DA Confusion for the 12th of December, 2014

Have your DA confusions sorted out right about now and here.

71 thoughts on “DA Confusion for the 12th of December, 2014

  1. Have all out and believe correct, but do not get:
    9A – how “forum figures?” clues letters 1 and 3.
    17A – wordplay at all.
    20A – how letters 1,2,3,4 are clued.
    Thought 14D and 15A very good.

  2. I think forum refers to figures that might be found in ancient Rome, ie at the forum.

  3. All out, but I don’t get 17A yet either, or the middle bit of 15A. Is there a bug called a luf?

  4. Oh, 17A. Armchair as adjective is def. Fairly dry is letters 4-6. And monstrous is the rest. Very good.

  5. 15A: Gayle, you’re very close. Try looking one letter to the left.

    Thanks for the help on 17A. That was the only word I could think of that fit, but couldn’t get wordplay or definition.

  6. Thanks Gayle – 17A – I had the word but was not aware of that meaning / context for “armchair”.

  7. Very enjoyable. Not being a handyman, I was baffled by the screwdriver reference in 20A for a while. Tried to fit “Red” as first word of 14D until the penny dropped. Had never heard of 2D.

  8. All done now. I hadn’t heard of 2D, and was confused by thinking “fought” was cluing dissent in the SA rugby team.

  9. Making some wild guesses, then finding, as in 24A, it actually fits the clue. And that is quite 24A! 25D good. Have only a dozen so far, some not yet understood. Thought 4D ref to ‘private parts’ very clever! Proceeding.

  10. 2D was good. So many chances for misdirection and good story in surface.
    Kicked myself when finally got 1A
    Didn’t get DA’s hint for the last word in 18/10 until had cross letters as I hadn’t heard the expression. Good clue.
    16A’s clever I thought. Cryptic and humorous in both the wordplay and def.
    Also liked 6,7, 8, 13 and 14 D and 27A Only one quibble .. the indicator in 11A … a bit out there, and not grammatical either?

  11. All out in 62 minutes while listening to the radio i think that’s the quickest i’ve ever managed a DA!
    First clue out 9 across easypeasiest clue 28 across
    Favourite clues 9 across 15 across 21 across (loved the homophone) and 18 down 10 across combo!

    Puzzled by 7 down can’t work out what the trendy diet was that dad abandoned!

  12. Salute at 8:48.
    The diet in question is one supposedly based on stone-age or hunter-gatherer times. The answer is a shortened version of the word used to describe the period.

  13. Well I’ll be a bleached pussycat! I’ve never heard of that one before, Brian. Thanks!

  14. I have just noticed the absence of Arthur C. who’s usually chimed in by now: hope he’s alright!

  15. I was a GG, Edward! Running madly around, washing, hanging out washing, bank, Coles, post office, chemist, Aldi. Prepare and cook lunch, serve, eat, back to chemist because I bought the wrong thing. So, nothing added since 6.57! Now I need my after-dinner nap. Will read through above later, doubt if I’ll get much further. Too tired to think. May look back this evening.

  16. I’m glad Rupert explained 20A. I thought I needed handyman knowledge to justify my answer. I hadn’t heard of 18,10A before. You invariably learn something new on a Friday. I liked 21A.

  17. Missed that 6:57 post; glad to hear you’re alright, Arthur C. What’s a “GG, Edward”?

  18. Hello all. Almost there. Help with 2d ,15a and 13d please.Loved 8d,9a and 14d.

  19. megse, 2D definition is “gamble” – not a term I knew of before.
    15A remove a bug from a word meaning “downy” – definition is “duck on TV”
    13D “pet” gives first word; “hound” gives second – neither relate to animals but the answer deos.

  20. Thanks Mort. Like many Victorians I’m a once a year gambler but had actually heard of this type of gamble. The cross letters confirmed 15a. All done.

  21. Thanks all. Yes Gayle – a lot of good fun this week, but I think there is a better way of explaining 17A with “Fairly dry” being letters 4-5 that are part of the other letters.

  22. I’ve got about 10 solved and I’m chuffed with that! I felt a winner for getting 15D. I’d love help with 17A and 24A please. I have 19D but not sure how it’s done.

  23. CC, 17A a word for “monstrous” around a shortened word for “dry”. Definition is “armchair” – think armchair detective.
    24A Close is 1-4; sprays in anagrind; definition is ‘appalling”.

  24. 19d haul (up) 1-4, man 5,6
    24a def last word. 1-4 close, rest sprays ” hits arm”

  25. @ Mike, re 17 A
    I’m at work and don’t have the grid with me. I remember the word and what I thought was ‘fairly dry’ at 4-6, but that would mean letter 6 is counted twice. So my explanation must be wrong, but I haven’t cottoned on to yours.

  26. Gayle and Mike, like Gayle I had “fairly dry” as 4-6 but now see that letter 6 is only indicated once. Love to hear an alternative, or is this another DAslip?

  27. Btw, re 17a, I think “fairly” accounts for the two letters. If it were “almost” it would probably account for more

  28. MJH, I can’t do better on 13D than what I said earlier “13D “pet” gives first word; “hound” gives second – neither relate to animals but the answer does”.

    “Pet” is used in Scotland and Northern England by men when speaking to loved ones.

  29. All done today – always a thrill to complete a DA and a rarity for me! Thank you all for the explanation for 17A wordplay which had me completely stumped, although there appeared to be only one word it could be. I would never have considered “armchair” in that context.

    The only other wordplay I don’t get is 3D, and as no-one else has queried it I am thinking I have missed something obvious. Could someone set me straight please?

  30. June 3D for “lout” – split into two words 1,3. Then apply to word for “genuine” and add the “lines” to get a “risk calculator”.

  31. What I like about DA is the way you learn something new nearly every week – but I think learning about 2d probably counts as being led astray! The people who write snide letters to the Age don’t know what they’re missing, poor souls.

  32. Incidentally, I agree about 17a – he seems to have absent-mindedly counted one letter twice. But to quote the last line of my favourite film, nobody’s perfect!

  33. Bah, I have the SE corner done and a few scattered about but I’m done. This one’s been really hard for me. I just don’t have enough cross letters to get a foothold in most of them. Ah well. Off to the school’s Christmas festival and watch my youngest perform in the harmonica choir. Wishing you all better solver’s luck.

  34. No nn this week? No FHF to complain about “lout” in 3D…

    And poor Arthur’s name was mis-spelled in the Green Guide yesterday.

  35. Thank you Mort – even after your very helpful hints it still took me a while to get the workings of 3D. Luckily the word was obvious from the definition alone, but I do like to understand the wordplay to be absolutely sure.

    I agree with Mary – DA provides a mixture of pleasure and pain for me each week but I wouldn’t miss it for anything!

  36. Came back late, only added four to my 6.57 effort. Looking forward to answers tomorrow morning, finished ten short. A very very busy day.

  37. I’m here Mort, late start for me, have seven that I’m reasonably confident of plus a few bits that are little more than guesses. Am still pondering hints above

  38. thanks for explanation of wordplay in 3d Mort, but shouldn’t there be two louts?

  39. I have first two letters of 20a from the screwdriver, but the rest escapes me. I’m guessing at the next two letters being clipped midriff, but that doesn’t give me any word that I know of. Is the Monaco girl a (in my case not so) well known person?
    Similarly in 21a is the long dead diver also a person (that again, I may not have heard of)? Have no idea on this clue

  40. nn, re 3D genuine = 1-5 less the last letter (lout); plus two letters for “lines” as in rail transport.

    20A letters 1-2 are the reverse of the fruit concoction in a screwdriver. “and clipped” gives 3-4; “midriff of Monaco” gives 5-6. Answer is a girl’s name – also a 1960s movie with the title song written by Rod McKuen; not to be confused with the Scott Walker song written by Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent.

    21A – the diver is one who dips into a river. “Gloomy quoted” gives 1-4; “chat (quoted) gives the balance. Definition is “long-dead diver”.

  41. nn: I think 3D is a six letter word for ‘genuine’ with one lout, then the last two letters are an abbreviation for ‘lines’ usually associated with public transport.

  42. Thanks Mort and GeoffD. I had a slightly longer version of the same word for genuine, and by the time I’d figured out that bit of the wordplay I’d completely forgotten about the lines despite the fact that they were the first things I’d spotted in that clue sometime earlier and they were the first two letters I’d entered. Some time later I came back to it and spotted the answer, but then spent so long pondering the wordplay that I’d forgotten the lines
    Thanks also for the help about the girl. I was very worried it might have been some minor celebrity rather than just a girl’s name.
    Still pondering the diver, have had a late start and an interrupted evening so not had a good run on this one yet.

  43. And 20a answer has revealed that my guess for the first word in 18d is wrong

  44. Making progress now, that gave me the right first word in 18d and after some time, I realised that the third word was wrong too. Corrected this and 18/10 fell into place. I’d heard of the expression, so that helped.
    17a fell into place too, I’m wondering why he didn’t do something with clergymen in debt for that one.

  45. have nearly all the left side out but only handful on the right. Too tired to finish it and won’t have time this weekend

  46. Ive been told that there is an Australian newspaper that contains a copy of the Guardian crossword. Maybe Saturday’s only? Anyone know?

  47. John, the Guardian online has a free daily cryptic (except Sunday). I do it every day. Their “new, improved” website makes it harder to find but, if you enter “cryptic” in the search function, you’ll find it. Here’s a link to yesterday’s:


    Just be aware that it is available at midnight UK time, so in our summer, we cannot get it until 11am, whereas during winter it is available at 9am.

  48. CC, you should try today’s prize by Shed in the Grauniad – there’s a very nice mini-theme.

  49. MORT 12/12/14 6:18 pm
    Mort, I would be obliged if you could explain which part of the setter’s bag of cryptic tricks is used to indicate that solvers are to read lout as l out or gout as g out.
    17 DA has either miscounted the number of Is or has defined ar(id) as “fairly” when really it should be “barely”.

  50. FHF I agree with you re 17A – I believe that it is an error by DA

    Re words like lout, I’m aware that you have expressed objections to them in the past, but I don’t really mind them. I’ve never notices any setter apart from DA using them so maybe he’s written his own rules…

  51. just to add a somewhat critical evaluation of armchair as def for a word that means not at a (safe) distance, or playing at/being amateur at something, but doing something on another’s behalf. But of course many good things about the grid also JPR

  52. re 17a ar(id). I don’t think fairly or barely really cover it. Might I suggest semi-arid?

  53. Long time DA-er, first time commenter. I’ve got them all except 14D, which everybody else seemed to have no problems with. Any hints?

    Loved 7D, 21A and 20A was ridiculously, enjoyably convoluted.

  54. Rohan, 14D puzzle gives letters 1-6; iniquity gives next four. Answer is what comes out of china – not the country but what’s made from it. Hot water is also involved.

  55. Oh, thanks Mort. I was just completely blind to that solution – even though I was pretty sure of the second word. Also, I was reading ‘iniquity’ as ‘inequity’, so that didn’t help.

  56. I was misdirected by Butter in 25d- looking for ghee …. I had to go to the ACC to get that one.
    Fun as usual.

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