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

Don’t understand something?

Have you questions answered in the comments.

Update: Google helped me out on what I had left undone: I’d never heard of a tui; I learn now that the xpt is a train; and dramedy popped out after that.

27 thoughts on “DA’s Confoundings on the 20th/21st of August, 2010

  1. Don’t fully understand the wordplay in 2D. I know it’s a brilliant 24A, i’ve got the pest but the rest is a mystery.

  2. Fantaboulous is the brilliant portmanteu and after exterminating the ant it still means brilliant.

    Like 16A, but I don’t understand 15A

  3. JJ, were you thinking that “lous” was an “exterminated” louse in 2D? I was barking up that tree for a long time!

  4. For 16A was precaution intended to be spelt incorrectly? I’m trying to understand how sic comes into the answer.

  5. Excellent puzzle this week, made harder for me by not being familiar with the 24A actress, and struggling with the portmanteaux in 10A, 20D. I particularly enjoyed 16A, 13D, and 15A, all typical DA.

    I didn’t like the definition for 1A: “yuppie” = AFFLUENZA. A yuppie (person) may suffer from affluenza (a condition), but it’s more word association than definition.

  6. Couldn’t get the main theme until I worked out the last letter of 24A. Had vaguely heard of the Hollywood person (having got her first name in 4D), so it all fitted and (almost) everything fell into place. Now I have all but 5D. I’m assuming the homophone part of the clue refers to the first part, not the last.

  7. I really liked this one, as I expressed in the other thread.

    RB:
    I had marked 1A as a fail for exactly the same reason, but then realized that it is an &lit (note question mark at the end). Only just good enough on that score, too, but I now give it a bare pass.

    Dave R: Your assumption is right. Hard to give you a further clue without giving it away. This was among my last words too, and it’s hard to see why now that I have it.

    Just one complaint: I felt (as someone did in the other thread) that 15A was too laboured. Very clever when you have the solution; but to me, wordplay should be capable of contributing to the solution of the clue. With 15A, as occasionally with DA clues, the ONLY hope you have of getting the answer is from the definition, and then you work back to find the wordplay. (I am willing to be contradicted if anyone tells me they got there by seeing MATE, thinking of COPULATE*, removing the COP and adding the AD.)

    One wordplay query: explanation of 10A, please. I see the “I” and then stop.

    *in a nice abstract crosswordy way

  8. I got amped for 21d from the wordplay & understand it may mean charged but can anyone please explain the cultural significance of the Gen-Y vein reference?

    7d is cute.

    More homonyms than usual.

    I thought 21a was v clever (even though au for gold at the start gives it away).

  9. Supposedly, JK, only those born between 1982 and 1998 use the term. For us baby boomers, amps are more likely to indicate resistance, but then we were much more political.

  10. AG, re 1A, you may be right that DA intended it as &lit, but here are two factors militating against that theory. To qualify as &lit or even partial &lit, all or most of the clue has to constitute the definition, and this clue doesn’t quite work that way IMO. The words “treat” and non-wary” don’t seem relevant to the definition. The other factor is that DA usually marks his &lits with a “!”, not a “?” (although I concede that he went against this convention three weeks ago with CRAIC).

  11. RB:
    I’m not really happy with it either. OK with “non-wary” – if one is wary, perhaps one doesn’t catch the disease – but certainly “treat” is hard to justify within the &lit.

    Can any other solver (in the light of my and RB’s comments above) justify 1A as a well-formed clue?

  12. Maybe the “?” is an admission on DA’s part that the clue is not ideal, but possibly constrained by deadlines, or not being able to tidy it up effectively, has left it thus.

  13. Yep, 1A was definitely messy. Despite a certain licence with definitions, DA is rarely inelegant.

  14. OK, I can (just about) accept it’s an &lit, and the “?” may well signify untidiness or oblique definition or whatever, but where’s the trailing “!”?

    For as long as I’ve been doing DA crosswords, he’s always terminated his &lits with a “!” even if there was also a “?”. As I said above, he missed the “!” three weeks ago with CRAIC, and he seems to have done it again here.

  15. Maybe it’s another case of substandard editing that seems to be plaguing DA’s crosswords?

  16. RB, AG, I read “non wary” as part of the anagram, not the definition ie “treat” is the anagram trigger, the anagram consists of “a frenzy awful”, another “a” and then take out “wary”. Perhaps this is obvious and you are talking about something else. I don’t really understand the “&lit” references & would love an explanation. I assumed that a word like disease or condition had been left off the end of the intended clue (due to deadline or oversight or typo). Not sure what I made of the question mark.

  17. JK:
    I’ll try to clarify. The wordplay part of the clue is as you describe it: “treat” signifying anagram of (a+frenzy+awful+a-wary). For a normally constructed clue that would mean that “yuppie” remains as the definition part, and that was RB’s original complaint – affluenza is not a yuppie. As you suggest, adding a word such as “condition” (or something a bit less obvious) would make it a correct orthodox clue. Maybe it was a composition error, although that’s rare (not non-existent) for DA.

    My alternative suggestion was that perhaps it was a &lit. This is a clue type used occasionally by DA and some other compilers where the *entire* clue is a definition – in this case (to further paraphrase the clue) an awful frenzy in which unwary yuppies can become involved (there’s an allusion here to the synonymous term “yuppie flu”). But that seems to leave hanging the “Treat” at the start; and besides, as RB notes, usually &lits are signified by an exclamation mark.

    All in all, the clue just seems to end up kinda rough. As AS said, that’s rare for DA.

    And this whole thing doesn’t detract from what was a rattling good crossword.

  18. Just about to post this and I see AG has beaten me to it, but I’ll go ahead anyway.

    JK, the way I see it is this:

    Like you (and, I think, AG), I originally interpreted the clue as:
    wordplay: “Treat a frenzy – awful – involving a non-wary”
    definition: “yuppie”

    This is an unsatisfactory definition so maybe there’s a word missing (like disease/condition), as you suggest. Or maybe, it’s an &lit clue, as AG suggests.

    Wikipedia says &lit stands for “and literally so”, and goes on to say “the entire clue is both a definition and a cryptic clue”. DA himself said in an article a couple of years ago (Meanjin and The Age) that “… wordplay also serves literally as definition. Reliably clued by an exclamation mark”.

    Sometimes (all too often) an &lit doesn’t quite fit the above slick description: only part of the clue constitutes the definition and/or wordplay, but there is a marked overlap of wordplay with definition, so some people call it a partial &lit. (Others might object, calling it “double duty”!)

    In the particular case of 1A, as I said above, there are two factors militating against &lit status: “treat” and “non-wary” do not seem to be part of the definition (although AG is a bit more lenient – see above), and there is no trailing “!”.

    PS A more recent DA &lit than CRAIC three weeks ago (where there was no trailing “!”) was 16D in last week’s puzzle (where there was a trailing “!”).

  19. I almost wish I didn’t find this so interesting & such a distraction from work! I do feel like a DA novice even though we (wife & I) have been doing DA for a couple of years & other cryptics prior to that. Great to have this forum. Thanks.

  20. Agreed, “!?” at the end would have made more sense. All in all though, yet another frustrating/infinitely-enjoyable crossword yet again!! Can’t wait for the next one!

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