The DA Confusions on the 10/11th of December, 2010

I’m betting there’s gonna be quite a few confusions to talk about here this week, so go ahead and speak below and have your questions resolved.

77 thoughts on “The DA Confusions on the 10/11th of December, 2010

  1. See all those little numbers in the grid that look like they’re not where they’re meant to be? That’s exactly where they belong. There’s a rather gimmicky theme going on.

  2. Oh god. I just noticed the numbers. Oh god. This does NOT bode well for my attempt at this week’s DA.

  3. good luck alison/everyone, this is a fun one. need 2 down and 12 down please

  4. This is awful! – I only have a few. Hints on theme please? And I’m very ignorant of poetry, another hint about Keats/Shelley please? All I can think of is ‘sonnets’ and that doesn’t fit….

  5. Theme is in 5 down. It’s all circular stuff, e.g. round the world. And when you go off one edge of the world what happens? You turn up on the other…

  6. Normally, in a crossword, the little numbers are where you put the fist letter of the answer. this one’s no different.

  7. Jonathan, 15A = beggars canät be choosers `mites. But like zou I donät get the wordplaz for 8A

  8. The answers today indicate that I had 15d wrong. How is it MORES and not MARKS? I get the Thomas More bit but are MORES customs?

  9. Jonathan – yes, mores is one of the terms used for customs in the social sciences.

  10. Dear Trippers,
    I’m the Fairfax crossword editor, Lynne Cairncross, and I admire the skill and exuberance of your site. You achieve all this without my little advantage – I’m given the answers!
    I have a small favour to ask regarding solver feedback. At this stage, DA’s latest crossword has attracted only negative email, these solvers deploring the puzzle’s lack of orthodoxy.
    Going by the comments on this site, I’m heartened to read that most of you feel the opposite way. In the hope of restoring some balance on the Letters page, if any of you would care to email your response to DA’s latest offering, at that would be most appreciated.

    Kind Regards

  11. As I said in the other thread, I liked this one a lot. I flagged some wordplay queries over there, then when I looked one last time I worked them both out.

    For a change I have hardly any clue quibbles, except that 18D doesn’t quite ring true (I remember learning that planets rotate on their axis and revolve around the sun, so …)

  12. LOL! I did the whole thing; twigged to the trick, but never saw the hints in the answers :)


    Is there an address for the Age too? I really enjoyed this experiment.

  13. Lynne, this was a wonderful puzzle. Just the thrill of the unorthodox numbers, then figuring out the system and the theme – so much fun. i emailed the Letter Editor, hope you get more positive feedback. Thanks

  14. I ask because it is the ONLY answer I have, and while the wordplay fits exactly POSEY doesn’t seem to fit what I think 18D and 12D should be.

    Is it yet another demonstration of my boundless ability to find the wrong right answer?

    I gots ta know.

    Fingers crossed it is POSEY because the crossword looks quite interesting, but I flatly refuse to complete any crossword in which I have made a mistake.

  15. Cancel that. I look now and see that POSEY is actually POSY, which looks quite wrong to me. Oh well, anyone want to buy some empty crossword real estate?

  16. It’s definitely not POSEY — which is an excellently valid answer that however is not the answer.

    You somehow manage to turn cryptics into quick crosswords week in and week out, TT. It’s a gift.

    I took a photo of the blank crossword. Come Monday night, when I’ll be at a computer, I’ll post it and you can have another go — which it’s definitely worth doing.

  17. Oh, yes, it’s POSY. I would never have spelt it that way in a month of Sundays.

  18. Almost done and I have enjoyed it. 3A eludes me. I have a possible answer in mind but it doesn’t really ‘click’ with the wordplay. I don’t understand where to start with 3D or the unnumbered 3 letter down one to the right of it. Any help appreciated.

  19. SM) – for those two 3-letter spots – have you done the 6-letter 19D and 20D?

  20. Thanks to the above commentators who explained the word play in 8a and 15d… should have got More after watching the Tudors!

  21. Sam – My take on CANON is, that in addition to the religious interpretation, its meaning as the complete list of authentic or representative works in a particular field, hence ‘total’.

  22. Thanks, GB. It seems as good as any explanation. I guessed CANON from the ‘cleric’ part of the clue, plus working backwards from 1d, but only after much searching for a (non-existent?) word play element. Still can’t get the ‘kissed’ part of 3a or the word play in 6a. It’s never as satisfying when you get the answer without fully understanding why.

  23. Thanks GB. Dave R, my take on 3a is PECT (sounds like kissed) in S-ATOR (sounds like satyr); and with 6a I thought MATT (dull) HE (bloke) W-INDERS (reels) with FL (fell end to end) inside it.

  24. Lynne- Have fired off a quick letter as suggested. I always look forward to DA’s more “unusual” puzzles, and hope he continues to conjure for many years to come!

  25. Hi all,
    I’ve just found this site and will probably spend a long while investigating the archives, and forums.
    I really enjoyed this cryptic – I think from now on I’ll look a bit more deeply at the broader picture instead of just attacking each clue individually as I sometimes do.
    Also, I would like to congratulate DA for his innovation. I found it entertaining, challenging and completely in keeping with the spirit of cryptic crosswords, or at least those in the Fairfax press.
    It may be unconventional, but how did cryptics elvolve in the first place if not through innovation?

  26. Hi everyone
    Haven’t really cheated yet. Proud to say I managed to get 2D, 8D, 9D, 12D, 15D and 16D all by myself. What has ‘satyrs’ got to do with 3A?

    Got the theme after the hint thank you, and I understand that 19 and 20D continue……

    Can I please have a hint for 21A, 22A and 10D? Really liked 15A’s clue.

  27. And more answers please. I have everything except the following:
    -wordplay for 1D.
    -hint for second word in 10d – I have _ U _ _
    -hint for 22A
    -hint for 19D
    -hint for 7A

    Or I’ll cheat from today’s paper. Thanks.

  28. -I RUN backwards around C of CHARITY
    – The optimist’s half?
    – part anagram
    – TWISTED is indicator of? (And DA includes this type of clue in EVERY crossword)
    – racist dairy?

  29. So I only stumbled onto 3a. I had Phil Spector as the lecher for a while but the TA just didn’t seem to fit anything. Thanks, Sam, for explaining the word play in 6a. It’s so obvious now. Alison, if you still need a hint for 7a try thinking of a well-known brand of cheese rather than a style, and realise that DA has been known to use ‘base’ as meaning the last letter of a word (although usually in a Down clue – there’s less justification for that in an Across clue to my mind.)

  30. Alison, 19D is a hidden “twisted” word. Not a word I knew but has an obvious meaning once you see it.

  31. Thanks for the explanation of 8A Doug. I’m not familiar with Coleridge so couldn’t see the other definition.

  32. Long time lurker here – I enjoyed the quirk this week ( but only got as far as normal – about 1/2 done before resorting to this thread!

    AS- I have a good scan of the empty grid if its any use in forwarding to those who want another go

  33. Hey David H, good to see you’ve commented.

    I’ve only taken a photo of the blank grid, so if you’ve got a good scan, send it over to the email address on the right hand side of this website.


  34. Hi NC.
    In 7A, think of a well known brand.
    For the last word in 10D, look up the last word in the clue.
    1D is HI (a greeting) in an anagram (indicated by “adjust”) of 17A + ID.
    Hope that helps.

  35. Cruciverbalists with a mathematical bent will have spotted that this DA is equivalent to it having been printed on a torus (surface of a doughnut). I was alert to the possibility of an answer being “torus” or “doughnut”, but alas it was not to be.

  36. Thanks mrigeoy! That helped a lot. I needed those hints. I had INDONEISA (sic) confidently written in for 1D based solely on the presumed definition (“Asian hunk”). D’oh! Despite needing help at the end I am happy to have successfully completed my first DA for yonks.

  37. I rivalled TT this week in getting a perfectly good wrong answer!
    In 7D: L inside PUCK (a Danish cheese spread, according to Google) giving PLUCK (guts). Just as good as L inside COON, giving COLON (guts). Little wonder I didn’t make any progress in the NW corner for quite a while!

    I’m surprised no-one’s complained about the pronunciation of satyr and sator in 3A. Surely the first vowel sound is different enough to wreck the attempted homophone?

    But overall, the way the wrap-around answers matched the theme was just brilliant!

  38. RB, satyr threw me as well in that I had the answer & had pect for pecked but couldn’t explain the rest. My wife saw it straight away which may say something about her imagination or more likely her professional background (speech pathology). The other one that was a little problematic was hunk and I think chunk would have been better (although spoiling the surface reading of the clue). Overall, this was a very good crossword with no real concersn about any clue, an original theme and lots of enjoyment in the solving.

  39. I would have assumed this cryptic was a printing error and ditched the puzzle if it wasn’t for checking in with this group, so thanks guys! Lynne’s post interests me – I can understand how the general populace would be a bit cheesed off. I think it reinforces my suggestion that DA belongs somewhere other than a Saturday morning.

    With the rotational quirk aside, in terms of actual clues, I think they were mostly hard but also fair/fun this week. My only educational needs were that I never knew an albatross was a guilty burden, and I never heard of a Verset.

    Oh, and I don’t understand the CUMNAVI part of 21A

    One final comment on 8D-9D – When you put a single clue spread across two parts of the SAME SECTION of a puzzle, I don’t think that’s very fair. At the least, I’d suggest that clue should be made a bit easier, because otherwise it can have the effect of locking off that entire section. My puzzle had a big white hole in the middle this week!

  40. …although to contradict myself somewhat – I guess in hindsight 8D-9D was a pretty simple anagram. I just didn’t happen to twig to it until near the end.

  41. Great crossword, finally got it all out, but don’t get the ‘muscled’ reference in 11A.
    Can someone please help?

  42. Muscled = CUT
    From the dictionary online – muscular; with well-defined muscles, especially in reference to the abdominal muscles. : “He works out and he’s really cut!”

    101 = CI
    For Ultimate = R
    One in muscled = CUIT

  43. CL – I think the ‘heard’ applies to the first three words – so sir (Knight) come (show) navvy (labourer) becomes CIRCUMNAVI

  44. I couldn’t understand this grid at all. The first one I worked out was 20D and thought it was GANESH but only 3 spaces were there and then i saw that there were no numbers where they should have been. Can someone please explain how it is supposed to work?Because I see that the solution just shows GAN where 20D is and I can’t see where the ESH is??

  45. Thanks GB. Now that I’ve had time to look at it I’ve been able to work it out. I just thought that the grid had been misprinted!!

  46. JK, I like your reference to speech pathology in relation to 3A (satyr/sator). (As an aside have you heard DA’s occasional attempts at French pronunciation in “Letters and Numbers”?).

    Anyway, back to satyr/sator: so far I have been assuming that the attempted homophone is comparing “satyr” with the “s****ator” sound in “spectator”. But maybe I should be looking at “sator” as a word in its own right. Google informs me that “sator” could be a bean (used in Asian dishes). (I don’t know how it’s pronounced). Is it possible that this is what DA had in mind for his homophone? Can anyone justify this attempted homophone?

  47. NC,

    Thanks for introducing the torus to me. (I was thinking it was a global shape and then had an a-ha moment) I don’t, however, think DA or anyone without a tertiary-level grasp of geometry would have had doughnuts in their mind while tehy were solving / compiling.

  48. Re the homophone for satyr/sator (spectator minus the pect), what’s the problem? I (and evidently DA) pronounce them the same, (with a long “a”, rhyming with “day”), although I admit that satyr is not a word I have occasion to use much. What is the proposed alternative?

  49. Thanks dg and NC. I thought if I continued to prod I’d eventually get a response! My Shorter Oxford shows only one pronunciation (with the “a” as in “man”). And that’s the way I’ve always thought it was pronounced. But you’ve just shown me an accepted alternative pronunciation. Thanks again.

  50. I don’t think there’s any need to invoke Asian beans to explain satyr/sator, given that pect certainly isn’t a real word. Homophones are often a little bit off in the vowel sounds and/or syllable stress, like Flaubert/flow bear last week.

  51. JL, I don’t think a “little bit off in the vowel sound” adequately describes my problem with satyr/sator. To me, the vowel sound was a very long way off! But now, thanks to dg and NC, I realise that there is an alternative pronunciation for satyr which is very close, or even identical, to sator.

  52. Except that a crossword compiler shouldn’t rely on how the solver MIGHT pronounce a word in a clue IMO. If there’s more than one pronounciation of a word indicated in a dictionary, then it would be best not use it as a homophone. And being a “little bit off in the vowel sound” means something other than a homophone has been used.

  53. I understand the complaint, but I personally don’t have a problem with setters relying on alternative pronunciations or accents to make homophones work. Actually having a different vowel sound is more of a problem, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.

  54. Trouble is they don’t work unless they are indicated, like everything in cryptic crosswords.

  55. Re pronunciation of “satyr”: did anyone see “Kevin McCloud’s Grand Tour”, shown last month on ABC1? In episode 3 (Rome, Naples), Kevin pronounced the magic word! Like this: SATT-EER.

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