DA for the 28/29th of January, 2010

Probably a run-of-the-mill DA crossword this week.

And here’s where you can talk about it (although without spoilers until Monday).

Update: Jonathan with the goods:

Goddamn, this RC and I considered the toughest in a very long while. We got together only last night around the Greek precinct and only got two thirds of it done.

Super tough.

DA for the 21st/22nd of January, 2011

Running around Melbourne, a new stereo and the thrill of crackling vinyl records meant I completely forgot to set up the discussion for this week’s DA.

Sorry for the delay!

And the early word is that this week’s a cracker, so I apologise doubly.

(No spoilers on this particular thread until Monday)

Update: Jonathan supplies the extra-special goods:

I worked out what I consider a great idea for a theme only tentatively: 1D looked like it should be LITTLE CREATURES, but the explanation wasn’t quite right. That turned out to be indicative: I thought this excellent theme was marred by some clues that made me hesitate in areas that cryptic crosswords shouldn’t make me hesitate.

Early on, I penned in ONE FOAL. Soon after I worked out FISH but not what its young could be (the only feasible option, fry, didn’t fit!) and didn’t put it in. So when I figured 8 down had to be KITTEN WHISKERS and ONE COLT and FISH had to be the answers, I threw a tanty and refused to continue: I don’t do conventional crosswords specifically because I hate coming up with potential answers that prove not to be the final answer!

Unlike some others, I thought the need for Google to lend a helping hand was fine considering the theme (did anyone write in CRIA without electronic aid?), and I wasn’t too concerned about the cross letters not being as helpful as they otherwise would be because the theme itself was an extra clue. For me, it was the ambiguity that marred this one, although the theme I nevertheless consider genius and the crossword worthy of the Para Pantheon.

Further update: DA issues a mea culpa with regard to 1D and the unaccounted for H in MAN-HOUR on his own blog. And I get the impression some words of support with regard to his more experimental cryptic efforts wouldn’t go astray.

DA on the 14/15th of January, 2011

Another week, another DA, another piece of delectable artistry.


(No spoilers on this thread until Monday)

Update: Jonathan kindly brings us what RC and I considered one of the easier ones:

We powered through this one faster than we remembered. A few are saying on here that STEAL was ambiguous (I would say it isn’t — a homophone is never the direct clue and, therefore, never the answer to write into the grid), but I busted on RESENTFUL thinking it was RESENTING (RESTING is a serene setting and better matches hating grammatically) before RC steered me in the right direction.

No one seems to have mentioned do = cause in DOG PADDLE, a synonym which RC and I didn’t think was fair.

Nevertheless, a quality crossword if not particularly memorable.

DA for the 7/8th of January, 2011

Another glorious weekend is upon us, and another outstanding DA is on the cards.

I’m calling it sight unseen as a new member of the DA Pantheon.

(No spoilers on this thread until Monday)

Update: A reasonably difficult one I thought (and Jonathan kindly supplied the grids):

A Sunday night viewing of the jolly-good The King’s Speech had RC and I raring to knock this DA out, and the WWII mood brought out the delightful LORD HAW HAW nicely.

Soon enough, we were very happy to find LIMITATION — an easy clue once you work it out, but such an excellently worded clue that it takes a while to work out.

We didn’t go hard enough and left a few short before referring to this site and cheating a little. Regrettably — embarrasingly — we failed to work out BICYCLE RACKS before this site helped us out.

The Rest of the Fairfax Cryptics

I’ve asked this question before, but there’s a whole bunch of other people around these traps these days, so I thought I’d ask again: how do you rate the other cryptic compilers in the SMH or The Age?

Maybe once every couple of months I’ll do an NS and a DP, mostly because I find NP a nice, quick romp and DP an amusing bit of fun (although I think DP’s crosswords have dropped in quality recently).

I know a DS is a better-quality crossword than an NS or DP, but I find the DS requires too much thinking without enough joy and I rarely get around to looking at it. DP has the jokes, NS the ease; DS has neither.

RM and EP on the Monday I almost never do — the clues always seem very messy.

DH I find an abomination — obscure words and simple wordplay that only serves to annoy.