Has DP Let Me Down?

I really enjoy a good DP crossword and I tend to do one maybe once a month or so. Yesterday happened to be one such day, but it wasn’t such an enjoyable experience, and I’m posting this because I want to know if I’m right to feel aggrieved.

20 down: Bill’s representing mail users (7)
The answer is posters, but that means bill’s = poster’s and the apotrophe is dropped. I know the convention is that apostrophes aren’t marked in the letter count, i.e. George’s is (7) and not (6′ 1), but is what DP did in this clue taking things too far? I certainly didn’t think so.

8 down: What dentist is doing at end of day’s play? (7, 6)
The answer: drawing stumps. What does that have to do with a dentist?

22 down: Copper gets charged when domed (7)
I was confused on this one for a very long time: the answer is cupolar, which means gets charged = polar or charged = polar and gets is what I would consider an unfair link word. Either way, charged = polar and gets charged = polar seem highly dubious to me. Am I right to feel aggrieved here?

18 down: Draw in a westward direction (3)
The answer is draw in = tow = a westward direction. But am I the only one to find a westward direction = tow highly iffy?

15 across: Tools for the sewer bugs (7)
No complaints on this one: I just wanted to finish on a good note. This one’s a glorious piece of subterfuge that I’ll let you guys work out.

11 thoughts on “Has DP Let Me Down?

  1. westward direction = TO W = TOW

    drawing stumps as in pulling the stumps of teeth out

    If something gets charged it can get electric poles, perhaps in copper’s case, magnetic poles. “gets” is a dodgy link word, but if you imagine that it is actually the copper that gets charged its not actually functioning as a link word but doing semantic work

  2. Yep, that’s what I mean: TO W = westward direction seems pretty weak to me.

    Do teeth have stumps? If that’s a metaphor, it’s a very long bow to draw.

    And polar still seems pretty weak.

  3. AS, I think 20D is dodgy. DP wanted Bill to seem to be a person in the surface reading of the clue but as you say, the apostrophe does really wreck the answer. I think 8D is ok, stumps do seem to be a dental thing, apparently remaining when you pull out a tooth so dentists could draw stumps. 22D seems fine to me. charged=polar? maybe not, but it’s clear what he’s getting at. polarity, ions, charges. that’s good enough for me. I think gets is fine as a link word as in things being brought together. i get an ice cream. the ice cream and i come together and in this clue gets gives a nice surface reading. in 18D, draw = tow = to w = in a westward direction. i agree with you about 15. nice clue. i also liked 25D, the reverse of the usual number trick, just for fun.

  4. I think TOW meaning westward is nice, though i REALLY liked seeing STOW meaning clockwise a few days ago (can’t remember the source, was it DA?)

  5. I had no idea teeth had stumps. There you go.

    I think my polar objection also shows up my ignorance: now that I’ve looked, the dictionary does say that polar can mean “having or relating to a pole or poles”.

    TO W = westward direction I don’t like because westward direction to me is just a wordy way of saying west and implies no movement to the west.

  6. AS, i think the clue is saying TO W = in a westward direction with the definition being draw, not draw in.

  7. Ah, now I get it.

    So more than anything, I’ve shown up my own ignorance with this post.

    I am duly humbled.

  8. My complaint about 22D is the answer itself: cupolar.
    Yes, cupola == dome, but “cupolar” for domed?!
    “I’m sorry, is that a real word?”

    (Setting crosswords would be very easy if you got to make up words when you need to fill in an awkward spot in the grid!)

  9. I’m OK with a little word stretching in cryptics. For instance, using flower to mean a river is a trick I quite like, and on the same basis I didn’t mind cupolar = domed.

  10. Don’t know whether it’s a word or not. It’s not in my Shorter Oxford (cupolaed, meaning domed, is), but Google does have one or two references to it. However, I agree with MF’s general principle. There are plenty of words to be found in dictionaries without having to invent them.

    Whilst I’m on a rant, and switching targets, and knowing that AS will disagree, I feel DA overdoes the informal and the tech-speak, although I do like the funny ones (eg this week’s “kids rear” clue).

  11. FWIW, CUPOLAR is in my Chambers. In the end, I’d only agee with one of AS’s complaints (possibly so would AS, by now). The inelegance of the apostrophe in BILLS is totally unnecessary. The clue could easily be recast to achieve the same pun without it.

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