DA Confusion for the 3rd of February, 2017

DA has already warned us on Twitter: if you don’t like cross-references in your crossword, look elsewhere tomorrow.

And, of course, get some help from right here if it’s all a little bit too confusing.

88 thoughts on “DA Confusion for the 3rd of February, 2017

  1. Lots of cross references today, as signalled, though that for non-existent “29-down” in 1D sure looks like a mistake!

    Oh well, happy solving!

  2. Yes – “29-down” in 1D should read “29-across”.
    Lots of cross referencing – absolutely.
    And some are quintessentially DA convoluted (such as 1D and 9A and 20A …).
    Done and dusted.

  3. Ray, awaiting my paper delivery (ah, here it is right now, my doorbell’s ringing) while staring at online replica, but already love 1A/29A confluence!

  4. Convoluted, cross referencing, and foreign words. I was initially excited thinking this is a theme I know something about .. but I found it a grind. With the cross-referencing I ended up with a scratchpad which looks like algebra with arrows and lists from memory to get the visual rather than the aural. Oh well, if we have to google lists of foreign beers or operas or whatever, I suppose today’s will be no different for some, and maybe easier than it was for me. Definitely a two-cuppa DA – day.

  5. Agree with all above, found it a slow grind, after a late start – went Springsteen concert last night. ?

  6. Good morning folks. Good to be back after missing two weeks. We seem to have joined the Common market today!

  7. I can count in English and Japanese, i think I’ll leave it at that. Not liking this one at all. Try next week.

  8. Finally, finished.

    Was stuck on 3D, 20A, & 17D.

    Then the penny dropped – literally – for 3D.

    That delivered 20A.

    Finally with 17D I realised I’d been struggling with the wrong 1-28 across! Not to mention the wrong cooler! And the homophone clarified itself.

    Happy solving everybody, busy day today!

  9. Done by 9am (Sydney time), very fast for me. I’m normally still solving on Saturday morning. I was lucky in getting 1A, 28A and 29A quickly so assumed that was a bit of a theme. Unlike some of you, I enjoyed the cross referencing. 17D made me laugh. I had better get back to my real job.

  10. Found google helpful for the 28As in 1A and 21D. My schoolgirl 29A was helpful. I have an answer for 19D (only word that fits the letters I have in, assuming 23A is correct) but cannot see that it fits. Any subtle hints?

  11. Ann L re 19D
    Themed a la 1A, 29A, 21D
    “horse eluded muse” gives letters 2-6 (the 6-letter Muse this derives from has a “horse” as her letter 2).
    “in corrals” gives 1 & 7.

  12. All out very quickly (for me) but unsure of word play for 13D and 21D. I enjoyed this one, thought 29A was fun and generally appreciate lots of cross-referencing.

  13. Dave R re 13D
    Can’t help with 21D as I’m unsure myself, but for 13D the president referred to is one of the four who were assassinated.
    “about” is a reversal indicator, “short” is a truncation indicator, so “short president” gives letters 3,2,1, (leaving one letter over).

  14. Thanks, Celia. I’ve just worked out 21. Words 1 – 5 are the definition and ‘roughly’ gives the three-letter suffix.

  15. All out. I needed to work backwards for some of the clue components. After the first few I started looking for others. This made a change from still going on Sunday. I’m liking my work break. Enjoy people.

  16. I am finding it hard to break this one out today. Have found a few but need 28 across to proceed. Any slight hints?

  17. Not exactly about this week’s crossword, but I was thinking about DA’s last column, where he mentioned a woman’s stalled attempt to get into cryptics.
    It has occurred to me that probably not many people get into them without being shown how by a friend, family member, colleague etc. I was shown by my mother’s boyfriend when I was a teenager (really not as creepy as it sounds). I was wondering how others got into them. Were you shown? Or did you just sit down cold to one and figure it out?

  18. All out. Loved 12A. Had to work really hard to parse 21D, but laughed when the penny dropped. Have a good weekend, everyone.

  19. Hi Carol,
    I’ve done crosswords since I started work as a teenager. Used to buy the evening standard after work and do them on the bus. Then a work colleague used to give me his Times when he came in so I could finish it for him! That was over fifty years ago! ?

  20. My mother used to do them in the Oz, but she never taught me that (or anything else in fact …!)

    It was about 30 years ago I started reading the Herald daily, and it was around about then – I think a friend introduced me to cryptics. I had to work out the types of clues myself; I just looked at the answers the next day and worked backwards to see how they were done. After a couple of weeks of that I was off and running!

  21. Thanks Carol, hope you can see my emoji and work out why I’ve used it ?

  22. OK I surrender. Stuck on 8D (2nd word, 22D, 20A and 23A and would appreciate gentle hints.
    For 8D I’m thinking def is 1st word of clue and “on” clues whole of 2nd word of answer.
    Hey Arthur – nice to see you back!

  23. A friend introduced me but, to me, the secret is you do them for a solid month and check out the answers and why. After the month you have a pretty good idea how to do a reasonable amount; the rest is learning to think unconventionally. The thing I love is you bring everything you know to the table. Best mental gymnastics there is.

  24. This year is my 30th anniversary of doing Cryptic crosswords, I learnt from an older guy when I was doing my Electrical apprenticeship, Learnt to do them on the great LB puzzles. Very much addicted to them.

  25. I worked in London for a man who did the Guardian crossword on the train in every day. He taught me the ropes and I have been doing them since then (1974). I don’t think I could match his speed of solving even now.

  26. After teaching myself to do cryptic by going through the answers the next day (but avoiding Friday’s), I was given DA’ ‘Puzzled’. That got me on his wavelength.
    Still struggling with a few today: 9a (I think I have the answer from cross letters, but can’t work out how); 8d (despite the above hints); 12a; 20a; 23a; 24a; 17d; 22d. Any help out there?

  27. Apparently DA tweeted that if you don’t like cross-references you should look elsewhere today. Not good enough really – if he knows people don’t like excessive cross-referencing, why does he do it? I don’t pay a subscription to be told to “look elsewhere”.
    Cross-referencing turns most of these clues into complete nonsense – how clues read is important no matter what game the compiler is playing.
    I learnt with my mum when we both had time to learn – something that just wouldn’t happen today with so many other less time-consuming distractions available.

  28. Sandy. 12A. Rides her is the definition. 1-28A gives letters 1-4. Pretence gives 5-8.

  29. Thanks Rob. Got it just before I looked back. Also got 22d & 23a. Still working on rest.

  30. Dave R, he was not assassinated. Those four were Abe, Garfield, McKinley and JFK

  31. Alice/Sandy 8D: def is first word of clue. Pole gives us letter 1, letters 2-4 are a 1A 28A. Clue word 3 gives us letters 5-13.

    Sandy 12A: def is the last 2 words of the clue, somewhat elliptical as indicated by the ? Letters 1-4 are a 1A 28A. Letters 5-8 are clued by “pretence”.

    20A: Def is first word of clue. 2nd word clues letters 1-2. Letters 3,4,5,7,8 are a 29A 28A. Letter 6 is clued by words 3 and 4 of the clue, letter 9 by last two words of clue.

    23A: a little tricky to hint, this one … def is last word of clue. letters 6-8 are given by word four of the clue, hopefully with the cross letters you can work the rest out.

    24A: def is word 1 of clue Word 2 clues letters 1 and 2, word 3 letters 3-6. An obscure word, to me anyway!

    17D: Def is last word of clue. “rose’ clues letters 1-4, picked up meaning its a ‘sounds like’ clue. Letters 5-8 are a 1A 28A.

    22D: def is last word of clue. The flanks of ‘boxer’ give us letters 1 and 2. Letters 3-6 are a 29A 28A.


  32. Thanks, SB (1319), nice to be back, have a new computer, still unsure about some procedures. As to puzzle,i gave it away this morning, was out from 0945-1350, decided to have a further look. Have all the LHS, lacking second word of 8D, but I haven’t sorted 13A yet. If I get that, i might progress.

  33. A work mate showed me the basics of cryptics in 1986. I got into the Times cryptic in the mid-90’s. Was so happy when I got the first one out. I used to help my mum do The Stickler cryptic when I came up to Sydney for a visit. He defeated us more often than not. Otherwise, I left them alone until I discovered D.A. Hooked again.

    “Woke up, had a shave, did the Times crossword, had another shave.” – Roger McGough

  34. Thanks Andrew for all your trouble. I already had a few as mentioned above. Still puzzling over others, despite your help. But you did give me 24a.

  35. Arthur think of old 45s. First word relates to thoughtless and second word is another name for teams

  36. All out now. Needed the word finder. Still haven’t really cracked the wordplay for 21d though.

  37. All out now thanks to AndrewT for 20A and 25D (so obvious once solved!)
    Arthur, 8D was my last one in. See AndrewT at 2.04. Note that “on” clues 2nd word but not in sense of over or above.
    For the record, thanks DA for so much Friday Fun. I for one REALLY ENJOY these cross referenced themes. I don’t even mind themes that are way beyond my spheres of interest. Can always google.

  38. Still ten short, all on RHS. But thats it for this one, other duties call. CU next week, DV.

  39. Sandy. 21D. The first word means “without” in 21D. Or, duration gives letters 1-4 and roughly gives 5-7.

  40. @Carol:

    My aunt showed me one when i was about 10, but I was only able to solve two paired clues (LEAR/REAL) for the next 10 or so years.

    I got back into crosswords because of a pretty girl at uni, and started doing the Two-Speed in the Telegraph, which helped me learn cryptic formulas and eventually worked my way up to DA.

  41. Sorry Jack @ 2:02, you’re right. That was my mistake earlier, @9:58, not Dave R.’s. I was looking at lists of presidents last night and must’ve suffered a moment of daft-ness!

  42. Thanks Rob B. My knowledge of 21d does not stretch beyond 28s. Usually all you need are the articles.

  43. My goodness, quite a lot of ‘lifers’ here!

    Margaret: Yes, drawing on everything you know (or can google, when you get desperate) is half the fun.

    Erica: My emoji-reading skillz are very poor, sorry!

    Rob B: Ha!

  44. Non ho capito, Rob B, re 21D! Please explain first five words, I’ve not seen a satisfactory and comprehensible explanation of this here. I can understand “duration roughly”, but can’t see how the first five words of this clue work!

  45. I began cryptics in 1961, my first year out of school. On long commutes to work, I found that I was finishing the straight crosswords too quickly, so I went into those produced by Lindsay Browne (LB). Luckily, he only provided them two days per week. I never expected to encounter the likes of DA!

  46. Indigo, if there was a prize for the cutest reason… I hope it worked out happily.

  47. Like Terry, as an electrical apprentice, 2 older tradesmen always did the LB, Tues and Thurs in the telegraph, I became addicted circa 1982

  48. Celia, for 21D, as explained by Rob B, the first 5 words of the clue relate to the answer (might need spoiler alert): 3rd word is the answer; 1st and 5th words mean the same thing in different languages. Very clever of DA, and very clever of Rob B. And thanks to you to CF for explanation of 15D.

  49. Learned cryptics by osmosis with my grandfather, who insisted on explaining clues to me when I was at primary school. Got to know my husband over the Telegraph and Guardian cryptics in the Manchester University common-room cafe in the 60’s. Used to do Ximenes and Torquemada, but that was when I had one or two more brain cells circulating! DA sometimes reminds me of the much-loved, sorely-missed Araucaria in the Observer, especially when he uses deliberate misprint themes.
    Incidentally, I’m stuck on 1d, which I don’t think anybody’s mentioned here.

  50. Ah, finally, I get it, so, if it was cluing 29A, it would read “sans in this is without …”. Thank you!

  51. PS, I should add – I’m not as ancient as the mention of Torquemada implies – he died in 1939! But collections of his puzzles were available – may be still, for all I know. It was not for nothing that he and Ximenes took the names of Inquisition torturers.

  52. Mary re 1D deserves a parse anyway, a rather convoluted charade …
    Defn 1st 2 words; “girl, extremely” letters 1,7 [or letters 1, 6?]; “protective of” inclusion indicator; “a 29-down” letters 2-3; “method” letters 4-5; “15-28-across” letter 6 [or letter 7?]

  53. Oops, I repeated the “29-down” errot in the 1D clue, should be “29-across”!

  54. Thanks Celia I had that second word all day but had a spirit for the first word, happy now.

  55. I can remember in the mid 70s catching a train home from the city (age about 14) looking over a fellow passenger’s shoulder doing the Herald (Melbourne afternoon paper at the time.).
    Anyhow there was a clue, which I thought the answer was harmonica, don’t remember the clue. I was very frustrated that he couldn’t see it…guess what checked it the next day..I was wrong of course..but been hooked ever since.?

  56. Here’s Celia’s alter-ego’s stroll down Memory Lane …

    Mid-1969, Sydney Uni Union Refectory (above & behind Union theatre, pre Footbridge), conversation with Jack R. Herman (many years down the track to become Secretary of the Press Council) where he said he liked sitting in the Refectory “doing the cryptic crossword” (can’t recall a specific, but suspect that in the SMH, probably by Lindsay Browne). “What are they?” Brief explanation ensued, C’s AE was immediately hooked! Only one partner down the track attempted cryptics, and got quite upset if I didn’t leave at least a few unfinished; have never been able to engender an interest in any of the many others. Even my current BFF displays a blank look when I proffer a particularly juicy example of DA’s art! Have even compiled two or three cryptics for the Sydney Blues Society’s newsletter many years ago, my favorite clue of which was “Harmonica? No! Monica? Yes! (4)” but blind like this without cross letters no one seems to be able to get it. Any takers?, just blurt it out!

  57. @Carol: No, the crossword girl and I never pursued anything together beyond the Monday Omega and the occasional DA. Not to worry, though, I took away an interest in cryptics and happily met someone else shortly thereafter which has worked out very well (despite my being the only cruciverbalist of the two of us)!

  58. Sorry for the very late entry: back in France now, which puts me in delay but certainly primed my mind well for a lot of today’s clues! That said, thanks to everyone above for help on 17D and 20A.

    @Carol, in my case I was given a little book that explained the different types of clues when I was a little kid, but only really got into cryptics when my Grandpa passed away in 2008. He lived in Perth (I’m from Melbourne) so I never really got to know him as an adult, but at his memorial service he struck me as a fascinating person. He’d been addicted to cryptics for most of his life, so I figured I’d give them a try as a sort of way of connecting with him. I finished my first grid after a week of learning by reverse-engineering, and I’ve been addicted myself ever since. Happy solving all!

  59. @Celia AE and Indigo – Cryptic initiation in Academe! Long ago I was doing the cryptic during a Philosophy 101 class at Sydney Uni, and a fellow-student used it to start a conversation with me. We’re still friends.

    Re cruciverbalist partners – I’ve never managed to score one! Perhaps for the best.

  60. Celia @ 6.33pm. I was a bit late tuning in. A nice poser. Tag, you’re it. :-)

    I too have found memories of Sydney Uni refectory, but post-footbridge. I miss the Jacarandas in November.

  61. The answer to 23a was obvious in the end, but I was a bit confused by the wordplay. The bit I was stuck on , letters 1-5, became clear when you look at the letters of we separately!

  62. Still plugging away slowly. Have some of the pivotal answers (1,15,28 and 29 across). I think I can guess what 19D and 21D are but have no idea of the wordplay despite all the above hints. Perhaps someone can explain in the morning when the solution is out.

  63. GeoffD – (spoiler alert) for 19d look up the names of the muses and one will stand out. For 21d look up the first word according to the clue answer .

  64. GeoffD
    19D My post at 8:28 am yesterday wasn’t helpful?
    21D simplest explanation is that the clue’s first word is not English but is in the language clued!

  65. Margaret and Celia
    Thanks for your help. I understand both now. In the case of 19D my classical education is clearly lacking!

  66. Don’t worry, GeoffD, if I encounter a muse in a clue, and it’s not immediately obvious, I hit Brewer’s – or google, no shame there!

  67. Glad to be of help. It is too easy to make a clue more convoluted than it needs to be. I was trying to modify stallion in 19d for a while.

  68. Very late to the game this week but everyone’s comments have been invaluable! Still stuck on 5d, 6d and 10a.

    @Luke our timings for cryptics are similar, and I’m also in Melbourne but originally from Perth like your grandfather.

    I taught myself from a Lovatts cryptic booklet and slowly began the Age cryptics in 2008. I managed a retail shop in a little alley in the city and the guys who worked at Jungle Juice next door did them too so we became a little solving posse. I hadn’t been able to get a DA finished though until I taught my boyfriend to do them.

    We’re also both actors and the pastime has slowly passed through the young actor community over the last few years too. It’s the ideal backstage time filler.

  69. Sorry. I specifically spoilered before. Am new to this and will be a tad more circumspect in future!

  70. Kasbot – my reasoning is
    5d was first two words answer, 2-5 as “no 28 across” which I considered as “nothing” in 29 across and the books is 1 and 6.
    6d was 1st word anagram indicator for next two words; answer 13 across.
    10a was 1st word answer, regular (alt) letters from 3rd word and radiant backwards.

    Happy for someone to contradict if my reasoning was wrong.

  71. Hi Carol,
    It’s a “crossword’ emoji!
    I use ? when I want to take a bow. ?

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