DA Confusion for the 28th of February, 2014

Have your last-day-of-summer confusions sorted out here.

102 thoughts on “DA Confusion for the 28th of February, 2014

  1. Morning all, could someone with a hard-copy edition please spell out the first couple of words of 15a? They appear as garbled symbols on my iPad (unless that was DA’s intention…)

  2. Hi, Martin.
    Hash, asterisk, upside down exclamation mark through the line, plus, ampersand.
    #* thingummy + @

  3. Thanks Andy. Does this include the strange-looking Y with a curvy accent on top? This figure sometimes appears in electronic editions as an error where there should be something like an apostrophe.

  4. Gayle, it seems your upside-down exclamation mark / thingummy is my funny-looking Y. The perils of iPads…

  5. Looked up the third one (thingummy) and it is called an inverted exclamation mark. I haven’t got that far in the crossword yet, gotta go now.
    I did get C3O3+H2 . Too easy.

  6. Barely started, paper seems to be later on Fridays and Saturdays. So only three so far. Agree 7D very easy.

  7. A little more challenging this week. My pet hate with DA is 23D/2A when he splits a full word into two.

    I’m sure that FHF will have something to say about 27A…

  8. 18A was my last in, because I was too specific with the definition in 13D (and two wrong letters in my anagram).

    I also got all the wordplay, for once, so it must have been an easy one ;)

    I quite liked 1A, 1D, 23D/2D and 8D

    3D: I thought they were called Elves?

  9. Martin – 5D – defn = 1st word. “Manx cows” = letters 2,3,4,5,6,7. (read Manx as an ction). “protected by” = container indicator. “male” = 4 letter synonym with “nong” (read as non-g) to give letters 1,8,9.

  10. 12a is not a person, first two words are the answer, I got it because I temembered an old Cheech and Chong “Ad”

  11. Arthur, I guessed that you’d have trouble with 12A, given your clean-living lifestyle. It’s a type of illegal drug.

  12. Thanks, Kenneth and Mort. Being certain what the first word was, and thinking about ‘diary reflection’ left only one possibility. I’d never heard of it, but Google confirmed, so now all complete.

  13. Belated thanks, Ray 8.59. I still don’t get “Manx cows” for 2-7. There may have been a typo in your explanation.

  14. Martin, re 5D: Manx is a tail-less cat. Letters 2-7 are another word for “cows” that has had its tail removed (the word, that is, not the cow!)

  15. Stuart 1A definition is first two words. They are also, plus “quietly”, after ousting one and anagram as suggested by “nasty”. A very clever clue using the definition in two ways.

  16. 7 As worded, the anagrind applies to both lithium and the faux chemical symbol. A better wording would be “Sweet fan putting lithium into rippling C3 O3 + H2”
    27 Mort (8:05), you are right. It at least needs a question mark as DA did with 5 and “nong” The first two words point to both a container indicator as well as a very oblique anagrind. A bit too clever by half.

  17. Joel, sorry should have suggested that you look at letters 1-4 and ignore the “a” in the clue. The test is a four-letter acronym.

  18. Joel – 12A – “test” clues letters 2,3,4 if you think of “Test” as in cricket.

  19. Can’t see your problem, FHF, with either 7d or 27a. These sort of clues are what makes DA stand out and so much fun. He plays loose with the ‘rules’.

  20. Even worse, FHF knows that DA uses these constructions, and still complains. If FHF were really upset by these “infractions” he wouldn’t do DA’s crosswords.

  21. One thing Australians have been very good at, over the years, is convincing the world that you don’t put up with whingers. Maybe FHF is a Pom?

  22. Thought the aussies are the whingers, look at Warner
    Anyway Warner himself does not play the word the ‘test ‘ is supposed to be…he receives one.

    Poorly wordedand non cryptic is DA’s forte…and no I am not a Pom

  23. Stuck with 2 letters to go in 21D… Any hints? Also, can anyone clarify the wordplay for 19A? I can understand letters 6-9 and maybe 1,2, but 3-5 completely elude me.

  24. Luke for 19A, consider Monet’s nationality and return a word for milk in his language.

  25. I agree with FHF about 7d (although it is a minor point), but not about 27a, which I enjoyed. Easier this week than last, but it still gave me a decent workout. I’m not sure I approve of the splitting of 23/2, and I don’t get the “neutralises” part of 6a.

  26. Sorry, Luke, I didn’t read your post clearly enough. Letters 3-5 are a word for “to make”, as in wages: I make $1,000 a week = I xxx $1,000 a week.

  27. Luke, my take on 19A is as follows: “milk for Monet” = 9,8,7,6; “to make” = 5,4,3; and “work” = 2,1 (the whole thing being returned). A very challenging and enjoyable crossword today (as usual). One of my faves is 18A, as I have not seen “degrees” used like that before, nice.

  28. Dave R , I took “neutralises” to mean kill for which 6A also works.
    I liked 7D. It was my favourite clue.
    Luke, I think 21D is the name of an Italian port which is also a sailing term so my dictionary tells me. Not sure of the wordplay, however. It was the last clue I answered.

  29. Luke and Ann, re. 21D… “Standing in the stern” = 1; “hoisting” is a reversal indicator; “perfect” = 2,3,4,5 (reversed). Last word is the definition.

  30. Dave- think – to neutralise a threat, possibly if youre a criminal / mafiosa..
    or, when things chill, they can XXXs

  31. Merci à tous! The money/winnings connection came to me while looking at it again, I guess it just didn’t seem to click the way they usually do. That said, I have no problem with 7D or 27A: the latter signpost is in common usage, and ‘as worded’ 7D seems to have been among most people’s first out, so the intention was evident. As Sandy pointed out, the beauty of DA’s crosswords is that he treats the so-called ‘rules’ as conventions which can be used to further mess with the solver’s mind when they become too rigidly concerned with the way a cryptic clue is ‘meant’ to work.

    Thanks Ann for the 21D tip. As far as I can make out ‘Standing in the stern’ gives 1, then hoisting a ‘perfect’ score written out in full gives the rest.

  32. haha, apologies Alan G., you beat me to it. Good to know I got the reverse-engineering right, even if I struggled with the clue itself!

  33. Got about half of it out so far. Even after reading the above I don’t understand the wordplay for 12a. Somehow letters 1-4 are a test, letters 5-8 are “could struggle”. I get the diary reflection for letters 9-11. Nobody above appears to have attempted to explain where the last letter comes from.
    Quite liked 27a as I spotted his subterfuge straight away.
    I don’t have 23, 2d yet, but am not keen on one word being split like that, assuming that’s what’s happening.

  34. One may think DA is the best compiler since Torquemada worked for the Observer and he may be the most inventive of the SMH/Age stable but that does not mean he is above criticism, nor, I think, would he consider himself above criticism. However, it seems for some that whatever DA does is OK regardless of whether or not the results are always in a solver’s best interests. It would also appear that an honest disagreement is brushed aside as whingeing.
    I note DaveR (3:48) shares my concern with 7 and is unsure of the 23/2. Oh my dear another whinger!
    Contrary to Rupert’s mistaken idea that I wouldn’t do DA if I were really upset (3:04) I do him because I find him challenging compared to the rest of the stable even if I disagree with some of his quirks and foibles.

  35. nn, re 12A, I believe that the test in one applied to aged people for government assistance. I think that Rupert agrees with me as he defined it as 1-4 as well. Ray (see above) thinks that the “a” from the clue is the first letter and 2-4 relate to cricket.

    23D/2D – agree with you re splitting one word, but it’s pretty easy. 23D is “dry” – think wine; 2D is “mate”. Whole word is “in cold blood”

  36. nn, 12A struggle indicates and anagram of could – the last letter of this answer comes from the world “could”; 5-8 has only four letters from the word.

  37. thanks Mort, reading earlier comments I hadn’t realised that the last letter was part of the could struggle. Makes sense now, although I’ve never heard of the test.
    Have six to go but they are proving to be quite a struggle. 1d, 9a, 10a, 25a, 22/2d and 23d. Lots of wordplays I’m still pondering. Don’t think I’ve ever got so much of a DA out with so little understanding of wordplays! Will presson.

  38. Of course there is always the possibility that I have some wrong answers for some of the larget words, thus rendering wordplay incomprehensible and intersecting answers impossible!

  39. Just got 25a. Spent ages looking for an anagram. This revealed an error in 11d. Have corrected that now, although I’d never heard of the term, but now at least I understand the wordplay for it.

  40. nn, 1D is an item you’d find in a parlour. It is a truncated version of a two-word phrase meaning “yet”
    10A is a fibre. Firm = 1-2. Fairly central = 3-4.

  41. 1d, 9a and 10a to go
    can fit two words into 9a, but can’t make sense of either of them in terms of the clue.
    Can’t find anything that fits 10a (is it a brand name?), but not sure if I have the correct 8d.
    If I get 9d, I might have a chance at 1d, but with only one cross letter there are too many possibilities.

  42. thanks for 10a Mort, looks as if I have 8d wrong, no wonder I couldn’t fathom the wordplay.

  43. Coming back to this page late in the day (completed this one in the wee hours during a sleepless night in Japan – see above), can I throw another bombshell into the debate? It’s starting to bother me that the knowledge of foreign languages required for these puzzles is mostly limited to French and Latin, with a smattering of German and Italian. I feel this might limit their appeal to an older age group for whom these languages were the norm when they were at school, when in fact our education system has moved on. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my 6 years of Latin and majored in French at uni after a student-exchange year in Grenoble, but I was one of the last generations at my school to do Latin. As a society we need to become more Asia-literate and I fear the SMH puzzles (DA and others) reflect an Australia of a bygone era. As a 40 year-old, I’d guess I’m at the younger end of DA-philes. Why on earth should a 20 year-old be expected to know the French word for milk? Interested in others’ thoughts.

  44. Martin, French is still one of the most common languages taught in schools (although you won’t see much Latin these days). In any case it is easy enough to go into google translate to find the French for milk, the hard part was working out that this was what he meant by milk for Monet.
    Only 1d and 9a to go now, despite Mort’s hint I have no idea what you would find in a parlour.

  45. As soon as I’d typed it the parlour piece became obvious. This reduced my two choices for 9d to one, although the wordplay is a mystery.
    Will see what Ian says at crossword club, then time for tea.

  46. Martin, I’m not a coffee drinker but, café-au-xxxx is pretty much in everyday use …

  47. nn, if one is expected to resort to google translate, I ask again why limit the languages to the old European ones that used to dominate our education system? I tend to think it’s everything to do with the language knowledge of compilers, who ought to expand their own horizons a little.

  48. nn, 9A Worry is a four letter word “reduced”, outside a word meaning “evoke”. Answer means happy. As you now have 1D, this should fall out easily.

  49. We’re expected to know the speech impediments of 19th century headmasters of minor English public schools. I don’t think expecting the solver to know a few words of French or Latin, and even fewer of German, is unreasonable.

  50. More broadly, crosswords work because of shared vocabulary, which changes over time. Few of us learned what a 1A was in school.

  51. English newspaper, English crossword therefore English clues/answers.
    Call it multiligual crossword then do what you want.

    DA is so revered that anything he puts as a clue is accepted, even if it sometimes is plain just definition as in quick clues. In fact he relies heavily on definitions and obscure synonyms of no relevance to the modern language, some in fact ever… and on non English synonyms.

    I still do it, because I can…but to me NS for example is much cleverer at using real cryptic clues. A better challenge for a mathematical brain using logic.
    When explaining these to non linguists, they ‘get it’ and that attracts them, and they develop language skills. DA’s doesn’t attract them, and then of course no further value.

    You may- no doubt will- disagree

  52. I take your point Mort, but on the other hand, if DA did start to use Hindi, Korean, Japanese, Chinese etc, there would be complaints from those who try to solve them. If he sticks to foreign words that for one reason or another are in reasonably common usage in English I don’t mind (and I think he has slipped the odd Hindi or Japanese word in in the past).

    But back to giving/receiving help. Thanks Mort, I have them all now and I think I get all the wordplays.

    @PInk PIggybank 1d is something you’d sit on, although nowadays we would probably put it in the lounge room rather than the parlour.
    14d Fern is the def, you are looking for a type of plant. The start of it is something you may vent if you get frustrated by it, the second part is almost worthy.
    9a gave me lots of trouble, def is the first word, the wordplay is pretty convoluted IMO.
    26a def is first two (or maybe three) words (think deceased). It is a double def although I don’t quite get how the answer is implied by the last word (or two) in the clue.

  53. Sorry Mort, the first paragraph of the previous post was in reference to Martin’s comment, not yours. Am not having much luck with my typing tonight.

  54. Is one down an an item of furniture: word play, please?

    Help with 14 down and 26 across needed,:please?

  55. @ YoCoRoKi: there’s 31 posts in the DA Bullshit category on this site, so it takes a special kind of obtuseness to come here and claim DA’s cluing is never criticised. You also appear to be unaware of the widespread use of double definitions and to a lesser extent cryptic definitions.

  56. @PInk PIggybank I suspect you posted your second query at about the same time my answers went up. You are correct that 1d is a piece of furniture. If you add a letter to it you get a phrase meaning yet.

  57. nn It’s not a phrase meaning “yet”.
    It’s part of a saying for which “yet” is the middle word, and the following two words are “abridged” to give the answer!

  58. nn
    I solved 9 across before any help arrived and found the word play straightforward!
    A 6 letter word for evoke [2-7]
    Plus 1 letter for love [8]
    Hugged by a 4 letter word for worry reduced by removing its final letter! [1, 9-10]

  59. Using the DA Bullshit category as a measure of the extent of criticism is nonsense, Rupert, mainly because, as far as I can tell, the everyday contributor can’t start Bullshit threads. They are at the whim of the site’s administrators, who, incidentally, have been quiet on the Bullshit front for over 18 months.
    I’m sure more people would express their DA opinions if people like you didn’t bash them on the head for anything less than DA worship.

    Stig

  60. Just to set the record straight: Spooner (after whom Spoonerism) was not a “19th Century headmaster of a minor public school” but the Warden of New College, University of Oxford.

    I agree with Rupert a knowledge of some foreign words and phrases is a reasonable expectation for a reasonably educated Australian/New Zealand adult.

  61. Thanks Sandy, Rupert, Mort, Ray et al for wordplays for 1a, 12a, 5d, and clue for 23/2. All done except for 1st word of 3d, which I’ll have to google. My faves today were probably 1d, 7d and 19a.
    nn – I’m sure you’d’ve heard of the (means) ‘test’ in 12a. (See Mort at 5pm).
    Martin, apart from languages, there’s sports, films, music genres (13d eg), drugs (12a eg), ferns (14d eg), even bumper stickers one time, all kinds of things that come into play that might or might not be familiar, sometimes I know them, but mostly I have to fossick, with help from wordplay and this site.
    Stig et al, I wouldn’t call it ‘worship’, or ‘reverence’, just respect. Go for it, all good, but I just enjoy having a crack, and coming here when I get stuck. C’est tout.

  62. Thanks for everyone’s assistance today. Still struggling on. What’s the Yiddish word for nitpicking anyone?

  63. @ Rupert (7:03pm)

    I do indeed know double definitions, for that matter double entendres, and I presume to a great extent cryptic definitions, thanks for the put down…otherwise I would not be able to complete tany day’s cryptic and the sudoku between starting breakfast and finishing ablutions;-)
    Thats my daily target, and I havent been late for work yet !
    Go well and enjoy DA
    cheers

  64. …oh, last thing relevant to today’s actually…when I see people having to “Google”, I think that they do not understand to logic behind the cryptic tools.
    mmmmhh dictionaries, Google and cryptic do not go together…perhaps with Quick yes

  65. despite answering 21d, i remained confused by some peoples hints.
    since when was a ‘pefect score’ not a ten?

  66. scott – 21D – it says “perfect sail”. Wordplay as follows:
    “Standing in the stern” = letter 1. “hoisting” indicates reverse for letters 2,3,4,5. “perfect” gives a 4 letter phrase (normally just written 1 letter and 1 number but in this case the number is spelt out) for the remaining 4 letters which gives letters 5,4,3,2. Defn = “sail”.

  67. @ YoCoRoKi
    If one can’t google, what does one do when confronted with something like 12a, which was something I’d never heard of and contained wordplay referring to something with which I wasn’t familiar (I still don’t see quite how the first four letters of the answer equate to a test).
    The “logic behind cryptics” doesn’t really help in such a case. The only way I got the answer was from the cross letters, combined with a hint from above suggesting Mexico. These gave me a word that fitted the first part. The logic of the wordplay gave me the second word, but without googling to confirm it was a type of dope, I had no way of knowing if it was correct or not.
    I suppose that you would argue that this is one of the faults of DA (obscure words and synonyms) and that’s why you prefer NS. Fair enough, but I usually manage to learn one or two new words each week from DA, so my language skills are developed. Google often inspires me to investigate the word further, so I learn more.
    I find NS a bit easy in comparison, but still fun to do. I don’t like one of the others (can’t remember which one) who seems to delight in filling the grid with long obscure words, some of which can be guessed at with the wordplay, but then they need checking in a dictionary to see if they actually exist.
    I think what I like about cryptics is that they require a combination of logic, knowledge and ability to look at the clue from many angles. Sudoku on the other hand is pure logic, you know there are only 9 numbers that can go in each square, no background knowledge is required to find the answer. Still good for a quick brain workout, but nowhere near as stimulating as a cryptic. (And I’m a mathematician!)

  68. @nn, re 12a “…after a test”, think in terms of the game of cricket, at least that’s how I got it…

  69. nn, re 12A: my parents have just gone into a nursing home and had to do the Aged Care Assessment Programme”. That’s how I interpreted the clue.

    Others have suggested that the first letter come from the “a” in the clue and that the “cap” relates to a cricket test match. Although I don’t follow (or understand) cricket, think that a cap is something you get when you play in a test, rather than a synonym for a test.

    Just my humble opinion …

  70. Thanks Mort, the Aged Care Assessment Programme (Not that I’ve ever heard of it as I’m not in that age bracket) would be a better fit than the cricket one.
    As you say it is something you get for playing cricket, not the actual test. Someone else suggested that the cap referred to some sort of means test in that you had to fall below the cap to qualify, but again the cap isn’t the test. As the test part of the clue doesn’t add anything to the surface reading, perhaps he could have chosen something else. The whole clue is pretty clumsy in its construction.

  71. nn…fair point, and I wasn’t having a go at you FA(C)T CHECKERS didn’t need a google and as for acapulco gold, it is obscure, if you have to google it then why bother…just wait for tomorrow’s paper, it adds jack to your vocabulary.
    This is ‘gold’ DA improper cryptic construction, not only an obscure word but an even more obscure clue at a very long stretch…I barely give him ‘cap’ as in ‘test cap’..barely, but…
    A ‘cap’ is not a test and an acronym of an assessment test is not required to be known and the clue he is even using.
    “You know, I was having some acapulco gold the other day and my dad came over and asked me to help him with his ACAP”…huh??
    The fact that some solvers are actually believing that that is the clue, means that they would accept anything if it is in DA, so long as the word fits. If you believe that is the clue, then I am afraid you have only guessed at the answer via the definition…probably through google.

  72. Fair enough YoCoRoKi. I didn’t need google for Fact checkers either. I agree with you about Acapulco gold being a really poor clue and I think DA could have done better with the wordplay. I also think it is a poor answer to put in a crossword. I don’t give him cap as in test cap and am not sure if this is what he meant or if he meant ACAP. It is either a very long bow to draw (see previous discussions of DA’s penchant for dodgy synonyms) or it is too obscure for the youngsters amongst us. As you say, obscure answer with obscure wordplay doth not a good clue make!
    I’m not quite sure what you are saying in your last three paragraphs, but I did guess at the answer, googled it, and found out it was one of the words in the clue, so reasoned that that word was the definition and then tried to make sense of the rest of the clue being the wordplay (without much luck!). As for waiting for tomorrow’s paper, I needed to know if my guess was right in order to get a start on some of the intersecting answers.

  73. Could not find another place to post this:

    Don’t know if anyone has done the SMH Cryptic Crossword of Sunday March 02, but I found it a real challenge to get all out and understand the wordplays.

  74. Re: the test. I understand that such cricketers do refer to the match as a cap.

    I find DA hard at times. I think it’s fun and if the wordplay were straightforward like a computer language, I wouldn’t bother with them every week….
    We all obviously get something out of it. Some just enjoy the snark !

  75. Perhaps DA could enlighten us as to his intentions regarding “a test” = “a cap” or “ACAP” or something else?

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