DA Bullshit from the 7/8th of April

4 down: Weaving couple opening 3-down? (4)
While there have already been attempts made, I think each of those explanations bears a faint whiff of bullshit.

Couple = hug just doesn’t cut it for me, nor does what jnrj proposes, which I don’t really understand.

Feel free to defend this clue in the comments or help me see the light.

22 thoughts on “DA Bullshit from the 7/8th of April

  1. clue seems fine to me

    is the problem that while hugging implies coupling? coupling doesn’t imply hugging?
    i’m generally happy for the clue word to indicate a more specific answer word, but not necessarily vice versa

    to couple is to link or connect
    to hug is to link or connect, specifically by grasping

  2. I’m with you on this one AS, mic’s explanation notwithstanding. I just can’t think of a situation or a phrase where “hug” or “couple” would be both appropriate and mean the same thing. Except when used figuratively, hugging is something humans do (and primates, bears…), and coupling for these animals usually entails something a bit more than just hugging!

    Also, even if you had two objects (A and B, say) which could be said to be hugging or coupled, there’s a problem with usage. You can say A hugs B, but you can’t say A couples B. You can say A and B are hugging, but you can’t say A and B are coupling (unless you want to conjure up images alluded to in previous para). You can say A and B are coupled (together) but you can’t say A and B are hugged (unless there is a third party C who is hugging both of them). You can say A is coupled to B, but you can’t say A is hugged to B.

  3. jnjr is right, and it’s a much nicer explanation than couple = hug. “Couple opening 3-down” = OO. The first O is a hug. Actually, quite brilliant, and I think it’s my second favourite this week after 1a.

  4. I agree with RB & AS that “couple” simply does not work to indicate “hug”. Ian, jnjr’s explanation is indeed clever … one would have to ask DA if that was his intent.

    But even if 4D passes muster, the otherwise excellent 21A/25D can replace it as BS, due to the flawed conflation of “spoon” and “neck”. To spoon is to snuggle and lie in a position where one person faces the back of the other, i.e. like two spoons in a drawer. In contrast [per WordNet], to neck is to kiss, embrace, or fondle with sexual passion; “The couple were necking in the back seat of the car”.

    savaged letters of REVIEWERS minus V, which ‘choke’ THE, followed by SPOON for ‘neck’ – pr

  5. Doh, please ignore the text scraps at the end… missed due to the tiny text entry box + lack of preview.
    (An “edit comment” option would help – but I guess WordPress is intended for blogging, not forums.)

  6. Sorry, didn’t see jnjr’s suggestion in the other thread. It seems far likelier that this suggestion is correct, rather than DA referring to 3D merely to get the letter ‘o’, that seems like overkill.

    MF, re 21A, while my personal definitions are the same as yours, according to Chambers on-line:
    spoon: “to kiss and cuddle”
    neck: “to hug and kiss amorously”
    I think our definition of “spooning” is more contemporary

  7. Spoon = neck is fine. It seems “spoon” can mean either “kiss and cuddle” or “lie like spoons”.

    4D is fascinating. I agree with Ian and mic that jnrj’s explanation in the other thread (which I didn’t get at first) is much neater. And ingenious. And like mic, I too thought that referring to 3D merely to get one O was strange.

  8. I cant agree. The question mark means that the 2 words are almost synonymous. It’s not like its stretched so far as to have ‘concur’ and ‘hug’ linked. (Jnjr’s idea is creative but to go from ‘o’ to hug is a bigger stretch)

    I just think there are better clues:

    Make-up for opening 3-down victor?

    Weaving grand finale replaced with 3 down opening?

    V for Vendetta’s V-victor?

  9. Didn’t realise until just now that my explanation of 4D was part of a raging controversy. For what it’s worth, I disagree with DG that it is a stretch to go from ‘hug’ to ‘o’ – particularly in the age of texting. By way of evidence, let me cite that paragon of cultural relevance, the TV show “Gossip Girl”, which finishes every episode with “XOXO – Gossip Girl”. Now while GG doesn’t explicitly say what she understands by this sign-off slogan for her fictional blog, I think it’s pretty obvious that it means “hugs and kisses”. (By the way, it’s my teenage daughter who is the fan of GG – I’m just an innocent bystander caught in the cultural backwash!)

    Given that we’ve already had one ‘deus ex machina’ visitation from DA this week, I don’t like our chances of a further intervention to clarify our confusion – though there’s a nice irony I think in the fact that DA was extolling the virtues of cryptic crosswords as “the only place I know where complex language creates absolute clarity” in this Wordplay column this week. Just as well he added the caveat “usually” …

  10. Oh, and by the way, I think the question mark means that there is a quirk beneath the surface, not that the synonym is slightly dodgy. There’s plenty of other dodgy synonyms (such as the spoon/neck one mentioned above) that don’t get the question mark treatment … :)

  11. “Weaving couple opening 3-down?”

    If that means use “oo” then ‘couple’ is redundant. I also dont think that “oo” can be read as ‘hug-o’ any more than “and” could be read as ‘a new democrat’ or ‘a November daughter’

  12. DG, in the “jnrj explanation”, the word “couple” is NOT redundant. It indicates that we need not just the opening letter (O) but the opening TWO letters (OO). As for OO=HUGO, DA often breaks up a word into individual letters eg NOIR = NO IR (from last year, when piracy became pacy); NOT = NO T; LEGEND = LEG END; etc etc. I’m not fully convinced that DA intended this “jnrj explanation”, but I think it’s quite possible, maybe probable, and very neat! The only way we’ll ever know for sure is if we have another “deus ex machina” visitation.

  13. NO T is different. I dont think ‘Manage the smallest trio opening 3-down’?(3) where 3-down is “notional” is acceptable. I think it lacks a step. (‘Manage the smallest? Not!’ would be a fine (yet uninspiring clue))

  14. Just the same ‘myth’ couldnt indicate ‘g’. (It’s too big a stretch to change ‘myth’ to ‘legend’ and then make that ‘g’)

  15. I agree in both your examples (the first one took me a while to see what you were getting at). And I agree my examples were not directly applicable to the clue we’re discussing. But I mentioned them because they do show that DA is prepared to break a word down into small components.

    Also, DA has a habit of treating two occurrences of an item differently: so for example “two circles” might indicate “Ringo”. Or in this case “oo” might be “Hugo”.

    For the clue in question, there is as you say an extra step: we first have to derive “oo” from “couple opening 3-down” and then interpret the two o’s as hug-o. Is this too big a stretch for DA? I don’t know.

  16. It is too big. Similarly if ‘myth’ was used for ‘g’ Id give up in disgust. (Its like rhyming slang where ‘butcher’s’ means ‘look’ but would draw a blank response if one has never heard ‘butcher’s hook’ used.)

  17. mic, re 21A
    > I think our definition of “spooning” is more contemporary

    Not quite — the Oxford dates our definition back to 1887!

  18. Doing the tricky work on a synonym, i.e. going myth = legend = leg end = g, is really far too hard.

    But going couple opening ooh = oo = Hugo is reasonable because the letters are all there in front of your face.

    Having to think of the right synonym and then performing some complex action on that synonym is a huge imposition, a step too far in my opinion, but doing two tricky things on letters that are on the page is OK.

    And in this case, I thought OO = Hugo was quite awesome — once I was told how that worked.

  19. Agree with AS et al. OO=Hugo is more than acceptable and the clue was one of the highlights of a relatively straight-forward puzzle.

  20. Way behind with my DA crosswords and have just read all of these comments. Thank you jnrj for explaining the oo=hugo clue. DA gold for mine and clearly DA’s intention. and thanks rb for the oo=ringo too!

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