DA Confusion for the 17th of November, 2017

Sort out your meta confusions from what should be a doozie.

59 thoughts on “DA Confusion for the 17th of November, 2017

  1. All done and dusted.
    I found it a lot easier this week.
    I liked 15a (first in), 8d, 24a/3d and 23a.

    Note: My online copy gave 2d as (6,2,2), I think it should be (4,2,2).

    Good luck solving.

  2. Agree Andyw, 2d has an editing error. But I would have thought it’s 6,2.
    Another one in the replica online version is 24, 3-across, which you’ve correctly written above. 24,3-across should be 24, 3-down, and 3 down should read See 24-across. I was distracted by that for a while until I solved it. I thought it might have been a pointer to the missing word.
    Chuckled at 23a, but I wonder how familiar is the ‘resistant to soldiers’ meaning.

    Thanks for your tip re the word order of the shaded clues. Haven’t got it yet. Looked for a nina but couldn’t find one.

  3. Gayle, I didn’t notice the 23/ mix up, it certainly looks like an error.

  4. Doesn’t make much difference if you know the order or not. You still need to find the hidden word.

  5. ell begun is half done, old saying. So I’m well begun. But grave uncertaintties about some of my 18 answers. Can’t sort 1A clue. Perhaps I’m standing in wrong place?

  6. Arthur C, look carefully at the clue. There are things there that are not, in this case, a misprint.

    Still haven’t got the hidden word, but agree with Black Pen, too early, not looking for hints yet.

  7. Geoff M, you really have let the cat out of the bag there, metaphorically speaking!

  8. Seven short, about as far as I can get. Gayle (0727), thanks but no clear to me. Still have missing answers in NE and SW corners. Will look back around 1530.

  9. Agree with AndyW 4:41 am shaded answers order!

    The homophonic “season” of 26A a bit of a stretch!

    Don’t understand 23A’s “resistant to soldiers?” Is it an idiomatic expression I’ve not heard before?

    Arthur C re 1A note its closing ellipsis …

  10. Andrew T, I think there may be more to 23a. Type “Operation ” into Wikipedia. I learnt a little history today.

  11. Geoff M. I think you’re overthinking it … :D

    The normal items which are (answer) resist the type of soldiers in my wiki link above, I think it’s as simple as that.

  12. 23A is brilliant. Chandler, Hammett and Spillane would be delighted.

    Cannot parse last 4 words of 28A, even though I know the answer is words 1-2.

  13. Jack re 28A
    “for example” letters 3-5
    “salt” S (salt S pepper P) letter 6
    The “best when trimmed” and “salt” coat “for example”.

  14. Jack, 10A veneer is laid-back to get the answer, if you have an answer try reading it backwards!!!

  15. Thanks again. Never thought of 6,5,4,3,2,1 as a veneer. Scientifically, it’s more like a plate, but I guess a plating is a veneer.

  16. All out here! Far easier than DA’s recent offerings, I found. I sussed the hidden word early on and it assisted with 10a, which I hadn’t solved at that point.

    I had it as 17, 12’s 21 15 10 22.



  17. Pete, how does your order clue the mystery word?
    See AndyW @ 4:41 am

    15A 10A mystery, letters 1-4,7
    22D container indicator
    21D mystery, letters 5,6
    17D 12A definition

  18. I am not finding this as easy as others. Any help with 1d and 9a my get me going.

  19. Sandy M: for 1 down, first two words are the definition, the other two parts are homonyms (“on the phone”). Think cows.

    9 across: first word is the meaning, second word is letters 1-3, letters 4-8 are an anagram of “custody” without its sides.

  20. Actually the first half of 1 down isn’t a homonym, just a word for “out of order”.

  21. Thanks Geoff. Got it. I don’t think it has anything to do with cows though. And I don’t know why it needs to be a homonym. Seems to work as a straight synonym to me.
    Anyway I have that corner now. Any ideas on 7d or 10a. I also think I have the answer for 24a/3d, but I can’t get the word play.

  22. 24a/3d: first word is definition, third word is synonym for letters 1, 3, 4, “Chanel’s ultimate” is letter 2, and the perfume ingredient is letters 5 to 8.

  23. I have got through it fairly efficiently after dinner tonight, except for the hidden word. Any clues on that?

  24. A seven letter word, vertical, a famous character from mythology. Someone earlier was more specific re the location.

  25. Thanks Celia. I’ll think about that and call for more help tomorrow if I still can’t find it.

  26. Celia, my clue order functions the same way as Andy’s (and set out by you at 4.57pm) with the only difference being that the def is at the beginning. But one must read It as 17 12’s 21 [that] 15 10 22. It certainly works. But on considering again this morning I now prefer:

    17 12’s 15 10 22 21, which is a 3rd iteration on my and Andy’s takes yesterday! I think this 3rd formulation gives the best surface. But it’s each to their own.


  27. Thanks Celia
    The sleep-refreshed brain and your clues have delivered the answer. I’ve never seen that one before!

  28. They don’t, Celia. But they don’t rule it out. Adding apostrophes to cryptic clues (which have no purpose other than to improve a surface) is par for the course. And the instructions simply instructed us to produce a cryptic clue using the shaded words. I read that as permitting standard cluewriting conventions. Admittedly, the printed solution is the ‘neatest’. But, notwithstanding that, I prefer the surface reading of my clue (this morning’s edit).

  29. Pete, apostrophes notwithstanding it still adds an unspecified “s”. The quality of the surface is a moot point, but your ” ‘s” removes any definition from the clue. I’m contributing no further correspondence on this issue; if you wish to continue shouting inane justifications into the dark, feel free!

  30. The moot point (quality of surface) is precisely the point I’m making. Thank you for acknowledging that it is moot. I’ve explained above why the ‘s’ is unspecified. The definition stands if one ignores the apostrophe ‘s’ (again reasons explained above as to why it is legitimate to ignore it. It does not form part of def or wordplay).

    I have to say that I don’t think there is any place on this message board for the tone which you’ve adopted. It comes off as unnecessarily stand-offish and rude. I thought we were having a grown-up debate. Though I did enjoy the irony of your exclamation mark while suggesting I was the one shouting.

  31. It’s a bit weird that ‘quality of surface’ is being discussed in a DA puzzle forum but I’m with Celia. In this case you cannot just insert an apostrophe-plus-s. It didn’t appear in the grid answers, nor should it appear in one’s solution.

  32. @Pete You said “Adding apostrophes to cryptic clues (which have no purpose other than to improve a surface) is par for the course. ”
    In my 30 years of solving I haven’t found this to be true in good crosswords. Can you give me some examples to back up your statement?



  33. So, in the end, what word was the missing one? I got the whole DA out but can’t work out the word…

  34. Oh I see it. Thanks for that.

    It’s a bit silly, i must say, but I do remember when DA did some whackier things.

  35. The clue type (6,2,2) of 2-down should probably be logged as a “DA Error”. Unless it’s my error.

  36. Frank, the 6,2,2 error was observed early in the piece, and also the wrong direction in a double-wordspace clue elsewhere. I remember the answers that rotated, also DA’s clever message in the 56 outer squares, but self-sabotaged by his changing of a word and its clue, but forgetting the last (different) letter affected the message. Then there were the one-square blobs, each representing the same sequence of three letters …

  37. Yes – the one-square blobs was inspired. I long for one like that again.

  38. Stig,

    I’ve only just seen your comment, so apologies for the lateness of this reply.

    I trust you are familiar with the Times crossword. Certainly it is one that I would describe as ‘good’, if not the most consistently high-quality of any broadsheet crossword. As you will know, it is syndicated in The Australian. As it happens, Friday’s crossword (in The Australian) has no less than 2 examples that illustrate my point. Incidentally, I highly recommend this particular crossword (and it has also received significant acclaim on the Times for the Times blog). Here are the 2 relevant clues:

    Drinker finally overcome by mother’s ruin (3) MAR

    Bouncer’s long walk round ship (11)



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