39 thoughts on “DA Confusion for the 7th of December, 2018

  1. Hmm, easy peasy, think hardest was 28A/11A but the little voice inside whispered the answer to me before I noticed the homophone (possibly recalling a John Cale recording with that title I have on a rare 7″ 45). Best start 1A/27A which will then deliver you 8D and you have the basic theme (five Across clues, and two Downs missing something you would retrieve on 1A/27A). No particular faves except abovementioned 28A/11A. Happy solving!

  2. I also found it easy, got top LH corner early and the 1/27a quickly.
    Last in was 28/11.

  3. Gayle, 4D isvtwo initials+surname for 2D, very easy clue if you look closely …

  4. oops, that “for 2D” snuck in, should read,…
    Gayle, 4D is two initials + surname, very easy clue if you look closely …

  5. NE corner completed, but 10A not quite understood. Still reeling from yesterday’s heat, worse to come today.

  6. Yes, but why (11,6) for the letter count for 4D on the replica version that I have.

  7. My replica says, “1.1.,6”, Gayle, it can look like “11,6” if you don’t look closely!

  8. Ahhh thankyou Celia. No wonder no one was mentioning it. That threw me off so badly in the beginning that I thought the difference in the letter count was the trick for today. Well it was, but it wasn’t . :-)

  9. Another slow start for me today, but got it done in 30 once the dominoes started falling.

    FOI 32A (quickly followed by 26D; looked in vain for the third!) LOI 9A. Smiled at 8D.

  10. Finished, and I get the theme, but still to resolve a couple of them. Favourite was 26D which took me back to my old stamping ground of an area of natural beauty in England, and 70s prog rock. Clever clue.

  11. Is 5A a pasta? Google says it’s a pastry – and DA’s usually sharp enough on sweet things that he’d know.

  12. Relatively easy today but I need explanations with some I have solved.
    20A: presume definition is first two words and letters 8 – 4 given by “repelled horsey?” but how are letters 1 -3 derived?
    23A: presume essayist is definition, ecosystem tips gives letters 1-2; one page released gives the rest, but have I missed where it tells you what it’s released from?

  13. Yes, it’s a pastry N. The definition is “Pasta? No” with the second word doing double duty as wordplay.

    Alaric, page is released from “one” and you’ll understand 20A better when you get the theme.

  14. alaric 20A is a themed clue, letters 1-3 would be something 1A/27A would deal with.
    23A One wonders about “one”, a 6-letter word beginning with “P”.

  15. Thanks Tim C.
    Re 23A: was misinterpreting “one” as telling how many pages were to be removed.
    Re 20A: have got out entire puzzle except 8D, so I’m aware of the theme but I still can’t see where letters 1-3 come from. Am I correct in my assumption that “repelled horsey?” gives letters 8-4? Sorry to be so obtuse.

  16. Alaric, yes to “repelled horsey”. Letters 1-3 are themed addition … in your mind picture a bottle …

  17. Aha! When he left us I thought DA would do some kind of tribute!

    A slightly awkward theme, not as easy to manage — after all, you can find all manner of things in the bottom of rivers or by roadsides.

    (My legal adviser has just cleared the above and confirmed it didn’t require a spoiler alert.)

    My first one in was 29a. Hadn’t heard of 28a/11a and only vaguely recognised 4d. No particular favourites today.

  18. Arthur C, in 10A ‘substitute scratching head’ gives you 5-9. Also this is a themed clue which explains 1-4…!

  19. Robin H:

    1-5 are a homophone. “More qualified” gives you 7-11. “Getting either side” is 6. First word of clue is the definition.

  20. Heroine,
    First name – Sounds like shot in soccer
    Second name – 1 either end of getting
    Rest – be more qualified.

    Play by Ibsen, made into a film.

  21. The Seven Themed Clues … I have 5A, 10, 20, 13, 15 and 30. Where is the other 1?

  22. I have all out except 20a.I have worked out the theme, but still don’t understand then rubric. How is the them shown ‘via the wordplay’? It is actually missing from the wordplay.
    The only thing I can fit into 20a is a popular singer, not a tropical rodent. Despite the clues above I don’t get either the theme part of the repelled horsey.

  23. Just got it from Google. Poor clue IMHO. I had never heard of the rodent. And to say the first part is part of the theme, well anything could be.

  24. I must admit I tend to agree, Sandy M. For someone so precise in their clueing, it is odd that DA is often misleading in explaining his themes. Don’t get me wrong, wonderful cryptics but this is not the first time a strangely worded rubric has led to frustration.

  25. IanF,
    I’m not sure anyone has ever accused DA of being ‘precise’ in his clueing !
    The old Stickler in the Tele, THAT was precise clueing. Not this one.

  26. One query, please. How does 30A work? I’m assuming the definition is ‘curse of 1,27-across’ but I don’t yet see the rest of it!

  27. Robin, for 30A, letters 4-6 form part of the theme (so one of the seven references) with the remainder being ‘gutless 11 across slurred’

  28. Yes and thanks, Dudley, I got that far but ‘gutless 11 across’ presumably gives you ‘GR’ which needs some slurring to make 1,2,3 and 7!

  29. Oh thank goodness! Well done! Thanks all for helping me with this blind spot!

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