In the comments section to the Confusion thread, DA has said:
Deplorable. Fun. Indulgent wankery. Gold.
Just a few responses to my unorthodox themer on Friday. Going by the Trippers site, the polarising element seems the issue of non-words. Fair enough – they are a deviation from the norm, and I need to heed the majority’s misgivings.
But just to be clear where the majority stands, I’d appreciate if you can find the time to vote on a poll across the road at http://www.davidastle.com – and add any other responses to the non-word business in the Salon 19 forum. Thanks a lot, and enjoy your next grapple.
Now, I don’t necessarily have a problem with non-words. I thought, for instance, the DA’s Little Creatures crossword to be quite fun.
But last week’s was, for my abilities, too hard. I don’t see how I would have solved it without help from this site, and that’s a little deflating for me no matter how clever the theme is.
In combination, I think the unclear explanatory text, the crossword’s motto being itself themed (which is cool, but extra difficult), the non-words in the grid, and not knowing which clues are themed beforehand made for a crossword that was beyond me, and which took the savour out of the theme.
Two clues to have a chat about from this week’s, one of which I thought was fine, the other very nasty indeed.
25 across: No longer inwards, they bombard one at optus.net? (11)
The definition is actually no longer in wards = outpatients. I’m OK with this style of trick, one of those things to keep in mind when doing a DA that doesn’t advantage the setter too much over the solver.
11 across: Disgrace a seller on radio? (9)
I consider this clue very nasty indeed. In this one, you have to take the synonym of the homophone rather than, what one would ordinarily do, take the homophone of the synonym, i.e. seller to cellar to basement rather than, for instance, seller to retailer toretailor.
Like when going from the specific to the general rather than the general to the specific, there needs to be some kind of explicit instruction that the ordinary order of things is being reversed. The question mark doesn’t cut it, and this style of clue favours the setter too much over the solver.
Maybe it’s just because I didn’t do very well, but I feel very grumbly about this week’s DA and feel the need to vent. So I hereby call open a DA Debate, and let’s hear your views:
1 across: Cavalier exhausted freak (4, 3)
Cavalier as a synonym of flip was very poor in my book
5 across: Alternative medicine beginning in country? (7)
I really liked alter native, but I really disliked the in that’s left hanging. In is not a valid linking word and the question mark doesn’t excuse it either. To make matters worse, in is an instruction, and I spent a very long time trying to put m inside a country to get some kind of alternative.
10 across: Boogie clobber (4)
I quite liked this one, but it seems controversial on here. Feel like venting?
15 down: Meat course all but tainted Italian white (9)
While Lambrusco can be a white, it is customarily a red, and cluing this as white just seems nasty.
17 down: American migrant puts central locking on urban train (3)
I think this clue is so bad that I fear I have completely misinterpreted it.
How does American migrant mean elk? Am I missing something here, because that seems ridiculous. I can handle the el for an urban train, just, but k is on el, which should mean kel, never elk.
20 down: Even worsted cut cloak (7)
Worsted is a noun — how can it be an anagram indicator?
29 across: Game on horseback doomed (2, 3, 2)
Doomed means for it? Huh?
There were a few clues that I and others considered questionable and worthy of debate. They are:
24 across: Bush strife giving voice to sport hero of Australian cricket (4, 3)
Here, it’s the supposed homophone at giving voice to sport = giving voice golf = gulf. Maybe it’s because I’m not a South Australian, but I reckon that’s crap.
Giving voice … hero of Australian cricket = giving voice Waugh = war is alright in my book, though.
1 across: Hearing test results in retriever, perhaps, biting one sheep (9)
Here, it’s retriever perhaps = golden = au that’s dodgy I think on two counts: 1. au is an abbreviation for gold, not golden; 2. the double step, from adjectival possibility to abbreviation, seems one step too many.
6 down: Fuel affair — breach admitted by extreme politician (8)
It’s the extreme politician = pn. A big black mark, no?
There’s a lot to talk about this week. Here are the bones of contention:
- Ian reports what might make 11 across more sensible: a spear carrier is a film extra.
- Aren’t pagans the opposite of atheists?
- Am I right in think CAST SUP is a little tenuous for a wrap party? And isn’t throw forward not quite in the same direction as casts up?
- Surely RED HAND = queen of hearts is a bit much Oopsies — that should be RED CARD, which makes more sense.
- I’m OK with cosmopolitan = COCKTAIL even though it goes from particular to general, much like I would be OK if it was dog = PET — although something like dog = ANIMAL would be abominable.
- Can anyone save promising = PALMIER?
Agree? Disagree? Did I forget something?
Let me start with my bugbear: ellipses.
In DA’s book, Puzzled, he mentioned that comfort with ellipses was a sign of cryptic mastery. I’m more than willing to concede that I am no cryptic master, but I think the inconsistent way ellipses are used is simply unfair.
This week, it was 7 and 8 across that were connected by ellipses, which ordinarily has no effect on how one interprets the clue, but on this occasion 8 across required the last word of 7 across, brothers, to make sense.
If such a reading were standard or if it was marked, I’d have no problem with it, but it’s the inconsistency — mostly you don’t need to worry about ellipses, sometimes you do — that annoys me.
Am I the only one howling at the moon?
Other controversial points:
- I wouldn’t like pink = red or orange = yellow, and I reckon brown = maroon is just as weak;
- I’m OK with rose referring to the wine — is the general consensus that that was crossing the line, though?
- blind as an anagram indicator — can anyone justify that?
- service as an anagram indicator: jnrj didn’t like it, but I find it acceptable.
So, your thoughts?
A new category for a very common phenomenon: debates on whether something or other was appropriate.
Here’s what I thought was up for debate:
- stab = speculate on in 12 across. As far as I’m aware, for stab to take on that meaning, it’s take a stab or have a stab, never stab alone, and using the meaning of a phrase’s operative word in a definition seems a step too far.
- lobbing = arrival in 24 across. I assumed from the word lobby that lobbing had something to do with an arrival. Then I looked in the dictionary and didn’t find anything to support what I supposed. Can this be defended?
- get at = contact in 6 across. How does that work?