DA Confusion for the 8th of May, 2020

Have your confusions sorted out for this week’s lockdown DA.

83 thoughts on “DA Confusion for the 8th of May, 2020

  1. Awake very early today.
    Enjoyed the puzzle today, started with 5d, 3d, 2d and 4d which lead me to 10a and then 9a. It took me a while before I realised the first shaded square of 10a, actually belongs to 1d not 10a.
    Liked 11a and 1a.
    LOI 23a

  2. Hi Andy W. How did you find the grid? I had to go to the Replica to get the shaded version and print out. The online version says go to http://www.u.nu/da85 to get the shaded version. No idea what that is.
    Now for the crossie.


    I didn’t put the http:// part in, just what followed. And when it came up as a hyperlink above I clicked on it and I got a message from my protection program which said website blocked, phishing.

  4. Well, going fine so far. 4D FOI made 9A leap out. Have only eleven so far, but looks promising.

  5. Hi Gayle,
    I print it from the version of Today’s Paper via the website. Never have an issue, but when I try from the App, I have issues.

  6. I used the URL link they gave with the App and got a https locked page. I use the the Age app on my iPad.

    All done. I quite liked the theme today.
    FOI 15d, LOI 23a
    I liked 5d, 11a and the theme.

  7. The link worked fine for me. I’ve only 6 answers so far but they include 9a and 5a which has the theme ‘cracked’ at least. Will get back into it after work.

  8. Actually a few more falling out now that I have the theme. LOL’d at 11A

  9. Gosh, all you early risers! I’m old-fashioned and wait for the thunk on my front lawn around 6 or 7 am. I suppose I could do it online, but I kind of enjoy getting a black little finger on my right hand …

    AndyW alluded to the fact that the first letter of 10a should be regarded as unshaded. Same applies to the fourth letter of 19a.

    An enjoyable puzzle today. My first one in was 27a, other easy starters include 3d, 13a (clever), 15d.

  10. You’re lucky Geoff. I really miss the thunk on the front lawn. They don’t deliver here any more.
    Will have to come back to the crossword later. Missing all the fun too.

  11. Early doors for me, no theme yet. Q: should 20D have two more squares shaded?

  12. After we got the Age App we gave up on getting the paper delivered because we felt it was not optimum from an environmental perspective. It was always wrapped in plastic and we had a stack of newspapers to dispose of.

    With the App, I can:
    – download the crossword just after midnight so I can have a look at it before going to bed, it helps my brain to percolate a few clues for the morning.
    – download my daily crossword even when I’m overseas (will be interesting when that will occur again).
    – It archives downloaded crosswords so I’ve got a backlog to pull out if I get stuck waiting somewhere e.g. on a plane.
    -I don’t need a pen.
    – It gives me a “completed” message when I’ve finished it correctly.

    Overall the iPad is just a much more convenient.

    However, I much prefer to read paper books than on the iPad.

  13. Goodness, my thunk seems to have started a conversation …

    I concur with all your points, Margaret. But one reason I prefer doing them on paper is that I can use any and all the blank bits, such as the margins, as “work space”. I always take a thick wad of pre-printed puzzles from the Guardian when I travel abroad. I can’t print puzzles from my tablet and it can be a hassle finding out whether the hotel has a desktop and printer that I can use.

    Also, I find that I can’t trust myself when solutions are just a click (or tap) away!

    Writing is a dying art. I’m rapt when I receive a communication from someone with a beautiful, calligraphic style, and horrified when I see in news bulletins kids holding pens like you’d hold a mallet.

  14. Absolutely no idea what the shaded squares do but finished the puzzle anyway. 🤷‍♀️

  15. 17 minutes in (thank you, online version timer, I don’t feel any pressure from you at all) and I’ve finally twigged to the theme. Most of the top half falling into place now, and enjoying it as I go.

    I also miss the thunk of the paper outside, but it’s not really practical now that I’m in an apartment building and I do agree with Margaret about the environmental impact. I got used to doing the crossword electronically while I lived overseas (I got pretty good at whipping up the grids in Word, except for when DP or DH used one of their unconvential grid layouts), but like Geoff M, I find that it’s never quite as satisfying as finishing in the paper, the solved puzzle surrounded by all the scribbled workings out of anagrams, half-solved wordplays, and “aha!” moments. Since lockdown, I admit I’ve occasionally arranged for the weekly shopping trip to fall on a Friday so that I can add the paper.

  16. Can anyone help with parsing 19A please? The app says I have the right answer so my problem is only with letters 4-6

    I am not as cultured as Henson so did not LOL at 11A. I was however pleased that Google showed my guess was correct.

  17. Share your confusion with 19a, but I don’t understand 14a either. Any clues yet?

  18. For 19A, 4-6 is part of a 5-letter word meaning “spies”, while 1-3 are from the theme (the shading in letter 4 is only part of 20D).
    For 14A, think of golf.

  19. AG & Ben …

    For 19a, think of a five-letter word for “spies”. After its first two letters (that mean a “second”) are 1d, you end up with the required three letters.

    For 14a, think of a successful putting in golf. “Parrot” is a homophone indicator.

  20. Further to ADB’s hints: letters 4-6 of 19a are the final three letters of the 5-letter word for “spies” (think “undercover agents”, rather than organisations), the first two letters having been 1d.
    And for 14a, ‘parrot’ is a homophone indicator.

    Erica, if you take the letters in the shaded blocks (excluding the first letter of 10a and the fourth of 19a, as AndyW and Geoff M pointed out above) and ‘first-word-of-9a’ each one, the theme should become emerge.

  21. I have a bad feeling I’ve made a mistake on 12dn…can anyone confirm if the definition is first two words?

  22. Geoff M,
    I do, usually, have scraps of paper and a pen for “working out”. I don’t need to print out the puzzle, I fill it in on the iPad app. I used to carry spare crosswords when I travelled but they tended to get crinkled and smudged. Come to the dark side, Luke. Actually, whatever works best for you, but I couldn’t go back to the paper version again.

  23. Ben, you shouldn’t be tense about 19a: “spies” is a noun in this case.

  24. First ones 1A, 10A, 13A, 3D. Last one 19A and didn’t get the wordplay till I came on here so thanks ADB, Geoff M and Luke. Favourites 11A and 22A. Nice one today that didn’t 3D me.

  25. Although I understand what I need to do with the shaded squares and have got most of the answers, I don’t understand the connection to 9A (which I have got). Totally confused by Luke’s answer to Erica at 12.30 pm.

  26. Thanks from me too for the gen on 19A, which was also my last in. It’s fair enough, but I don’t feel embarrassed to have missed it!

  27. Does the online app work on Android or only on iPad? I cancelled a previous subscription because I couldn’t do the Crossword. Any advice?

  28. alaric, it’s hard to make it much clearer without spoilers for late starters. The third word of 9A is a class into which all the shaded letter groups fall after being transformed. The first word of 9A is a typically creative DA metaphor for that transformation.

  29. Nice puzzle today, except for the anagrind for the theme (first word of 9A). It left me cold!

  30. Missing 5A and 11A. I’m sure it’ll be a face-palm moment when it comes. Meanwhile a gentle hint would be welcome. I’m assuming 5A def must be everything after ‘caught’, and 11A def must be 1st 2 words. First in 15D, 27A, 9A ,4D, 5D. No real favourites – quite liked the theme.

  31. Amazingly I have the theme for today! (almost never get them). But I’m not out of the woods yet. No idea for 5A and 19A, despite the hints above. Anything further?

  32. GeoffD 19A def is last word; themed letters are 1-3.
    Still no further with 5A and 11A :(

  33. sb,
    you are right. The 5a def is everything after caught. The aroma tends to be more evident on the weekend.
    11a – “Would you believe…..”, if I gave you a clue. You just need to “Get” the clue right.

  34. 5A, you’re most likely to notice the aroma on the weekend.
    11A, Smart is a bit of a misnomer.

  35. Oh. Doh. I get your get now Margaret. But it’s lost on me. I’ll have to do some searching.

  36. 11 shaded clues….I count 12
    Walnut cedar birch oak teak yew fir beech elm ash pine maple
    What subtlety/wordplay am I missing

  37. alaric, sorry about the confusing attempt at an explanation, it was the best I could come up with while trying to avoid spoilers, as Geoff M pointed out (except for the last “become emerge”, which was just bad editing: should have been “become apparent”). Hopefully his response has clarified things.

    FMc, the crosswords do now work on the Android app.

  38. Oof, bit early for that sort of reveal, isn’t it? As for the numbers, I think it’s just a misprint (or a miscount on DA’s part, he is more of a letters- than a numbers-man, after all ;) ).

  39. Yeh. A bit early to reveal the theme. This isn’t danword. Wouldn’t mind a hint for 24 down tho. Done and dusted then.

  40. It’s ok. 24 down just dawned on me. Too easy to overthink DA sometimes :)

  41. Thanks AG at 2.01 pm. Now that I understand the connection, got out nearly all of the few remaining unsolved ones.
    Luke, thanks also.

  42. In the print (SMH) version the instructions refer to 12 shaded blocks.

  43. Just settled to x word and all your wonderful helpful hints when I see a full list of answers🙁
    Please can we keep this a helpful hints site. We can get answers from the website

  44. I believe Margaret MacDonald is new to this site, and perhaps unaware of the “rules”. I’m sure she won’t do it again … right, Margaret?

  45. Hi all
    Got the theme before I solved 9a. It all then fell into place.
    Like SB: was stumped with a few; got 5a, but 11a still doesn’t make sense (the last part of the clue does).

    14a: struggled with it. Think it’s a bit of a stretch.

    26a: had a different item in letters 2-6, which fitted and solved the clue, but then 24d didn’t fit.

    Fair enough about observing the protocol, but lovely to see new names here and if it helps in these times with getting newbies into cryptics, what a benefit!

  46. Did anyone spot the 13th themed entry lurking in the grid (unshaded)?

    A little extra gift from DA…

  47. Still don’t get 9a across although I get the theme
    Hint please?
    Thank you

  48. xmgjim, re 11A “back to basics” gives you letter 4. 1-3 is themed.

    14A. “Catch on” is the definition. Parrot is a homonym indicator. Are you a golfer?

    26A… I think I know the word you are referring to, but as you say it doesn’t fit with the cross letters.

  49. SK…
    “Did anyone spot the 13th themed entry lurking in the grid (unshaded)?
    A little extra gift from DA…”

    Please enlighten us (tomorrow?)

  50. Small point. 4d refers to a group of islands, not just one. Otherwise some great clues.

  51. Guys, my partner Romy and I started cryptic crosswords a few weeks ago, we’ve been building up to doing a DA, this was our first shot and we completed the whole thing (over Zoom no less)!! This might be one of my proudest achievements. :) :) :) :) :) :)
    Fav clue: 5d. –– Least fav: 23a. –– Special mention: Romy 19a.
    Love you DA

  52. Tks Tim C

    Get 11A now;

    14A: no, not a golfer, but know enough now that last word is a homphone for sinking the putt!

    Glad you got the other for 26A.

    13th themed SK….? Looking, looking

  53. SK
    I can’t see your 13th, but I’m guessing it’s chopped up somewhere in 9A?

    But thankyou for the hunt, because i came up with another one, also unshaded. It’s a beauty, a pointer to the theme in plain sight!

    Oh, but now I’ve found your 13th! It wasn’t in 9a, although I wouldn’t be surprised if there is something in there as well. I’m thinking with your 13th and my 14th, that DA might be giving us older folks a nudge to keep on doing cryptics, sharpens the mind, so you can tell the wood from the trees. Even his instruction ‘shaded blocks’ is thematic, come to think of it, not coloured squares or anything else he could have said.

    Still looking at 9a, might find some delicacy buried there.

  54. Haha. Looking through the grid again after SK’s observation. Found a clue to the theme in 15 down.

  55. And whilst we re talking about “rules” for the site, I thought that the “DA Confusion” section was for people to ask for and provide help, not for grandstanding about your solving prowess and dropping spoilers. The other section, “DA Reports”, is where you can do this.

  56. Fair call Bob, and apologies for my 3 am insomniac ramblings, although we do tend to relax a little later in the day. I personally wasn’t happy about the reveal at 3 pm.

  57. Apologies if this is pushing the rules. I’m returning to these after about 10 years doing other stuff. Back then I could get most of them mostly done, though I don’t remember ever finishing one. Meantime it seems DA has been feeding his inner fiend and now I’m nowhere without help from all of you and I dips me lid to your collective genius. I shall loiter here and be inspired.

  58. Scratching D ha ha ha ha ha
    Amazing how you have to post to finally see the answer.
    Still stuck on those three though.

  59. Hello Archangel.

    6d is a five-letter word for “speed” missing its final letter.

    22a is a three-letter famous Fox, followed by “ultimately became”.

    24d has its definition “for one”. Think of it as “each”. Letters 2-4 are a genre of 22d.

  60. There is another hidden gem early in 1A, pointing to the origin of all themed entries perhaps?

  61. Middle Earth, I’m stumped about what you found towards the end of 25a.
    SK, Your origin is pointing westward?

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