DA Bullshit for the 27/28th of July, 2012

There was a lot to like in the crossword (nonetheless to mean take the letter o out was genius), but there was one clue in particular to call bullshit on:

26A: Hands on boxes to rearrange show? (7)

DIY is a tough but fair synonym for hands on, but parsing rearrange as rear range and getting SPLA is crossing an arbitrary line into a territory that is full of indirect anagrams and other such devices of cryptic nastiness.

10 thoughts on “DA Bullshit for the 27/28th of July, 2012

  1. I don’t agree. DA’s used this sort of clue many times before – it’s part of his style and shouldn’t stump too many of his devotees. I hardly think he’s opening the door to indirect anagrams, which are strictly verboten in all cryptic crossword circles. My problem with last week’s DA was 21D. I got it easily, but he clued it as a double definition when the two words are actually spelt differently – dickey for the shirt and dicky for poor condition. It’s missing a homophone indicator.

  2. Yes, it is something that DA does, but rarely with the addition of the synonym.

    Splitting a single word into instruction and fodder is fine, but splitting a single word into instruction and synonym for fodder is a step too far.

    And good point with the double definition in 21D, KM.

  3. I’m not saying the clue is an indirect anagram, but rather that it’s akin to an indirect anagram in that it’s too hard to solve and gives too much license to the compiler to wreak havoc.

  4. I thought it was fine — then again, I worked it out, and was very happy to do so.

    Didn’t get Dicky though (or 1a).

  5. I liked 26A. The def was crystal clear once I had D_S_L_Y and the ‘rearrange’ bit was very clever on the part of the setter. Reminds my of ‘matchbox’ from a few months ago, where ‘match’ was the def and ‘box’ was an anagrind (from 12 May):

    Clue: Matchbox is one linked to damage (9)
    Answer: HARMONISE

    I wonder if ‘rearrange’ can be made to work with other mountain ranges?
    SEDNA?
    SEIKCOR??
    SAYALAMIH???

  6. I thought 26A was fine. I was helped by Ian’s hint but I very nearly had it myself, no bullshit is my call.

  7. On DA’s own blog in July last year he used an anti-indirect-anagram argument to critique a clue I’d proposed. DA asked us to come up with a clue for Cadel Evans, so I suggested:
    “Australian hero demolishes the French advance”, which expects you to make an anagram of LES ADVANCE.
    I’ve looked back at DA’s response. It was….
    “Some decent clues here, though beware of indirect anagrams, Chris. Your thinking is refreshingly devious, but asking the solver to intuit LES – or any word in general – is considered dirty pool.”

  8. I take it all back. It was indeed a slippery slope, and there appears to be an indirect anagram in today’s crossword.

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