DA Confusion for the 5th of April, 2019

I’m on the Greek island of Hydra, so I expect a Leonard Cohen theme.

Confused? Ask questions here.

64 thoughts on “DA Confusion for the 5th of April, 2019

  1. All done. Slow to get going on this today, but the 24a/9d answer opened up the grid for me quickly followed by 17/24.
    FOI 11a, followed by 25a, 14 and 6d. LOI 4d.

  2. All done. FOI 4d, LOI 20d. Quite liked 5d. Reasonably straight forward.

  3. Well, Margaret, you may have got 4d first up, but I haven’t got it at all. And I don’t get the wordplay in 7d and 16a.

    Otherwise finished. Enjoyable today. First one in 1a/5a. Favourites 1a/5a, 10d, 22d, 11a.

  4. Hope these aren’t too explicit, or not explicit enough.
    4d – this is fairly old fashioned word. Also sounds like a type of pastry
    7d – director, pitch think of the logical two negatives.
    16a – think of what Zali’s is famous for, and one who lobs.

    Happy for someone to correct if I’ve got this wrong.

  5. ditto Geoff M 7D & 16A wordplays.

    FOI 4D (know thy herbs!!! this used here common 3-letter in cryptics) then 12A/8A, & LOI 19A.

    Faves: the three radical oxymorons, and 1A (naughty DA!) and 19A.

    Happy solving, everybody!

  6. Am I the only one here who thinks the 4D homophone is incorrectly clued? The herb in question is pronounced like a pastry, as Margaret pointed out. The Casanova is pronounced with two syllables, courtesy of its French-accented origin. If someone referred to a male as DA is implying, I would think of a marsupial.

    I really enjoyed this one – some very entertaining clues. 12/8A is new to me.

  7. About a quarter done after late start,as with AG (09340 had never heard of 12,6A but guessed and found it fitted. Thanks to Margaret (0905), I had put correct 7D in, but hadn’t understood last part. Just saw 10D, lovely clue. Progressing slowly.

  8. AG – I do agree but I’ve certainly seen it pronounced the other way in period dramas. Maybe DA should’ve have included a Canadian element and put a question mark on it.

  9. AG, Just checked some online recorded French pronunciations of 4D, still sounds like only one syllable … and also like someone clearing their throat!

    And Margaret, can’t follow your hint to parsing 7D, I get the “pitch”, but not how the remaining letters relate to the clue

  10. Whoops. realised I’d misspelled, had an E that should have been A. Thanks, Margaret!

    Seen all the films too, and have also met his Charles M actor ( not to mention a couple of close encounters with same in my neighborhood. Any Justified fans out there, great modern western?).

  11. Celia, I suspect you didn’t put an acute accent on the E, which means that if you have asked a French pronunciation website you will have heard pronunciations for the French word for ‘wheel’. The entirely different word, with the accent, is indeed two syllables in French, and I’ve never heard it pronounced in either language other than like this:


    Using it as a loan-word in English, of course, as with cafe, we often don’t bother with the acute accent.

  12. Oh dear, wrong final letter, I had the wrong French word for 4D, thanks for the essay though, AG. French is not my forte (Italian) – or should that be forté? At least my answer was saucy!

  13. Finally down to last three, 18, 21,22. Happy to have got so far, will leave the rest. Know nothing of sopranos other than Nellie Melba, Amelita Gallicurci, Jenny Lind, etc.

  14. You don’t need to know any particular soprano to get 21a, Arthur.

    Thanks Margaret, 7d and 16a now under control. I still don’t have a clue what everyone’s going on about re 4d though … might have to wait till I see the solution (and maybe still not understand!).

  15. Geoff M.
    Libertine. The last letter has an accent. Ensure your spelling is correct.

    Go to
    And type in the word, it has an audio pronunciation.

    As indicated I have heard it pronounced the other way, but it would’ve been incorrect. We all live and learn.

  16. FOI 6D. Like others, I thought 1A was a cracker. LOI 19A and a slang usage I hadn’t come across before.
    I agree with others who think that 4D is a bit dodgy re pronunciation. I initially had the genus of the herb which I thought was a much funnier and Australian answer to the clue, but I had to change the answer when I got the cross letter from 8A.

  17. Thank you, Margaret. I get the connection with the libertine, but the herb still eludes me. No amount of googling or Wikipedia has made me any the wiser.

  18. Hold the presses! I found it! It’s a herb I’d never heard of. I must say, I’m beginning to rue my previous remarks!

  19. Geoff M,
    If you look up it’s uses it ties, very nicely, back to 1a/5a.

  20. Does anyone have a hint for 21a please
    Btw I have never heard of a 12, 8a

  21. 21A. Definition is Soprano. Tony initially gives 1. 8 across gives 2-6 when you turn tail (last 2 letters). I also hadn’t heard of 12/8A.

  22. Hello all. All out bar 19A. Only one word that fits. I can see why a 16A wishes for this, but why the ‘to raid a line’?

  23. Re 19A: Ben, if you’re still wondering, look up the slang/colloquial meaning of the word. The line is one to be found in many back yards.

  24. Ben, the term is (very occasionally) used to indicate a petty crime. Escapees from jail are likely to commit it. You’ll probably find it with a bit of googling.

  25. Re 4d, the answer was easy enough to deduce given the cross-lights. But I couldn’t parse it before coming here on account of assuming that eavesdropping was a container indicator (dropping the eaves) rather than a dodgy homophone indicator.

  26. Thanks Tim c, got it
    Any hints for 16a…. I know what zali did but where does the lobber come in?

  27. Melanie,
    You need to pronounce it differently. Think of someone who lobs something up. Not a common way of saying this.

  28. Melanie, If you look up the Oxford Dictionary there is an alternate spelling that makes it a bit more obvious.

  29. Help please with 3D’s wordplay. I had the answer straight away from ‘occurred’ and then saw a connection with the first three words, sort of. But how does ‘against web’ fit in? All thoughts appreciated!

  30. Hi RobinH

    3D. Think chief enclosing 2 letter word for sanction then add 4 letter word for web

  31. Have been able to progress faster than usual
    Like some hadn’t heard of 12A,8A. After seeing comments re 19A term does ring a bell, however most former 16As we wish for a word with letters 6&7 being
    “um” !
    One to go 22D FOI 6D

  32. A good DA I thought, especially as l have got it done.
    I don’t understand the word play for 19a and 20d, can anyone help?
    Never heard of 12a-8a nor has anyone here or Google; but I like it!
    I don’t know the herb for 4d, I presume it’s been shortened (“eavesdropped”)?

  33. Ah I have recruited Google and got the herb now. I got too cryptic with eavesdropped!

  34. Phil, I was able to find that phrase using google. In a collection of Aussie vernacular expressions! Also “eavesdropped” is a homophone indicator. But dropping the 2nd letter from your answer (if it’s correct) should give you the herb. As a homophone it’s dodgy though! See comments in above thread.

  35. Re 4d I can’t parse the Casanova reference. I guessed the answer but not through the word play.

  36. PMc,
    Look the word up in the dictionary. Provided you have the spelling correct it has a “Casanova” meaning. However, it has an accent and doesn’t really work with the rest of the clue, if pronounced correctly.

  37. Thanks, Ian’s, that’s great. I like that for 1-5 in 3D. I had ‘chief housing sanction’ as a item which quite missed the point! Interesting word, sanction, meaning both penalty and permission!

  38. Thanks Margaret. Hmmmmm. A debauched man. Is Casanova unfairly tarred with this brush? Not DA’s best in my opinion.

  39. I would be very grateful for an explanation of 1,5A ( except for ‘pole at sea’) and 16A.
    Although I might have occasionally been called a 13,9D, in 68 years I have never heard of a 12,8A and frankly wonder if it actually exists anywhere except in DA’s mind!! I have heard of 17,24A!

  40. GeoffD, in 1a/5a, “discovered idol” gives 5-7, “fluffs” 8-12.

  41. What does the answer to 12A/8A mean? Never heard that expression before

  42. Geoff D,
    16a – Think of what Zali is famous for and then, change pronunciation, and think of a high lob shot, particularly in cricket. It also has an alternate spelling which is a better fit IMHO.

  43. Thanks Geoff M and Margaret.
    Clearly a completely new meaning for me of ‘fluffs’!

  44. Cas, 12A/8A an oxymoron that means pretty much the same as the other two double banger oxymorons here. Cheers!

  45. Interesting and informative comments, as usual. Probably 4D was my main bugbear, but an enjoyable and challenging puzzle. Interested in where people place the DA in the spectrum of difficulty of cryptics generally, and what other puzzles commenters on these pages take on – Guardian, The Times etc. Interested to know the favourites of others. This weekend was DA, Mungo’s puzzle in The Saturday Paper, and the DS in the Saturday Age. All good fun, with a variety of styles.

  46. Darren, I suggest you ask your question early on in next Friday’s thread. By lunchtime Monday usually the caravan has moved on and this thread is like a ghost town with only an occasional lost soul visiting — such as I.

    I do all the cryptics in the Herald during each week. DA’s, or possibly Saturday’s, is usually the hardest, although I’ve found they’ve become a little easier in recent years. Then again, perhaps I’m becoming more practised. Some of the Herald’s (same as Age’s) during the week are extremely easy, comprising nearly all anagrams, many quite contrived.

    When I travel abroad I take a stash of Guardian cryptics to help me while away hours on planes and in airports. I’m selective with my compilers — some I find impossibly hard, but others are appropriately challenging.

  47. Many thanks, Geoff. I tend to shy away from here until I’ve cracked it, but I’ll keep your suggestion in mind. I appreciate your thoughts on cryptics. I certainly agree with you on the Guardian. Some are well beyond me, but others solvable with effort! I did LRxword’s puzzle in The Age this morning, having saved it from yesterday, and found it reasonably quick but really very entertaining! My main aim is to seek a variety of styles to broaden my solving skills. Cheers, Darren

  48. Darren LH, when I visit this page it’s usually at ‘ghost’ time like this because I don’t want hints too early either. I’ve got in to the Times cryptics which I found very hard at first, then got better, although I still need to google a couple of answers now and then. Looking at Geoff’s comment just now has me interested in trying The Guardian. May have to subscri be. Being a bit of a 17/24A, it’s probably appropriate.

  49. Thanks for that, Viv. I’ll have a look at some of the Times puzzles as well, even though I’m definitely not a Tory – probably in the 17/24A camp myself! I like to look at the comments on this page after I’ve solved the puzzle because I’m interested in the thought processes, how they compare to my own, what people liked or didn’t like, and the order in which they tackle the puzzle. All fascinating, together with the quirks of the community! I don’t know if DA himself comes lurking, but surely it would be fascinating feedback.

  50. Madness had a song “In The Middle Of The Night” about a 19A-er

  51. Thanks Geoff M. I discovered the free Guardian crosswords at about the same time. I googled ‘does an online Guardian subscription include crosswords?’ and the link to the free crosswords came up. Thought I’d struck Au.

  52. Thanks, Neanderthal. Excellent tips! I don’t mind the Sunday Age puzzle as well – again quite a different style. And there’s a puzzle in The Big Issue that I’ve only tried once, but was entertaining.

    It’s interesting to come back to a particular setter after a while. Sometimes they seem easier, which is possibly a good sign. A couple of times I found the Saturday Age trickier on return than the DA, but I’ve been singling DA out for special attention!

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