DA’s Whereabouts

DA’s everywhere in what must be the Chinese year of the cruciverbalist (what would be our totem? A bower bird, perhaps?).

He’s on Letters and Numbers each weeknight at 6pm on SBS, and if you can’t get yourself to a television to watch, you can download the show.

He was on the radio with Jon Faine yesterday, which the internet now brings to your listening pleasure (thanks TT).

And he’s doing various fun stuff as part of the Melbourne International Writers Festival, all of which is better explained on his DA’s own blog.

David Astle — Clued!

There can only be one rightful owner of the copy of Puzzled that I’m giving away, and the many splendid clues that laid claim to the book prove how highly prized DA’s prose stylings are.

The clues I particularly enjoyed were the following:

  • haiku’s Five hundred salivated about puzzler (a great anagram and a great image of DA groupies wanting a piece of him)
  • MH’s Enigma maestro catching cricket’s Rahul outright with least spin (I love a cricketing reference)
  • CL’s Setter teased with valid ego trips (the e go is indeed a nice homage)
  • RB’s Eccentric diva outlasted TV wordsmith (an elegantly constructed clue)
  • MC’s Setter crunched data devils and MF’s Data devils setter! (MC found the artfully apt anagram and produced the elegant clue, while MF turned the artfully apt anagram into a very nice partial &lit)

MC’s and MF’s combined work also made me think of what could be DA’s &lit call sign: Devil’s data setter!

But the pick of the bunch is mic’s exceptionally excellent Is keen to go into 500 cryptic tales! It’s &lit and it’s about DA’s book — a tour de force!

mic, you are the rightful owner of the copy of Puzzled that’s sitting on my desk. Send me an email with your address and I’ll mail you what’s now yours.

DA on the 27th of August, 2010

Is DA pulling out his finest work on the verge of his book being published?

(No spoilers on this thread until Monday)

Update: Quality, but perplexing:

It’s a DA dedicated to the peripheral: persimmon, Ross Sea, infobahn, Mount Wellington, yulara, Great Firewall of China, beau monde and botty are all words that simply don’t spring to mind when given the direct clue.

A tough one for mine, not particularly brilliant either, but solid.

Has DP Let Me Down?

I really enjoy a good DP crossword and I tend to do one maybe once a month or so. Yesterday happened to be one such day, but it wasn’t such an enjoyable experience, and I’m posting this because I want to know if I’m right to feel aggrieved.

20 down: Bill’s representing mail users (7)
The answer is posters, but that means bill’s = poster’s and the apotrophe is dropped. I know the convention is that apostrophes aren’t marked in the letter count, i.e. George’s is (7) and not (6′ 1), but is what DP did in this clue taking things too far? I certainly didn’t think so.

8 down: What dentist is doing at end of day’s play? (7, 6)
The answer: drawing stumps. What does that have to do with a dentist?

22 down: Copper gets charged when domed (7)
I was confused on this one for a very long time: the answer is cupolar, which means gets charged = polar or charged = polar and gets is what I would consider an unfair link word. Either way, charged = polar and gets charged = polar seem highly dubious to me. Am I right to feel aggrieved here?

18 down: Draw in a westward direction (3)
The answer is draw in = tow = a westward direction. But am I the only one to find a westward direction = tow highly iffy?

15 across: Tools for the sewer bugs (7)
No complaints on this one: I just wanted to finish on a good note. This one’s a glorious piece of subterfuge that I’ll let you guys work out.

DA in Print

DA has written a book about crosswords!

It’s called Puzzled: Secrets and Clues from a Life Lost in Words, and the very kind Jessica Post from Allen & Unwin has sent me a copy to read and a copy to give away.

The book is the whole shebang: a history of crosswords, a history of DA’s playing with words, a guide on how to solve cryptics, a rundown on where crosswords are at now and a cornucopia of linguistic trivia.

Better still, this blog gets a mention:

The book will be released next month some time and is well worth getting your hands on.

I’ve got one copy to give away, and, like Solomon, I have devised a test to determine the book’s rightful owner: whoever creates the best cryptic clue for DA’s real name, David Astle, will have DA’s Puzzled arriving in their letterbox.

Comedian Larry heckles stale cruciverbalist is my attempt at winning the book that I’m giving away, but I’m sure someone else will come up with something better.

You have until this coming Friday, 11:59pm, and only two clues per person please (I don’t want to be reading a War and Peace of clues).  Hopefully DA is reading this and is willing to judge who has created the best clue, but if not, I’ll decide the winner over the weekend.

The Gold of the 20th/21st of August, 2010

16 across: Virgin precaution [that’s how it reads] linked to degree in weight? (7)
Great definition: that’s how it reads linked to degree in weight = SIC linked to BA in KG = SICKBAG = Virgin precaution.

21 down: Copied clothing? May initially be charged in Gen-Y vein (5)
I liked the slang, but even more so I liked the punctuation that led me astray: copied clothing? may initially = APED clothing M = AMPED = be charged in Gen-Y vein.

2 down: Brilliant 24-across (portmanteau) unchanged by pest extermination (11)
Freakin’ genius: portmanteau unchanged by pest extermination = FANTABULOUS (fantabulous – ant = fabulous = fantabulous) = brilliant.

27 across: Hippie’s advice to enjoy number? (5)
I spent a while thinking DA was being tricky and meant number in the sense of something that numbs. I should have concentrated on the simpler option from the start, which also turns out to be amusing: hippie’s advice to enjoy = DIG IT = DIGIT = number.

17 down: Rumpus room using Titanic 24-across (portmanteau) (9)
Just when you might have thought you’ve read all possible anagram indicators, out comes DA with the inspired rumpus. Like this: rumpus room using = GINORMOUS = Titanic portmanteau.

19 down: Faux pas cryptically close to dropping a beer (7)
Features one of those delightful tricks that is almost impossible to work out before the answer becomes apparent: faux pas cryptically close to dropping a = SLIP UP cryptically NEAR dropping A = PILS NER = PILSNER = beer.

DA on the 20th/21st of August, 2010

Happy times, happy days — I love voting, and here’s hoping for a stellar election-themed crossword.

(No spoilers on this thread until Monday)

Update: A very, very good DA — para Pantheon for mine:

It’s perhaps the perfect cryptic crossword theme: a grammatical feature. And what’s even better, at least for me: it’s a self-referential grammatical feature whose name is derived from another language: portmanteau is a portmanteau and is French for carries the cloak!

A quality crossword that I grappled with for most of Saturday between voting, football watching (even though the Tigers lost, I really enjoyed watching their improvement against the Saints) and election partying.

It took me a while, but I eventually worked out the theme when cinema’s Natalie made things obvious. By the sound of things, though, not too many of you are familiar with Natalie Portman. That’s a shame because, although I consider her acting to be wooden at best, she’s played in two great films: The Professional and V for Vendetta. The latter film I particularly recommend to any lefties among you who have ever daydreamed of blowing up politicians of the right (have I just revealed I voted Green?)

Labradoodle also made me laugh a childish laugh: labra in Spanish is the verb work, and, well, I don’t think I need to say anything more.