Confused by DA on the 19/20th of March, 2010

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24 thoughts on “Confused by DA on the 19/20th of March, 2010

  1. 22D – only one that stumped us. Are we looking for an ore of Mercury?

  2. Nick, while the clue would still work without “if working”, it tells us that the thing we are looking for that snaps in bits is unbroken unlike many other things which would be broken when they snap in bits.
    Brendan, no we’re not.

  3. I solved all clues but am still confused about some of them – can anyone help?
    14D – I see the connection to 1D but why ‘knot’ exactly?
    1A – Is ‘Spartan’ fair game for Greek? Sneaky!
    28A – I get ‘a spire’ but not the rest.
    Loved 17A, 18D and 20A.

  4. @Mikey H: I agree re 14D ‘knot’, which I think is far-fetched for something like ‘a bit in the middle’, unless there’s something we’re both missing – but I don’t think there is. In 28A, it’s a double definition: ‘aspire to open early’ = ‘aspire’ with an opening (space) early in the word; then the remainder also defines. That one was OK to me.

    I’m unhappy about others.

    Didn’t like 17D: appears to be really just a one-part clue, an extended definition that contained a little joke within itself.

    11A was clever, but somehow not quite satisfying when you consider that the ‘atta’ in ‘attaboy’ is an abbreviation for ‘that’s the’.

    In 20D, the ‘times – not first of all’ part took me a while to see, and when I did it just seemed strained.

  5. That’s what DA does a fair bit of – straining!

    Agree with comments on 14D (knot) and 17D (one-part clue with joke).

    20D: Well disguised definition (Professional hits). But I agree with AG about the ERS bit (ERAS minus the first letter of the alphabet).

    12A: Who? That’s a rhetorical question. I worked it out from the cryptic def, and then confirmed by googling.

    15A: I thought the last part of the clue was unnecessary and a bit messy. The only relevance seems to be to help identify what kind of pupil we’re talking about, but it boxes the definition (“surrounding pupil”) into the middle of the clue. Another thing – shouldn’t it be “pupils” (plural).

    16D: What’s the definition here? Is it the complete clue? The only Alf I know is Alf Garnett, but googling showed up the American sitcom ALF.

    Help required with 27A (I have M_L_S__) and 19D (I have S_H_EP_)

  6. I thought it was all OK. Mom was not well, so is still struggling through it, but got a good laugh from 3D, 4D and 21D, and we reminisced over the 23A of mine that she and dad drank for me after which they said, ‘Gee that was very nice’ !
    14D The know of letters is OK.
    12A I knew this one becasue they were rude to my niece at a school camp.
    16D Regular refers to using some of the letters regularly spaced.
    27A Oz expression for sissy
    19D Yiddish expression for drag or carry with effort

  7. Forgot to say above, I found the 23A in the back of a pub out west. It was covered in dust, so they let me have it for $10 !

  8. RB, 20D: A is not the first letter of the alphabet here, it is the first letter of ALL

    still stuck on 27A and:

    19D: is this SCHLEPP? then shouldn’t it be “very” quietly?
    28A: Is this steeple? then what’s the “open early” bit?

  9. oh, just got 27A via the cryptic part. had to google the word. never heard of it

  10. 19D: yes; quietly = p, pp or sh, etc, but of course, RB, pp is also very quietly
    28A: I thought the open early referred to making aspire = a spire !

  11. 16D: Thanks Peter. I had already grasped the cryptic explanation – I just couldn’t really get a handle on the direct definition (which I thought referred to Alf Garnett). But then as I was keying in my query I also discovered, via Google, the American sitcom ALF. So I guess I answered my own question – the direct definition is just “sitcom”.

    20D: Thanks, mic, for the correct interpretation of “Not first of all”. That makes the clue better.

    19D: Never heard of it. But, like mic, I must protest. p=piano=softly; pp=pianissimo=very softly. This is an unfairly misleading clue. If DA is going to use technical terms, he should at least get them right.

    27A: With the help of the last letter P, I now have the answer.

    28A: I’m sure Peter’s right about “open early”. AG thought so too – see earlier.

    16A: Still have a query here. Surely each eye has one pupil and one retina. So if the answer is RETINAE then the clue should refer to “pupils”.

  12. That RETINAE is certain bullshit, as was ICC for 199.

    Granted, there was some inconsistency in the Romans’ use of Roman numerals, but there was a standard, and the standard says you write 199 as CIC, and that’s what cryptics should follow. Otherwise, next thing you know, 199 will suddenly be CLXXXXVIIII, which is a way that it was written on certain occasions, or we’ll be dealing with SHAKESPERE rather than SHAKESPEARE because that was a variation back in the day.

  13. actually, i’m fairly sure the orthodox way of writing 199 in roman numerals is CXCIX
    i’m still happy with the playfulness of it as ICC though

  14. Re 6D: The interpretation just discussed assumes that ICC is contained within an anagram of “recalcitrant”. But where’s the containment indicator? Surely not “joins”? And it can’t be “mobs”, because that’s gotta be the anagram indicator.

    My interpretation is different. I reckon CIC joins “recalcitrant” and the whole mix goes into the anagram process, as indicated by the not-very-good anagram indicator “mobs”.

    BTW, didn’t we once have a similar discussion on IMM for 1999?

  15. I agree with RB and AG on 6D, and a Google search confirms that mic is right that 199 =CXCIX (not that I ever doubted you, mic!) so CIC is an error of DA, but not a serious one since I reckon we all thought that 199 is CIC.
    But how does 14D work?

  16. I found one source which seemed to suggest that 199 would more correctly be CXCVIIII, because apparently “the ancient Romans…did not use the 20th century convention of IX for the number nine”. But I reckon that’s going too far!

    Re 14D:
    “Outback runner” = EMU
    “1-down climbing knot” = DEMUSER knot = EMU
    As for how the word “knot” is being used here, see AG’s comment above, of a couple of days ago.

  17. Ah. So a knot joins two strings, in ordinary parlance, and if you interpret a ‘string’ in the mathematical sense, as a concatenation of characters, you get a ‘knot’ as some of the characters in the middle of a word. But it’s like your murder mysteries on TV, think about it for more than a minute and it’s full of holes. But still entertaining.

  18. I thought it meant just a clump or cluster, or even a knot as found in a piece of timber.

  19. AG: thanks for the ‘a spire’ clarification. Fair game. ‘Knot’ is also acceptable I suppose but not as neat.

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