DATrippers go political

In keeping with the shallow self interest that has dominated recent Australian politics, we feel it is time for the cryptic crossword community to flex our political muscle.  We must campaign for policies and leaders that will promote the setting and solving of cryptics!!

We are, after all, the engine room of the Australian economy – crosswords hone our brains, driving innovation and productivity in the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century.  Not only do we provide employment to tens of compilers and editors, but we drive job creation in downstream industries, such as cafes and newsagents.  

We are also a cornerstone of Australian society. Without cryptics, working families would have to resort to other forms of entertainment, like the pokies. The crossword community protects vulnerable pedants from complete despair at the state of public language and stops them turning to non-grape-based substance abuse.

Imagine how many boat people would swamp us if they didn’t feel intimidated by our language’s unique attribute – the cryptic crossword.  Assessing asylum claims on applicants’ ability to complete DA would be a far more effective in deterring asylum seekers than turning back the boats.  In fact, people who cant get at least a handful of clues from NS or RM are un-Australian!

Unfortunately, a little searching reveals that no Australian politicians claim cryptic skills.  No wonder the country is in the state it is in.

It’s too late to start our own party for this election and to get DA into The Lodge, but at least we should direct our votes towards candidates with names that make the most amusing acronyms.  My efforts so far to work out who to vote for on this basis consist of:






No clear winner here, can anyone do better and guide the preferences of Australia’s newest lobby group?

An Abridged Motherlode

I’ve only just discovered that the motherlode of Fairfax cryptics from as far back as 2004 is no longer available.

I managed to save all the DA cryptics and have them available from this site, as outlined in the link above. I thought I had done the same thing with the rest of the Fairfax cryptics, but, in fact, no, I hadn’t.

So I’m wondering: did anyone manage to save all those Fairfax cryptics that were available? If so, would anyone care to send them to me so that I can host them from this site?

Get LR the Monday Gig

So I’ve just finished writing a letter to The Age editor urging them to give LR the Monday slot permanently.

You should too.

LR is easily the best compiler of the non-DA Fairfax week and shouldn’t have to share Monday with anybody. Make Monday LR’s and have the cryptic joy spread.

And if you missed it, here’s Monday’s LR for some cryptic fun that should have you writing to your Fairfax editor quick smart:


DA’s New Book: Try Winning It!

DA’s gotten busy and put together another book to delight cruciverbalists and non-cruciverbalists alike.

In Puzzles and Words, DA focusses on general word puzzles and word stories, especially those of an etymological bent (most surprising word story I’ve come across: emu comes from Portuguese, which has the word ema to denote any large, ostrich-like bird).

There’s more information on the book at DA’s own website as well as his publisher’s, Allen & Unwin.

Now, the kind folk at Allen & Unwin have kindly sent me a copy of the book to give away, and give it away I shall with a little contest.

Word stories are always fun, so whoever submits what I (AS) and RC judge to be the most surprising, interesting and enchanting word story wins the book. Please try and limit yourself to two stories, although if stumbling across something particularly enchanting has you submitting a third story, it’s unlikely we’ll strike it from the record. And take note: RC and I particularly like anything that’s polyglot, and especially anything that’s not written with the Roman script.

Get cracking, and I’ll announce the winner Tuesday next week (the 20th of November).

LR is the Best Non-DA Compiler of the Fairfax Week

I can never keep track of when The Age will publish an LR on a Monday (I think it’s every fourth week), so it’s always an especially good surprise to luck out and find one, like I did today.

This is only the third LR I’ve attempted, but they’re easily the pick of the non-DA week.

Clever clues, a wide range of tricks and some great wordplay. They’re pretty easy (I assume they have to be for a Monday publication),  but they’re pretty fun.

Pick one up if you have the time for a jolly romp through a cryptic. Definitely recommended as an entree to a DA as well.