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

Time for another DA, and I’m thinking Stephen Fry is on to something: cocaine is apparently the cruciverbalising accompaniment par excellence.

Why waste good cocaine hanging out with no-hope hoodlums when you could be snuggling right up to one of DA’s finest?

Does anyone else have curious accompaniments to their cruciverbalising?

Update: A fun one, although a tough one:

I was the NW corner away from completion, HASSOCK (I thought a HASSOCK was an item of dress), KRAMER (and I’m a huge Seinfeld fan), PORT SALUT and TURNKEYS the blockers.

I was also sidetracked by prematurely putting in WELLES (i.e. Orson, the War of the Worlds hoaxer) instead of ORWELL and justifiably although erroneously locking in HUSKY instead of HORSE (HUSKY is rough-sounding, pushes a sleigh (and across the tundra, unlike HORSE), is five-letters long and starts with H — a very unfortunate set of coincidences).

Interestingly, SLEIGH could just as well have been SLEDGE.

A surprisingly fecund set of clues.

10 thoughts on “DA for the 21st/22nd of October, 2011

  1. Not so much an accompaniment, but I always have to do the SMH puzzles in the same order – cryptic, kenken, sudoku, target, wordwit. . Is that odd? Never do the quick, btw – where’s the challenge in that?

  2. Like Noel’s comment this does not really answer the question, but I have a useful cryptic crossword learning tool in the form of an A3 sketchbook into which I have cut and pasted the last 125 or so SMH crosswords with hand written explanations of the wordplay for every clue marked alongside the completed puzzle. (I mean cut and paste in the traditional sense using scissors and glue, not a mouse!)

    As a by-product, this collection has turned out to be very helpful to others also who say they’d like to be able to do cryptic crosswords. I hadn’t thought to mention it before but this might appeal to someone else starting out. I soon learnt the different styles of the setters over the six days that the crosswords appear.

  3. I liked today’s especially 18A, 25A, 26A, 2Dand 11D which were carefully crafted.

    10A was great although it was my last solved despite being a definition-phile. Some will not be happy.

  4. …although I am irked by 13A that kept me solving this for a long whole. I think the clue is not kosher…

  5. Phew. That was a toughie! Now I can have a good whinge! Far too many obscurities for my liking. For what it’s worth, I thought 13A was kosher, even if a bit obscure (to this non church goer).

  6. Regarding AS’ question – I wonder if the abovementioned Stephen is still able to do cryptics after years of frying his brain with cocaine – not recommended, even if he was self-medicating bipolar disorder. He’s been getting into a bit of trouble lately, refusing to kowtow to the thought-and-word police .. maybe a little like DA? especially in a couple of today’s clues!

    Robin’s approach to tackling cryptics is impressive, as is his generosity in sharing his opus magnum with others. In my case, being off work with an injury has provided the time to attempt a range of puzzles and explore cryptic crossword sites online. Caffeine’s good.

    I found this week’s crossword fairly smooth-sailing – possibly from being ‘in the zone’ – but more likely because I had seen the answer to 13A in the Times recently with very similar cluing, which helped break into the NE, and from grappling with the wordplay with the help of checked letters. Confirmed with google, husband and Trippers regarding the obscurities, which I don’t mind. Just depends on whether you want to get it out unaided or not.

  7. We think that 6 down is incorrect. The Cheese has 3 words … should be a “De” in the middle

  8. According to Wikipedia (I know) the abbey at which the cheese was originally made had a “du” in the middle, but the cheese does not. The full name of the cheese does have the initials of a cryptic-sounding organisation in front of it, though.

  9. Thanks for your kind words, Gayle. It has been a lot of fun which started out with a simple idea but became a bit of an obsession. I found that learning to solve these crosswords was like learning a language but felt that nothing was being recorded in the way of ‘course notes’. The A3 scrap book, with one crossword per page, is great as a revision tool.
    With reference to languages and the SMH crosswords, I’d say Monday-Thursday are like learning Spanish or French. Saturday maybe German and Friday? Maybe Russian or Japanese, if not Arabic at times.
    As I fill in each page I use a red pen to fill the squares and to highlight the explanation if the clue requires knowledge of anything outside everyday language. Red, for example, would be used for all proper nouns. In this way it can be seen at a glance how much general knowledge was really required. Some days there is no red or red in only one or two places; on Tuesdays there is red ink everywhere!
    After cataloguing over 100 crosswords now I have decided that that is probably enough, mainly because so many of the mid week ones are repetitive and relatively easy.
    I am wondering if others have done this at all, either currently or in the past?

  10. Robin, that’s truly incredible.

    Fantastic dedication to the craft there. You should move on to the British setters. I doubt they’re as repetitive as the midweek Fairfaxers, and your scrapbook might end up being your life’s work.

    If you’d like to send me some scanned pages, I’d love to put them up on the blog.

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