The DA Debate on the 12/13th of November, 2010

Let me start with my bugbear: ellipses.

In DA’s book, Puzzled, he mentioned that comfort with ellipses was a sign of cryptic mastery. I’m more than willing to concede that I am no cryptic master, but I think the inconsistent way ellipses are used is simply unfair.

This week, it was 7 and 8 across that were connected by ellipses, which ordinarily has no effect on how one interprets the clue, but on this occasion 8 across required the last word of 7 across, brothers, to make sense.

If such a reading were standard or if it was marked, I’d have no problem with it, but it’s the inconsistency — mostly you don’t need to worry about ellipses, sometimes you do — that annoys me.

Am I the only one howling at the moon?

Other controversial points:

  1. I wouldn’t like pink = red or orange = yellow, and I reckon brown = maroon is just as weak;
  2. I’m OK with rose referring to the wine — is the general consensus that that was crossing the line, though?
  3. blind as an anagram indicator — can anyone justify that?
  4. service as an anagram indicator: jnrj didn’t like it, but I find it acceptable.

So, your thoughts?

8 thoughts on “The DA Debate on the 12/13th of November, 2010

  1. I agree that ellipses should be used consistently. There’s enough area for doubt already, especially with DA!

    I definitely didn’t like equating ‘brown’ with ‘maroon’ – needed to include some modification of ‘red’ for me. However, I’m OK with ‘rose’ as ‘red’.

    Of the same opinion as AS re the anagram indicators.

  2. 1. yeah, don’t think maroon is a shade of brown (or vice versa,) so i don’t like it

    2. If there was an acute over the e in rose, then all would have been dandy. i have no idea what the precedents are on accent omissions in cryptic clues

    3. i read it as blind = blind drunk

    4. i like to think of an anagram as giving the letters a good ol’ servicing

  3. I’ve already commented on all these points in the confusions thread, but I won’t miss this opportunity to repeat myself!
    1. Agree with mic.
    2. Agree with mic. But I think a clarification is needed here. I think rose (the colour) = red is OK (is that what pianojenny is saying?), but not rose (without the acute accent) = red wine. Unless, as mic says, accent ommission is somehow permissible in cryptic clues.
    3. Agree with mic. So it boils down to whether you’ll accept drunk as as anagram indicator. (I will).
    4. Agree with mic. So I find this one OK too.

    As for ellipses, my view is that inconsistency is the very stuff of cryptics. For example, “say” can mean “for example”, or “state”, or it can be a homophone indicator. So the ellipsis is just another confusing device that we solvers have to puzzle over.

  4. For the defense of maroon/red, the word ‘maroon’ hails from the french ‘marron’ for chestnut, a word with definite brown associations. Maybe I wouldn’t describe a rose (accented) wine as being maroon. A more robust cab sav could be.

  5. JD: some confusion seems to have crept in here.
    1) Your sixth word reads “red”. The question is whether maroon = brown (see 20A) so I assume this is a typo and you meant “brown”?
    2) I believe the debate over rose (accented) is not about its colour. (And not even DA has claimed it is maroon!). And it’s not even about whether it can be truly classified as a red wine. The question is whether the wine commonly written as rose (accented) can also be written WITHOUT the accent. My expertise on wine is scant, so I can only raise the question, not answer it.

  6. The blind = drunk angle makes blind a clever anagram indicator. I like it!

    And I’m OK with rose without the accent because nearly all other French words in the English language appear regularly without the French accents. I can think of the following just off the top of my head: cafe, resume, cause celebre, idee fixe, vis a vis.

    If they’re all OK, I reckon rose = wine is OK too.

  7. And on the ellipses, I’ve turned: I think you’re right RB, but only when the clue uses the last or first word of the previous or next clue.

    What I won’t ever like is when the ellipses make use of the answer of the previous or next clue. DA has done that a couple of times, and that goes too far because it requires too much brain racking before the realisation that the answer of the previous or next clue is needed. (If it was explicitly marked, though, I think it would be a pretty cool clue type)

  8. A dissenting view, perhaps – I had no issues with: ellipsis (I like the ambiguity, even when it involves the answer to the previous clue); maroon is as much brown as it is some funny shade of red (and chasing up your debate on google I found many examples of rich warm brown & brown-reddish colours, e.g. leather goods); in catalogues and winery websites, the non-red, non-white wine is either rose or rosé (my authority on this is Cassegrain’s excellent winery near Port Macquarie).

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