDE is a part of a trombone and HAIRSLIDE is a hair or lock clasp.

  5. 5D: Laugh hooks one group of 25-down 15-acrosses

    “laugh” = HA
    “hooks” = JJ
    “one” = A

    25-down = MECCA
    15-across = PILGRIM, but 15-across(es) = PILGRIMS

    MECCA PILGRIMS = HAJJI, slang for Muslims.

  6. 9a: Oh yes, that was a quibble of mine, too. “Openly” as an indicator to leave out the first letter, never seen it before, don’t think it works.
    11a: Not an &lit, just a double definition
    4d: The construction here is so cumbersome it could qualify for an &lit! Awkward, indeed!
    22d: Hint: rap sheet
    4d: I thought the first word before Spooner got to it meant “move slowly”, but it rhymes with “boast,” and still doesn’t make sense.

  7. Doing better than average for me on this one with six to go (all top left: 1A, 9A, 11A, 19A, 2D, 3D). I had to Google for 8D. Also had never heard of 29A but I got it without Googling!

    I have ideas for 19A, 11A and the second word of 3D but not sure how they work so not game to put them down yet.

    I cocncur with confusion re 14D & am unable to figure vout the wordplay for 23D.

  8. 5D: Google seems to indicate that plural of hajji is hajjis, but I did find one reference indicating that plural need not have the terminating “s”

    14D: Have I got the right answer? I have LOST CAUSE. My take on this (not very good) Spoonerism:
    futile business = LOST CAUSE
    After Spooner, this becomes “cost laws”, which can be taken to mean the gradual disappearance of laws i.e. slowly moving towards anarchy (depending on how you define that word).

    9A: Like others above, I can’t accept this use of “openly” to mean “without opening”.

    11A: Like others above, I’m not comfortable with this as &lit (since only the last word in the clue constitutes the definition). But also, I don’t think it’s a double def, unless you consider that Jack Ketch is clued simply by “he knew the hanging”. It seems to me that “craft” is doing double duty here.

    4D: Not keen on “traded places” being used as an indication to simply move the “t” of TALL so it becomes ALLT. To me, “traded places” implies an exchange of places i.e. the “t” should not simply move but should swap places with another letter.

    Other queries:
    7D: “Congeal” as an anagram indicator? I think we might have seen this one before, but it doesn’t imply enough movement to me so doesn’t quite work.

    17D: It looks like the definition here is “charge variant”. I have the answer as “potential”. Can someone explain?

    21D: Concerned about the singular/plural aspect here (Gospel = facts).

    23D: I thought the wordplay a bit clumsy.
    “staggered back” = reeled back = deleer
    “dropping the same note twice” = dler (careful which e’s you drop!)
    “before one” really means “after one”, unless you think of it as an afterthought as in “and don’t forget that you must have a “one” first”

    28A: Is the answer LESSEES? OK, definition looks like “letters”, but the rest?

  9. Regarding 17D: “Charge variant” is potential. potential is a voltage, not really a charge… then the cryptic part is “oxygenated tin-plate process”
    OXYGENATED=add an O
    PROCESS=anagram indicator
    then POTENTIAL is an anagram of tin-plate+O.

    Thanks to AL for explanations, for 12A I had HORNSLIDE and then MAINSLIDE and then HAIRSLIDE!

    Got my mum to explain how bottle means heart or ticker or gallantry. I wasn’t familiar with the expression.

    The two I am still completely puzzled by are 1D (BLACKOPAL?) and 3D (ARABHORSE??)

    for 28A “lyrical Murray” is the poet LES Murray and “spots”=SEES making LESSEES but I don’t really know the definition LESSEES=letters and haven’t found it in a thesaurus yet…

  10. Now that we’re obviously well past the spoiler alert stage:
    28a: A lessee is someone who takes out a lease. To let is to grant someone permission, and in this specific sense to allow someone the use of a property, usually for a fee. Hence, a lesee is the tenant, and a letter is the landlord. Not quite the same.
    1d: Lack and OP inside BAL(D)
    3d: ABHORS inside ARE (hundredth of a hectare). DA could have done something rude there…
    11a: A word doing double duty in a DA clue? Unheard of!
    14: Still not happy with this. “Cost laws” does sort of imply anarchy, but not the slow motion demanded by the clue.

  11. Oster, thanks for the confirmation of my 28A. That’s briliant. “Lyrical Murray” indeed!

    Still can’t work out 9A even with all the hints. I have the second word in 3D now, still not sure about the first part. My googling the conversion of acre to square metres didn’t help either. Is 1A obscure enough that I will have to Google for a list of modern composers?

    Not sure how the last 5 letters of 10A works.

  12. TT – a Hajji or Hadji is a Muslim who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca, rather than a Muslim generally.

    NC – for 1A, I reckon start with the classical ones first and see how you go.

  13. Ian, thanks for the explanation of 3D. I would never have got the wordplay in a million years. “are” as a measure of area is a DA Teaching for me.

    3 to go. 1A, 3A, 2D.

  14. 11A: the problem myself and others seem to have with this clue is that is does not appear to be an &lit clue, yet DA, unlike many other Age setters, doesn’t use an exclamation mark at the end of a clue unless it’s an &lit (or perhaps if necessary for the surface reading?)

  15. Re 11A, we all seem to agree this is a bit iffy. It’s not a pure &lit, but I’ve called similar DA clues partial &lits. Not as satisfying as a pure &lit but still OK.

    I think this would have been a better clue by forgetting about the &lit and converting it to a double definition. My suggestion: “He knew about hanging craft”.

    Any opinions? Yea or nay?

  16. Woo hoo! Just got 9A (thanks to all the hints). I am OK with the use of “openly”. I guess quaint means a bit old-fashioned. Which I guess I am ’cause I still like the old-fashioned pen-and-paper rather than electronic correspondence (at least sometimes, with friends and family). Which reminds me about 19A. I think I am being convinced by other comments that there is a problem here. The person who lets a property is the landlord or lessor, not the tenant or lessee. Don’t you think?

  17. Ian, thanks for the explanations. I’m all for complicated clues but “need work”=”lack op”in 1D. I have never heard that expression before. combined with fairly=just use most of the letters. The combination of tough and unsatisfying is not my cup of tea. 3D, on the other hand was enjoyable and it was good to learn what an are is.

    TT, Generation Kill is where I knew the word from too. I haven’t seen it all yet as I found it a bit unsettlingly real or something.

    NC, a hint for 1A… “for audience” is an indicator that the last four or five letters of the answer sound like a torture. A hint for 9A is that “quaint correspondence” is the literal clue and as has been hinted above it is an anagram of familiar without the f.

    The letters of KETCH are all in the clue for 11A… perhaps there’s some undiscovered wordplay going on? “hanging craft”=C, He Knew=K? as in “He, John =J” where he is an initial indicator. together with THE? it’s a bit of a long bow…

  18. Just got 2D. Only 1A to go…
    Torture eh? Bash, lash,….??? does one of the Bach’s fit in anywhere???

    I am OK with 1D. OP = opus = work is a standard cryptic abbreviation. lack=need is fine. fairly bald =bal is acceptable too IMO.

  19. Re my defence of 1D I forgot to mention the dictionary definition of “incise” as “cut into”, hence the use of incising as “contained within” indicator. I will now rest my case and hand back to the prosecution…

    Any help for my confusion re 10A?

  20. NC, I believe both parties in a rental agreement can be considered letters, Person A lets the object TO person B, and person B lets the object FROM person A
    is my usage wrong?

  21. Aaaaahhh. Cue light bulb above NC’s head. style = vein. of course. Why didn’t I think of that? Which causes me to wonder how cryptics would work in other languages. Do any other languages have as many words that are spelt and pronounced the same but with so many completely different meanings, like “vein”?

  22. Thanks NC, I was ignorant of work=opus=op so I may have been a bit harsh on 1D. regarding 1A it is not “torture” it is “a torture” :) and yes BACH is what “classic one” stands for.

  23. At last, victory!

    Just got 1A. One of the reasons it took so long was that for some inexplicable reason I thought 1A was (5,4) and marked the division on the grid from the beginning. I will be more careful in future.

    If AS wants a suggestion for DA Gold, may I suggest 21A? I like this one especially because I got it out from the wordplay first, rather than guessing the answer and working backwards (much more common for me but not as satisfying),

  24. Funnily enough I made the same (5,4) error.
    Some of my favourites were 4D,5D and maybe 13A

  25. Re: cryptic crosswords in other languages. There really isn’t a lot. There are plenty of straight crosswords, but most languages just don’t have the vocabulary and the eccentricities in spelling to support the form. Even the Americans barely do them. That said, on the site a few years ago, in the crossword forums, there was a long thread of people making up french crossword clues. I never found out if it was ever compiled into a grid, or if it was, if a francophone would get what it was about.
    Re 19a: I’ve checked the verb let in the Macquarie, Cambers and Collins, and there is no sense of letting from, only to. I think this may be DA BS.

  26. Re 21A, I can’t imagine what kind of mind (one like DA’s obviously) could spot that “fanatic” is contained in “face paint”, but it is so apt!

    I also liked 26A and 16D. With the latter, the wordplay is routine, but the synonyms are satisfyingly obscure enough to elicit a triumphant feeling when solved.

  27. I liked 1 A. Two of my favourites in one clue. I’m 3 words down, and I can fill them in with words which fit the spaces, but I can’t justify them. 10A, 8D and 28A. Roll on Monday for the solution.

  28. JD:
    10A “sure thing to Goethe”=yes in German=JA, “idyll ending in style”= L in VEIN=VELIN making JAVELIN. JAVELIN is a spear which is why the 28A reference.

    8D OUNCE is apparently a wild cat, and then the word play is “swooped in attack”=POUNCED, shredded wings is an instruction to remove the outside letters so POUNCED becomes OUNCE.

    28 Gore is literally SPEAR, and “singular US singer” = singular (Britney) SPEARS.

  29. 17D: POTENTIAL. Thanks Oster, I didn’t need help with the cryptic part; it was the definition I didn’t get. I remember potential energy from school physics many decades ago, but electric potential and I have remained unacquainted till now. I did google one definition just now that mentioned “charge”:
    electric potential: the difference in electrical charge between two points in a circuit expressed in volts.

    19A: LESSEES. Thanks Oster too for “lyrical Murray spots” = LES SEES. I like the wordplay… worthy of gold. But, like others, I think letter=lessee may be dodgy.

    11A: KETCH. I prefer your version of this clue, NC. Pure double def, rather than unsatisfactory &lit.

    As for the relationship between &lit and !, I don’t think it’s quite the same as stated earlier by mic. I believe that DA ALWAYS follows his &lits with a !, but this doesn’t mean that ! automatically implies &lit. So the ! at the end of this particular 11A clue doesn’t conclusively prove that DA intended it as &lit. However, adding up all the evidence (!, plus DA’s fairly “relaxed” &lit style, plus lack of satisfactory alternative explanation), I reckon DA did intend it as &lit.

    And still on 11A, like Oster, I thought there might be some tricky wordplay going on involving some of “he”, “the”, and initial letters of “knew” and “craft”. But I couldn’t get it to work, so concluded it was just coincidence.

    9A: AIRMAIL. NC, you say you’re OK with the use of “openly”. But I still can’t accept it. How can “openly” mean “discard the opening”? Can you convince me it’s OK?

    My favourites were 6A, 10A, 21A, 28A.

  30. On the 9A discussion: I guess there is the sense of “openly” in “Discuss something openly” or “Discuss something without putting up a front” which could be interpreted as an instruction to not use the front letter.

  31. Nice try, Oster, but far too much of a stretch for me. I don’t think even DA would have had this meaning of “front” in mind. I just thought of another (ridiculous) explanation. Opening something often involves unwrapping, removing the top or lid etc. But, unless someone comes up a better explanation, I reckon this is a Bullshit contender (along with maybe 14D, 19A).

  32. Personally, I’m quite happy with 11A. As others have mentioned, it’s only a semi-&lit but that’s common in cryptics. “He knew the hanging craft” is a fine definition for (Jack) Ketch, and — of course — a “ketch is also a craft. Perfectly reasonable.

    My confusions were:
    2D: Mark shows the missing rug, pile initial scratched (5) … caret, but why?
    4D: [thank you to others for the de-construction]

    And I question 16D … a gantry is not a crane, is it?!.

  33. 2d: a caret is a mark like this: ˆ. It’s a proofreading symbol, to show where something needs to be inserted.
    16d: Quite right, MF, a gantry is a steel framework, It can support a crane, and often does, but it is not a crane. However, I did find gantry crane in Chambers, so it can be a type of crane.

  34. Oh, and 11a: when I first solved it, I missed the craft = ketch connection, and had it as a cryptic definition. Try this: “He knew the hanging game (5)”. This is a common enough from in English crosswords, an example being “Christmas present drawer (8)” for REINDEER. The clue has only a definition part, but one that is oblique and essentially a bad pun.

  35. Ian, I’m quite happy with the definition caret = mark. What I don’t get is the wordplay part…

  36. 2D: Mark shows the missing = CARET
    rug = CARPET
    pile initially scratched = P scratched

  37. Re 9A, I think you are right RB when you say that “Opening something often involves unwrapping, removing the top or lid etc.”
    The cryptic part of the clue is “openly familiar to change”.
    The cryptic part of the clue would be more obvious if written “familiar to change openly” (ie “familiar” to change without a top) with the adverb “openly” adjacent to the verb it qualifies (ie change) but DA has written it more awkwardly as “openly familiar to change” so that the whole clue reads nicely literally with “openly” acting as an adverb to the adjective “familiar” in the literal reading of the clue.

  38. RB, I agree with RV that you are right in thinking that DA is using “openly” to mean open something by taking its top off (like a bottle). I guess there are a few alternatives for the “take off the first letter” indicator, but at the moment I can only think of “top” and the too obvious “behead”. I am sure there must be many others.

    However, I disagree with RV that “familiar to change openly” would be better or more obvious. With “openly familiar to change”, it works so that “openly familiar” = “amiliar” and then “to change” then produces “airmail”. The further away “openly” is from “familiar” the more obscure the wordplay instruction would be.

    For the “take the last letter off”, the classic indicator is, of course, detail, along with the awesome DA special “eternal” (=endlessly!). Ever since the first mindblowing occasion I worked out how DA was using “eternal” in this way I have always tried to keep in mind this DA trick. In the same way we may have to keep in mind his quirky use of “openly”.

  39. Re use of “openly” in 9A, if my explanation is correct (“removing the top or lid”), I don’t like it at all. I could just about accept “open” or “opening” as an indication to remove the first letter. But not “openly” – it’s just a stretch too far, for me. As you say, NC, we’ll be watching for the next time “openly” appears.

  40. Still on 9A I think that confusion has resulted from the word to anagrammatise being an adjective.
    Say the clue was “open can is indefinite article”. I think people would accept open as being a signifier to take the top off “can” leaving the answer “an”, especially as you can take the top off a can.
    How about “open slather for shaving”. would people accept open in the same sense, when is doesn’t make any sense to “take the top off” slather giving the answer as lather.
    If the “open slather” clue is ok then 9A is similar but DA couldn’t write open familiar as it isn’t grammatically correct. He had to say openly familiar as the word to be anagrammatised is an adjective.

    Would we accept “openly nice is frozen water”?

    Open or openly as a signifier to take the top off seems to work for some things (like can) but not for any word.

  41. I think I’m beginning to mellow on this use of “openly”. As you suggest, RV, I’d be OK with “open” being used, like “top”, to signify that the first letter should be discarded. Of course, both words can also signify the opposite – use only the first letter and discard the rest.

    But 9A demanded an adverb, so DA used “openly”. And the trouble is that this carries more of the latter meaning (use only the first letter) than the former (remove the first letter). However, if I accept that words can sometimes be used cryptically, such as “detail” (de-tail) and “nog” (no G) etc, then maybe I should accept “openly” too.

  42. No, RB, don’t weaken: “openly” is rubbish.
    “detail” is a different kettle of fish: you can parse it as either “detail” OR “de-tail” i.e. there are two legitimate ways of interpreting it, one of which is very handy
    when you are setting a cryptic crossword. (cf handy, candy, etc!)
    But “openly” has only one legitimate way of being parsed: as the adverb “openly” which just doesn’t come close to the desired “top off” interpretation.

  43. Yes I agree in that regard: you can’t really parse “openly” any other way, unlike for instance de-tail, no-g, c-and-y etc. And it seems we both agree that, unlike “open”, “openly” doesn’t really lend itself to the “take the top off” interpretation. So I may be vacillating, but you have helped push me back on the right side of the fence a little!

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