3 down: Pet mules seen on beach (6, 9)
Classic: pet mules = budgie smugglers = seen on beach.
19 down: Southern nation I left quietly in drag (7)
The more Yiddish the better I say: Southern nation I left quietly = s Chile – i pp = schlepp = drag.
20 down: Professional hits upbeat times? Not first of all (7)
Exceptionally well-hidden direct clue: upbeat times not first of all = up drum eras not a = murd eras – a = murders = professional hits.
11 across: A case of ‘That’s it, Ernesto!?’ (7)
How much of Che Guevara’s fame can be put down to his name’s use in cryptics? Great clue: that’s it, Ernesto! = atta (think ‘atta boy’) Che = attache = a case.
22 down: Mercury in rock shelf finally prepared in report (7)
A fundamentally fair clue that is so cleverly constructed that it’s rather difficult to decipher: shelf finally prepared in report = f ready in report = Freddie = Mercury in rock.
3 thoughts on “The Gold on the 19/20th of March, 2010”
Well, you have my favourites in there, but I must protest about 19D: the less Yiddish the better I say! But apart from that purely personal point of view (I’d never heard of “schlepp”), what upsets me about this clue is the inaccurate use of musical terminology. pp (or pianissimo) is not quietly: it’s VERY quietly (or very softly). How quiet/soft is, of course, up to the performer; so, in practice, one person’s p might be as loud (or soft) as another person’s pp or ppp. But that’s irrelevant. The important thing is that it’s a relative indication: pp is softer than p, and ppp is softer still. The meaning of pp is ALWAYS given as VERY soft/quiet, NEVER as just soft/quiet. What makes the error even more inexcusable is that the clue could quite easily have contained “very quietly” instead of just “quietly”.
One further point: what’s happened to the Bullshit category? The last one was in January! I know you’ve been a bit quieter on the DA front recently, AS, but there have been some worthy recent contenders. Apart from the SCHLEPP clue, here’s a couple: RETINAE from this week’s (for which the clue should IMO have specified “pupils”, not “pupil”), and the use of “vets” as an anagram indicator in last week’s.
But Yiddish and Hebrew have given us so many wonderful words! Schmuck, schmaltz, schlepp, chutzpah, kvetch, shiksa, goyim, yarmulke, glitch, schlong, shtetl, sctick, spiel and putz are all so wonderful.
PP for softly is certainly shitty, especially because, as you say, the “very” could have been added to easily to make things nicer for everyone involved.
RETINAE was definitely bullshit and I would say an oversight. DA often stretches things, but he doesn’t usually stuff around with plurals and singulars.
And yes, I have been a bit quiet on the crossword front. A new job and other general stuff has seen my leisure time shrink considerably. Hopefully it will only be temporary, but I’m afraid my lack of attention to cryptics will last for the time being (although I have very almost finished creating another cryptic of my own!).
Would you be interested in posting a few things, though? I can set you up and have you posting in my no time. It’s very easy to do, and you can post to your heart’s content.
Wow! It looks like you could make up your own Hebrew/Yiddish cryptic! If you do, don’t expect me to solve it as I know only half of the words in your list.
Thanks for the offer about posting. But I don’t think it’s my schtick. I don’t have the chutzpah. I prefer to kvetch from the sidelines. Does that make me a shvuntz? (I had to look that one up).