Confusions for the Christmas DA on the 24/25th of December, 2010

Here’s where you have all your questions sorted out — so that you can return to socialising rather than cruciverbalising.

43 thoughts on “Confusions for the Christmas DA on the 24/25th of December, 2010

  1. Ted – Do you have 1A?
    A saying meaning ‘you’re welcome’. Then ‘bung is TAP and ‘rifle’ is ROB, ‘piercing’ indicating inside ‘fruit with a twist” which is LEMON (or MELON) becoming NO…LEM.
    That opens up 9A, 6D, 24D and 15D, which all stem from this meaning.

  2. Stuck on 3d – is it slang? Also, not sure of the word play for the tail ends of 25a and 13d; 9d; 21d and 24,15d… any hints/ideas?

  3. Yes – 3D is youth slang! ‘depending’ is the ending of ‘dep’, and ‘headgear’ is HAT.
    25A – ‘horseplay’ is POLO.
    13D – IN OFF is a foul in snooker and ‘ball’ is O.

    9A – doughnuts is OO
    21D – DA uses ‘flower’ for river (flow-er)!
    24,15D – Think of ‘Mum’s the word’, and ‘tech department’ as the computer department.

    I need a hint for 7A.

  4. Thanks Ted – for 1d think of a word for groove, then break it down into a word and an abbreviation for secular; and for 14d think synonym for joker with ‘1000’ held by a play on 28a in turn surrounded or ‘boxed’ by a synonym for ‘through’ if that makes sense.

  5. Thanks GB – for 7a think inflated ego – with a synonym for loftier, missing a letter, in a synonym for vile – not sure why this is clued as (7) rather than (3-4)?

  6. Sam, I still don’t get the wordplay for 14D, my synonyms are prankster and trickster, and is 1D notch? My answer for 7D/11A, which is probably wrong, is a synonym for a conceited person

  7. Ted, I had the same for 1d. For 14d I had K = ‘1000’ inside Fleet = RAN/ Street = ST; then all that inside (or boxing) ‘through’ = PER giving P(RANKST)ER… if that makes sense? Not sure if it’s correct…

    Oh, and how do you explain the Evian in 8d?

  8. Ted,
    9a see GB above, and roll is an anagram indicator
    14a two synonyms equal one for the first word
    16a – shrink as in therapist
    27a – abbrievation doubling for a synonym for ‘managed’

    4d – think gas powered tool
    13d – see GB above for handy snooker hints
    17d – one of Victor Hugo’s characters I think…

  9. Ted – 13D – synonym for ‘writers’ followed by IN OFF around O, meaning ‘forcibly retire’.

  10. Hi. Miraculously managed to get it all out except for 3d.

    Can someone explain 3d?


  11. 3D is:
    “Radical” = PHAT (a S Vietnamese politician and revolutionary acc to Wikipedia)
    “depending” = dep ending = P
    “headgear” = HAT

  12. PHAT is also a slang term, as GB noted above, meaning ‘radical’ in the sense of ‘cool’, which I think is more likely what DA was going for.

    A problem with 4d: the clue should have ‘chromosomes’, plural, not ‘chromosome’.

  13. There is a lot to like in this crossword. I agree with RB on other thread – 8d is DA gold for its concision & cleverness. I love depend for p, nod for no d and money one left for my. Met bloke for weatherman is a great disguised definition and I think 21d is a great homonym clue.

    A few quibbles, then. I agree with JL that chromosomes should have been plural. I don’t understand the need for the word seeks in 26a. For me, the wordplay in 1a and 14 d is too complicated & possibly contrived – in particular I don’t think that Fleet Street and Ran St are equivalent.

    Finally, is there a name for clues like 7,11a and 20a (I loved this one) where the wordplay and the definition overlap and are not separated in the clue? – not really an and lit as I understand the term. (PS Merry Christmas to GB – sterling work above).

  14. I initially thought that 14d was dodgy, too, but when you take the ‘was’ into account (was fleet = ran, street = st), it’s fine.

    A clue with overlapping wordplay and definition is, according to my understanding, exactly what an &lit is. Ideally there should be perfect overlap, but I think 7,11a and 20a still fit the bill reasonably well.

  15. Agree with JL about “was fleet” = “ran” and the &lits. It’s true that in both cases the first word or two do not form part of the wordplay, so if you don’t consider them fully-fledged &lits you could call them partial &lits.

    Agree with JK about “seeks” in 26A – it’s a bit too “active” to be used as a link word. And 14D as a bit laboured/contrived.

    I didn’t like “shrink possibly” as the definition for advisor in 16A. And in 23D “Dickensian” seems to be used as a noun. But I can’t find any support for this usage.

    Overall, an excellent crossword this week.

  16. re 14D, I think we should interpret ‘fleet’ as 27A, ie the Navy.
    I don’t like MUM in 24D, surely it has to be ‘keep mum’.

  17. Yes JG, I agree with both those. I was unhappy when I thought it was ‘fleet’ = RAN.
    Merry Christmas JK – I would have liked ‘Met bloke’ better if I had twigged to it sooner! I liked nod and depending, now that I’m on the look-out for those indicators. Particularly good to have ‘depending’ and ‘headgear’ in the same clue – I was trying to use the G from headgear for a while!
    Very enjoyable, with just a couple of overly-contrived wordplays.
    Hey JK – do you use often use ‘concision’ in conversation? Sounds like the cut an economical surgeon would make!

  18. Hi everyone
    I’ve been trying not to cheat but couldn’t figure out the wordplay for 1A on my own….no way in a zillion years would I have got 13D, 14D, or 25A without cheating either. Despite clues above can’t get 7A or 8D and can please someone explain 16A and give me a clue for 18A and 20A? Thanks!

  19. It’s all right I’ve just figured out 20A. No ‘D’. Ha ha. Clever.

  20. I’m not sure I understand this concept of a “partial” &lit. Most clues, if they read well, have elements in the wordplay that relate in some way to the definition, effectively making most clues “partial” &lits. I’m much more comfortable with the original idea of an &lit, where the ENTIRE clue is the definition and the ENTIRE clue is the wordplay.

  21. RB: Dickensian in UK crosswords usually means a Dickensian character, much as Shakespearian means a character of the bard’s. I think it’s most often used by Araucaria.

    Alison: It’s nearly Monday so I’ll give some spoilers:7a is (h)IGHE(r) inside BAD. 8d is GREENBACK (Evian is naïve, or green, backwards). 16a is AD VISOR. A psychiatrist may be described thus.

    A hint for 18a: it’s the one Colleen McCullough lives on.

  22. Feeling slow again again… can someone please give me the answers to 17d and 21d? Thanks to everyone for your help as always.


  23. Annie – 17D – ‘orphanage champion’ is the main character from Les Misérables.
    21D – ‘picked up’ is a homophone indicator for a type (colour) of horse, and DA often uses ‘flower’ to mean a river (though it starts in Switzerland, I have always thought of it as a French river).

  24. GB: I don’t like “picked up” as a homophone indicator. Too indirect, especially in a clue relying on knowledge of specialist horse nomenclature as the wordplay. “Pricked up…” would have been fairer, I reckon.

  25. RB – I found another definition for PHAT: the online slang dictionary describes it as “very good, excellent; COOL” = radical. What do we call a clue with 2 possible reasons for being correct?!

    Rob – I didn’t mind “picked up” as a homophone indicator. Thought it was a very hard clue and it was the last one I got. In fact the bottom left corner caused me some misery not being familiar with Victor Hugo (I was stuck on Oliver Twist!) or with the lesser known Italian painters!

    Like JK, I think 8d is a DA gold candidate and would add that 7,11a and 20a are not far behind.

  26. I agree Rob, I didn’t think it was a great indicator, but since there are only two 5-letter European rivers of note that start with R and end with E, I thought it was fair enough overall. I had more trouble with 25a.

  27. For me, too, all the hard nuts were in the lower left quadrant. There were just a few too many this week that were (even post-solution) still obscure or inelegant. Still, they can’t all be gold.

  28. Ian, thanks for the info on the use of Dickensian in UK crosswords. Since I can find no acknowledgement of its use AS A NOUN in either my copy of the Shorter Oxford Dictionary or the internet (eg I can only assume this usage is confined to cruciverbalists. As for Shakespearean, the same sources do admit its use as a noun, but only in the sense of a Shakespearean scholar, not one of his characters.

  29. A belated thanks for uploading the blank grid, as I only found it here yesterday (until then I had been quietly muttering about The Age not publishing a Xmas DA and spoiling my weekend). My last unsolved clue was 3d – thanks for info on PHAT (too obscure for me).
    I’ve been checking the site for a while to get those last few difficult clues.
    Thanks again from Melbourne.

  30. It only took a week to get my first DA out, and some help from this blog, which I discovered accidentally by putting 1a clue into “Google”.

    I’ll be back, but, at the rate I have used up brain cells on this one puzzle, it won’t be often!

    (Anyone looking for a sharp witty read, look out for author David Sedaris at the local library).

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