DA Confusion for the 29/30th of July, 2011

Here’s where you’ll have your questions answered.

Ask away, and your perplexities will be resolved.

187 thoughts on “DA Confusion for the 29/30th of July, 2011

  1. I have over half out now but still no frickin’ idea of this hidden theme or how it helps get the rest…

  2. Yeah, about half too. I think I’ve got a match with one of the four secrets but guesses about the whole are so far not conclusive.
    Spent some time on another animated bus-driver but got the right one after filling in more letters. Fun one this week.

  3. RobT, Haven’t got 18 A yet. Can you tell me if I’m on the right track with 14 D which might help. A card game?
    What’s the one you’ve got to go?

  4. 14d: Not a card game, but think of cards in a ball game.

    22a: DA fails theology and Italian Lit!

    11a: Any ideas on exactly how the wordplay works?

    Nice theme. you really need to get most of it out before you can spot it.

  5. Thanks Ian, Got 13A now which tells me 14D is not a card game .. and got the ball game.
    I had old maids… thought it worked, if you’re left holding the old maid card you’re out, and I thought at a stretch the def worked, but not using the so-called as a homophone indicator.
    Good clue.
    11A is a fabric without its outer two letters

  6. 11 A I thought it might have been Rocko, another animated busdriver, and had a lot of trouble trying to find a stripped down fabric like ocko or roco!

  7. 18A. It’s just a string of synonyms. Definition is at the rear.

    The one I don’t get is 2D.

  8. 18A got it after getting 19D, doh. Don’t know about Gold but a helluva lot of misdirections for sure.
    2D is a synonym for gorges. The answer is made up of a kind of T (tea) and the text form. I don’t know why the ‘wanna’.

  9. 2D: I got under my own steam after running down lots of burrows. Another enjoyable one this week.

    Now to work out the secret message…I am as excited as watching Lego-head compete in Masterchef.

  10. Quite enjoyable – and a nice theme. But of course, we can’t tell anyone what it is!

  11. I don’t care about the theme. It seems superfluous to the puzzle – I didn’t need it.
    Moving on…

  12. @Gayle: Actually I was staining the deck today, so no problems with fumes. I didn’t remember it was Friday until tea time, so I was a long way behind.

    I finally got the theme (RobT’s comment in the other thread is actually a spoiler, since it tells you you can finish the puzzle without the theme). I had 14D wrong (ODD BALLS) which didn’t help.

    Still struggling on 18, 19, 21 and 24, plus don’t understand my answer for 15D.

    Turns out I had 2D/9A wrong – I had delights/swordsman.

  13. DA …short for dastardly? Have solved the secret, but still missing 20d, 23a & 25a! Also am sorely missing Radartrap – Metrohead a very poor substitute!

  14. I’m with you, Emil, as I started a bit late. Thanks Gayle for your thoughts on 2D. I have it but was lost on the first three letters but of course the ‘drink’ bit is shortened in the clue as well.

  15. Rupert, you were right – RobT’s progress without the theme really helped if you read between the lines.

    Once the theme clue in the middle was answered, it cracked wide open.

  16. @Robin, 2D, not a short cup of spiced tea but a word originally from Chinese and as far as I know still commonly used in some parts.

  17. @Rupert, 19D is an official word as def (forgotten the term, not an acronym, but kind of abbreviation) used in Oz. Don’t know about NZ. (I got 18A once I got 19D)
    15D involves a substitution on the first letter .. that one came very late to me
    21 A is a reversal. Struggled with that one too. It only makes sense when read with the answer for 18A. Think aquatic environment for both.

  18. I’m with you on the tea now, Gayle. In the UK they say ‘char’ and in India you hear ‘chai’ (or ‘chi-ee’)

  19. What now??? Wot duz it orl meen??? Got 13 answers fairly quickly, but don’t understand a couple of the clues. But the Secret message? Certainly, the word secret appears to be part of one answer, but can’t see connection to the addendum.

  20. @Arthur you have 13 of them already!! I’ve been at it for an hour and have 3 (although I don’t understand one of them). And as for the secret message…

  21. Hmmm. Covers fits 17d “old rock” but incorrect. Absolutely no idea re theme or how it fits but nearly done nonetheless.

  22. Thought 5A and 6A were brilliant clues. Presume 11A relates to a word ending in OT, such as Robot?

  23. Fun one this week. Loved 18ac.

    And the “theme” only jumps out at you once the grid is complete….

  24. Great work, Arthur! You’re on fire. I don’t have 6A yet – struggling with that one. 11A doesn’t end in OT but you’re close as you have the letters.

    Just got 8D which I think is very good – wicked choice of words for the definition in the clue.

    Stuck on 5D even though I have the cross clues. I want it to be trees growing up but don’t quite get it?

  25. 21a ia a reversal? I thought 21a was a synonym for “and” mixed up to give something that sounded like “guts”. This is assuming I’ve got 16d correct – quickest synonym replacing first letter with “nobbled starter” and also sticking an “i” in there somehow to give “far from nice”.
    Can anyone confirm these?
    Any more help on 19d? Is copper the element or policeman? Is chopper a flying machine?
    Does 8d involve a postman?

  26. Emil, for 19d the last 2 words are the def. And 8d may involve a postman, but only if he was a collector.

  27. 5d – Robin I’m with you. I’m looking at names of trees to reverse up around AT (fringing a junction). I have no answer as yet. Am I on the right track?

  28. Thanks SK! 19D is done after you revealed the def. Then I saw the posts above yours which confirmed it.

  29. 2d is quite a treat. nn – gorges is a noun. The hints from the others gives you half the letters. For the rest think of modern forms of communication.
    Just got 19d – woohoo!

  30. Emil,
    8D is only indirectly a man of letters – hence the “?”
    5D – On the right track – a more obscure meaning of “close”
    15D – The “i” is part of the synonym. Don’t go with the first synonym that comes to mind. The horse should tell you what the synonym begins with.
    “Businessman regarding” (2,2,2)

  31. thanks Emil, got 2d now, that gives me 4 of them after an hour and a half!
    Was almost ready to do an Arthur and rip it to shreds with the ballpoint.

  32. nn – no prob. I started last night and I’m only halfway there. …and 13a has just fallen into place.
    I’ve got something for 1d but can’t quite see the word play. Does adoration for a neck fit? It’s a word meaning story right?

  33. Emil, in 1D, after the second rate leaders defect there are not so many letters left…

  34. The def for 7D is misleading as a number of other items can become the answer. A question mark at the end of the clue might have solved this perhaps.

  35. Am really struggling today.
    Have an answer for 5A that fits letters from 1D and 2d, presuming last two words of clue are the def, but no idea of the wordplay.
    Have 14d thanks to hints above and this fits my answer to 22A, but again no idea of the wordplay.
    Robin, if I had the faintest idea what 12A was (although I have the first letter), I’d attempt it!

  36. after reading your hints on 11A I think I’ve cottoned on (not!) to the answer although I’ve never heard of the animated bus driver, off to google to confirm

  37. @nn – contract is the def
    ok – I’m lost on 5d. Is “close” the end of a meal? Or putting a sword away? I’d still looking for a type of tree to reverse but can’t find one suitable. I’ve got all the other letters. Hmmm.
    Any hints for the first word in 18a?
    Is 21a a country in reverse perchance?

  38. nn – 5a has a Small letter followed by another word meaning Moor with the last letter clipped.

  39. Thanks Emil, I had the wrong sort of Moor, Spanish connection made me think of Othello.
    Have persisted with 12A and have an answer. Ditto with 7D thanks to Emil’s help
    DA using some very nasty indicators this week!

  40. Just got 8d (helps when you manage a few cross letters) very clever. This has given me the first word in 13A but several possibilities for the second word. Unfortunately all of my possibilities are plural and it says thematic one, so am presuming it should be singular.

  41. 5d close is stretching it as a def! Emil sounds like you will be kicking yourself when you get the tree.

  42. Emil
    21A I originally had your first attempt too, even knowing it was not a correct translation of the Latin, because ‘the upset gore’ fitted, and I wanted it so badly to ba a connection to the secret message (‘hence’ in the third part of the clue). . .. but all wrong and a big red herring!
    A reversal of an aquatic kind of guts. The answer is aquatic too. Past tense.

    5D is descriptive of someone in an enclosed space – perhaps like a sauna
    If you’re looking at a list of trees trying starting at the bottom end of the alphabet.

  43. @Gayle, thanks, I got 18A and 21A this morning.

    Even with the first four letters, I can’t get 19D. Must be an OZism. 24A would help, if anyone has a clue for that?

  44. 19 D Rupert, You’ll probably kick yourself as I did as the wordplay is pretty gettable:
    insert I in a 5 letter word for an adjective used in arctic regions.
    That will also give you 3rd letter of 24 A and if you’ve got 16 D may give you the Spoonerism. challenge + a particular question

  45. Am getting a bit sick of DA using the first letter of a word as its abbreviation when it isn’t a recognised abbreviation of the word. A bit unfair I think. If he is going to do this then there should be an indicator such as start or head etc to tell us he just means the first letter.
    Have got to the point where I’ve just about completed all the top half, have no idea on most of the bottom half and have spent all morning on it. Have 13A’d for long enough, am over to crossword club for a few answers.

  46. I remember ( I think), a Josef Vissarionovich Stalin. So how did DA get his ‘record’ in there. And how many doctors are in 18A? Given the first and last letters (DR or DD?) I include a general practitioner and a doctor of Divinity? Or have I got the wrong answer? Still baffled by 11 across, but if it is a TV character, I have no hope (unless he’s related to Bismarck?), as I watch little more than the news. Still have ten to go, having taken a lunch break.

  47. Rupert 24A is possibly another of DA’s latest idee fixes (see last week). Style is the def.
    Suspect 19d is an ozism, I’d heard of it but didn’t get it without all the cross letters and Gayle’s hints.

  48. Arthur, I have the same problem with Stalin too, no idea how the wordplay works
    11A is apparently a character in one of the cartoon shows that DA is evidently a fan of as they keep cropping up in his crosswords. You won’t have heard of him, so go with Bismarck.
    18A first two letters mean to complete, next two are the doc and the rest is a word meaning out of it.

  49. 17d not sure why that rock is older than any other. Big rock might have been better.

  50. Brilliant, nn. Re 16D, its a word meaning to rib someone, but including the record type. But, as far as I know, its the wrong spelling for my old friend Jo Stalin. But, just checked Wiki, they definitely have the spelling DA has used. I think that might be the second time I’ve been wrong this century (tic).

  51. nn If you’re referring to letter substitutions as in 15 D, I tend to agree in general .. they usually get me anyway .. but I’m wondering in this case whether it might be quite legit. Don’t know anything about abbreviations for ‘horses’ as in the animal, but H= heroin = ‘horse’.

  52. For 17D, nn, its the Name that is old (no longer officially used). I’m down to last eight, all downthe bottom. 22A has me puzzled, tried loking for synonyms for purgatory, but nothing clicked.

  53. Thanks Gayle, yes 15D was the one that really annoyed me, didn’t know the heroin slang.
    5a was a bit that way too.
    Arthur, thanks for 16D, I would have used your spelling too, I think the ph is the Anglicised version.
    Have finally worked out the secret words after spending ages looking through the 6 and 8 letter words for four that had some sort of link. Thanks to earlier posts was finally able to read between the lines and work out what they were. Have matched 3 up to the clues, but don’t get how the last one fits the remaining clue, suspect there is a bit of a letter being used as an abbreviation for one of the words again.

  54. Arthur re 17d, thanks, yes name is old I suppose. Still not thrilled with that as a clue.
    22A, check the spelling, it is a hint for the last four letters. Purgatory is a bit off as a definition element for the first four letters though, this place is a lot worse. Whole is a synonym for a witch.

  55. Just reading posts about the quick crossword. Not sure if it is the same in Melb. First clue on today’s Melb quick is 1A to no avail (6). Can anyone confirm this is (or isn’t) the same as yesterday’s Sydney quick?

  56. Arthur, funny how it all works out. 22A was the first one (and only one for quite some time) that I got!

  57. nn, no, a different Quick then. Does DA routinely set The Age’s Saturday Quick or someone else? He always does the double here on a Friday.
    For southerners, the Cryptic and the Quick in Friday’s SMH have identical grids and similar, only better, secrets in the Quick where they are truly themed.
    In a way, I think it was a shame about the secrets as I really enjoyed this week’s crossword and it’s a kind of distraction from the quality of the clues.

  58. Sorry nn, had to go out so didn’t answer you but I see you have 7D now.

  59. Today’s Melb quick isn’t the same, just looked at yesterday’s but that isn’t the one Sydney had either. Our quick’s don’t appear to be attributed to any particular setter, so I don’t know if DA has a hand in them.

  60. Oh! ! Have just got the ‘secret’ link to the secret words in the Cryptic and Arthur Douglas’ comment about 13A and the theme. (Thanks for jogging me nn, now I can put it to bed.)

  61. Thanks, Gayle, as I finally now have 5D and the wordplay. Agree ‘close’ isn’t great as a def. Maybe ‘When close’ might be better?

  62. on the plus side quite liked 6A, 2D(when I finally got it) and 8D. There are times when i wish DA applied the wrinkled pachyderm in 10A though!

  63. Gayle I was also going to say you probably needed a clue from a cockney friend to get the secret, but I see I am too late.

  64. nn, I have no idea what you mean about the cockney friend … and I thought I’d finally solved all the riddles! I give up , brain’s ‘out of it’.

  65. the cockney friend might have a hunch? But if you were reading between the lines, you don’t need his help

  66. ohhhh, very good nn! Actually ‘ad the ‘unches. It was the secret that’s binding that I didn’t get until this arvo.

  67. I’m still confused with the wordplay on the bottom (in the grid) secret word. Am linking this with second secret message clue and if I string the four secret words together in order of the secret message, are they supposed to tell me something?

  68. I guess all four words could be secret, but it’s hardly what I’d call a message

  69. I’ve finally completed the grid, but am shattered that despite sk’s advice nothing jumps out as far as the secret message or theme. Mildly amused that I thought the 8D Greek character was the Duke of Edinburgh for a while.
    Any clues on the secret message?

  70. BRD read between the lines to find the four words. They aren’t any of the clues

  71. Each of the 4 words is separate but they all have a secret in common.
    13 A was meant to be the pointer to the theme if you focus on the first word of the answer and then look at the 4 solutions in association.
    The secret is in plain sight! (says she who only just got it!)

  72. So there are 2 secrets, the position on the grid, and the one that links them all.

  73. Read between the lines…..thank you, I cannot believe how thick I can be! Still took me three reads to make the association, still wouldn’t have found it without Gayle’s hint – thanks. OMG, DA, what’s next?

  74. 8D Oh dear, BRD, as I still thought it was ‘Phil the Greek’. What do I do now? Had a broken day and just got back. Looks like most have finished.
    Any further clues for 16D and 14D? All my blanks are in the bottom left quarter.

  75. Amusing – I’ve just tidied up 21a based on a comment that it was aquatic. Originally I had SOAL – a strange word indeed. The net gave a definition of sole – which I linked to “guts”. I mixed the letters from ALSO (“and upset”). I prefer the correct answer.
    So now I have 4 left. Any hints for 20d, 23a, 3d, and 6a?
    Can I confirm that 18a is the past tense (based on “took”)?

  76. Peta gave me a great clue for 6A earlier today, Emil, = “Businessman regarding” (2,2,2)

  77. Robin, lose the ‘l’ from Phil and it’s still a Greek character.. The ‘l’ is part of the next element meaning ‘passed on’.
    16D is a first name of dubious spelling, composed of a record type inside a joke ( or a curry?)
    14D, think Harry Kewell vs Ghana

  78. 6a has just fallen out. I thought 3d was metallic but couldn’t get it to fit into berth. Found a more emotional answer.
    Hints for 23a?

  79. Also, Emil, 3D has ‘sentimental bling’ as the def and the answer is made from a type of ‘berth’ with a single letter contained in it, the letter is from the other words in the clue.

  80. Emil, 23A an 20D were the last two I got out. Both are reversals.
    Confirm 18A is past tense.

  81. Thanks BRD. I had idée fixe about that royal eating a piece of paper. Will keep going with the others.

  82. This is great, I feel like Arthur just after he got up today! Just nailed two more, 14D and 23A.

  83. Emil 18A is past tense. you’ll be in the swim when you get it, although you won’t be the cat’s whiskers.
    20D is a man’s name. Reading it up (Rose) gives a synonym of violated.
    23A most have nailed the definition, but the word play is an bit delicate (in a round about way)
    3d finally found gives the letter d. This in side something that means to berth (aquatic again). def is the first two words
    6a is very clever. someone earlier gave a very good hint, Businessman regarding (2,2,2). Consider businessman as two words for this hint. Fuse (not the sort you light) is the def.

    Robin 8D The Greek character is a Greek letter (and you already have it). Passed on as in recently died followed by synonym for an agenda. def is the last bit of the clue and is a bit cryptic.
    16D Stalin is the clue. This one is pretty week. There is a type of record (not all that common in the days when they still made them though) inside a word that colloquially means to fool as in the sense of joke or play a trick.

  84. ….and “rose” the other reversal – neat. ok – all complete bar the secret message.

  85. Took too long to type that lot and others got in before me. Hopefully all is now clear to those who asked!

  86. I have them all now, many thanks to everyone. I was trying to fit ‘car pooled’ into 18A for too long.
    25A is clever once you get it. I couldn’t see it all day but the 2D text one popped up straight away for me. Funny how the mind works.

  87. Thanks for the typing, nn. Keep up the good work – it isn’t a race after all!

  88. Thanks all for the assistance.
    My 7 year old surprised me when I pointed to 25a. She simply said “Dad, we put that at the bottom of the card” :)

  89. Robin I stared at all of those (18A, 25A and 2D for ages, but 8d leapt out at me once I had a couple of cross letters. I didn’t get anywhere with the bottom right corner without lots of help.

  90. Thanks to hints from you all, one to go. Can’t get 19D despite above. Does it start POL?

  91. @feather, yes it starts with pol, rest of it tells you where it is. Apparently an official name for this branch of the force

  92. Re 19D, I was intrigued by the ‘copper chopper’ as we seem to know the name but what actually is it? DA is spot on with this one as it seems to be that the chopper itself is named as such, not the service. At least that is the case in NSW. The service is Aviation Support Branch (Air Wing) of the NSW Police Force. They name their choppers with the aforementioned name followed by 1, 2 3 and 4. (They bought No 4 apparently for $8m which prompted some in the know to say it was a pity that elsewhere some police officers had to pay for their own torch batteries and it was no wonder if this is where all the big dollars were going.) Is anyone the wiser here?

  93. 20D is reminiscent of DA’s favourite palindrome:

  94. Robin we are no wiser in Melbourne. You could have six new polairs every year for what vic taxpayers waste on the grand prix and still have plenty left for batteries

  95. I had totally given up, with seven to go, a point I reached yesterarvo. But looking at some of the above, have written in two more. Your work, not mine. I had never heard of Polair, but it makes sense. Think I will concede the last five to David, as there is a big match this afternoon. I have no idea what the secret message was about. Will that be in tomorrow’s paper?

  96. Nobody seems to have mentioned the secret message. We have come up with one possibility for one of the clues. “To seduce retired silvertail” – could be partner. “Entrap backwards gives partne – silvertail is self explanatory. Still can’t work out the rest. Are they all to do with a partner, or is it a sentence to do with “secret agent”, and are they all seven letters?
    Arthur C, have you finished it yet?

  97. Re 8D, I didn’t think the answer related to “man of letters”, perhaps just letters….or what one puts on the outside.

  98. Regarding the secret message, it seems to me that DA wanted to do a crossword around the theme of secrets but didn’t, so instead he added in the ‘secret’ clues he had thought of using as an afterthought to this crossword. Only one only answer seems to follow the theme (that I can see anyway).
    @ Doug & Gwyn – Partner is right, as in secret partner…

  99. Yes – I believe that is it Robin. The E is urbanised by being in a city! And you can have a secret society.

    Secret partner (n.)
    A partner whose participation in a business partnership is hidden from the public.

  100. Secret Partner, weapons, society and a secret admirer makes four!

    Saddam Hussein probably had all four.

    There is a fifth at the top of coures, in DA’s words… “As to where they belong, that’s your (SECRET) mission.”


  101. @Jonathan. Thanks. If you are going to quote with some authority you will need to identify
    your source. I hope it’s not American.


  102. I wasn’t thrilled with secret partner either. Silent partner is the term I’ve always heard used. I am still puzzled as to how the four words are supposed to make a message. Anyone got any thoughts on that?

  103. I don’t believe there is a message, nn, other than what you’ve already got.. the unchs.. and the secret X 4.

  104. Sorry. That could be seen as a spoiler- except there was nothing to work out – just a matter of using your eyes. He is a clever man isn’t he!

  105. I think that could be a new “DA-ism”?- might be worth keeping an eye out in future.

  106. I have to say that’s the most difficult DA ever – I’ve completed the grid but I still can’t see what the theme is!!

  107. The reason I’m looking for a secret message is that DA says we need to find four answers to the secret message.

  108. @nn – not sure what you mean. The “four answers” are ADMIRER, PARTNER, SOCIETY and WEAPONS which could all have SECRET in front of them. Is there something else to do with “where they belong”? I hope there is, but I can’t see it…

  109. Well, despite my good resolution, I have put in a couple more words. Could be as little as two answers short, but simply don’t understand some of the clues, and no idea at all on th secret message. But, paper is here at 0530-0600, so not long to wait. Best wishes to all you crazy, demented, disordered (etc., etc) people.

  110. I’ve seen it now… thank heaven or it would have driven me mad. Just stare at the completed grid long enough and you’ll see it.
    So DA still hasn’t managed to stump me! I wait in trepidation…

  111. Working out this Forum tonight is proving to be as tough as a great DA clue; but I think I know what has happened here.
    1. A group of us noticed that the completed grid had the four words ‘hidden’ in it.
    2. Gradually, today, a few contributors worked backwards to work out which of the 4 words related to each of the 4 ‘secret message’ clues.
    3. Jonathon appears to have joined during this correlation process, not realising that it had been discovered that the 4 words were hidden in the grid.
    4. Jonathon innocently announced a breakthrough having now ‘seen it’ (Oh hell I’ve just seen it!)
    5. We all are excited, thinking there are further DA delights to be had.
    6. There aren’t (yet anyway) as Jonathon appears to have seen …. (go back to point 1…)
    Is this right?

  112. I think you are right Robin. I hadn’t read back through all the other messages (silly me!) so didn’t realise that the words were in the grid until now. Serves me right for doing this on Friday and then re-visiting it now. Apologies if I have confused things!

    Jonathan (with an A!)

  113. Jonathan (apologies for previous misspelling), think of it this way, you have momentarily quickened the heartbeat of a lot of wonderful people, a night to remember…

  114. Thanks Jonathan, I got the words in the grid, I thought you’d already found them there too. If you solved the 4 bits of the message without seeing the four words, I take my hat off to you!
    I was assuming that once you found these words they somehow formed a message that had possibly had something to do with a secret agent (see clue for 13A) and I thought you might have found it.

  115. Some housework.
    12A ‘Convinced senior criminal’ = S OLD IERS ON.
    Senior = OLD

  116. Robin , Just read back through the earliers, and now understand your wpm. Was interrupted by a phone call when I was typing and took a while to send it, meanwhile your observations were posted.
    14D as I understand it, RED is a homophone of READ, to be well read is to be learned. A CARD is slang for a witty, entertaining, or eccentric person. I wasn’t that thrilled by this.

  117. RED CARDS = learned eccentrics = read (as in well read) cards (as in “he’s such a card”) = Sun God sits in candle power trash

  118. nn, have to compliment you on your Bismarck comment to Arthur. A late comment, but I’ve only just ventured here. I decided to have go solo this week. Got about two thirds there, and the rest now with everyone’s help.

  119. Monica, I can’t take credit for the Bismarck, Arthur asked if that was on the right track in the first place, I was just confirming it. You did well to get two thirds without help, I got about two without help!

  120. Well, ultimately, I had one wrong (had never heard of a mood ring), and two missing, 21A (swam/maws) and 20D, Dennis/sinned. So, I guess, a reasonbly creditable effort. God willing, will CU all next weekend.

  121. I finished the puzzle none the wiser with the “secret” message or the visualisation of any hidden elements. I hadn’t heard of Polair but googled to reveal the (NSW) police helicopter. What am I missing?

  122. PMc, cover the horizontal line with the answers FENCES and HADMERCY. Now look at the letters above the ruler and you should see that there is a word made from the cross words from the down answers. The other hidden words are revealed in the same way.

  123. Thanks Monica. Reminds me of those 3 D images popular a few years ago which only emerged with concentrated staring. Bewildering is the lack of connectivity with the adjunct and primary clues (unlike DA’s usual quirky themes).

  124. PMc Also …not sure if you have this from earlier comments…..
    13A secret agent, thematic one. The word ‘secret’ can be used in association with each of the 4 solutions ADMIRER, PARTNER, SOCIETY, WEAPONS.
    Seems like it’s a whimsy …. a DAstraction of another kind.

  125. 9A is a double definition. “Sells hot stuff” = disposes of stolen goods = FENCES and “uses foil” = fights with a sword = FENCES

    15D: “Far from nice” is the definition. “quickest” = FASTEST, and “nobbled starter” = N, but I don’t see where the I comes from. Maybe someone else can help?

  126. @nn, regarding your query; I didn’t think too highly of the RED CARDS clue as you know. Sorry for delay in replying, but a Sun God is RA and candle power’s abbreviation is CP!

    I’m still wondering if there is more to the ‘Secret Message’ by the way.

  127. @Robin, I had RA but was trying to make RED CARD out of it! If you’d put Sun God sits in candle power trash (4) I might have looked elsewhere and had my laugh a few days ago, but it was worth the wait! I’ll be using that one (if you don’ t mind).

  128. I’ve given up on looking for anything more in that secret message, but if anyone has an idea what to do with the four words once we’ve found them I’d be interested. I’ve played around with synonyms of admirer and society and tried to partner them with each other to make something that means weapons. I’ve thought of ADding MIRER to PARTNER to make something that has to do with a secret society’s weapons, but all to no avail.

  129. Sorry nn, the ‘(4)’ only appeared on Sunday in the next post as I’d forgotten it!

  130. Last week’s DA, with its Secret Message reminded me of a very early audio recording of Woody Allen. See http://www.amazon.com/Nightclub-Years-1964-1968-Woody-Allen/dp/B000003PX2 In this collection Woody Allen was performing as a stand-up comedian. There is an item called “The Lost Generation” in which Woody tells of (fictional) times he had in Europe with Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Picasso and Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Each artistic work discussed (book, painting, etc) has the same punchline, for example…
    “I said it was a good book, but not a great book, we agreed it could be a fine work and Hemingway punched me in the mouth…”
    The Secret Message was a good puzzle, not a great puzzle, it could have been a fine work but…

  131. @Robin, I did wonder what the (4) was four at the time, but forgot all about it as I pondered sungods and candelas. :-)

  132. Just a question for the erudite DA Trippers: The Melbourne Age has a ‘General Knowledge’ crossword alongside the DA. Is that in SMH also? Is there anybody here who can fill the thing in, without several references to Google? I have criticed the compiler, Tess Brady, (aka Snodger puzzles) for the abstruse nature of many of the questions, and the lack of science stuff (not her area, obviously). But I’m interested in any views on the quality of the GK crossword.

  133. Arthur, I do not have much faith in Snodger puzzles. Their GK crosswords in both the Saturday and Sunday Age has frequent errors. They may have improved, but I remember spelling mistakes, wrong letters given after the clue, mismatches between letters indicated and spaces available, infelicities of expression that do not yield to untangling and so on. This adds a degree of difficulty that makes me reluctant to bother trying to get the whole puzzle out :(

  134. Right Monica. I find many of the questions relate to information the average well-educated person is unlikely to have ever heard of. So it ceases to be, I believe, a general knowledge crossword at all.

  135. Arthur, here in Sydney we have a supplementary magazine in the Saturday edition of the Sydney Morning Herald called ‘Good Weekend’. It is a large format (11″ x 14″) non glossy thing which last week ran to all of 32 pages (including 14 pages of advertising).
    A popular feature of this is ‘The Quiz’ which I rarely look at. It has 15 questions and judging by last week it is not strong on scientific stuff. I don’t think it’s one of Snodger’s. (I say ‘popular’ because according to a recent Media Watch item it is the most popular feature in the magazine).
    However I see that last week they did ask about the standard voltage in Australia, carotid arteries, Gypsophila elegans and the tallest feral animal in Australia.

  136. Arthur, I was in Sydney last weekend and they do not have the general knowledge crossword, at least not alongside the DA on Friday. I have never solved every clue in the Age general knowledge crossword although last weekend I got very close (I didn’t know Miles Franklin’s pseudonym without Google). It seems to me that it alternates between a relatively easy puzzle and an obscure one: this weekend we are due for an obscure one.

  137. Ta for info to Robin and JK. Getting the mental muscles tuned for tomorrow’s next phase in the ‘War on DA’.

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