DA Debate for the 22/23rd of April, 2011

There were a few clues that I and others considered questionable and worthy of debate. They are:

24 across: Bush strife giving voice to sport hero of Australian cricket (4, 3)
Here, it’s the supposed homophone at giving voice to sport = giving voice golf = gulf. Maybe it’s because I’m not a South Australian, but I reckon that’s crap.

Giving voice … hero of Australian cricket = giving voice Waugh = war is alright in my book, though.

1 across: Hearing test results in retriever, perhaps, biting one sheep (9)
Here, it’s retriever perhaps = golden = au that’s dodgy I think on two counts: 1. au is an abbreviation for gold, not golden; 2. the double step, from adjectival possibility to abbreviation, seems one step too many.

6 down: Fuel affair — breach admitted by extreme politician (8)
It’s the extreme politician = pn. A big black mark, no?

26 thoughts on “DA Debate for the 22/23rd of April, 2011

  1. 24A I struggle with 95% of DA’s homophones. For me this was no worse than most. The clue was solveable.

    1A My reading of the clue was ‘retriever perhaps’ = AU DOG. I struggled with it, but ‘perhaps’ was enough for me not to complain about the solution/explanation.

    6D On the grounds that it was solveable I think this one was OK. It was pretty clear that I needed both ends of politician to get the right number of letters.

  2. 24A a shocker on two counts. Gulf isn’t a homophone of golf. Having two separate (alleged) homophones is a bit off too. The way I read it I was looking for a sport hero of cricket, i.e. one person that was a homophone of the whole answer. The clue as written suggest this to me or alternatively it just gives voice to sport, no indication that it also gives voice to a (separate) cricket hero. Needed another indicator here I think, eg gives voice to sport AND to Australian cricket hero.
    (would have avoided me spending ages trying to work out how Mark Waugh could be a homophone of Bush strife! Strife = Waugh ok, but, not surprisingly I had no luck equating Mark with Bush!)

    I didn’t have a problem with 1A, like Deryn I read it as a gold dog biting the sheep. Ditto 6D, a bit clumsy but at least it was obvious. “Politician’s extremes” would have been better.

  3. 24A exceedingly lame. Golf and gulf are a world away.

    1A. I am with Deryn. I had it after the first two words so didn’t think about it at the time but it’s clumsy.

    Shouldn’t this go in the DA Bullshit thread?

  4. I didn’t think pn is a problem. I quite liked the clue.

    If you are thinking it is politically incorrect, isn’t that ironic to the max? :)

  5. I’m with AS on all of the above. But even more so!

    Firstly, just because a clue is solveable does not mean it’s legitimate. Although I agree it does mitigate the severity of the crime!

    24A: golf/gulf – I rate that as a shocker. Waugh/war is also crap in my book but I recognise that, for some people, it’s OK. Where I come from (Lancashire), “war” has a diphthong (the second vowel sound is a very short “schwa” – that upside down e symbol), but “Waugh” is not a diphthong. But I realise I’m in the minority here.

    1A: The double step (retriever->golden->au) is unfair IMO.

    6D: extreme politician -> pn is crap. If DA wants BOTH ends of the word, he should indicate it!

    21D: I would also rate this clue as less than felicitous. How can “under lilac fringes” -> CL? Where’s the reversal indicator? DA seems to have used “climbing” as a reversal indicator twice – once for the preceding word “cat” and again for the following phrase “lilac fringes”. Not legit IMO.

  6. I usually get put off by DA’s homophone errors, but have come to the view that, rather than encouraging DA to do a course in phonetics, I’d just appreciate the discussion that ensues. It often leads to enlightening comments about cryptic crosswords in general and an unexpected pleasure in taking a journey somewhere – in this case, following RB’s comments about the Lancastrian accent, to websites on the dialect. Believe it or not, there’s one called the Edwin Waugh Dialect Society!

  7. What a nicely phrased, albeit coy and diplomatic way of framing the issue: “There were a few clues that I and others considered questionable and worthy of debate.” Strunk and White would probably suggest using fewer words e.g. “These clues were stinkers: […]” :-)

  8. The semi-homophone of golf/gulf (should that be a hemiphone?) reminds me of the joke about Bush on the gulf course/golf war: “Wow! a hole in one! Woohoo! a hole in another one!

  9. RB, I’m a fellow Lancastrian, agree with you on the Waugh/war pronunciation, but think in Oz, both words tend to be pronounced the same, so is probably fair enough for an Oz crossword. Reading Dave R’s joke about Bush, I wonder if gulf = golf with an American accent???? If so then perhaps a little more forgivable as it was possibly Bush speaking in the clue. Doesn’t excuse the double use of the voice indicator though. (similar to the double use of climbing in 21D, although at least this clue was a bit more gettable than the gulf/golf one)

  10. My biggest beef from this puzzle was 12a Going to bed with Prudence? = safe sex. Am I just unable to see the wordplay? Its not even very funny, even knowing a girl called Prudence.

  11. RobT, once upon a time, these clues would have been put straight into the bullshit thread, but I’ve noticed that what I consider bullshit is rarely unanimous. Hence, DA Debate.

    And I don’t mind the an indicator being used for more than one word. If, for instance, Here ten reps break can be present and the anagram indicator applies to two words, surely a homophone indicator or any other indicator can apply to two words as well.

  12. AS I don’t mind the homophone indicator applying to two words as long as the two words in BOTH the answer and the homophone are a sensible phrase. In this case Gulf war is a phrase, but golf Waugh is meaningless. (If one of the Waughs was a golf player instead of a cricketer, I might find this a one a bit more acceptable).

    In your example “Here ten reps break”, it would presumably be followed by (7) so it is clear that you would need both words in the anagram.

  13. You’re right, John! And I will remain a poor, grumpy sod until someone can convince me that “Going to bed with Prudence” has a wordplay element. Robt, I’m familiar with “prudent”, “prudence” and my friend Prue (though not as familiar as DA seems to be), and I still cant see the wordplay. Its a crappy, unfunny direct clue.

    Unless someone can convince me otherwise, I will dust off my login details and cast this to the lately-underused bullshit category!!!!!!

  14. It’s a cryptic definition — most of which are bad dad jokes.

    There is no wordplay and there’s not meant to be — which kind of makes them underwhelming.

    DP is rife with them and it’s a legitimate form of clue.

    I’m pretty sure it’s a separate category in the bible (DA’s Puzzled) and is one of the oldest forms of cryptic clue.

  15. The wordplay is surely the proper noun / common noun interchange…

    I think it’s legit and I quite liked it.

    Sorry…I don’t have any friend called Prudence. I don’t think the clue intends to stereotype women with that name and IMHO I don’t think you should take any sexual connotation as a personal affront to your friend (if you are that is).

  16. I think Ben and john may have missed the point here. For some (including me), it’s not enough just to solve the crossword: we also like to indulge occasionally in critical appraisal of some of the clues. These opinions do not always meet with universal agreement, but that’s OK. I would argue that complaints are healthy – sometimes enlightenment is achieved and opinions are changed – and this thread performs a useful function.

    Now for Prudence: I too was underwhelmed at first by this clue, but, as has already been pointed out, it’s a cryptic clue (sometimes called a pun clue or oblique definition) and as such it’s pretty good.

  17. Re Ben & John – most of DA’s clues are unassailable when not genius and it is no insult to him to pick apart the clues that are weak.

    For mine “retriever, perhaps” is “a dog”, or possibly “golden”, but cannot be “au dog” – I think the “u” is simply unclued and therefore a mistake. I can go with “waugh” for “war’ (not if I was American or Scottish or Lancastrian per RB) but “gulf” for “golf” is not correct anywhere in the world and quite misleading in the context of the crossword, as others have attested. Finally, ‘safe sex” is lame, unfunny and not up to DA’s standards. I don’t particularly like the concept of a “DA bullshit” archive but if we have to have it then my vote is- in they go.

  18. Ben, notwithstanding RB’s comments, while the discussion appears robust, I don’t think any of us take ourselves too seriously. Much of what we say is tongue in cheek and we just enjoy the discussion, perhaps learning a thing or two along the way. If DA wasn’t so good with 95% of his clues, we wouldn’t notice the occasional bad one.

  19. Not to worry RobT, no offence taken, other than still not liking the clue!

    AS, I didn’t like your explanation at Greeakster, and its no better in print! Thanks for a fantastic lunch, though. And happy bday.

    I agree with everything JK had to say, including the name of the “bullshit” archive. The name, like the name of the site, was a working title thrown together 3 years ago and just seems to have stuck. Happy birthday DATrippers!!!!!

  20. @BKH, I don’t think so. But I had to think about it. It’s not a lot worse explanation than “au dog”.

    Which, now I write it, looks like bad cheese.

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