Some Nastiness? (from 4/5th of December)

22 down: Hospital using chunk seen in foot X-ray? (5)

23 across: Dole once fishy at Job Centre (5)

17 down: Loudly loots Nero’s city to find Fu Manchu author (3, 6)

11 across: Timid little dog lost tail to large mouse (5)

10 across: New-age therapy required about $1000 between two (5)

3 down: Dry colours expressed UK poet (3, 6)

25 across: Regularly hold revue near Melbourne’s lead theatre (5)

28 across: Drunken disgrace after nog cocktail? (7)

An aspect of cryptics that I particularly enjoy is that they usually require at least some passing acquaintance with a whole host of language and trivia, high, middle and low of brow in status.

Sometimes, though, that catholicism can be used for nasty ends, and this week, I reckon DA crossed the line into overly recondite.

Now, I don’t think any one of the clues above use words of a too obscure nature, but in concert on a single crossword, that’s some nasty work. I would find it difficult to believe that anybody would have known all of the following words and their intended denotations before having done the crossword: talus, susso, Sax Rohmer, coypu, reiki, ted, odeum, sidecar.

I had no idea who or what susso, Sax Rohmer (making the wordplay aural was particularly nasty for those of us who’ve never heard of him), coypu, odeum and ted (I think this references hay, not beer) denoted. That’s quite a long list for a single crossword, and I don’t think mine would have been abnormally long.

Am I just complaining for no good reason? Should I have had a wider acquaintance with the language and trivia referred to and I’m the dunce? Was this crossword a good reason to resurrect an almost moribund category in DA Nastiness?

9 thoughts on “Some Nastiness? (from 4/5th of December)

  1. The only words I knew for sure were SUSSO and SIDECAR.

    I fluked ODEUM. Based on the clue’s workings I wrote down ODEUM, but I meant to write down ODEON, the theatre that used to be in Bourke Street in the days before the mall.

  2. I spent a long time trying to work out why it was ODEON until I figured TAMPA out, thereby realising that the clue would have to end in M and couldn’t be ODEON.

    And as it’s implied in the post but not stated, I knew TALUS, REIKI and SIDECAR.

  3. AS, I think you’re spot on with your observation/complaint. The only ones I was (vaguely) acquainted with were talus and coypu. And possibly reiki (but it just wouldn’t enter the conscious part of my brain!)

    BTW, you mentioned the sidecar (cocktail) clue, but omitted to specify the complete clue at the start.

  4. I’m impressed you knew COYPU, RB. I thought that one was the most ridiculous of the lot of them, but it’s a good-looking and good-sounding word worth knowing.

    And I’m pretty sure I only know of a SIDECAR from having done cryptics. I’ve certainly never seen one on a cocktail menu. Rest assured, I will order one whenever I come across one.

    (and the SIDECAR clue was now been added — thanks RB)

  5. I knew talus, susso, reiki, and sidecar. But i am a nerd.

    That said, this is a site for nerds, with no disrespect intended.

    I take your point however – tt’s an unusually high number of unusual words for a DA – even though the clues can be fiendish, the solutions are rarely obscure.

  6. Thank goodness I wasn’t the only one feeling inadequate with strange terms – for me the thorns were coypu, Ted (for dry) and Rohmer. However, Rohmer was an easy google, so in this electronic age, is it not unreasonable to allow for more obscure terms, given that most people have access to the ‘net.

  7. I knew them all beforehand except Odeum. Like TT and AS I thought of Odeon, but I only knew of a theatre of that name in Hobart, not being a Melbournian. Ted I knew from that Belloc poem ‘Miranda’. ‘… the tedding and the spreading of the straw for a bedding’. Coypus are animals whose habitat, I am sure, is predominantly crosswords.

  8. After endeavouring to stay true to my “no googling for answers” policy, a Mountain Goats song title was displayed on my CD player: “Sax Rohmer #1”. Fu Manchu author suddenly revealed: My girlfriend slightly amused at my excitement.

    Coypus unknown, Odeum as Odeon, otherwise the rest are all OK in my book.

  9. How serendipitous a choice of music!

    I try to follow the no-google rule, although sometimes I do peak (I remember doing that a lot on the Media Watch crossword).

    I also allow myself to ask anyone around me about general knowledge. I remember the waitress at a cafe confirmed recently Victoria Beckham’s maiden name, for instance.

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