DA Debate for the 24/25th of August, 2012

Maybe it’s just because I didn’t do very well, but I feel very grumbly about this week’s DA and feel the need to vent. So I hereby call open a DA Debate, and let’s hear your views:

1 across: Cavalier exhausted freak (4, 3)
Cavalier as a synonym of flip was very poor in my book

5 across: Alternative medicine beginning in country? (7)
I really liked alter native, but I really disliked the in that’s left hanging. In is not a valid linking word and the question mark doesn’t excuse it either. To make matters worse, in is an instruction, and I spent a very long time trying to put m inside a country to get some kind of alternative.

10 across: Boogie clobber (4)
I quite liked this one, but it seems controversial on here. Feel like venting?

15 down: Meat course all but tainted Italian white (9)
While Lambrusco can be a white, it is customarily a red, and cluing this as white just seems nasty.

17 down: American migrant puts central locking on urban train (3)
I think this clue is so bad that I fear I have completely misinterpreted it.

How does American migrant mean elk? Am I missing something here, because that seems ridiculous. I can handle the el for an urban train, just, but k is on el, which should mean kel, never elk.

20 down: Even worsted cut cloak (7)
Worsted is a noun — how can it be an anagram indicator?

29 across: Game on horseback doomed (2, 3, 2)
Doomed means for it? Huh?

15 thoughts on “DA Debate for the 24/25th of August, 2012

  1. If you google the phrase “in country” you’ll find it is a well known phrase that directly relates to Vietnam. I had to study an iconic book in year 12 called “In country” which was about a Vietnam veteran – and that’s since been made into a movie ( I believe)

    Like many species, the elk are fairly famous for their annual migration. I don’t see why “on” can’t mean “on the back of”.

    I don’t like 10 across.

    I guess the “well, you’re really in for it now” is close enough to understand the logic for 29a

  2. For me though 13A is a bit whiffy – nutshell is not a kernel. If ‘out’ is meant to mean the outside of a ‘sounds like’ colonel, then than seems a bit of a stretch for my liking.

  3. I googled in country and got the movie that is about a Vietnam veteran. Other than that, nothing. I’m still calling that bullshit.

    To me, on doesn’t mean on the back of because otherwise there would be no need to add the back of.

    Didn’t know an elk migrated. Fair point. But is an elk sufficiently iconic a US animal? It’s not solely found in the US, but yep, probably it is sufficiently iconic a US animal.

    In for it means something vaguely like doomed, but without the in before the for it, that reaks of bullshit to me.

    On 13A, I thought that was reasonable. If you consider the phrase in a nutshell, nutshell and kernel seem synonymous enough even if they are physically different things.

  4. I thought 5A was fine and thought we would have another ‘rearrange’ ‘rear range’ debate here but I don’t have a problem with the clue. Read it as “Alter native medicine beginning in country” and I don’t think there’d be any objection. Would there?

  5. 1A. My initial feeling was that flip was a poor synonym for cavalier. But passable
    5A: Excellent, I thought. Alter native, add Medicine beginning = country.
    10A: Had to guess at this, had no dictionary reference to ‘snot’ meaning to hit.
    15D. Had heard of lambrusco, but as a non-drinker had no idea of its colour. But found a reference to lambrusco bianca, which I presume is white.
    28A: Noob was a newone to me, but the return of gift made it obvious.
    Altogether, a good puzzle, I thought.
    29A: Seemed perfectly OK. Up meaning mounted, for it meaning doomed. No probs.
    17D: Never saw a problem with this, the El around central locking, though possible the clue should have said ‘in urban train’.
    20D: Worsted, as opposite to bested, ancient language perhaps, but OK by me.

  6. The alter native bit I really liked — I just didn’t like the in that’s in the clue, which is not a valid linking word and goes unaccounted for (and worse than that, gives people like me useless indirection).

    On for it, I’ve never heard it to mean doomed.

    On worsted, I didn’t use a good enough dictionary — I see it’s listed there as a verb on a better dictionary.

  7. While I also struggled with this one – on the whole happy to take it in the spirit of DA’s general capacity to misdirect. If he occasionally stretches to create a better clue surface, so be it. That’s why I enjoy his work so much!

    I think you can scan 5A and it makes perfect sense :
    Alter native, medicine beginning in.

    Take the beginning of medicine and mix it in. Yes the comma is added, but simply to emphasise the split. All good!

    ‘For it’ is also fine. I’m sure my Dad has suggested that I’m for it on a number of occasions. The threat of doom (or at least significant harm) was clear…

    Have to admit had no idea about the migrant link till reading these comments. Seems OK too, I was just incapable of making the link.

  8. It probably makes more sense to me because we had an American teacher in year 12 and I had to study that darn “In country” book for 6 months….

    Another way to look at the “on” thing – If I’m on a horse, I’m on it’s back. I don’t have to specify that I’m on “the back of” a horse for you to get the picture. So I’d still argue that one is fair enough.

  9. 10a seems to me to be a rare example of a clue with 2 perfectly good answers.

    When I only had the T from 3d, I thought the answer was BEAT, which nicely fits both Boogie and clobber – but so does SNOT.

    The only other example of 2 possible answers I have seen before was an anagram – I don’t recall the actual clue wording – but the answer could equally have been SVENGALI or VANGELIS.

    Anyone else know of s double answer clue?

    Arthur C, I’m surprised there is no dictionary definition for snot meaning to hit, I remember that meaning well from my misspent youth!

  10. Re 1 across. Does “cavalier” indicate “flippant”, which is then “exhausted” to “flip” (that was my reasoning, but it was very late at night!)

  11. Re 17D I think we will have to accept that “on” can be interpreted to mean either before or after other letters, which I do find imprecise and therefore annoying.

    While I accept that Lambrusco can be a white wine it does seem unfair to have clued it this way – I would certainly expect Bordeaux to be clued as French red or even just red, despite the existence of white Bordeaux.

  12. For what it’s worth, I thought ‘flip’ and ‘for it’ were perfectly valid. Then again, I guessed ELK and SNOT but was not confident enough to put them down, nor worked out 12a.

  13. Re 17d, I can accept on meaning before or after in an across clue but if it is at the wrong end of a down clue, I think it is going too far.

  14. I understand that logic. It convinced me for a moment until I considered that a bucket on a rope at the bottom of a well is still on the rope even though it’s underneath it. ie. ‘on’ can mean ‘attached to’

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