Confoundings for the DA on 23rd/24th of July, 2010

Here’s where you can get yourself out of a spot of bother.

23 thoughts on “Confoundings for the DA on 23rd/24th of July, 2010

  1. Gee, us blokes in the bush know 1A quite well (for bushwalking, cutting timber, farm work); 22A is well known in Australia by those who know the (early) work of Kenneally well; and 11D is Aussie; so, all good to me I reckon.
    I did worry about 2D being a sea-monster.

  2. JJ, suggest you refer to Mr Gleisner for his opinion.

    I’m worried about 5A wordplay – surely DA has’t muddled up his “i before e except after c”, yet two imperfections in the word for protect seems a bit much.

  3. 2D is never a sea monster. Its wings would get wet and its fire would go out. 20D is troubling me, too.

  4. 20d OK by me; it’s the formula for the TV show, plus a shortened form of a synonym for 24a.
    Agreed, 2d not a sea monster.

  5. Peter, JJ et al – too true. The wyvern is built for another element. A monstrous piece of business that wasn’t picked up in the proofing.

    And jnjr, you’re on the money as well. Can’t see my shields for the sheilas – very sloppy, and my apologies. (Shades of the WIER/WEIR Scandal of 2007, as I revisit in Puzzled, my ‘monster’ crossword book coming out next month.)

    Hardly a highlight crossword this week, though I’m hoping the coming wave will steal some way to redemption. Love your work, and those basilisk glances.

  6. I thought 22a was fair and gettable as the likliest synonym for the definition even without working out the anagram (plenty of old hymns use this word as well as Keneally & works of theology).
    I loved 23a as a Debussy fan.
    I don’t see how 24a is a synonym for 20d but I may have 24a wrong.
    Cannot get 10a at all – almost certainly a word I don’t know.
    Would love some explanation of word play for first part of 9a

  7. JK, in 24A, “to take a turn for the better” is to improve, abridge this to get 20D.
    In 9A, the dwarf is Doc, of the seven dwarfs, against is versus = v and “a topless cat” is A AT.

  8. I too felt there was a bit of a quality dip this week: 2D, 5A, 9A (JD above) already canvassed. In 15D, as a cricket aficionado I can’t come at “Test” as a definitional clue for “cap”.

    And can someone please explain 18D wordplay, please?

  9. AG, my take on 18D is FLASH = SEC(OND) and to DUCK = to ELUDE, and STARTING OFF reduces this to LUDE, hence SECLUDE = MAROON, as in cast away on a desert island, which I think is a bit of a stretch.
    I too am mystified by 15D.

  10. I didn’t have a big problem with Test = cap; the two terms are used fairly synonymously, as in “Ponting has 147 caps vs Ponting has played 147 tests.” This may well be a good example of the old Greek literary device, synecdoche – a part which is used to stand for the whole.

    JK, re 10A, I agree it is a very unusual word which I had to look up, but it is gettable from the wordplay – first half comes from “[heard] feature of Solo” and second half is a word for “Performance”. Think laterally when it comes to “Solo”

  11. All I could think of was “fiz” as a homonym of fizz, which is a feature of Solo the drink (light on the fizz so you can slam it down fast) giving fizgig which is a fishing spear or flighty girl but not police informer. i will find out soon enough in the morning’s paper but thanks for the hint jnjr. Happy to have got the rest of it, even with slighty imperfect clues as detailed in comments above.

  12. Re Ian’s comment on the other thread;

    “I’m more concerned about the large number of dodgy anagram indicators. Mulch, harry, slumped. Also top as the instruction to remove the first letter.”

    I’m for creative and clever anagram indicators. I suspect DA is no gardener and thought mulch implied a mixing up of soil which doesn’t seem to be the case from a perusal of dictionaries so i think that one is a dud. I can’t see any justification for slumped as an anagram indicator. it’s a deliberate red herring with no anagram indicator qualities that I can see. Harry however in 8A i reckon is a cracker.

    If it gives a good surface reading i think some leeway should be given. In the Guardian during the week one of the setters used modern as an anagram indicator in Tate Modern to indicate a mixing of TATE. For me that’s art but for many it was unacceptable modern crossword rubbish.

    Dictionary search shows “top” is to cut the top of a bush or tree so i think we can safely top a word too.

  13. JK, from compact OED online,


    1 archaic a silly or flirtatious young woman
    2 archaic a kind of small firework
    3 Australian informal a police informer

  14. In reply to several above:

    JG: thanks for the elucidation of 18D. Quite good, actually. I just couldn’t see SEC, for a start. Re 26A: definition counter=offset (v.); then for the rest, think of filming movies.

    jnrj: re “cap”, I understand what you’re saying – and I saw the reference when I got the word – but I reckon “fairly synonymous” is a generous interpretation. I just expect something a bit nearer the target in the definition part of a clue.

    RV: I was happy with “mulch”. The word is sometimes used for the mincing of tree waste to create wood chips for the garden, so it worked for me in that sense. I’m with you on “slumped” – it may have been an attempt to disguise “collapsed”, which would have worked in the clue the same way but would have been much more obvious. The two words overlap in meaning, but “slumped” simply doesn’t cut it.

  15. Thanks AG for 26A, it’s obvious now! (and very good!).
    I’m thinking that there must be a lot of golfers here, since no one has complained about the use of brassie in 1D (another word I have never heard!)

  16. Not up to DA’s standard on several counts, although I did like the Debussy clue. Too many obscure words, as noted above and in other thread. And also two errors! I even had to look up “basilisk”! (In DA’s comment above)

    As for anagram indicators, I agree “slumped” is terrible, but “harry” works for me. As does “mulch”, in the sense described by AG just above, although I couldn’t find justification for it via dictionary or Google.

    Don’t like “test” = “cap”, synecdochery notwithstanding.

    I’m still confused about “bowyangs”. Wikipedia says they are “thongs used to hold trousers legs up so that the wearer can squat or bend often without dragging the waist-belt down to the point where the trousers fall off. The thong, string, or whatever, is tied above the calf muscle of the lower leg and in such a way as to hold a suitable amount of the upper leg of the trouser above the knee”. But the pictures that I managed to find elsewhere by googling seem to show they are the same as what I wear when I’m digging in the garden. In other words: gaiters, covering the tops of your boots. They prevent earth etc getting in your boots but in no way would help to keep your trousers up. The gaiters I use for bushwalking are more supportive and would, I suppose, help to keep my trousers up in case of “wardrobe malfunction”, but that is not why I wear them. Can anyone explain the wikipedia definition?

  17. RB, Wilkes, in his Dictionary of Australian Colloquialisms, cites three definitions in support of his “A string tied round the trouser leg below the knee”. None of the definitions say why the string was tied, but to claim that repeated sqatting will cause ones trousers to fall down is, I think, ridiculous.

  18. Further on bowyangs, The Oxford companion to Australian literature (OUP, 1994) says they are”to allow freedom of movement, to prevent the bottom of the trouser from dragging, or to keep the full weight of the trouser off the belt or braces” p107 (from Google Books). So they are, as DA says, “to secure strides” and are not gaiters. I reckon the Wikipedia article is rubbish.

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