DA Confusion for the 29th May, 2020

Have your confusions sorted out for this week’s pre-winter DA.

57 thoughts on “DA Confusion for the 29th May, 2020

  1. Hey there I’m jumping in at the top of the thread with this post b/c I keen for people to read it and I generally don’t get around to finishing DAs and then trawling these comments till late Friday arvo. I’ve read a few people comment that they want tips and pointers rather than just empty bloviating so here are my tips for solving (DA specific but any really) cryptic crosswords. Some will no doubt disagree but if you’re struggling to get stuck in at least give these a go…

    1. Use the actual newspaper. I know this can be tough at the best of times, regardless of global health crises, but I genuinely believe it’s a better solving experience, and you don’t have the constant temptation for hints, nor can you check if you’re right. If you can’t afford to buy the paper, you can promote it from your local cafe, provided you buy a coffee (I checked with my priest and he said this was this fine).
    2. Use a pen. This teaches you to be sure before writing in an answer, rather than confidently guessing and screwing up your whole grid.
    3. Before even reading the clues, mark out the word breaks (using a hyphen where applicable).
    4. Use a spare piece of blank paper for taking notes. Do not use the marginalia. This will only distract and confuse you.
    5. Use clear capital letters. The test for this is whether another person could easily make out what letters you are writing, not whether you can tell. At no point should your letters touch the sides of the square.
    6. (So you’re doing all those physical things, now comes the mental one…) Keep an open mind. Easier said than done, for sure, but if you want to solve the seriously hard clues, you need to approach them openly, and never get too fixated on an idea you get about the solution.
    7. If all else fails, work the clue! What’s the definition? What’s the wordplay? Can you solve some of the wordplay? Can that some of the wordplay give you a letter in a perpendicular answer (a conch)? Okay I am getting into extreme crosswording here but you get the idea!

  2. Enjoyed today’s theme, 7d was the key for me. 1a, 3d, 10a, 16a and 7d are easy starters. Last in was 15d and my favourite clue today.
    Happy solving.

  3. Patrick has made some good points, but at the risk of ‘bloviating’ I’m gonna say, fun device and theme. Made it harder for myself by misinterpreting the instruction, and only when I got the theme did it all become clear. Starters the two 1s. Favourite clues 17d, 9d, 25a, and 7d.

    Learnt a new word and a couple still to parse, but have to go to my usual place of work now and clear out. Lost my little cubby hole while WFH.
    Have fun everyone. Back at the end of the day. Hopefully someone here will elucidate the elusive ones for me.

  4. Thanks everyone and your especial effort today Patrick. As I moved to Hobart 4 years ago I no longer have the smh delivered, but I subscribe and print out da every Friday.

    I try to get a few clues before turning on the brains trust, which is invaluable for its helpful hints.

  5. All done. Still thinking about word play for 5d.
    A couple of weeks ago I gave my reasons for going the App. It, basically, comes down to environmental reasons and convenience.

  6. I enjoyed this one the most for quite some time – perhaps because I am familiar with the inspiration for the theme, which is very clever IMO.

    FOI 1A, 16A. LOI 5D, 5A (which I did not know).

    melanie: If you have 5D right, googling it will reveal the source of the theme.

    Margaret: this is one of his swap clues, cued by the word ‘for’.

    Patrick: my advice for those starting on the cryptic journey is just to do what I did at first – have a crack at it each day, then examine the answers the next day and work out how they arose from the clue. Any word-oriented person will quickly realise there are only 6 or so techniques used, and the core of the puzzle is to determine with each clue which one or ones are employed, and how one was to have known that form the clue.

  7. Andrew T,
    Thanks. Yup, 5d now makes sense. Kicking myself.

    I agree that the best way in is just keep doing crosswords and build up to being able to complete them. For the clues you don’t get you work backwards and understand the logic. When I started I was lucky to get a couple of answers per crossword.

    DA has used a similar word play for 15d for a few crosswords lately, I was actually looking for the answer. It took me a couple of other clues to get the theme but I do like the “build” in the theme instructions.

  8. Sorry melanie, I meant “If you have 7D right, googling it will reveal the source of the theme”. As will 19A/27A.

  9. First ones 1A,3D,13A,18A,16A. Got the theme early on which helped. LOI 22D and I’m still pondering the wordplay. I’ll check back later for hints if I can’t work it out. 5A isn’t in Chambers and was also new to me.

    Favourites 25A for the rather obscure (these days) ’27-across vendor’, and the 2 ‘by today’s theme’ clues.

  10. A lot of misdirection today. Had the wrong answers for 5 across and 5 down penned in for most of the morning.

  11. I’d love to hear the parsing for 11A, as Ive got the answer but dont understand the first letter.

  12. I’d love to hear the parsing for 11A, as I’ve got the answer but dont understand the first letter.

  13. Mike J: for 11a, letters 1&2 are given by “flash”. It took me a while to parse the final three letters of 11a, and even what I’ve come up with isn’t the most satisfying (a shortening of a 4-letter acronym), so I’d by happy to hear any more convincing theories.

  14. Luke, I think your logic for the last three letters is correct and I have no problem with it.

  15. Mike J. I suspect your parsing is a bit off. answer pasrses as 1-2. 3-4 and 5-7.

  16. First post.
    Struggling with 5A. If I have the ‘correct’ answer, there should be another letter between the second last and last letters – my 7-letter answer does show up on a search (although not in Chambers), but the 8-letter version is always used by those (very few) who need to use it.

  17. After years of only sporadic attempts, I am finally trying to crack DA. Wish me luck.

  18. I think this is DA’s best work. Sadly, also didn’t know 5A. Loved it all.

  19. All the best, SlowA and Lily W.

    SlowA, your avoidance of spoilers is commendable, but I’m not sure what you have in. The answer is an uncommon word that is a variant in the last letter from a word that is on everyone’s lips vis-a-vis COVID-19. The parsing is straightforward once you have the theme. “Pointless” is “in 1-2,5-6”.

  20. Grid completed but not “solved” – can you help with parsing 19/27A and 8D please. Thank you.

  21. I’d have to add that, though this is an excellent DA, one wonders why the trio of 5A, 10A and 8D needed to be relatively unfamiliar content. It’s easy to substitute three more common words for them, say by putting “extra” as 8D. DA’s genius is for making the familiar obscure, rather than the obscure more obscure.

  22. AG , for me 10a or 8d weren’t unfamiliar, whereas a couple of other answers were. Just goes to show we are all different. Also, a different answer for 8d would have disrupted the theme.

  23. Thanks AG @10.29.
    Re 5A, I parsed it as you did, but I still have a problem with the answer. Put your ‘uncommon word’ into the search engine and yes, you will get some hits but you’ll also get ‘Do you mean …?’, with the dots indicating a word with an added 2nd last letter. Members of the specialised community that work in the area indicated by the answer always use the 8-letter (and not the 7-letter) word.

  24. DamianMc66 – for 8D, letters 1,4 and 5 are the first three letters of another name for the Moorish people.
    For 19A – letters 1-5 are a synonym for FEAR, and I can only assume that 6-9 are a synonym for SPELL, and 10-16 are a synonym for the verb form of BAR. Maybe the dodgy synonyms are supposed to be compensated by the surface meaning being vaguely related to the vibe of the answer?
    Or perhaps I’m just missing something a lot more direct?

  25. SlowA – DA delights in throwing in at least one very obscure word each week – all part of our education!

  26. DJM, true about 8D, I’d forgotten about that!

    My take on 19A was that 6 onwards and “spell at bar” were both obtuse synonyms for a term in jail.

  27. Clever theme today. Could someone please help me with exactly what 25a’s used to sell?? And the 15d parsing. Thanks.

  28. Julie W – I am pretty sure that 27 A is a brand that 25 As sell.
    15 D – definition is first two words (think a big movie franchise) letters 2-4 “cut off”, letters 5-6 “graduate” letters 1 and 9 “about” . “Bottles” is the container clue. And of course it is a themed entry.

    I am also unsure about parsing 19 and 27 across. I thought that 27 A was possibly “spell” but how the second part of 19 A is “bar” eludes me.

  29. Thanks Julienne- now I remember that brand that would be sold. I am sure you are right about the spell. If it is ‘barred’ , you are effectively 6-9 ‘d out of taking it.

  30. Geoff @8.43 – note my take on 19a 27a above. 27a is a spell. To bar , is to 6-9 in 19a.

  31. If anyone is still there, I am lost on 5d even with all the crossers. Also can’t figure the wordplay for 1d except for the themed part (letters 2&3).

  32. SandyMc for 5D think of a six letter word for old albums and replace letters for New York with letter for love to give old instruments.

  33. SandyMc, 1D revision is anagrind using two lettered word for old man and words 3&4 around theme.

  34. I worked out 20D. But have no idea why it is the asnwer. Wordplay please.

  35. Chris B. 22D, five letter word for foyer then first letter multiplied by ten. Think Roman numerals.

  36. So, Steve (4.52pm), are you saying 1D is an indirect anagram. I thought that was against the ‘rules’. That’s why I had discounted it.

  37. Tim C, I am pretty sure DA said himself in Puzzled that indirect anagrams were a no go. I also remember discussions about same here in the past.
    But I just realised it is not an indirect anagram. That’s where the ‘clothed’ comes in. The word for ‘old man’ is clothed in the anagram of ‘may on’ (and the themed letters).

  38. Apologies for my flippancy SandyMc, and I’m surprised that DA seems to have ‘rules’. Pardon my ignorance but is ‘Puzzled’ a book by DA? I’m a relative newcomer to DA so I’m catching up a bit. If it is I will get a copy.
    My distant past includes the Listener (won the prize once) and in the last few years the Speccie. I came to enjoy DA after I retired from paid employment and find him obtuse, frustrating and a little bit unfair at times, but I still look forward now to the ‘Friday challenge’ and the helpful and entertaining (mostly) hints and banter on here. :)

  39. Tim c. Yes, puzzled is a book about cryptic puzzles. I found it most entertaining and informative. It made a big difference to my ability to solve Friday puzzle. Enjoy when you get a hold of it

  40. Liked this one. Got stuck for a while, as I got 25a before 19/27a, and tried to reverse engineer 27a, leading me to humidor, which was wrong.

    Can’t parse 22d.

  41. Victor – See Steve at 5:27 yesterday.
    Anyone – An explanation for 2d please?
    All –
    * Interesting ‘how to approach/do cryptics’ discussion. My two-penn’orth (which I tell my U3A class): 1. Don’t think you have to work out the answers from the crypticness/wordplay; at least 3/4 of the time you’ll get the answer from the definition, sometimes helped by letters you’ve got, then you work out how the wordplay works (lots of nice ‘aha!’ moments); 2. To get started, go through all the clues one by one, say all the acrosses then all the downs, just a few seconds or so on each, and you might only get one or two (my usual with DA – if I’m lucky!) but they become your base; 3. Look for anagram indicators – they’re a clue type that relatively jumps out (though DA is not a huge anagrammer and he’s also a master misdirectioner!); 4. It’s not cheating if you use aids to find answers; it’s learning!
    * And there’s a ‘5’: when making cryptics, I record how many of each clue type I have, to try to get a variety and balance (DA’s advice). I have 19 types, I’m afraid, which is a bit more than 6!
    * On the subject of learning and the NE corner / 5a discussion, DA told me he sees two important function of crosswords being to educate about the unusual and keep the old alive. Thus his 5a choice? (plus 8d ensuring an important 10th themer!)
    * Finally, on ‘rules’, a cheeky one, because he has been very generous: feedback from DA was that double definitions shouldn’t come from the same ‘root’. So, 28a?…

  42. @johnno2 not sure if I’ve got it completely right for 2D, but was working on LEG up for mounted on?

  43. I reckon that IS it, Debbi (though conjugation of “mounted on” and “leg up” don’t align??) Thanks!
    That makes it one of those (less usual) 19-odd clue types – while also being a double definition of sorts…

  44. Can anyone please confirm re 5d why ‘player’ is an instrument, or am I missing something?

  45. @johnno2

    Re 1. While it’s certainly true that it’s the definition in a clue that seals the deal, a solver should always expect a clue to contain enough information in the wordplay to independently lead them to the answer. It’s what separates a cryptic clue from a quick one. Any clue that can’t reasonably do that is faulty. The whole concept is about having two ways to get to the answer.
    4. Needs clarification. I’ll agree looking up meanings of words is OK, but using solving apps and websites is not. Work a clue’s elements until you are exhausted, sleep on it and try again.
    “…two important function of crosswords being to educate about the unusual and keep the old alive” – that’s not a general cryptic crossword concept, that’s DA’s. Unusual is fine, obscure is not; old words are fine too when suitably indicated – both need to clued appropriately: a tricky clue for an unusual word is not good.
    “double definitions shouldn’t come from the same ‘root’” – interesting, as so many wordplays in cryptic clues are made up of components in the answer that “come from the same root”. Strange that double definitions get singled out and other clue types not.

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