The Confusion (from the 23rd/24th of October)

26 across: Fix the essence of life, perhaps, upon an uncommon pulse (5, 4)

We figured it was some kind of bean…

22 across: Precisely stowed bug-spray in tower (7)

The answer’s tugboat, and bug is in there, but how about the t…oat?

12 down: Medical specialist now pain-free said another? (11)

If it weren’t for the direct clue, I wouldn’t know where to start on how this could be neurologist.

4 across: Delays speaking plugging objective twist (9)


5 down: (Malaysian) … for top spots in streets (5)

Is the answer stars? If so, why so?

6 down: Teapot is a new purchase (6)

I thought this was an anagram until nothing fit and I was left with no ideas.

13 across: Say I enter order of academy (10)

Is the answer collegiate? Again, if so, why so?

27 thoughts on “The Confusion (from the 23rd/24th of October)

  1. 26A is ‘pinto bean’, being FIX = pin, Essence of life = to be, UPON AN = upon ‘an’.
    22A: PRECISELY = ‘to a T’
    4A is MORATORIA = delays. SPEAKER = orator, and OBJECTIVE = aim, twisted gives ‘mia’
    13A is COLLEGIATE, with SAY = eg and ORDER = ‘collate’
    6D is TISANE, included in ‘teapot is a new’, but I’m not sure of how to explain that.

    I prefer links to earlier/later posts at the top of the page

  2. And I just worked out 5D ROADS: FOR TOP = ‘or’, SPOTS = ‘ads’, and use MANIA from the preceeding clue to get ‘roads’ = STREETS.

  3. It’s wet here so I don’t have much to do: 12D NEUROLOGIST is ‘urologist’ (ANOTHER specialist) plus NOW without the PAIN = ‘ow’!

  4. re 12D: NOW pain free is N minus OW(an exclamation of pain) giving N + EUROLOGIST (sounds like urologist , another type of medical specialist) = NEUROLOGIST.
    My take on 5D was FOR = PRO “topped” gives RO + SPOTS = ADS gives ROADS

  5. 6d: Hidden word, “Tea” being the definition, and “purchase” somehow being the containment indicator.
    5d: I think the ellipsis here is a red herring. The clue works perfectly well without any reference to the preceding one.

  6. My take on 5D ROADS was the same as JG’s. But AL’s explanation is just as good. And maybe better. Anyway, if the former was intended, it’s an example (rare, I think) of where the … link back to the previous clue (“mania”) actually served a purpose.

    16D was a great clue. Interesting use of “lifebuoy” to signify “O”.

    Looks like all the “confusion” has been sorted out. So maybe it’s time to start the whingeing. Not much this week:
    21D SEGUE: “defend” as a “hidden” indicator? Maybe hiding is one way of defending yourself? Is that it?
    1A TIBET: In the “Asynchronicity” thread, Ian reckoned the placement of “here” in the clue was dodgy. And I agreed. But AS thought it OK since it’s an &lit clue. I’m not sure. Even if it’s an &lit clue, the interposition of “here” between the two elements of the wordplay is unfortunate.

  7. RB

    21D Is SEGUE pointed to by the “in” of “intense guerillas”? I don’t know why “defend” is there.

  8. 21D: “Defend” in the sense of “protect” or “guard” as a containment indicator is kosher in my book

  9. TT had me wavering for a moment there, but NC has defended “defend” pretty persuasively, so I’ll buy it. Which segues(!) neatly into the other “contained within” indicator, namely “purchase”, used in 6D. I justified this on the grounds of “purchase” in the sense of “grip”.

  10. Your confusion over 26A maybe because you have RIP for 25D when it should be RUN

    My confusion:
    can someone explain to me 20A? i don’t get beauties = sorts
    7D: is DA using the question mark here to be fiendish about making heart work double time?

    My quibbles:
    16D: Isn’t this misuse of the word “barely”??? The word suggests that something is close to being incomplete, yet nevertheless complete

    6D: Doesnt cryptic orthodoxy dictate that the literal and cryptic clues be separated by a space, hyphen, etc…?

  11. I also think 1 across is fine if you think of here as a cryptic word that does nothing, so that t here = t because, well, t is here.

  12. Career ladder works well as either rip or run. Unfortunate it was that we chose the incorrect word to put in there.

    Beauties = sorts comes from the expression “she’s a good sort”.

    Oopsies, I forgot to include 7D as a confusion. Like MF, I still don’t get that one.

    Regarding 6D, you’re kind of correct. Most cryptics follow that rule, but there’s the odd exception in the more difficult crosswords from the British papers as well as those of DA.

    Re 16D, I think you’ve got a point, and I’m going to mull over it for a little while.

  13. MF

    25D: I had RIP first, too. Mind you, when I changed it to RUN, I still didn’t get 26A.

    20A: Colloquially, “good SORTS” are nice looking women, or “beauties”. But I’m not convinced unadorned SORTS (i.e. without the “good”) equate to “beauties.

  14. Further to 26A

    “Fix the essence of life, perhaps, upon an uncommon pulse”

    According to, there is nothing particularly “uncommon” about the PINTO BEAN; in the US, anyway. Even the Latin name says it’s common:

    “a variety of the common bean, Phaseolus vulgaris, having mottled or spotted seeds: grown chiefly in the southern U.S.”

  15. re 7D: ROO is a creature from a Milne novel. So, waRms heart = R + pOOh’s =OO gives ROO.
    re 16D:according to my dictionary “barely” can mean ” not quite ” as well as ” only just ” so it’s fine in my book (and a terrific clue)

  16. re 7D, I agree with MF that “hearts” is doing double duty, providing the ‘r’ from WARMS and the ‘oo’ from POOH’S to give ROO. You will recall from last week that DA declared that ‘heart’ could go before or after the applicable words, it seems now it can do both!
    11A is nice: SYNONYM = HINT FOR CLUE, and SAY, FAILING = SAY ‘sin’ = ‘syn’, and SETTER’S NEGATIVE BACKLASH = ‘my no’ reversed = ‘onym’.
    The pinto bean is certainly common in America, it is THE bean of Mexican cooking, but in 30 years of looking, I have never seen it here in its natural state. If you ask for it you will be offered Borlotti beans, which are not the same.

  17. Thanks JG. For 11A , I thought the definition was “hint for clue, say” meaning that an example of a type of hint was intended, so I missed that “say” is the “sounds like” indicator. Nice clue, I agree!

  18. JG

    Yep, I buy that about the dearth of pinto beans here in Straya.

    Still, what’s the bet DA – and I’m veering wildly into hunch territory – couldn’t find a good synonym for mottled, spotted or blotchy that starts with a vowel and instead had to settle for “uncommon”.

  19. The majority = TH
    in test = TRIAL
    cricket side = ON (as in the on side, as opposed to the off side)

    gives us an organised amphibious challenge = TRIATHLON

    no mention of the bike leg though …

  20. TT: “she’s a bit of a sort” – connotes a looker, without the “good” being required. But agree that “good sort” is more widely used than “sort”.

    Thanks to AL for the explanation of ROADS. A good and pretty tough DA this week.

  21. Re “heart” doing double duty: the surface reading of the clue implies the word “heart” again, after the word “Pooh’s”, so you could argue that the first (explicit) “heart” is used on “warms”, whilst the second (implicit) “heart” is used on “Pooh”. (Am I trying too hard to search for a justification?)

  22. Looks like DA is once again using the question mark to open-end the interpretation.


    warms heart = R
    , Pooh’s = OO

    Definitely dodgy double-duty for “heart”.


    warms heart = R
    , pooh’s?

    Maybe, with the comma acting as an “and”.

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