DA Confusion for the 19/20th of August, 2011

It’s a themed crossword this week, so there’s bound to be confusion.

Here’s where it gets sorted out.

109 thoughts on “DA Confusion for the 19/20th of August, 2011

  1. I have absolutely no exposure to the theme but got it from some unrelated wander on google a while ago… thank goodness for weird spellings sticking in memory. Found eastern side fell in quickly, finishing on NE corner.
    Is there an error in 6A?
    And I’m hearing the groans already for 28A, unless spoken by 25D.

  2. 6A: Looks fine to me. Prickle is the definition, wordplay is half of a word for dug in.

    Can anyone explain the wordplay in 24A (I’m thinking this is an Ozism) and 14A?

  3. 24A: and, no, it’s not an Ozism. British, ashley.
    14A: “ultimate in coping” will give you a single letter. You can probably work out the rest.

  4. Thanks, RobT.
    24A: Brilliant.
    14A: I was thinking “about ultimate” gave me the T.

    1D still my favourite, though.

  5. What I typed was:

    24A: <slaps forehead> Brilliant.

    DATrippers needs a warning that it’s removed possible tags from your message.

  6. I whacked my favs in the other thread.

    24A: Maybe it should have been “broadcasts” not “broadcast”. Thoughts?

  7. 24A: I think the surface reads better without the S: [A] lorry roll [was] broadcast on TV. Broadcast is a common homophone indicator, and I would be looking for something special if I saw it with an S.

  8. 24A: I don’t think you need to pluralise the homophone indicator just because there are two words in the phrase you’re cluing.

  9. 24A: I feel sure the Poms would disagree. But I am not them…maybe it’s foin.

  10. It’s a terrible theme (j/k).

    The poolroom is for DA-related accomplishments. I posted in there today because, for the first time, I finished the puzzle in under an hour. *Just* under, but still under ;)

  11. Speaking of Poms, my little brother shared this with me today:

    A Zimbabwean leads four South Africans and an Irishman into a bar. The barman says “Where’s the rest of the England cricket team?”

  12. thanks Rob I think I’ve got it, but I’m not a fan either so it’ll be tough going!

  13. I’m not overly familiar with the theme so had to resort to the web to confirm the four 24As. Also had to confirm the meaning of 27A. Some nice ones and some meh. Getting 17D gave me the last letter of 23A which enabled me to get the theme.

  14. Nearly there once I got the theme. Having trouble with 20a to finish off. Also don’t get wordplay for 23a, 1d and 3d. Nor do I get the homophones for 24a.

  15. Been out of the 24A doing a bit of 1A at the physio.
    Had a different 6 letter synonym for ‘dug in’ instead of the 8 letter one. Think I might have originally had the wrong homophone for 28A as well. There’s a safer one, quibble-free.
    Enjoyed today’s crossie. Got most of it out before getting the theme, which helped the rest fall into place, although probably wouldn’t have got the themed clues’ wordplay other than retrospectively. Liked 5D, 25D15D.

  16. Sandy:
    23A: 3 single letters inside a synonym I had not heard of but guessed.
    1D: Remove 3 of the letters of 24A (“vainly” tells you which ones) to leave 2. These two letters “secure” a synonym for “narrowest [sport] margin”. Cute.
    3D: Take the ends of a synonym for “pleasing” (actually it’s ma heightended sense of “pleasing”) and you’re there.

  17. Sandy, 20A: 3 letter synonym for acted, minus the last letter (deficient). + a word usually used to describe the complexion of someone who’s sickly

  18. First time I’ve posted, so apologies if this isn’t the right spot. 22D is clued wrongly since the subject of the clue has a “plural” surname.

  19. Started late and, like Gayle, got into the eastern side first. Mostly that is. Haven’t got 25D yet or 27A.

    Great hint from Peta started me off to make me look for four 24As! Thanks. Stumbled across a spoof web site though and was very confused for a while. Found the right one and caught up with RobT’s moans as I saw the wordplay for 1A!

    Found a wonderful fit for 28A but it turned out to be the wrong bean. Sounded like a male parent.

  20. Geoff, you’ve got the right spot .. and well-spotted. It’s all about the place of the apostrophe.

  21. You’re quite right, Geoff, and the last time DA used this “old rock” it was plural. Someone had left some coats on it.

  22. 20A Thanks Gayle, got the wordplay now. Acted not in the theatrical sense.

  23. Robin, 25 D, you gotta be looney tunes to do DA!
    27 A anagram of cold + synonym for the kind of sound our old TVs made when the looney tunes were over and it was time to go to bed.

  24. Oh for goodness sake, Gayle! Google’s entomology data base has been given a work over for nothing! Just have to work on the pears now.

  25. You’re not being a fuddy duddy Robin? Or are you still up a tree, and intermittently plucking pears? : )

  26. Got it Gayle! Finally. Was looking for the queen, that’s all I have to do the rest of the week!

  27. Finally got it out, thanks to help on the theme from the comments above and lots of googling. Not really a follower of fairy tales. I have a bit of doubt about 12A. Pretty sure its in the sky, but don’t see the wordplay. Also don’t get the connexion between 24A and 1D

  28. @Geoff Smith (we had a Geoff today too!)
    12A You have it by the sound of it as you know where to find it.
    The ‘genre’ describes a trend in film making in the 1940s and 1950s. ‘Retro’ is a reversal indicator and the 4 letter genre then acquires nothing. Hope tat helps.

  29. Geoff Smith, for connection of 1d to 24a see RobT’s answer to my first post earlier in this stream

  30. 5D A classic DA isn’t it? I have an observation but I’ll wait until Melbourne has had a turn. DA is not there to help them this week after all… :-)

  31. Not getting very far with it, have the theme(and for once I’m familiar with it!!) and a couple of the 24As. Despite explanations above I don’t understand wordplay in 1D (or I have the wrong answer).

  32. About half way through now, have the other two houses, but don’t get the wordplay in 13a.
    Quite a few others where wordplay escapes me, just hope I’ve got the right answers (and the right defs!)

  33. Done now.
    Not thrilled with Shell as an anagrind in 10A
    22A should have been good man to almost rock honouree.
    19D don’t get why the al is shed, presumably this somehow means student?
    Had put in quite a few wrong answers using the cross letters and which threw me at first and took a while to fix.
    But lots of good ones today too.

  34. thanks Sandy. I missed a few hidden words first time through today.
    With 13A I was going for a 3 letter synonym (at a stretch) for dubiously, followed by the, then R and then in, but couldn’t see how to get the R from ring as there didn’t appear to be anything to tell me to take the first letter. Should have looked a bit closer!

  35. Melbourne quiet today. First nice weekend we’ve had for a while, beautiful day, so I guess everyone is outside enjoying the sun, DA waiting for lunch or maybe this evening

  36. Badly bushed. Help! Up there^ is a reference to an anagrind, but my online cictionary doesn’t recognise such a word. My major concern is that I have never seen one of what I take to be the theme’s movies, never read one of the books. Yet, because of the way this stuff has been publicised, I knew thev name of the educational establishment, and the game. Several clues relate to 24A, is that related to the theme? I haven’t a clue what it is. I’ve only solved 11 so far, all on the left-hand side. But 24A would help, I think.

  37. This part of Melbourne stayedquietly away till crossword completed. Had a few wordplay queries which have already been covered in discussion here. Thanks :)

  38. Well, I’m still lost completely. May have to leave till this evening, or tomorrow, or …

  39. @Arthur 24A is important, but the clue has nothing to do with the theme. The clue refers to a TV show (which you probably haven’t watched and nor have I) starring Hugh Laurie. The answer is something you live in and their are 4 of them at the educational establishment that you have already found. You find them at many other educational establishments too, but the names of the four are different at each establishment. Four of the other answers are the names of these things at this particular establishment. You may have to google them.
    Hope this helps.

  40. I thought the rules were no spoilers on the other thread.
    I was just trying to help Arthur without giving too much away. Most of what I wrote is in earlier comments anyway, I just gathered a few bits together. Apologies if I gave too much away for anyone else.

  41. Never read the series myself but my wife is a big fan. Could this be the DA that makes her a cryptic fan too? Here’s hoping.
    Thanks for the Hugh Laurie explanation. Managed the answer based on the theme and letters available but still couldn’t make sense of the clue.
    Envious of those of you who made it to the “pow wow”. Looking forward to the documentary. Please let us all know if there are hints about it being on TV.

  42. Michael, there has never been an explicit ban on spoilers in this thread. But I agree that, of late, people have been more circuitous in their explanations here, at least until Monday. Which makes it a bit awkward if you want to whinge about something. As I do with 16A and 3D. I’ll wait till Monday. Agree with others that 22D seems to be a DA error – the honoree’s name has an S.

  43. Michael, welcome to this thread.
    It is fine, in my own view, for nn to have tried to help Arthur as above. What rules exactly are you referring to?

  44. It is my understanding that the two different weekly sections (DA confusions and DA reports) have different “rules” and etiquettes. Under DA reports each week there is usually (although not this week) the line:

    “Give us your opinions here. (No spoilers on this particular thread until Monday).”

    I’d always assumed that this thread (DA confusions) was for helping others sort out their confusions (as it has helped me many times). As such we all try to give each other hints without giving too much of the game away. As the weekend progresses, if the hints haven’t been enough then we give a bit more out. Arthur was at the point of giving up as he didn’t have the vital clue so I gave him a fairly strong hint and explanation of the wordplay. The hint I gave him about it being something he lived in was a rewording of a similar hint given by Gayle on friday afternoon where she said she had “Been out of the 24A “. This pretty well gave it away then, I was only clarifying the wordplay as many others do on this thread.
    As others have pointed out there aren’t any “rules” for this thread, we just try to help each other without giving too much away. “too much” being a relative term and depends a lot on the receiver I guess.
    So do we need a set of rules or is everyone happy with things the way they’ve been going?

  45. I don’t look at this thread until I have either finished the crossword, or am desperate for help.

  46. That’s my philosophy too, JD. I don’t go near this thread until I’ve finished it, or it’s finished me!

  47. I try to be as cryptic as possible unless someone explicitly asks for more help. My queries are usually to explain the wordplay, but on occasion (like POLAIR a few weeks ago) there is really no way to help someone like me without spelling it out. I don’t mind waiting till Sunday for explicit answers if we want to impose an embargo on it, but if we have to wait till Monday then there may as well just be one thread.

  48. Also, Michael, if you don’t mind my saying, you come across as a bit of a jerk, barging in here and telling everyone else what to do. We are very welcoming to new cruciverbalists, but as when joining any social group, it’s best to keep quiet for a bit until you’ve figured out what’s going on.

    Usually AS posts a spoiler warning at the top of the Confusions thread, which he didn’t do this week. But the permissibility of spoilers in this thread is implied by the ban on them in the other thread. The exception (no spoilers) proves the rule (spoilers are allowed unless prohibited).

  49. Bit harsh Rupert!
    If Michael is new, by the looks of it hasn’t picked up the difference between the two threads. I wasn’t upset by his comments, I’ve only replied to seek clarification (and was quite prepared to believe I was in the wrong and in need of some adjustment in my own approach if I was). By the looks of it we are all of reasonably the same mind. We give cryptic hints where possible and more detail if someone doesn’t understand the hint or is really stuck.
    Michael I hope you continue to be a part of this and contribute to some interesting discussions.

    BTW, AS usually posts the spoilers warning on the DA reports thread, not the confusions thread.

  50. Sorry if I was harsh. What I wrote was meant as a comment on the tone of Michael’s post, which would have raised my hackles a lot less had he just asked for a spoiler warning, or better yet, asked if posts such as nn’s were the norm in this forum.

    Only the Arcadians can dictate policy here, the rest of us just get to ask each other what we’d like to see. As far as I can tell from the lack of complaints, DATrippers like seeing me, Gayle and RobT discussing the crossword in veiled terms during the day on Friday, then more people, less veiled, as people in Sydney with real jobs come online, then again on Saturday when Melbournites get their homeboys puzzle.

  51. am tempted to say relax it’s only a crossword, but that would be an injustice to DA! :-)

  52. Rupert, very well said. I totally agree with your comments and those of nn today.

    I for one thoroughly appreciate the hints which are usually brilliantly done are are mostly quite subtle. Not much is given away on Fridays but things loosen up on the weekend and, as you say, no one seems to complain.

    We are all at different levels in respect of cracking DA and without DA Trippers I would probably stop trying to do them as I’d get nowhere on my own.

    This week there was the wonderful tip from RobT early on about 24A and the two homophones. That opened up so much and then Peta got me to look for ‘four’ of them. Bingo, we’re off.

    I thought the way nn helped Arthur C was beautifully done and, as it was on Saturday afternoon, you’d either have got 24A already or needed help with it so what’s the problem?

  53. Some help please with wordplay.
    1D I have read RobT’s and Rupert’s comments but I’m sorry to say I still don’t get this one. The first and last letters are from 24A but why does ‘vainly’ tell you to lose the USE? Also what is the margin inside?

    8D anyone?

    26A are the assorted notes any more than musical ones, A, C, D & E?

    28A The bean sounds like? Tom Sawyer?

  54. Robin

    1d: Vainly means no use, therefore H_ _ _ O. The narrowest margin is the smallest amount by which one can win a game.

    8d: Was the first I solved, and it headed me in the direction of the theme, which I only know through osmotic absorption. Anyway, a synonym for chicken, as in cowardly, has its first letter lowered. This is followed by a uni faculty.

    26a: I think the ones you list are the assorted notes.

    28a: And a sawyer is a tree-feller.

  55. I’ve been making cryptic clues from my Lit students’ names and giving them the puzzles at the start of the lesson. They love it :) At first I gave the numbers of letters, but they asked me not to, so that they wouldn’t be able to work out the names from the lengths. Now there is only one student left to solve, so, in order for the challenge to remain, they said I must do one for me and put them both up. My first name clue is Little mother swallows headless hedgehog :D

  56. Thanks Monica!

    1D ‘Vainly’, of course. Very good.
    8D I would not have associated that synonym with ‘chicken’ at all. I knew about the head dropping. I see it all now.
    28A Groan…

    I am still thinking about your hedgehog…

  57. just got the hedgehog Monica, very good. Boom! Boom! (as Basil Brush used to say)

  58. Ha ha, very good. I do know Homer Simpson (who doesn’t?) but I had never heard of your hedgehog at all. Boom Boom! very good.

  59. Monica. I dont get the hedgehog reference.

    How about “teacher rocks in coma”?

  60. RobT: I like it :)

    The hedgehog is little and blue. It overcomes a variety of obstacles at high speed, to the accompaniment of jaunty, repetitive music, all under the control of a gamer.

  61. There’s also a gene with that nickname, responsible for the growth of fingers and toes, and the organisation of the brain.

  62. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH! HISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! I refuse to read/see anything to do with the Potter character. Just because the stories have widespread popularity isn’t sufficient justification for DA to make it an important theme for his crossword. I’m one of a minority who see J. K. Rowling as an evil person, leading impressionable youngsters into the world of witchcraft, spells, etc. Maybe I’m just too old-fashioned, but I didn’t like this theme.

  63. perhaps we should have a new type of hint whenever DA delves into the potter world
    “not for Cockney saying 50% huh?”

  64. Everyone is on fire this morning! Look what you have started, Monica (Moniker?). Rupert, yours is excellent and I liked the cockney one too. I had one recalling a US president but I’ll keep it I think.

  65. Widespread popularity, or at least notoriety, is unfortunately the *only* criteria crossword compilers use for inclusion. The Times may insist on no living person except the Queen, but only those who were well-known during their lives can hope to be included. DA is not bound by such rules, of course, and applies an Australian (sometimes even Melbournite) filter to his inclusions.

  66. I like Rupert’s clue, but am still working on nn’s :(

    I always thought it was a marvellous moniker.

    Robin: Don’t mention that president! (Not in this context, anyway.)

  67. A couple of queries/whinges:
    16A: at first I thought it was an anagram of “slab” with “ie” backwards inside it. But this means the definition is a stinker – “canyon, perhaps”. So then I thought maybe it’s an anagram of “slab ie”, and now the definition becomes more acceptable – “back in canyon, perhaps”. However, this means it’s an indirect anagram, albeit a fairly simple one. How did others see this clue?
    3D: this one’s definitely a whinge, not a query. “pleasing” = “elating” just isn’t good enough.

  68. pleasing = elating was very poor. I also didn’t think much of savvy = old chum (or have I missed something on that one?).

    I also thought canyon = abseil to be fine, thinking canyon could also be a verb. But I’ve just had a look online and it doesn’t seem like it can be a verb after all, so yep, I’m with you on that one, RB.

  69. Hi AS. I too looked for evidence of canyon as a verb, but without success.

    I think you may have missed something on 27A, old chum! I reckon the def was “savvy convict”. And a couple of days ago I found (online) one meaning of “chum” was “prisoner”. So an old chum would probably be a savvy prisoner. I’ve just looked online again and, of course, now I can’t find this meaning of “chum”!

  70. @RB: 16A: I took it to be the first of these. Canyon can be a verb, and if one canyons one of the things one may need to do is abseil. Seems OK to me.
    @AS: savvy convict = old chum. “Life is a cabaret, old chum, come to the cabaret!”
    I note JD’s comment about coming to this thread – I concur heartily. I steer clear until I’ve finished. A DA crossword is a treasure to savour, and can be consumed, if necessary, like a bottle of port: over weeks. What’s the rush? So much has to be done under time pressure these days that it’s a joy to have something that’s not: I cherish one or two DAs floating around, yet to be completed.

  71. Thanks for the “old chum” link, IG. That’s the link I found a couple of days ago, but I couldn’t find it just now as, this time, I was googling simply “chum”.

    IG, I looked in vain for canyon as a verb, and my failure to find it led to my judgement that the definition was a stinker. Can you provide evidence of its use as a verb?

  72. I wasn’t familiar with old chum, but got from inference from new chum, which I thought was Aussie slang for a newly transported convict.
    There’s a New Chum’s Beach on the Coromandel peninsula, accessible only by an unsignposted walking track. I thought the biker who told me about it was pulling my leg, especially once he told me the name. But it’s well worth the hike.

    I didn’t like elating = pleasing, either, but it didn’t stop me getting the answer, so I guess it’s fair.

  73. RB: my commonsense tells me that if i can go [abcd]ing then abcd can be a verb.

    Since i can go canyoning then i dont figure i need to search the interweb.

  74. @RB: “Canyon” is a verb (transitive and intransitive) in the Oxford English Dictionary, although, to be fair, in slightly different senses than the one envisaged here. “Canyoneering” is a widely used term in the US, while we use “canyoning” as RobT has said. The associated verbs these days are “to canyon” (non-US) or “to canyoneer” (US). Web sources: searching “we canyoned” will find you plenty of instances of this usage.

  75. @IG: I am quite happy to accept “canyoning” as a verb referring to the adventure sport.
    But abseiling is not canyoning. It’s not even “canyoning, perhaps”. A poor definition, IMO.
    Ditto “pleasing” == “elating”??
    Ditto “acting the fox” == “fooling”??
    Ditto “solitude” == “privacy”??

    Personally, I think that’s the one major weakness of DA: dodgy definitions that drift beyond clever into BS; each week, the question is does the brilliance and creativity of the other clues — e.g. A-A-A-A-Attacks … wonderful! — outweigh the irritations? Most of the time it’s worth the candle…

    (And yes, I concede these sins? quibbles? may say as much about me and my personality as they do about DA.)

  76. @MF: I don’t mind loose connexions. As long as there’s a shred I’m fine with that…it makes me think harder.

  77. @MF: Well, I won’t comment on your self-assessment, MF! My view: while I find these clues hard, they do seem legitimate: it’s all part of the subterfuge and attempted deception. In fact, the use of terms like “perhaps” or “could be” are a major help. Did you have a problem with “Adelaide youngster could be Greek” (I didn’t)? If you’re abseiling, you might be canyoning, just as if you’re a salad, you could be Greek. DA’s job is to deceive: our task is to be eternally and vigilantly suspicious.
    Errors (like Ayer when his name was Ayers) are another matter.

  78. I’m with MF on this. Yes, it’s the setter’s job to deceive, but not by means of dodgy synonyms. RobT mentions loose connections, which he doesn’t mind, but I do. They seem more like word association than synonym or definition. Yet, despite the irritations, I come back to DA every week for the challenge!

  79. @RobT No, that’s not the question. A libertarian compiler must still satisfy the basic concepts of soundness and fairness. This notion that a libertarian compiler can write clues any way they like, is simply not true. Dodgy synonyms aren’t fair because they inhibit the solver’s ability to solve clues.


  80. Agreed that dodgy/misleading is not good. But I don’t think DA’s loose connections are dodgy. To me they force me to think in broader terms than Ximenes would accept.

  81. Glad you brought that clue up, Ian, because SA-LAD was freakin’ Gold!

    Surely a synonym for party pooper is anyone not enjoying that clue.

    And Stig, everyone wants sound and fair clues, but there are always fuzzy borders that have people arguing to and fro about what particular clue is sound and fair.

  82. Clearly there are personal preferences here and these issues are somewhat subjective. I’m probably only repeating myself here, but I have to say that I am very rarely left with the feeling that a DA clue is unfair or unsound. Usually, if I’m feeling that way, it’s because I haven’t yet fully understood how it works. There was a long debate a while back about a DA clue which required “fugitive touched” = IT. Several Trippers complained about its inadequacy, until finally DA himself weighed in and pointed out that the phrase referred to the use of the term “it” in children’s “chasey”, as in “caught you, you’re ‘it’!”. Brilliant … but without DA’s post many might have been left thinking it was dodgy.
    For all his exciting flair, I reckon he is quite assiduously faithful to the canons of cryptic clue setting.

  83. Yes, the “fugitive touched” clue had us all barking up the wrong tree until DA stepped in. But I would argue these instances (where we’ve all missed the correct interpretation) are very rare. So, usually, it comes down to how much leeway you’re prepared to give DA: clearly many are prepared to give him a lot more than I do. In any event, surely “assiduously faithful to the canons of cryptic clue setting” is a tad far-fetched!

    Re canyon as a verb: when you consider that you can normally find online support for just about anything (true or false), it seems odd that canyon as a verb is not acknowledged by online sources such as thefreedictionary.com, dictionary.reference.com, answers.com, merriam-webster.com etc. (I’m not impressed by semi-literate facebook and other comments which use canyon as a verb). However, IG says it is to be found as a verb in the OED so I suppose I must accept it. (It’s not in my Shorter Oxford, but my copy is nearly 20 years old).

    Re elating/pleasing: Rupert said it didn’t stop him getting the answer, but I’d argue that only partially exonerates a bad synonym. In fact, I delayed entering the answer for a while because the synonym was so poor.

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