DA Confusion for the 26th of March, 2021

This is the time to have your confusions settled for this week’s DA.

Let the internet sort you out!

81 thoughts on “DA Confusion for the 26th of March, 2021

  1. Morning Trippers
    DA was kind again in the key word 21D FOI and twigged to the rubric re the possibilities for the different types of clue. Drawing up 3 columns helped when reaching the end, which for me was the NE corner. 18 A was biggest chuckle for surface and wordplay, when I got it, late to the party. I suspect 14A and 22A might also have a groan or a smile in store. Haven’t parsed them yet.

    2D held me up, firstly by googling the exchange rate which led me down the wrong path. Serves me right. Then by bunging in the wrong end by guessing the wrong definition, resolved only by scratching it all out on paper. There’s a pesky little word there I missed. Made the same mistake googling Italian painters with 7 letters. Not one I knew. Message to self, wordplay before google.

    Overall an enjoyable workout. Hope you’re all keeping your feet dry today.

  2. This was a hard one for me. I struggled and was all over the place.
    Didn’t get 21D till about half way – but should have got sooner.
    SW corner the hardest for me.
    FOI was 19A.
    Wasn’t as clever as Gayle to divide the types into 3, so got a bit lost for a while.
    Not that it really matters, but in 2D, maybe “254” was better than “256”.

  3. And 22D finally. Another important word I missed. Had trouble working out where the definition finished.

  4. I managed to solve 21D straight away which helped with the themed answers.

    9A was new to me but easily solved from the clue and a few cross letters.

    I confidently wrote in a six-letter word at 11A which has the same first letter as the correct answer which held me up for a while. The expression I though correct is a more universal expression than DA’s very Australian one.

  5. Got the SE corner and few others fairly fast, then hit a wall. Didn’t help that I got the wrong Italian painter for 9A – never heard of the answer.

    FOI 4D, 25D; LOI 10A, 6D.

  6. What a delightful experience today. More smiles than ever, perhaps the biggest 25d.

    21d came pretty quickly, then the SE quarter. Progress slowed for a while thereafter, but nothing too taxing. I was convinced for a while that 4d was the cheese that’s recently changed its name!

    I’ve only identified eight plus three themed clues, but I still haven’t parsed three, so perhaps one of those will bring it to eight plus four.

    Completely off-topic: some of us registered our displeasure at errors in the puzzles a couple of weeks ago. Did anyone else notice that the nine-letter word in Monday’s “Target time”, where the rules don’t allow plurals, was “libraries”?

  7. Agree DAJ. I also found it a bit of a struggle, despite getting 21D fairly early on. First pass only yielded 29A and 16D. LOI 2D, and I’m still debating about adjectives and nouns Gayle. I also wonder whether the anagrind in 5D is 4D. Didn’t know 9A or 1-3 of 15A.

    Smiles from 14A,18A and 22A. Not totally 26A today.

  8. Happy to see the keg on legs get a guernsey, although he is more legendary as a first drop.

    14A is my favourite of the day.

    I agree, Graham M, about those libraries. That was a real rule-breaker.

  9. I’ve enjoyed this – have guesses for 1D, 3D and 11A but don’t get wordplay; 4D I too thought of the sadly renamed cheese; and still working on 1A and 12A. What field are we in in 1A? Chess? Cricket? or am I on the wrong track completely?

  10. SB – 1A – as per Jack’s hint.
    1D – 2 letters swap for 1.
    3D – 2 letters in 4.
    11A – if you have 25D, that will give you a hint for the 6 letters of 11A. Plus see Peter above.
    12A – yeah – can’t help you at this stage on that one as gives a bit too much away.

  11. Thanks Jack – that gave me everything bar 4D
    And thanks DAJunkie – yes, I figured out 12A; I have answer to 11A but not wordplay, and still don’t get it – maybe if I say it aloud a few more times … ; but I do understand 1D now thanks. Still not completely sure about 4D – do I need to know more about the TV drama?

  12. SB, the last two words of the clue for 24a/11a pertain to 11a.

    I’m confused with your comment re TV drama and 4d. Do you mean 7d?

  13. I had a different word for 11A at first (like Peter @ 7:43) which has the same first letter but the 2 other crossers were wrong. The wordplay is pretty clear if you have the right word.
    The TV series was a film first.

  14. Same here Tim C and Peter for first guess at 24/ 11A with the 6 letter count for 11A. But it didn’t parse. Funny mix of idioms from across the world, the dunderhead bit, and the whole answer. The solution is localised so it might not be familiar to all. In my youth, the expression was 6, 3, 5, 5 with the first word being our initial wrong guess for 11A. Also a novel by a British author about an American geologist in Australia. I’d love to know how these expressions translate in other places.

    Tim C re adjective and noun in 2D, my take (after spending ages trying to work it out) was that ‘on’ was a grammatical marker, or is that too generous?

  15. You’re all talking in riddles — I don’t know what your alternative 11a was. I’m sure I’ve only ever heard the correct one.

    I still have two unparsed ones — 22a & 28a. Hints welcome.

  16. Graham M 22A was one of my last ones in because of my oversight, or lack thereof.

  17. Graham, it’s probably okay, by now, to give spoilers, so the six letter word I entered at 11A was “beyond”. Sure, it didn’t meet the parse test but it was better known to me than the Australian version.

  18. I think ‘crossed’ is doing double duty in 28A. A word for a ram, last 3 letters. which I keep finding in cryptics, but didn’t know before, despite my father being raised on a sheep farm. Then that’s ‘crossed’/reversed in word order, with ‘I’ in accusative/dative case. The definition is the last 2 words.

  19. Yeah, Peter, but to which Australians? Depends where you live, eh? I’d love to know what they say in the other States. My ‘eh’ gives me away as a Queenslander by birth. Before I moved to NSW, I only knew the expression ‘beyond the black stump’. I do love how DA uses phrases from the vernacular.

  20. Ah, yes, Peter. Of course I’ve heard of it! I was struggling to think of the name of a place.

    Gayle, that’s certainly a new ram for me. OED says it’s “British”.

    Thank you for your hint (I think?) for 22d. Still working on it.

  21. Graham M, if 22A is still a riddle, try looking at from another direction, 8-4, 3-1. I was also stuck on this and it was a great revelation when I got it. Definition is first 2 words. The surface is almost an allusive or extended definition..

  22. Melanie, as you’ve no doubt realised, 21d is crucial to most of the puzzle. The definition is the first word. The second and third words of the clue give the first two letters.

    Thanks Gayle, I have 22a now!

  23. Melanie, how far have you got with 21D? Definition is first word. Wordplay is heart of ‘affair’ (ie the middle 2 letters) followed by a a 4 letter word meaning to beat badly.

  24. Yes I had the incorrect beyond at first (24a/11a), but when I pencilled in 2d (still think the ‘on’ is a bit of a stretch) looked for something else which then gave me 3D which was quite a clever clue.

  25. Gayle says: 26 Mar 2021 at 6:33 pm “Yeah, Peter, but to which Australians?”

    Gayle, I was born and raised in England and was taken to Sydney by my parents when I was sixteen.
    “B*** of B…..” ,the correct DA answer was unknown to me then, but “B*** of beyond” was not.

    Graham, thanks for the acknowledgement. My answer was not a place; just an expression.

  26. Thanks Graham M – my query about the TV drama was a reference to the TV series referenced in 3D. On 24a/11a, I understand that the last two words of the clue pertain to 11a but don’t understand how.
    And thanks Gayle for your explanations of 22a and 28a.
    I just twigged to 4d as a themed clue yay. All out, all understood.

  27. SB – 11A is a homophone (as indicated by “said”) for a word in British slang that means a “dunderhead”.

  28. Just registering my frustration at this stage – with the puzzle, exacerbated by everyone else’s apparent overall ease with it! I’m deliberately not looking closely at your specific usual here-and-there queries and concerns – I’ll battle on! I have 21D but have NO idea which 12 clues it applies to in its 3 different ways; certainly not 3 of the only 4 other answers I’ve got, though maybe to the 4th? (5D, for which I don’t get ‘Out to lunch’ or 1,2,3 – and shouldn’t it be ‘girl had’?)
    Rant over…

  29. I DID unavoidably register the ‘keg on legs’ reference and have now ‘put 2 and 2 together to get 1’! On my way, then, but 21D 1,2,3 to go to get it 21D 4,5,6!

  30. Is 4D one of the 21D-defined? If so, isn’t one of ‘hems’ or ‘skin’ redundant? (‘…and calico oilskins’ would have sufficed?) I can’t imagine the ‘hems of calico oilskin’ providing a socially acceptable answer…

  31. Johnno2, 4D is one of the themed clues. And yeah, it ain’t the cheese answer. You could take hems as referring to calico and skin as referring to ….
    Hope that helps! I too am struggling.

  32. Johnno2, re 5D, I took ‘out to lunch’ as an anagrind for the following two words (s included).

  33. I think the challenge with this kind of crossword is the number of undefined clues, in this case 8, as per DA’s instructions. But then he’s made it trickier by the definition being in 2 different senses. And then another 4 clues with 21D as wordplay. So 12 clues in total where you have to guess what’s going on., but really it’s every clue you’re not sure of to start with. It might be stating the obvious, but in this game DA definitely has the advantage.

  34. Gayle: Agreed.
    By the way, I laughed at your comment (I think it was you) about ‘lego clues’ a couple of weeks back. I used to share with someone who also did cryptics, and ‘lego clue’ was our term for it too! NS, we felt, was a repeat offender.

  35. Yeah, lego clues either go in click or clunk, but you can’t force them or the whole thing falls over :-)
    NS drives me NutS! I do wonder though how she gets her 15 letter anagrams.

  36. There are a number of anagram generators online. (I once fed my full name into one, and came up with “not normal ostrich”, which I took to mean a bird that DOESN’T hide its head in the sand. I liked that.)

  37. Good morning and thanks DAJunkie and TimC – a British slang term unfamiliar to me.
    johnno2 I trust you’re progressing, and even possibly enjoying it.

  38. Carol, if you remove letters 2 and 3 from ‘piracy’, it becomes racy (= brisk). The difference between piracy and racy is that the latter no longer contains the original letters 2 and 3 (i.e. there is no _ and_). Raymond Chandler’s stories are considered examples of this resulting genre.

  39. Carol, 14a was one of my last to parse. When I did I enjoyed a broad smile … perhaps even a laugh.

  40. Carol at 11:17 LOL. I’ve tried a few but haven’t come up with anything that good.

  41. No, kraDen. I used to go on the Australian Crossword Club site years ago before subscription. Then I tried but got hung up on the technicalities. But thankyou. I see it’s evolved and is a lot easier now to access now. Are you a setter?

  42. No I just do the crosswords.
    I find them challenging and like the fact you have a month to complete them.
    The online submission through accolade has definitely made submission easier
    I also find if you do them regularly you easily regain your membership fees in prizes.

  43. 4 to go
    Could I have some hints for 6a, 8a, 10a and 12a please
    Thank you all very much for the invaluable assistance

  44. Melanie, 6d is a themed clue. The Asian tricycle (actually a motorised vehicle in my experience) missing its final letter gives 1,5-8. Letters 2-4 are a mix of IBM.

    8d is a hat with its central letter altered to make it a relative.

    10a the first word is the definition. Third & fourth words give letters 1 & 2. The dashing fellow is also a dotting fellow!

    In 12a the central four letters of “double” are mixed for letters 3-6. The rest is a Goethe classic without its final letter.

  45. Many thanks to zinzan-xwd.livejournal.com/ for the well -explained solution. I agree with one anon comment on his site- I hated it. Also that bipartisan does not mean fair. Perhaps that’s sour grapes, or I was impatient or unusually thick today. I took much too long to get 21d which made it much worse. With its triple play re 21d, this theme makes it almost all or almost nothing. Most of it is fair enough, after the event, and I admire those who did it so easily. However, any more like this and I will give up on DA. I wonder what Goethe would have thought of the banality of 12a!

    I’d be intrigued to know how many people complete most DAs, either in this forum or more broadly. I was astonished to read that many Listener prize puzzles- which are much harder-often had several hundred correct answers submitted.

  46. Our friend from 9a is responsible for the first painting in the the Botticelli to Van Gogh exhibition at the NGA. Could not believe my eyes upon seeing it this afternoon 😁

  47. I didn’t think about bipartisan/fair at the time, richard, but now it’s pointed out it’s not a great definition. The definitions in Chambers would support that. It’s interesting that zinzan gave the crossword 8/10 and the commentator about fair gave it 2/10. It’s a bit like reading film ratings/reviews on the internet. It’s mostly love or hate when it comes to DA.

    When I first started DA a few years ago I often didn’t finish but that was before I got used to him and also found this site. I always finish these days but sometimes have to come here for the odd wordplay. I think the number of finishers would be quite a lot more than 3 figures. I used to do the Listener with a work colleague years ago. Quite a few times we didn’t manage to finish even after a week of lunchtimes and evenings. I managed to win once in a few years of submitting solutions with No. 2699 June 1983. For that one there were 101 correct and 39 incorrect solutions. That year there was one person who got all solutions for the year correct. (http://www.listenercrossword.com)

    I found this one a challenge, but then I’m like a dog with a bone when it comes to a challenge.

  48. Richard, I found this week’s average difficulty and quite enjoyable, as measured by my smile-ometer. I got 21d pretty quickly to begin. But yes, there are times — probably once every couple of months — when I feel the way you do this week, and I abandon ship. I like to think that those puzzles are particularly difficult and not terribly clever or rewarding, but I’m prepared to accept that my frame of mind on the day might also have a bearing. When I see the solution, if the number of groans exceeds the number of smiles, I know my surrender was the right decision! (But the greatest number of groans happens on some other days of the week, with lightweight puzzles full of silly contrived acronyms.)

  49. johnno2, 9:51am yesterday (if you’re still around) …

    I think DA’s usd of both “hems” and “skin” was a classic misdirection that led several of us up the garden path to a cheese!

  50. Hi trippers, if anyone is still there, I have managed to get it all done over the weekend (quite a struggle in the NE and SW corners). Ironically 14a was my FOI and only one for some time.
    But I still don’t get the wordplay for 22a or 28a. Now that the weekend is ending, can anyone give me a straightforward explanation?

  51. Sandy Mc.
    22A definition is safe travel
    over is reversal indicator
    letters 8-4 is a poetic word for oceans
    3-1 is a synonym for follow (you could read ‘to’ as superfluous, or the verb is infinitive, ie to +3,2,1

  52. 28A as I mentioned above, I believe that ‘crossed’ is doubling up here, in wordplay and definition

    Answer is 1,,2,3 and 4,5 , definition ‘crossed paths’.
    Wordplay is 1,2 and 3,4,5 with the two components ‘ram’ and ‘I’ crossed/switched in the order they appear in the solution.
    3-5 is ‘ram’ as in a male sheep. As Graham M says it’s British.
    1,2 is another form of the first person pronoun “I”

  53. Sing out Sandy Mc if that’s not clear. I struggled with 22A as well, and 28 A is a bit woolly :-)

    @richard, Agree that bipartisan isn’t fair.
    Also think that zinzan provides a pretty fair commentary, brief, honest and often funny. To pick up on kraDen’s post at 2:21 yesterday about CrOZworld, I used to go to the Australian Crossword Club’s blogging of DA, and always enjoyed when it was zinzan’s turn. That was before he set up his own site.

  54. Coming late to the comments – is anyone still out there?
    Re 28A, you’re correct Gayle and Graham M, the term for ‘ram’ is British (it’s heard every now and then on The Yorkshire Vet) but my dad, an ex-wool grower, said he remembers the term being used quite widely (at least in Victoria) when he was growing up in the 1930s and 1940s.
    Re 1A, no one else has commented about the legendary opener – 1-4 did open every now and then, but he made his name batting a bit further down the order, usually at number 3 or 4, so I wonder if DA has hidden ‘can’ between the first 2 letters of the clue!?

  55. Jack early on (@1:57 pm Friday) did allude to Boonie and mentioned he was more legendary as a first drop (a nice play on words IMO). He was certainly a legendary can opener on one particular flight to England for an Ashes tour SlowA. :)

  56. Thanks Gayle. Those explanations make sense. Obscure though the ram is.

  57. “An old black ram is tupping your white ewe” was one of Iago’s sick burns of the Big O.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this crossword, and consider it a nominee for the (themed crossword) pantheon. I liked how the theme was something completely new, and how the theme seamlessly flowed across wordplay and definition (normally one or the other). My only quibble was that the signature clue (21d) was too easy.

    For the poster who asked about regular solvability: I would finish or get within one or two solutions every Friday, and I eschew all tech help, though am happy for people in my vicinity to lend their minds to the job. This solving success didn’t happen overnight, however, and evolved through a gestation period of staring blankly, getting one or two, getting most and then eventually getting all with reliable frequency. Once you graduate to finishing Fridays with alacrity you begin to recognise how abject (often disgraceful) the other SMH/Age setters are.

  58. If you’re still there, Carol, thanks for your 5D explanation and empathy (you, too, Gayle, Graham and SB, and yes, I did finish, SB – having got my opener(!), remarkably quickly after my rant and with eventual enjoyment!) Thanks everyone for the bits of ‘sharing’ scattered through here, too! Sometimes ‘Confusion’ makes a great read in itself!
    Again, if anyone’s still there – noting your frustration, Gayle, giving another voice to mine – wouldn’t DA once have asterisked* the 12 affected clues?
    And a closing ‘picky’: ‘Out to lunch’ as an anagrind? Yes, it can mean ‘crazy’ but in the sense of the passive ‘not all there’, not the active ‘all over the place’. A bit Mungo, RIP, who was one for the stretched anagrind.

  59. Dear Fellow solvers
    Thanks for your interesting and encouraging comments. It’s reassuring to know that others have good and bad days with DA. I enjoy the Confusions site for its wit and good-natured help. I agree with Patrick’s comment about the feebleness of most other SMH setters; and I’m like TimC with dog/bone challenge. The question is “how long to wrestle with DA’s frequent perversity and obscurantism?” One person’s elegance and smile is another’s poison! My patience runs out after two hours if I haven’t got at least half of DA done. Two hours’ piano practice would have been more rewarding. The Times cryptics also seem to range from being quite easy to ugly and incomprehensible. Hearty congratulations to TimC for winning a Listener prize.

  60. Patrick, I thought of Iago’s nastiness too! In fact that’s the only place I’ve ever come across ‘tup’.

    Richard, I’m like Graeme M and have to bin it at least once every couple of months. But I always come back, because a sweet DA where the clues pop like bubble wrap under firm mental pressure is quite the dopamine hit.

  61. Carol, it’s probably a bit late for anyone to still be around, but I feel compelled to point out that the phrase “pop like bubble wrap under firm mental pressure” is a work of genius.

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