Thank God it’s Friday 21st of August

I’ve been working from home for the last week, so I’ve ended up in front of the cryptic most days.  I’d like to get the feelings of everyone out there on a trait of non-DA compilers that I find quite frustrating – use of “!”.

As fans of DA, you all enjoy consistent use of the exclamation mark as an indicator of &lit. clues – as I think DA wrote in Meanjin earlier this year, “the Grange Hermitage” of cryptic clues.  However, should you stray into the mid-week crosswords, you’ll find clues like these:

NS yesterday, 23 down: A tooth caught in my tutu skirt! (4)   which is caught in tutu skirt = tu sk = tusk = tooth

DP on Wednesday, 11 across:  Dear Madam, you show off the fleet! (6)  fleet= armada = De arMada M

DP on Wednesday, 25 across:  Don’t delay victory – remove the chaff! (6) remove chaff= winnow = win now = don’t delay victory

These are all good clues, but none is an &lit. clue.  What are your thoughts?  Am I just a whinger who needs to get a real job, or am I a rightfully concerned crossworder, demanding consistency and justice?

Also feel free to comment on the main game which so far looks to be a themeless piece of DA magic.


Update: And with some help from RC on 6 down, I (AS) managed to get the thing out:

DA Antigone

Mysteries abound, though, and I haven’t the foggiest for 10 across, 13 down and the first half of 23 down. Help would be much appreciated.

35 thoughts on “Thank God it’s Friday 21st of August

  1. We in Sydney didn’t get a DA today, we got a DS and a note that “DA’s crosswords now appear in Saturday’s Sun-Herald”, which is mystifying since the Sun-Herald appears on Sunday! Strangely, there is a DA on the SMH online, with 1A ‘Hung around hot poet recital’. Is this the same as The Age?

  2. I was about to post the same thing. What gives, SMH?

    And yes, I don’t think many compilers have a clue what ! is for. For a long time, I just thought it meant “kind of dodgy”.

  3. We rang the SMH and lodged complaint – how can we have our office DA day if it’s DS? Also, the Feedback desk didn’t know if the message meant Saturday or Sunday but was guessing Saturday.
    We’re doing the online DA, but it’s not the same.
    Did you get that message in The Age too?

    (We’re well underway on the online DA – what’s your protocol for posting answers? For instance, we have 1A but haven’t completely nutted out why. I know you said you often don’t do the DA til weekend so won’t put anything here that might blow it for you!)

  4. I just sent off a letter to the Herald:
    “I write to complain in the strongest terms about your proposal to move the DA crossword to Sunday. DA on Friday is a Friday institution, I sometimes spend the weekend on solving it!
    I understand that The Age does not propose to move the crossword; I hope you will re-consider.”

  5. Power to you Sydneysiders! Perhaps we should start an online petition!!

    Wow, Rebecca, you have an office DA day??? What do you do? Most of my former workplaces have struggled to run a footy tipping contest, or at best a communal effort at the Herald-Sun (Daily Tele) quiz. Are you hiring?

    We tend not to post the whole answer on the blog on Friday, but feel free to ask for help and hints, or post tips and opinions. There’s no hard or fast rules (that I’m aware of). AS?

  6. There’s certainly no definite rules, although plastering all the answers to all the clues in the comments on a Friday is not taken too kindly by those who come to the blog seeking some help for a clue or two.

    I think the best bet is to simply ask for help without revealing any answers on Friday or Saturday (and maybe Sunday now that the SMH is publishing DA on Saturday), and by Sunday or Monday, write what you like.

    Now: what the hell are the answers to 10 across and 6 down? Other than cross clues, I don’t have any strong leads, and those are the only two clues that are standing in the way of a solo victory.

  7. I gots a couple.

    1A: Does OVID really sound like “overed”?

    20D: Is HY a standard abbreviation of “handy”?

  8. 13D is referring to what used to be (in Victoria) the MMBW.

    16A, I got out, but I don’t fully understand. And to my mind, they were not the boarders, they owned the property, and Snow White was the boarder. Am I being picky?

    10 A – How do you lose the ‘ool’ in Coolest? or was I working it out the wrong way?

  9. TT: ‘Handy’ is ‘H and Y’, which I thought was pretty neat.

    JD: The ‘ool’ is not removed, but rather the leading letter of ‘iciest’.

    Would appreciate if someone could explain how ‘wa’ comes from ‘wax by drop’ in 18A, and how 11A works?

  10. SG

    Thanks for the “handy”. I agree. It’s a goody.

    11A: Prevent yak goring naked monkey”

    Prevent = BAR
    Yak = YAP
    Naked = BARE
    Goring = sticking in the guts
    YAP goring BARE = BAR YAP E

    In toto -> BAR BAR YAP E

  11. SG: 18A: “wax by drop” = WAX with the “by” (x) dropped.
    (think multiplication: x = “by” or “multiplied by”)

    11A: prevent=BAR
    yak goring naked=YAP goring BARE=BAR YAP E

  12. TT: looks like you beat me to it on 11A. BTW I had the same misgivings about whether OVID sounds like “overed”.

    JD: Re 18A: I agree – I thought Snow White was the boarder. But it was a good clue, nevertheless.

    2D was my stand-out favourite (pun intended)! And 5D was pretty good.

  13. Got a minor query.

    22A: How do we feel about “Alert:” becoming ON?

    And a slight stronger concern.

    15D: Since when is the “late 1930s” EDWARDIAN? Traditional Edwardian is 1901 to 1910. Sure, Edward VIII was king for a short while in 1936, but his reign barely constitutes an epoch defining suffix. What’s more, 1936 is more mid 1930s, and less late 1930s.

  14. More on 15D.

    Is “prize” legit?

    If the letters of “awarded in” are to be “prized” into EDWARDIAN, surely us Australians must use “prise” not the American “prize”.

    And if you are adventurous enough to try “or about” as your anagram pointer, then “Prize” becomes redundant.

  15. TT: I, too, was going to query 22A (alert=ON?) and 15D (late 1930s=EDWARDIAN?!?!?). And I wasn’t thrilled about the spelling of prise/prize, although I can see why prize was preferred.

    And I think I’ll have a whinge about 10A CRUDDIEST – what sort of a word is that? I think the answer is probably that it’s the only word that would fit in that spot!

    I need some help with 3D. I have:
    Made calls for=RANG AROUND
    So how is the missing ANG clued?

  16. RB

    It’s not “readhead” = R.

    Colloquially, a redhead is a RANGA, which comes from orange.

  17. RC: ranga is a slang term for a redhead

    I thought the Edwardian era was 1901-1910. what am i missing?

    i’m happy with ovid sounds like overed, as in how the overed is pronounced within hovered. i don’t think overed is a word, so it has no pronunciation of its own

    RC, funny how you brought up poor use of the “!” in clues, because I didn’t get the point of the “?” (which is another indicator for &lit), but it didn’t seem to add to the flow/reading of the clue, and it didn’t seem to be an &lit clue

  18. TT,MF: Thanks for redhead=ranga. That’s a new one for me. I’ve filed it away.

    Looks like the score on the EDWARDIAN issue is 3-0 to the whingers. Is anyone going to put in a counter view? (DA perhaps?)

    MF: I agree that “overed” as in “hovered” is not pronounced the same as it might be if it were a word in its own right. But, for me, it’s still not exactly the same sound as Ovid. I like my homophones to sound EXACTLY the same, not NEARLY the same! But I realise that others have different views on this subject. And different pronunciations, too! Which makes agreement on what constitutes a homophone difficult to reach.

    Re RC’s query about the (over)use of ‘!’: I have the DA article to which he refers (I think) – it appeared in The Age of 26/12/08 and a footnote says it’s an edited version of an essay first published in Meanjin 4 Summer 2008. From this article and other stuff I’ve read, I believe the following to be the case:
    1) &lit clues are usually clued by a “!”. I think DA always does this, but other compilers may not always adhere to this rule.
    2) “!” can be used for other types of clue as well. And indeed DA had one last week. 23D: Partially 14-across, yet in a second, lifted! Answer was morose. But I think you’re right that DA doesn’t often use “!” for non-&lit clues.
    3) As for the use of “?”, DA’s article says that this is often used for pun clues, or oblique definitions. DA has a few this week: 2D, 13D, 19D.

  19. Not happy – I too have sent an email to the SMH.

    Thought 2D and 3D quite funny, and I’m with others in 18A being not quite right.

  20. Earlier, re 18A, JD pointed out that the seven dwarves “were not the boarders, they owned the property, and Snow White was the boarder”. I agreed, and haiku possibly has the same reservation about this clue.

    But I’ve had second thoughts on this. It seems the verb “board” can be used to describe BOTH sides of the transaction. It can be used intransitively to describe what Snow White is doing (to be supplied with food and lodging at a fixed rate). And it can be used transitively to describe what the dwarves are doing (to provide with food and lodging at a fixed rate).

    Unfortunately, when it comes to the term “boarder” I cannot find any support for this double-sided meaning. So, strictly speaking, the term “boarder” is used to describe Snow White, not the dwarves. But I would argue that once you’re happy (no pun intended) with the idea that the dwarves are boarding Snow White (providing her with food and lodging), then perhaps you can say that the dwarves are boarders.

  21. according to my oxford english dictionary, the example use of board as a transitive verb is “dogs may have to be boarded at kennels”. While Snow White Snow White may well have been boarded, it’s not clear whether she was boarded BY the seven dwarves, and if she WAS boarded by someone it was by who shunted her off to be boarded AT the seven dwarves’ digs

  22. Re “boarders”, here are a couple of links:
    in particular, “the old lady is boarding three men”
    in particular 2a To furnish with meals in return for pay

    Also, my copy of The Shorter Oxford says “to provide with daily meals; now generally to provide with both food and lodging at a fixed rate”.

    On this basis, it could be said the dwarves were boarding Snow White. In any case, once the idea had formed in DA’s brain the temptation to use the term “Snow boarders” would be absolutely irresistible.

    On the Edwardian front: like you, I’m waiting for someone to defend this clue.

  23. I looked in Taylor’s English History 1914-1945 to see if it provided any support for “Edwardian”. It didn’t, Edward was king only from January 1936 to December 1936, and is notable only for his relationship with Mrs Simpson. His successor George VI “clocked in at Buckingham Palace each morning in order to run the risks of bombs and lived on austere rations, eating spam off a gold plate”.

  24. I’m giving up. This one has me stumped (except for a pitiful 3).

    But on the plus side it will be fun going through the solutions and explanations on my day off tomorrow. Was this one really so much harder than last week, when I nearly got it out solo (3 missed)?

  25. OK. Here we go. I’m at my regular internet cafe in Fitzroy. Re 10A, walking past a nearby lane I just noticed a piece of stencil art. It was an image of the PM, with IT’S above, and KRUDD below …

    First off, I have to say this is the worst I have done (solo or otherwise) in 5 years or so of DA tripping. Second off, this was one of my all-time favourites. It had everything (except an &lit), including a typical bit of cheeky DA titillation in 2D.

    Thanks everybody for the explanations!

  26. I think, NC, a lack of a good start had you hamstrung.

    I know, for instance, that I would have been stumped without some knowledge of the classics (I had my start with ANTIGONE and HECUBA, and OVID easily came to mind as the poet.)

    It’s good to see you enjoyed it despite not having been able to tackle a lot of it.

  27. Yes, I thought it was a bit tougher than usual. A few of the answers brought to mind that lovely phrase from a few weeks back – “wantonly recondite” (baklava, Hecuba, phylum, negus were all new to me). But they weren’t too difficult to work out as long as you had one or two crossing letters, and Google confirmed my suspicions. As AS says, getting started is sometimes the hardest part.

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