DA on the 29/30th of October, 2010

DA already alluded to it and philth has confirmed it: this week’s DA is an absolute cracker.

This week’s is not one to miss.

(No spoilers on this thread until Monday)

Update: A legendary pearler that cleverly combines a word search with a cryptic crossword:

A move to Brunswick, biblical rains and a divine DA creation was my happy Saturday. DA Para-Pantheon for mine — very enjoyable indeed.

Finding DA Anywhere in the World

Peter, a frequent commenter, is off overseas shortly and asks how to access DA crosswords from far away on the last post.

RV and Ian chimed in with a very handy suggestion, something I’d never heard of before and might be of interest to any one of you, and here they are in their own words:

Peter, if you can access the SMH smart edition you can see online the newspaper as it is in print, including the crossword. If you have a subscription to the SMH the smart edition access comes with it. you can also subscribe directly to the smart edition for a fee. any other way to see DA when away?

Yes, SMH Smart edition is what I do. Being a Melburnian but wanting the crossie on Friday like it always was, I buy a single edition every Friday ($2 a pop), navigate to the right page, and there is an option to print a selected area of the page. $2 is less than the coffee I drink while doing it.

DA Gold for the 22nd/23rd of October, 2010

15 across: Sweet sole trader? (7)
Excellent double-definition clue, one that had me thinking of fish at first: sweet = COBBLER = sole trader.

5 down: Poet raised with poor taste — does he leave this raised then? (6, 4)
Very amusing: poet raised with poor taste = ELIOT raised with TSEAT = TOILET SEAT = does he leave this raised then?

28 across: It descreases livestock fly with livestock? (5)
A nice one that took a while to click: livestock fly with livestock = BOT OX = BOTOX = it decreases (de-creases).

DA Confusion on the 22nd/23rd of October, 2010

All your confusions you can list below and before long you’ll have your questions sorted out.

Update: I few perplexities, such as:

1 down: A Roman reformer turned a corner with copper aboard… (9)
Yep, calling Spartacus a reformer rather than a recalcitrant or some other such rebellious term was just shite, but how did SS manage to contain partacu? Aren’t we missing a containment indicator?

24 down: Did he design St Paul’s wings as well? (4)
Can this clue be salvaged?

23 across: Picked up soft cheeses for a picnic? (6)
I’m assuming the answer is breeze, but what’s the second cheese?

20 across: Pale-skinned loonie cancelled one yearbook (7)
How does this become almanac?

More DA Trivia

This week’s DA had a whole host of peculiar and exciting words to delight. First cab off the rank, Sandinista.

Like many a youth, my late teens were about sticking it up to the man, and few people have ever stuck up to the man like Sandino and his revolutionary offspring, the FSLN, otherwise known as Sandinistas.

I won’t bore you with politics, but I will tell you this: the Sandinistas brought together some deaf kids in special learning schools when they took power, and these kids invented their own sign language that was completely distinct from what their teachers, untrained in teaching language to deaf children, were teaching them.

What the deaf Nicaraguan kids had done was invent a completely new language from scratch, and if the Sandinistas and sticking it to the man aren’t your bag, the story of these kids undoubtedly is.

Shar Pei
No doubt, Shar Pei was DA’s linguistic saviour this week. I bet he was faced with S_A_P_I, stuck those letters into a crossword solver and Shar Pei came out.

Surprisingly enough, I knew of the existence of these wrinkly canines, although I didn’t remember their name, because I had watched a sappy human-interest story on A Current Affair many, many years ago.

A child with too much skin had been born to two loving parents, and the poor thing ended up looking a helluva lot like a human Shar Pei, so A Current Affair stepped in and ran with a story that told of the child’s trials and tribulations. It made me laugh, it made me cry, but more importantly it gave me hope: it was conjectured in the story that this wrinkly child would grow into his skin just like Shar Peis do.

And here’s another reason why Wikipedia might indeed be the world’s greatest monument to unrealised potential at work: George W Bush liked writing with Sharpie markers so much, he often refused to write with anything else.

El Prado
I do so very much love it when people naturally use an something’s unofficial name in common parlance. El Prado is actually Museo del Prado, or Museum of the Lawn. It’s name comes from the public garden and green lawns that the museum is situated within and which no one is allowed to step on (why is it prohibited to walk on so many lawns throughout Europe?)

I assumed panjandrum was another of those great words from India that reveal some rather ugly power relationships: sahib, pariah, coolie, brahmin, sudra.

But no, panjandrum was an inspired invention by one Samuel Foote, who deflated the ego of an actor claiming he could memorise anything he had read only once.

Curiously enough, a panjandrum is also an experimental, explosive military device that was never used in battle.

Hooke’s Law
The greatest piece of linguistic trivia from this week’s DA comes from Hooke’s law, a law that was first expressed in Latin in anagrammatic form as ceiiinosssttuv in order to hide this piece of scientific brilliance: ut tensio, sic vis, or as the tension, so the force. Hooke was by no means crazy, though: he did this to lay claim to his discovery as soon as possible, which was before he was ready to publish his experimental results, while still keeping his law under wraps. All of this was actually quite common in the 17th century, and something even Galileo did.

And if it’s good enough for Newton, it’s good enough for me too to stand on the shoulders of giants and contribute to science thusly: eevvinosstuvvcnmmu.

DA Debate for October 15/16th, 2010

A new category for a very common phenomenon: debates on whether something or other was appropriate.

Here’s what I thought was up for debate:

  • stab = speculate on in 12 across. As far as I’m aware, for stab to take on that meaning, it’s take a stab or have a stab, never stab alone, and using the meaning of a phrase’s operative word in a definition seems a step too far.
  • lobbing = arrival in 24 across. I assumed from the word lobby that lobbing had something to do with an arrival. Then I looked in the dictionary and didn’t find anything to support what I supposed. Can this be defended?
  • get at = contact in 6 across. How does that work?