DA Confusion for the 17th of July, 2020

Do cryptic crosswords count as indoor sport?

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

93 thoughts on “DA Confusion for the 17th of July, 2020

  1. I’ve joined the insomniacs!

    Good fun today. I cottoned on to the theme long before I got 16a. In fact, 6d was my first one in, then 14a was pretty easy, which made me realise what was going on.

    I thought 20a included an “h”? (And, pedantically, 3d could equally be an Italian eminence.)

    Good starters, apart from described above, 26a, 18d, 12a, 13a, 15d.


  2. Disaster!
    My online paper copy has an old LR puzzle instead of Today’s DA.
    Will have to try and get a paper copy some other way.

  3. That’s odd Andy W and Lyn. Perhaps someone more tech savvy than me can paste a link to DA? I’m still trying to figure out the trick in the crossie, despite having most of it filled. It’d be a shame if everyone can’t join in.

  4. Crikey – what they’ve done is to reprinted a complete old puzzle page – the cryptic is number 21,297.

  5. Crikey – what they’ve done is to reprint a complete old puzzle page – the cryptic is number 21,297.

    Logged on to the online version for the first time ever and it is the DA. I’ll see if I can copy it here, but it’s an app rather than a pdf.

  6. Ha – the online “newspaper” version is also wrong, so looks like it’s the app or nothing.

  7. DArn it (ha) your link does tell me to get stuffed. Hope someone posts the grid or my lockdown mental health will suffer!!!

  8. Thanks Geoff M. I agree….. there’s no bone of contention…… it’s 9.

  9. Geoff M – 5D – “finished over” = 3,2. “halfway through personal reflection” = 4,1.

  10. Thanks Geoff M, the second link worked. I’ll have to wait until I get home tonight to do it.

  11. It was all so easy until I twigged that it wasn’t DA (our master!).
    Thanks Geoff for the second link.
    BTW: if you use this link print ‘landscape’.
    At least I can use the ‘portrait’ printing as scrap paper to work out the anagrams (if any).
    Cheers from the lockdown metropolis.

  12. DA cryptic 22234 17 July 2020:
    Could someone please de-confuse two octogenerians and two young adult grandsons as to how 14a is derived?

  13. Geoff Watson – it is a little difficult as 14A is one of the 9 clues.
    “Snake” gives 1,2,3,4 and “to decline” gives 5,6,7,8.
    Hope helps.

  14. My easier starters 25D,12A,3D,10A,6D and I kicked myself for not getting 26A earlier. LOI 24A. Favourite was 11A. Nice challenge today.

  15. Thanks timc
    I like the assistance of other solvers foi and easy hints
    I have 6d but need to work on 16a now….

  16. Ooh, that’s a big ask, Melanie! As I intimated earlier, if you get enough of the themed clues, you can probably reverse-engineer 16a. As you have 6d, you should find 14a reasonably achievable, especially with DAJunkie’s help, above. Then work out what’s missing from “bus”. Can’t help you any more, or I’ll be struck off …

  17. Ok, I might do some weeding to give my brain a rest then come back to it.
    Thank you

  18. Arthur Cs computer failed yesterday – he’s getting a new one.

    I’ll send him today’s DA as he was one of the unfortunates who bought the newspaper with LR in it!

    Have Fairfax said what happened? That’s today’s big mystery. They actually replaced my facsimile version with DA’s with the LR one around 7.30am but I managed to grab a version and solve it, desperately looking for what David had done wrong. But no – it was not the anagra of 23A -)

  19. DAJunkie, or anyone really,
    can someone explain how 5d actually is constructed ? I see the two elements but I don’t see how one ends up inside the other.

  20. Thought I was doing too well for a DA. Thanks GeoffM for the link – it worked.


  21. I’m a bit uneasy with 5d too, Neanderthal. Is the “halfway through” referring to the “personal reflection” or to the solution? Or is it doing double duty?

  22. ‘Halfway through’ indicates the middle two letters of word 6; reflect them (i.e. reverse them) and you have the first and last letters of the answer.

  23. GeoffM says……..Then work out what’s missing from “bus”. (14a)
    Is there something missing from “bus” or do I have to grammatically decline the noun?

  24. Well that was weird. I have got it out without ever working out the theme.

  25. Yes, Jack, but what indicates that “finished over” is halfway through the solution? Which is why I suggested “halfway through” is doing double duty.

  26. But of course, David Taft, once you do work out the theme, those nine clues make more sense, yes?

  27. I’m with you David Taft. I have completed the puzzle but I still haven’t grasped the theme.

  28. PS: Not only do I not understand the theme I haven’t identified the nine clues. Too obtuse for this old brain I’m afraid.

  29. David & Trish, I’ve listed the nine “themed” clues in that other thread that no one visits.

  30. That was the best DA for a long time IMO. Nice theme concept cleverly executed for some brilliant misleading. Too many killer clues to mention. Took me a couple of hours on and off. I could only quibble that the definition for 18D is a recent fashion. I would have clued with “Exploited U2 season is sickening”.

    For those who have completed it without understanding it, you must have a few answers where the definition is simply not present in the clue. With 16A in your head, look in some of those clues for a word that seems to have no purpose and see if you can think of how it physically reminds you of a synonym.

  31. Thanks AG but I am still not seeing it. I think I will just enjoy having completed the puzzle and not worry about how.

  32. DA has done some pretty amazing crosswords in the past, and I reckon this is up there with the best of them.
    In my opinion he has to be just about the pinnacle (in the current era) of compilers for the English language. Admit I’m not across all the UK compilers, but those I’ve seen are nowhere near as inventive as DA.
    If you read this David – WELL DONE :)

  33. Hear hear! TGIF has a whole different meaning for me. I do look forward to DA’s crosswords.

  34. Very, very enjoyable DA – I agree it’s right up there with his best. Tricky but satisfying to solve. Loved the theme and the clever “defs” in the themed clues. Nice def for 24a as well.

  35. It certainly was a good DA, so thank you Mr Astle, and in terms of inventive he’s certainly up there with the best. I cut my cryptic teeth on “The Listener” crossword in the UK, and some of those were even more inventive. Go and google it.
    For those still struggling with the theme, but having completed the x-word, read 16A and then look at all the words that aren’t wordplay (i.e. definitions) in the clues you don’t understand (most likely the themed ones). If you’re desperate look at the list of themed clues from Geoff M in the other thread and then read 16A in conjunction with that list.

  36. I add my voice to those singing DA’s praises. This was one of his most enjoyable puzzles as far as I’m concerned. A clever theme, reasonably challenging but also rewarding. Oh, and not full of people I’ve never heard of!

  37. I have 16a, 14a,6d but still can’t work out the theme…. help please….

  38. Melanie, I wonder if you have the right answer for 16a. Does it start with w?

  39. melanie 6D has nothing to do with the theme, but check out the clue for 14A and see what does not make sense. when you have the answer. Then remember the instruction that 9 clues must 16A. In what ways could the clue for 14A “16A” ?

  40. Very enjoyable and clever puzzle by DA today! The themed clues were excellent. I struggle to see how those who completed the puzzle without getting the theme can be satisfied they have completed the puzzle. The answer for 4D for example makes no sense without the theme.

  41. As usual I come panting past the finish line long after everyone else has gone home.
    I agree – this was one of his best.

  42. Hi all

    I‘ve been quite sick for over a week (negative to Covid 19 and all other respiratory viruses). So I struggled with this one. Late last night, snug in bed, the penny dropped. That was a tonic and a spirit-lifter

    Tks for all the hints and tips. Now I can 16A

  43. AG at 5.21pm —I couldn’t agree more . That wrong usage of the word is one of my hobbyhorses at work every day. I am constantly correcting people. It makes me sick. But is it becoming ok in ‘common usage’ , as has the use of the word ‘decimate’? I hope not, but maybe I should accept that words , like time, move on .

  44. What a fantastic one! A fruitless hour last night trying to get the theme and then the penny dropped this morning – I got it on the 23/17A rather than the 14A which some have suggested (although 14A then fell right into place). I got confused about whether it was 8 or 9 clues because I think 2D works either way.

  45. AG and Julie W,
    I liked the definition for 18D as one of its other meanings fitted well with the surface. In my vernacular, in the sense of the definition, it’s common and as oid as the hills, at least as old as my father who would have turned 94 yesterday. But you piqued my interest and so I looked it up. A couple of on-line dictionaries gives it as Australian and NZ slang. The Macquarie lists it as colloquial. I suppose it depends on where you come from. :-)

    My peeves are recent common usages such as reticent instead of reluctant, and (change) tact instead of tack, just plain wrong.

  46. ‘give it’ … before you anyone picks me up on my grammar, or is a couple singular :-)

  47. Thanks for the hints. I worked out the theme this morning, although still trying to solve a couple.
    I agree with Gayle (11:23am) about the definition for 18D being a common term in my distant youth.

  48. What is the term that some people are objecting to? Is is Word 1? We certainly used that term in my school days so many years ago. A common expression used by sick individuals was ‘as Word 1 as Rookwood’ (a Sydney cemetery).

  49. Very enjoyable puzzle this week. I agree with GeoffM and Neanderthal re 5d, that ‘halfway through’ seems to be performing a double duty. Makes me think I’ve missed something in that clue. Can anyone shed light on 5d please?

  50. My thanks to Mike (1535) for sending me this DA. Incredibly, my computer had been shut down completely after a screen colour change that occurred when I dropped the mouse. stripped the mouse down, was amazed at the amount of dust and fluff it contained. Cleaned and re-assembled, the whole system works better. Didn’t help me with this DA though, had to look up quite a few answers I couldn’t sort, still not sure which are the themed answers, can find some, but not nine.

  51. Arthur C I’m very impressed that you can strip, clean, and reassemble a mouse. I wouldn’t dare.
    Enjoy the day!

  52. On 5D – I’m not sure you need “halfway” to select the letters out of the “personal reflection”. Couldn’t “through” select 1,4 on its own and then “halfway” is the indicator for the positioning of 2,3?

  53. Feeling old and stupid. I got a few of the normal clues but none of the 9 and even with the solution in front of me I don’t see the theme. Would someone kindly talk me through it off line somewhere please?

  54. I battled this and got all except little 11a, but I can’t work out the theme or how 9 clues work. I have even got 16a 19d 1d 6d but how the theme works eludes me. Can someone please help with that so I can join the appreciation of this ‘very enjoyable and clever’ ‘fantastic’ ‘one of his best’.

  55. Phil, what two words can mean both 19D and 1d ?
    The second word of those two has to be ‘first worded’ into the clue because the clue is 6D

  56. Just noted that you apparently already have that twp word definition in 16A

  57. Clearly I am an idiot. I get that 9 clues are 6d. How there is a theme eludes me. Can anyone help?

  58. Still people struggling with the theme? You’ll kick yourself. It’s still too early to give any more help here than already given, but I’ll pop over to that other thread and spill the beans. Don’t go there unless you really are at your wit’s end.

  59. Hi Bern F. You’ll find the link at the top of this thread. DA for the 17th July,2020

  60. Thanks, GeoffM on the other thread.

    In defence of people who just couldn’t work out the theme (and I’m one), I can tell you why. The solution in 16A pointed me in the direction of continuing with the definition in the clue. So I spent many fruitless hours trying to identify a word that came after bus, say, in 14A that would complete the clue. The many helpful comments above don’t help with that.

    I’m not saying it wasn’t a fair theme. Just explaining why, for me, on this occasion, it proved elusive.

  61. Thanks Geoff M (referring to the other thread) and Cokes
    That’s good ; I was wanting to add to the answer (definition) didn’t think of adding it to the clue. Good one DA! (Really, no sarcasm)
    Good to know about the other thread when the brain is stuck.

  62. Glad I could shed some light for those who were stuck. I’ve often been in a situation when it seems everyone else has cottoned on but I’m still scratching my head. It can be very frustrating. The unwritten code of conduct of these pages is that one mustn’t give too much away, especially early on, which is why I did what I recall Celia doing many moons ago and revealed all in that “other thread”. Apparently this way it’s less of a crime? I must admit, I’ve never really understood the purpose of the “other thread”!

    Speaking of Celia, I wonder what’s happened to her? Perhaps she’s given up cryptic crosswords and taken up train spotting or stamp collecting …

  63. Gayle , re the posts by AG & me – ‘Nauseated’ means ‘to feel sick’ , or crook; Nauseous means ‘something that makes you feel sick’ . Like seeing something disgusting, e.g. wrong use of words.
    I did however accept that maybe the interchanging of the two words is ok by dent of common usage. This is something I have always struggled with ; e.g.’ decimate’, and’ incursion’ (something schools in Australia have regularly!!) I shall look what Fowler says. Cheers (including to Celia).

  64. Julie W, I bow to your greater wisdom. I thought you must have been on to something but I only looked up ‘crook’, rather than the answer. Respect to you and AG. Although, as you say, nauseous is common usage.

    I’ve been concerned about Celia too. A long time ago she gave a clue to another online identity. I’ve just looked her up and am happy to see that as recently as a week ago she was still going strong.

    Come back Celia, everyone misses you.

  65. …from one of the perennial plodders:
    Like sb on Friday and Phil on Saturday, little 11a is the ‘honey’ that has me stumped! I don’t think anyone reponded? Help!?
    In passing, I’m intrigued that so many thought this was a stand-out DA. I find them ALL pretty uniformly exceptional, if – more often than not – maddening!
    I agree, Julie: yes, don’t we regret the creeping “incursions” into the language; let’s hope it is ONLY “decimated”! (p.s. – can’t help myself, and hope it’s taken in the general spirit of the conversation :-) – “dint”?)

  66. OOOhh – thank you Johnno2 — it’s dint! I don’t think I’ve ever used that word. Glad about Celia!

  67. I just KNEW it would be a ‘D’OH!’ moment, Geoff! Thanks!
    And Julie: another :-) and a ;-) to you – graciously received and replied!

  68. In case anyone besides Julie W and me still cares:

    In the perpetual tension between descriptivism and prescriptivism in dictionary definitions, in the end I am a supporter of the former. That doesn’t prevent me from regretting the loss of useful distinctions when they disappear. So I don’t say DA was “wrong” in his usage of ‘nauseous’; rather, I regret that he contributes to its admittedly successful insurgence.

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