DA Confusion for the 14/15th of October, 2011

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111 thoughts on “DA Confusion for the 14/15th of October, 2011

  1. Finally finished. 6D was the last in, and very clever. I also liked 3D, 5A and 25A.

    18A: I don’t know much about Aussie Rules. Do they drop the ball at the start of the game?

    9A: I get the Indian city, but the rest is confusing. Own is Scottish? Or suffering has no beginning?

  2. 9A My guess is ‘the rest’ is an anagram with last letter deleted of a queen from the middle east, Kuwaiti born, married into royalty.

    Most fell in pretty quickly, but stuck in the middle on the RHS.
    Haven’t got 7D (got 8D) yet, or 16A (got 2D) and 16D.
    For 6D am I right in thinking that ‘troll’ is the indicator?

  3. 9A, googled the city but ‘its own queen’ isn’t anything like the rest of the answer. Is ‘its own’ a distraction? A couple of superfluous words? Or have I got the wrong queen?

  4. 6D: No, you’re going to be mucking around with a synonym for troll.

    9A: That doesn’t fit my answer. Do we agree that the Indian city is at 27N, 78E, and that the answer describes the kind of economy in which 26A is an important commodity?

  5. Doh, got 16A. Had the meaning in mind. Can’t believe I didn’t get that till now!

  6. Yep, that’s the place. Queen of Jordan, anagrammed (suffering) minus last letter (premature ending)?

  7. Agree 6D is very good. It was the word that came first to mind with the def and cross letters, but couldn’t justify it so went off trolling the wrong way.

  8. I hadn’t heard of her. She may be part of the answer, but surely even DA wouldn’t break two “rules” at once: no indirect anagrams and no living people except the Queen (of England!).

  9. 9A: Possibly “its own” means we’re using a slightly longer word meaning belonging to the Indian city, and “premature ending” means removing letters 2&3 from the queen’s name?

  10. 10A def at the front. To make up synoym of invent , containing alternate letters of beat.

  11. Sorry, you needed 6D. A + reversal (to the north in down clue) of synoym for troll, minus E

  12. Back to 9A, RI was the title of the British monarch during the Raj, but that doesn’t account for the remaining two letters.

  13. 9A: Suffering premature ending could indicate the last two letters (**gst, **guish and **gina can all mean suffering).

  14. Re 9A – The word for queen in India is an anagram of the last 4 letters – that would satisfy the ‘own queen suffering’ component. The only sense I can make of the ‘premature ending’ is that it indicates the anagram takes place before the last letter of the word for queen. If that is the reasoning, I think DA’s messing with our minds!

  15. 9A: I didn’t know the feminine form of rajah, thank you. I still think it’s unlikely DA put an indirect anagram in there on purpose.

  16. That makes sense Noel, only that I would see suffering as a ‘manipulation’ indicator, ie to move the last letter up. Thanks for your enlightenment!

  17. I think you’ve got it spot on there, Gayle – makes more sense than how I had tried to justify it.

  18. I didn’t have the second word of 19A, thinking the def was denouncing, but now I’ve got the def right , am not happy about it. Def’s okay, but the synonym’s a bit off. Think I’ll send a 16A/2D to DA for that, and for 16/2 itself. Why one word(9)? Or is it a kind of rebus?

  19. Gayle, I think the key to 16/2 is ‘This’ – that’s the one word def. The rest is fairly straight forward – cuts being like the hash symbol for 16, followed by weapon minus the front end of sharp for 2. That’s how I read it, anyway. In terms of grading, I wouldn’t give the clue more than about 6 out of 10…..

  20. Ohhh, I see, thanks for that Noel. I thought def was ‘this cuts’. If DA was having a little chuckle he didn’t tell us with a ? or !

  21. 19A Well, in my job I hear all kinds of things, but I’d never heard the solution before. Neither had I heard the definition. But that’s not the quibble and both are perfectly valid. It’s more about the tone. I understand that in the UK the solution is probably more common, as in frequent, and less common, in the sense of vulgar, and might not have the negative connotations. The def is kind of polite and convivial, but I felt that DA might be breaking one of his rules about offensiveness with the answer. Usually the first five letters, in that context, strike a derogatory note with a bit of violence thrown in.
    However, some etymological sleuthing has shown that the ‘core’ word, to use another euphemism, recorded in the 16thC anyway, originally meant something more neutral and natural, much like a number of our present vulgar words did originally. So no 16A 2D.

  22. 19A: Oh, I’m pretty sure there are negative connotations. At least here in the Pacific colonies such establishments are legal. I don’t know there’s any more violence implied than in the usual euphemisms.
    DA sails a little close to the wind in matters of propriety. Let’s hope this doesn’t become his latest idee fixe.

  23. P.S. I’m glad your job doesn’t involve a 19A! Not that there would be anything wrong with it, but it might be hard to explain to my wife why I’m talking to you so much on the internet.

  24. Yeah, my husband knows about Rupert .. the only other person who’s awake at 2,3, 4 am in the colonies! : )

  25. PS. My husband, a non cryptic solver, actually goes out in the rain and cold to get me the Friday’s SMH from the grass about 3 or 4 am. Happy me is a happy he.

  26. This time I really feel like a Melbournite. 4 days there this week, so no DA until tomorrow morning when I can finally open Friday’s SMH. I hope it was fun people’s….haven’t read a thing so as not to spoil the experience. Just like plenty of Mexicans.

  27. Wakey Wakey Melbourne (and RobT)! I need some help with the SE corner. Got most of it late yesterday after the Sydney discussion finished. But can’t crack 11d, 24a, 26a and 22d. Also pretty sure I have 1d, but can’t work out how to finish it off with 21d. Any help?

  28. Cancel 22d. I just got that. Never thought of that meaning for the word before.

  29. Should have done some more work before I woke you up. I think I have finished! Loved the Brazilian hanger-on when i got it, but nit sure if word play. And not sure about what ‘folk’ have to do with 1/21d though.

  30. 11D: Think slow, furry and upside down
    24A: Large diamond is the definition
    26A: In Oldbury, this is whisky
    1D/21D: A town in South Dakota, also a stump and (hopefully) the people made redundant

  31. 11D: First two words are homophones, first 4 letters of last word is an opening, the last letter is from the phonetic alphabet.

  32. There I was, looking through a list of hundreds of Indian cities. Then I saw a mention above of Jordanian queens, and Lo, all is clear. Made a good start today, about 15 solved in twenty minutes or so. Only ten to go now.

  33. And two more takes it down to eight. I presume ‘House of Congess’ in 19A has nothing to do with USA?

  34. Right Arthur re 19a. Note the references above to sleaze factor. Thanks Rupert, I think I have it all now. I had to google the diamond. Never heard of it.

  35. Thanks Sandy. Being an octogenarian, had no problem with the famous diamond, though I hadn’t heard mention of it for decades. That and the Brazilian hanger-on were the first two I got. Will have to sift through the posts above for the clue you have given.

  36. Absoluty stoked to have my first DA completed with no Googling, word finding, reference to this forum or other electronic assistance! I admit I may not be across the wordplay completely in all cases but that is pretty much par for the course.

  37. Re the 9a debate, I had no idea, but it appears after reading here that the RI/ premature angst/anguish is probably the clubhouse leader. At one stage I considered it may have been a reference to (B)rian May, the guitarist from Queen?

  38. Thanks Rupert! It’s always the goal but generally one is beaten into submission around the sixty percent mark.

  39. Another challenge from DA, he using his weapon of choice! Once again it appeals to a wide demographic, from 7D and 10A to 24A.
    Congratulations BRD! I don’t know how anyone can complete a DA without any tools of reference – well done.
    Regarding 9A, we seem to have a range of possible wordplays for letters 5-8 (as explored above). Could it be Gayle’s RI plus AN meaning antenatal, as in ANC, for ‘premature’? Just a thought. The queen of Jordan does fit but why the ‘its own’? So too the Indian 4 letter name but then why the ‘premature ending’?

  40. 5A How do we get letters 4-6 from netballers? W for Womens’? Acronym for an association?

    12A How is the wordplay for the last 4 letters, second word please?

    25A Wordplay for this anyone? I feel its straightforward but can’t see it yet.

  41. I here record that at 1140 EAST, on October 15 of the year odf our Lord two thousand and eleven, Arthur C completed a DA crossword, my fastest effort ever (started over breakfast, around 0620, but a shopping trip, preparing and eating lunch in there).
    Robin, I’m not familiar with all netball positions, but they have things like GS (for Goal Shooter), WD (Wing defence), WA (Wing attack), I think. In 12A think following somebody. For the 25A, I thought of an American gorge with first letter mising, with first letter of explorer. Others may have a different take on it.

  42. A gorge explorer is the american gorge Arthur mentioned followed by -er. Throw away the tips and you get Joe Blow.

  43. Thanks Arthur and Rupert. I was hung up on the names of explorers for 25A but see it now, quite simple after all. I seem to remember a whole discussion quite recently on abseiling and other gorge activities and the same word was thoroughly gone over.

    12A hadn’t connected that verb with ‘dog’, sounds good.

    Thanks Arthur for the netball position; my wife says she knew that and I should have asked!

  44. Congratulations Sandy, BRD, ArthurC and RobT!
    Hope you all follow RobT’s lead and enjoy a moment on the poolroom podium.

    Arthur C, the Brazilian hanger-on and the large diamond were also my first in.
    25A the def is a one-word synonym for the first two words, with the outer letters deleted.

    9A I think Noel’s explanation for ‘its own queen’ is the way to go. The last 4 letters are the Indian quivalent, and the instruction (suffering premature ending) is to move the last letter further towards the beginning.

  45. In 20A words 3 and 4 of the clue seem to give you all the letters but I don’t get how we lose two of them.
    Also in 7D I have a synonym for ‘stab’ in letters 1,7-10. Is that the wordplay or part of it? How does the rest work? Or are letters 6-10 the musical piece? Help appreciated.

  46. Thanks, Gayle, and I think you’re right (as was Noel) on 9A. I’ve just seen the instruction even though you mentioned it before! By the way, you get your papers early don’t you?!

  47. I’ve been travelling and otherwise removed from DA for a few weeks, so out of form. Got 24A and 18A quickly and most of the others have fallen into place. Enjoyed 5A and 19A, also 7&8D. Thanks to the discussions above, I managed 9A and 6D. I agree with the consenus on the wordplay for 9A. Still a few to go in the SE and NW corners. Any hints for 1&21D would be greatly appreciated.

  48. Robin, sure do get the papers early – but doesn’t matter really if the news is yesterday’s – only do the crossie. : )
    20A if you mean 20D is a reversed hidden.

  49. 19A This was a great clue not to mention the solution! I know the description well having come from the UK. There’s nothing violent about it I don’t think, Gayle. It may not be known in the US as an elderly lady friend from there told me her request to a hotel manager in London was greeted with hoots of laughter after she’d asked to be knocked up early the following morning.

  50. 26A Should this not be ‘low-draught vessel’? The ‘pitch’ constantly varies I thought. Or is one a dimension and DA’s a position?

  51. Robin, 19A Yes, the knocked-up hoot has happened to others I know.
    Am slow to post and doing this piecemeal so apologies in advance if this is out of synch with other comments.
    7D you’re right about the stab. The rest is a kind of music that DA has mentioned a couple of times lately and the creation, largely is a 3 letter word with last letter deleted.

  52. Robin, 26A you’re probably right. The only nautical knowledge I have is that’s starboard. Oh, and Rupert’s explanation of Mark Twain recently. I must say I don’t usually associate the ‘solution’ with 9A.

  53. Thanks Gayle, I think I’d got to the point where I had it all except letters 5-6 which thanks to you I see. But where do the ‘chanted by girls’ fit in?

  54. DaveR, welcome back.
    1/21D double definition. Stump of a tree, and the workers that an organisation may want to prune.

  55. Yeah! The pool was good. Five games, four of them fourhanders. Was on the winning side in four games. So, a very successful day altogether! More next Saturday, DV.

  56. Got about half of it out myself then the rest with hints from above (after spending ages googling Indian cities!) . Quite a few where I got the answer but the wordplay was beyond me.
    5A gave me lots of trouble for two reasons. I’ve always spelled it with an H on the end and I was completely lost on the netball connection, although I had the answer from the moment I read the clue, just couldn’t make it fit!

    Can anyone explain what the first two words in the clue of 23A have to do with it?

    4D is turnout somehow meant to indicate the removal of a letter, leaving the first two letters of the answer?

  57. Good one this week, I thought. A welcome change after last week’s ridiculous googlathon! 9A a bit tricky – but previous comments helped a lot. Favourites were 19A (gold) and 11D. Not completely happy with “stump” in 1/21D, but it’s too early to say why.

  58. Arthur C, you’ve taught me something new – or old. DV: Deo volente . Till then. WTGOG. Hope Mrs C is doing ok.

  59. nn, in 23A first two words indicate removal of last three letters of third word. In 4D, yes I think you have it; “turnout” is the instruction to remove a kind of turn (21st letter of alphabet in this case) from a three letter synonym of “total”.

  60. Thanks, Gayle. As is so often the case, I worked 1&21D out as soon as I’d written my plea for help. Finished in reasonable time, considering.

  61. Feeling a bit sad here as I can’t get 22D and nobody else has mentioned it

  62. john, 22D is a word meaning carp (as in ‘on about’) with the last letter missing.Def is the first word.

    Thanks Gayle for 8D. Only excuse I can think of is I must have had a senior moment. Forgot the clue was for 8D too!

  63. john, if it’s any consolation, 22D was the last one in for me too. Don’t know why. It seems so easy in retrospect.

  64. John I had trouble with 22d for quite a while too. Almost got to the point of giving up an entering an anagram of carp as an expression of disgust! It fitted the cross letters!

  65. I would like to ask a pernickity/naive question of the DA Trippers. I thought a cryptic crossword worked from the Outside to Inside. That is, the clues are the Outside and you work from them IN to the solution. It seems to me that with DA you often seem to have to work from the INSIDE to OUTSIDE. For example the clue in this week’s crossword 24A. you get the clue $1000 which gives you the K then you get presented by state. Well, STATE could mean AVER but if you decide it means a political entity, there are thousands of STATES it could be starting with WA, SA, TAS or all the states of the USA and their abbreviations. So you have to guess/know/google the solution. When you get the Koh-I-Noor you can use the clue to confirm it. Oh, yes, OHIO is the STATE. So you work from the INSIDE OUT. This happens lots of times: you have to guess at the names of mountains of which you have never heard, sift through the names of jazz musicians of whom you have never heard, work through the names of characters in one of Tim Winton’s books which you have never read.
    My question is: is this the way cryptic crosswords usually go i.e. they depend of guessing, googling or just plain knowing information rather than working FROM the clues TO the solution? It seems more like a knowledge quiz with some cryptic assistance to confirm that you’re correct. What do people think of this?

  66. Yep, I agree Conny — with DA, you can often spend most of the time guessing the definition rather than working out the wordplay.

    But I think that’s what happens when you start doing more difficult crosswords: you have to glean little portions of the word play and determine the answer from the direct definition and back again. Unlike the crosswords from the rest of the week, DA’s require a lot of back and worth with little leads here and reevaluations there.

    This week I was pretty happy that I got SHEEP DIP without having heard of such a thing before, but I was a long way of KOH-I-NOOR.

  67. Conny, I agree with you. For some unexplainable reason, DA is the only crossword (cryptic or other) I attempt each week!! I find other cryptics predictable and not so challenging. However, I have not completed one without the wonderful assistance of this site and Mr. Google… I certainly have learnt some interesting new words and expressions. I doubt that I will ever reach ‘Pool Room’ status, but my Saturday mornings (yes, Mexican!!) are anxious until I have ‘The Age’ in my lap. Thank you all for your wonderful contributions and ‘even more cryptic’ responses!!

  68. Conny: I think AS has it pretty right: it is an iterative process. At the risk of gaining a reputation as DA’s defender – not that he needs one, he can look after himself! – let me make a couple of observations. Firstly, the knowledge required will always be too much for some people, but in my opinion it is not as extreme as some other setters, who delight in absurd obscurity. To take your example: you and I hadn’t heard of the KOH-I-NOOR but Arthur and others knew it immediately. But the odd clue like that is fair enough I reckon, because it can test your ability to slug out the wordplay. Think of how that plays out. You are forced to solve all the intersecting words. You had the “K”. The “N” from uranium is fairly obvious. After a while you become suspicious of a word like “OR” appearing where it does: it will usually be doing something useful, and it is. With all this and the intersecting letters you now have “KO?-I-NOOR”. Now you have to deal with the state, and you no longer have a huge list of possibilities – OHIO is jumping out. At this point, for me, one of two things happens: either (a) A long distant memory bubbles to the surface and I do remember the answer or (b) (and more likely!) I check a reference to make sure I’ve solved the wordplay correctly.

    I do admit, however, that the themed crosswords are more prone to entities that stretch one’s general knowledge, as you suggest (beaches, musicians, mountains etc.). In those cases the same principle applies – it’s just harder.

  69. Conny, I agree with AS. For me, most of DA’s clues involve a bit of everything: trying to figure out what constitutes the definition (which might be something totally unexpected like “this” in 16A!), trying to figure out some of the cryptic stuff, and also trying to fit in an answer which meshes in with existing crossed letters. Most of the time, I get the answer before I’ve fully worked out the cryptic bits. Only with easier setters am I able to work “outside to inside” (as you say). I think it helps if you’re in the right frame of mind, and you feel relaxed and free to let your mind wander. Putting the puzzle aside can help your mind to recover too, if you can wrench yourself away from it! I enjoyed this week’s, getting most of it out inside an hour or so, but then the last five or six took me quite a while. I agree occasionally it can sometimes seem like a “knowledge quiz” (like last week’s mountain googlathon) but thankfully these puzzles are pretty rare; and I don’t mind one or two googles per puzzle. It helps being old too, because, even if you can’t instantly retrieve that vital piece of information, it’s probably in there somewhere and will emerge sooner or later!

    I didn’t much care for stump = dead wood in 1/21D. Over the last few years I’ve cut down a number of trees (all environmental weeds like holly, sweet pittosporum, sycamore maple etc), and the remaining stumps are often not dead, even if I’ve immediately applied herbicide. Methinks DA hasn’t chopped down many trees!

  70. AS: “… never heard of the SHEEP DIP” ? I am shocked … are you telling me you are too young for Monty Python? The sketch of the Philosophy Department at the University of Woolloomooloo, in which all the staff are named “Bruce”, features this immortal introduction to the new chum: “Bruce here teaches classical philosophy, Bruce there teaches Hegelian philosophy, and Bruce here teaches logical positivism. And is also in charge of the sheep dip.”

  71. … And I am in furious agreement with RB, too. The frame of mind phenomenon warrants studying, I reckon. Some clues get solved by intense, left-brain focus, but I also often solve a few in rush just before I go to bed, when my brain is starting to relax and get a bit more malleable. A modicum of mental plasticity seems to nurture the right kind of lateral thinking potential. Does anyone else experience this?

  72. Monthy Python is still reasonably well known amongst the younger folk. Alas, Monty Python is not my cup of tea. I like the odd skit, but I’m no fan — and no fan of absurdist humour generally. I have seen the Bruce sketch, though; I just didn’t laugh much while watching it.

    And IG, I find two strange phenomena:

    1.) I often solve a flurry of answers when returning to the DA after a break. My theory for why this happens is that all the suppositions and connections you make while doing the DA initially but which go nowhere are forgotten, and you come back with a fresh(er) head that can make new suppositions and new connections that are generally more profitable than going over old territory.

    2.) I sometimes solve nagging clues when I’m not even thinking about the crossword. I’ll be doing something completely unrelated to the crossword and the answer will just pop into my head. That’s actually what happened with the clue I considered platinum about a month ago: SPOONER just came to me while I was socialising and I cried with delight.

  73. Thanks for all your comments, folks. I really do agree that the combination of the , sometimes obscure, bits of knowledge plus the guessing and the messing about with the clues make a more intriguing solving expedition. I just wondered about the system. Thanks again for your detailed responses.

  74. I agree totally with Conny. For me, the joy of solving cryptic clues is using the wordplay to get the answer, not the other way round. After all, that’s what makes cryptics different from non-cryptic crosswords. If you are always using the intersecting letters and the definition to derive the answer, and figuring out the wordplay after, what help is the wordplay except to confirm the answer?
    It’s not true that writing clues this way is the only way to make truly difficult crosswords. I suggest that this might seem the case if you only solve the SMH/Age cryptics, but have a go at well-written crosswords that skilfully use language to seamlessly join the definition and wordplay, and you’ll see difficulty doesn’t have to be obtained through obscurity or unfairness.
    IG mentioned that in his opinion DA doesn’t “delight in absurd obscurity”. Just look back over past posts that mention Google as the only way solve clues, or the number of terms that aren’t yet in the dictionary, or answers/parts of clues that are foreign slang. A clue may well “work”, but is the solver given a fair chance to obtain the answer from the wordplay?


  75. Agree, Ian. It helps to leave it alone for a while. The brain waves in the middle of the night are meant to be conducive for creativity, but then there are Trippers who seem to be on fire early in the morning, and others post late at night.

    Am interested in how the brain works with solving cryptics, having some mixed laterality which works against me .. in playing ping pong, for one, in a long list. DA has said he believes his brain is wired in a certain way, or words to that effect. I attempted to look up psychological references on crossword solving – and only found the suggestion to use crosswords as a substitute for (other) addictions !!

  76. Re: sheep dip, I would think that a Real Australian would have a passing cultural knowledge of such a common agricultural product without reference to pommie comedians.

    @Stig: are you going to tell us where we can find these wonderful crosswords, or are you just here to whine?

  77. Stig, I reckon it’s a bit like a bass and a guitar. There’s no way a four-string bass can produce the same range of sounds that a six-string guitar can — it’s just not possible. Nevertheless, some people still prefer the bass over the guitar.

    DA and other crossword libertarians will always have a wider palette to choose from simply because their libertarians. I, and I suppose most people commenting here, prefer the libertarian style, where you might be scratching your head for long periods of time on somewhat unfair clues. Others prefer Ximenean, and that’s fine too — but the best libertarian compilers will always have more variety in their cluing than Ximenean compilers would.

    And I really love the slang, the obscure words and the mix of high and low registers. I think it’s great that I learnt what a sheep dip and the koh-i-noor is. Granted, there can be crosswords that don’t take your fancy, which for me were the mountains or Harry Potter crosswords, but then you don’t get other delights, which for me include the circumnavigation and David Foster Wallace crosswords.

  78. @Rupert You could try any of the UK standards – the Times, The Financial Times, The Guardian etc, or for something Australian, try the Stickler if you are in NSW.
    @AS No, the guitar remains the same, just the musician is different. This libertarian vs Ximenean thing is a furphy – all setters are libertarian, it’s just to what degree. At the extreme end it’s a great label used to excuse poor clueing.
    I’ve learnt lots of stuff from crosswords, usually by analysing clues and looking up words. I’ve pieced together answers that I’ve never heard of before. If I have to work backwards, I feel cheated; if there’s no way I can work an answer out from the wordplay, the clue is deficient IMO.


  79. @Stig: I’m sorry DA kicked your dog, or whatever it is kicked off this unhealthy obsession you have with a crossword compiler you could easily ignore. My suggestion is go do a few Bonxies and Arachnes and come back to tell us that they *never* have convoluted wordplay.

  80. @Rupert: Not sure what your point is. Some answers would be hard to clue, no doubt, and convolution may result. However, I guarantee the compilers involved resort to this type of clue only if they have to, not claim it as their style.
    Oh, DA doesn’t get special treatment. I’ve complained about the state of Australian cryptics for years to all the newspapers. We need good, consistent Australian cryptics to encourage the next generation of solvers, without which, DA, DS, NS etc won’t have a job. DA has his place, but it certainly isn’t as a crossword-compiling role-model if you want cryptics to survive. So I like to add a little perspective to those peering at the cryptic world through DA-tinted glasses.


  81. Stig, I don’t think anyone here is wearing DA-tinted glasses, as you will have seen from the comments. And I don’t believe that anyone has come here without experience of other setters. Many continue to solve other compilers as well, both here and overseas. Cryptics are alive and well, and proliferating. Your comments imply that no-one, other than you, is capable of a critical eye, and makes others want to tune out and turn off.

    This is meant to be a fun and collaborative site, thanks to our hosts, for solving a style of crossword that we enjoy, in the company of others from diverse backgrounds and skill levels, octogenarians as well as the ‘next generation’, pooling knowledge and sharing delight. It’s just a game, and if anyone doesn’t want to play by the house rules, and the way they’re interpreted, there are other places to play and have fun. If you want to be didactic, there are other serious issues that need attention in our press. Or you can start a DROWSSORC! Crossword revolution. (SORC= Serious Offender’s Review Council, coincidentally). Honestly Stig, I’m amazed you used the word ‘joy’. Share it around!

  82. Cryptics are not “alive and well, and proliferating”, especially in Australia. Maybe someone can tell me how many new outlets for Australian cryptics there have been in the last year? Five years? As newspaper numbers dwindle and media ownership shrinks to just a few players, there are less crosswords, as syndication (usually from overseas) becomes the norm. Crosswords from the SMH/AGE used to be on the website – not any more. Fairfax used to have a premium crossword service – not any more. If you don’t believe that cryptics are endangered, work out the average age of those you know who can solve them.
    Other setters? Yes, I’m sure some have had a go at the rest of the SMH/AGE gang. I doubt many have done crosswords from other papers though.
    “Your comments imply that no-one, other than you, is capable of a critical eye” – maybe this is because I’m not wearing the non-existent DA-tinted glasses.


  83. @Stig, why would anyone want to become a crossword compiler when there are people like you around complaining about perceived infractions of their personal interpretations of the rules?

    You say you have been complaining for years about the state of Australian cryptics for years? Given that you don’t feel you have succeeded, perhaps you should conclude that complaining doesn’t work, and try something different. Perhaps you should write your own crosswords? I can recommend Crossword Compiler.

  84. Stig, if you don’t like or can’t cope with DA ,don’t do them; it’s not compulsory you know.
    Personally I like them, and this site. But each to their own.

  85. I sympathise with Stig. I have come to really enjoy the precision of The Times which is positively anal compared with the other 4 Fairfax setters, let alone DA! Whether more resources for editing or just better setters I can’t tell. But The Guardian has a huge stable of setters so perhaps they pick and choose, encouraging competition, rather than having a regular gig. I would say they are Ximeneans in UK…I have presented a few clues on blogsites that I think are pretty tight and get absolutely caned over wordplay when I read the favoured ones and many look positively unimaginative. Clearly, a different view of perfection which is fine and dandy as far as it goes.
    I value DA for his imagination and wordplay. And unapologetically and consistently libertarian. Far harder than the other 4 days, and different (but not better in my opinion) than The Times.
    As to whether crosswords are dying in Australia, I don’t really care. Whatever. If they do die a death I’ll continue to tune in to UK sites and make do. We have global access these days even if styles are different.
    I’d suggest, Stig, that it’s like TV. If you don’t like a channel, don’t watch it. I don’t think even in totalitarian states they make you solve cryptics. It’s completely up to you…but I am not sure you are saying you won’t try DA, it’s just that you prefer others. That’s fine too and I don’t mean to insinuate you are being elitist – just constructively critical, I hope.

  86. I am not sure whether Ximenean versus libertarian is a furphy or not (per Stig), although the recent series of posts has led to some very interesting reading on the net about the history & styles of crosswords around the world. I also enjoyed the analogy of the guitars (per AS).

    As to whether crosswords are dying or not I don’t know how you would measure this. My own experience is that more & more people that I meet turn out to be solvers of cryptics & a surprising number attempt DA every week. Certainly the people I am talking about are not teenagers or even in their 20s but I think you need a bit of life experience & plenty of reading to appreciate word based games (my children prefer Sudoku).

    Anyhow, I am an unashamed fan of DA but I also attempt the Times crossword once or twice each week. I find them generally more difficult than DA & somewhat of an acquired taste. Leaving aside Ximenes, the best analogy I have for the experience of DA versus the Times is that DA is like a movie in colour & the Times in black & white. Stig evidently prefers a twilight world but he must also come out into the sunshine occasionally or he wouldn’t bother with this website.

  87. I usually only get here on Fridays looking for clues when I’m stumped, so it was something of an eye-opener for me to read all the dialogue on the DA style. I do The Guardian and Fairfax cryptic every day and I have to say that DA is the only one I honestly look forward to, because getting to the end always feels like an achievement. From my experience (started on cryptics early 1980s) there is generally some local flavour or implied local knowledge, and the setters wouldn’t be human if there wasn’t (and btw, isn’t the guardian just a TEENY bit Brit-centric???? Why aren’t the haters giving it to them?). With DA, his clueing just seems to resonate with me.
    If that makes me unsophisticated or cruciverbally immature, then so be it – but this 51-year-old isn’t going to give up loving Friday’s SMH! As others on here have said, to each their own. If you like it, celebrate it. If you don’t, there’s no need to share the misery!

  88. Fun one today. Ironically, PC is clued!

    Still a half-dozen to keep me busy for the trip home tonight. Where is Rupert?

  89. I’m here. Only about half done.

    13A is so good. First I thought it was missing an indicator, then I thought the tense was wrong, and then I finally got it.

  90. Poolroom for me! Got it out, and probably fastest time ever. Good fun. Funnily enough given discussion above, first one in was 13A similar to one in the Times recently. Last one 21 D , thanks to husband.

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