DA for the New Year (31st of December, 2010)

DA reappears in The Age after a week’s hiatus and ushers in the new year with a themed crossword. I assume he’s still there in the SMH, same as he ever was.

Have my sneaking suspicions about the theme and looking forward to breaking the crossword’s back.

Enjoy.

Update: Jonathan delivers again with a blank and filled-in grid:

I was willing to let this one go through to the keeper after what I considered a bewilderingly boring theme and the number of rarities DA confessed to, but a late-night rendezvous with RC had us cracking it out.

RC proclaimed it, I think rightly, as reminiscent of an overly recondite DH. Nevertheless, I have a sneaking suspicion that excellent words such as seersucker, nainsook, hopsack, whipcord and winceyette, all of which we had never heard of before, will deliver joy to us for the rest of our lifetimes. I also suspect that DA chose the theme because he too noticed how excellent these words indeed are.

10 thoughts on “DA for the New Year (31st of December, 2010)

  1. Enjoyed this one, even with many obscure across clues – and even the odd down (5d!). 6d and 23a were great.

  2. 6D and 23A were my favourites too. Once you have the theme, the obscure across answers are not too difficult, as the wordplays are not as convoluted this week. Overall it was very enjoyable.

  3. Gee, RB, do you mean “not too difficult” with or without the benefit of Interweb? I had to get confirmation of all six “rarities” – assuming mine were the same six as DA’s. (admittedly some just *had* to be right from the wordplay). I find it rather unsatisfying that way. Not one of my favourites this week, but I really liked 23A. Even 6D, while amusing, doesn’t pass muster as the &lit definition is too vague, IMO.

  4. Finally DA is speaking my language!
    Mother was a seamstress so none of the across solutions were rarities for me. After securing 8 of the down clues 25 A was the first across one I got, and it was all stitched up in 20 minutes.
    Can we have more like this?

  5. AG: actually, my internet connection has been dodgy for the past week and, in particular, was down when I did this crossword last night. I must confess though that the dictionary got a good workout!

    I based my “not too difficult” assessment not only on the more-reasonable-than-usual wordplays but also on the fact that the across clues don’t have to be split into wordplay and definition (often a difficult task with DA) as they are all 100% wordplay. And because we were warned about the obscurities, I wasn’t as irritated as usual by them! Apart from 26A, which I didn’t get (I figured out the wimp bit but not the alloy).

    Re 6D, at first I too thought the definition was too vague but if you view the clue as a sort of double definition (both of them cryptic) rather than an &lit then you may warm to it, as I did.

  6. In his book DA talks about the role of the cross word setter to include obscure words so as to preserve them – compilers of dictionaries include or discard words based on their usage in print, including in crosswords. This may have been one of his motivations here. Like RB I didn’t mind this after fair warning. It is also fascinating the way those obscure names have a faint resonance after you get them out, as if you just may have heard of them or read them somewhere before. Also, finally, cynicism in relation to tarot cards is always welcome.

  7. I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge while cooking a New Year’s Eve feast (Sylvesterfeier) and savouring a Bordeaux. Needed a dictionary for the last two, 9A & 11A, to check that the anagrams I guessed were actually words and what they meant. 23A gave a good belly laugh; for 6D I thought, ‘Why yes, of course!’

  8. Some of you may like to play on the website http://freerice.com/ Playing generates rice grains for social justice.

    However, the reason it may appeal to members here, is if you select a high level in the vocabulary tests, you will discover words that have not seen the light of day since Adam was a boy!

  9. I’ve gotta recommend pretty much this entire grid (except for 6D, which I quite liked) as DA Bullshit. I got about half of it done, and am fairly confident that I wouldn’t have got the rest in a million years. The down clues were uncharacteristically inelegant (“AWEARY”? “RODENTIA”? “IMPETIGO”?) and the across clues rely on obscurity rather than cleverness than their difficulty. Agree totally with the esteemed RC that this was like a DH rather than a DA. Yech.

  10. Sussed the theme quik stix (Lace, Broche, Taffeta), got about 80% of the way through, realised the last few must be strange fabric-type whatsits, then went and did something else until the answers came out.

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