The Bullshit (from 11/12th of December)

2 down: Sport broadcast causing rift (4)
Here, the clue is meant to work: sport broadcast = golf broadcast = gulf = rift. The problem: gulf is not homophonous enough with golf.

It’s a situation we’ve encountered before with DA, one that we’ve complained about before, and I just don’t reckon it’s good enough. Haiku’s suggestion that South Australians pronounce them homophonously has some weight, but even then it’s a very marginal bunch of people who would call those two words homophonous.

I also conducted a little experiment: I asked SSG, my sister’s partner who’s from South Australia, to say there’s a gulf in our golf game and the two words were clearly distinguishable. Granted, one flawed experiment on a South Australian that’s lived in Melbourne for a long time proves little, but I’m still claiming that it’s a shitty homophone that not even many South Australians would say identically.

22 down: Picked up dull 26-across (TRIO) in Düsseldorf (4)
The clue works as follows: picked up dull = picked up dry = drei = trio in Düsseldorf. The contentious point: Is picked up a decent-enough homophone signifier?

AL mentions that it’s probably a reference to radio station broadcasts that you pick up, and that seems to have some support as a decent way to interpret it as a homophone indicator, but for me, it’s not good enough. You pick up radio stations, not words, so for mine pick up doesn’t cut it as a homophone indicator.

Update: RB’s my seconder on this one:

15 across: Stage VIPs curse about prompt ushering (9)
Here it’s curse about prompt ushering = ucers prod ushering (put into position) = producers = stage VIPs. I quite like the use of ushering, but that definition is highly dodgy

The Bullshit (from the 30th/31st of October)

9 across: Roger in late 60s UK band? (3)
Almost a great clue again: roger = yes = late 60s UK band.

I’m with TT in objecting to late 60s UK band referring to Yes. Sure, they formed in the late 60s, but they are definitely more famous for their work in the 70s and should have been referred to as such.

Interesting sidenote: Yes had a Roger associated with the band. Roger Hodgson was their occasional singer from their post-70s work.

The Bullshit (from the 9/10th of October)

22 across: Skipping task after a third of booze (3)

I’m not exactly sure of the explanation, but it goes something like this: task after a third of booze = mission after a third of booze = mission after o = omission = skipping.

The problem: skipping and omission don’t match.

Sure, skipping and omission are both nouns, but they’re different types of nouns. Skipping is a mass noun, while omission a count noun. That means you can have five or many omissions, but only much skipping.

Thus and therefore, bullshit.

Golden or Bullshit or Does DA Need to Weigh In On This One? (from the 2nd/3rd of October)

21 across: Setter is crazy to retreat, grabbing spades for disaster (7)

This could be brilliant, but the two explanations put forward seem to me to be lacking something.

My own incomplete explanation, which is not the greatest, goes like this: setter is crazy = nuts am i, which somehow becomes tsunami.

A far better approach put forward by Timbo is the following: setter is crazy to retreat, grabbing spades = I’m a nut to retreat grabbing spades = tunami grabbing s = tsunami = disaster.

The reason I’m not completely happy with the Timbo explanation is the plural form of spades. Shouldn’t spades mean that two esses are inserted into tunami? Is that a valid criticism? Or am I — perhaps we — missing something?

The Bullshit from 26/27th of September

26 across: Just combine gout? (4)

Here, it’s combine gout = merge g out = mere = just.

Some consider the use of gout in this clue to be crossing the line into ridiculously difficult territory, but I’m OK with these kinds of clues (after I had some initial frustration) and consider them pretty easy to spot once you know to spot them. (I still consider part of words as the direct clue going too far, though, an example of which can be found in a DA crossword from December of last year).

No, the bullshit here is in the direct definition, for mere and just are not substitutable in a sentence. You might say “it’s a mere cigar”, but you have to say “it’s just a cigar” rather than “it’s a just cigar”. Conversely, you’d have to say “it’s merely a cigar”, not “it’s mere a cigar”.

Hence, bullshit.

Update: In what’s becoming quite the tradition, I’m corrected in the comments, this time by AL!

The Bullshit from the 18/19th of September

20 down: Goddess Gyllenhaal — or how to describe her unusual… (DUO) (6)

25 down: (ATHENA) …coupling you heard during gala (3)

Ellipses have been the subject of discussion on this blog because of their inconsistent use. Sometimes they indicate that the sentence meaning of the clue follows onto or from the next or previous clue; other times they indicate that the answer from the previous or next clue is needed to complete the sentence meaning and derive the answer of said clue.

I find it annoying enough that you never can tell just what the ellipses are indicating, but their inconsistent use is such a standard feature of crosswords that I have to grin and bear it.

What I think definitely crosses the line is the the inconsistent use of ellipses in two clues that are thus related. In 20-down, the answer to 25-down is required to get the answer to 20-down out; in 25-down, the answer to 20-down should be completely ignored.

Quite frankly, I think that’s bullshit, and I post this thusly to air my grievance.

Update: OK, so I have been hasty in thinking 20-across needs the answer to 25-down to work, but that doesn’t change the fact that I hate ellipses!

The Dodgy Bullshit from the 5th of September

1 across: Small fortune with strings attached? (4, 5)

I wouldn’t flinch at anyone claiming $5 “is a fortune” to pay for a potato cake, but that doesn’t mean that fortune should mean grand in a cryptic crossword.

9 across: Mark in Vietnam — or Romania — rejected drug action (5)

This could have been Gold if not for the incorrect action = verb. Instead, it’s clearly Bullshit.

20 down: Pulse climbed with old exercise regime (3, 2)

If I remember correctly, I’ve heard DA himself complain about the tendency British cruciverbalists have of using initials for words that do not ordinarily go by their initials (for instance, having cold = c is fine, but trampoline = t is pulling the other one).

But regardless of whether or not it was DA who expressed that opinion, one with which I wholeheartedly agree, old = o is just not on.

Complete Bullshit (21st of August)

1 across: Hung around hot poet recital (7)

This one is hot poet recital = h + ovid recital = hovered = hung around.

Now, ovid aurally, to my ears at least, sounds very little like the overed in hovered. DA is usually pretty good with the homophonic clues, and he still continues to be, because overed and ovid are in no way homophones and this clue counts as bullshit.

Update: The internet tells me Ovid is pronounced Ov-id, not O-vid, as I assumed, so this doesn’t count as bullshit after all and in future I swear to research before besmirching DA’s fine name.