DA Confusion for the 19th of June, 2020

Have your confusions sorted out for this week’s footy-ready DA!

65 thoughts on “DA Confusion for the 19th of June, 2020

  1. Good morning all,
    Finished and all understood.
    Got theme early, but still had to check a couple online.
    FOIs 19a, 19d, 11a, 16a and 9a, these led me into getting 6d and 7d and the RHS.
    I liked 18a.
    Happy solving.

  2. Well I got AndyW’s first ones in (minus 19D) , plus 18A, and 23A. Think I have 5/17, by definition, a couple of crossers, and letter count, although can’t parse it. Have come to a halt. Determined not to cheat. Have to go to work now. Back later.

  3. I have a sneaking suspicion today’s is going to be full of people I’ve never heard of. Till next week …

  4. Geoff, I think that you are right. There were three total strangers to me in there.

  5. Did not like this one much, some googling required. Never heard of half the themed answers. Took nearly double normal time.

    FOI 23A , 20A, LOI 18A, 14A. Other good starters might be 11A (especially!), 19A, 9A, 19D.

  6. Well, after much looking, just two answers, 23FOI, then 19A. Not looking good, in view of comments above.

  7. Too much googling of anagrams to names one has never heard of to be a good cryptic xword imo

    Easily solvable, but without much joy of achievement

  8. First ones 9A,16A,19A,20A,22A then I came to a bit of a halt. Then got 6D and 5D/17D which gave me a boost. LOI 12A as I’d misspelled 2D.

    I must be unusual so far in finding all the themed answers pretty well known.

    I reckon there are 2 valid solutions to 13A.

  9. All out, hooray, in double the usual time. What a lovely stinker. Lots of misdirection. Feels like a day’s work already

  10. Having unashamedly cheated to find some of the themed characters, I can only describe this is a pack of rubbish. Of the four themed answers I have found (by cheating) I had heard of none of them. A shocking waste of time, in my opinion.

  11. Arthur (et al),
    like any themed puzzle, some will love it (and maybe find it too easy) and some will find it a grind.
    Interestingly, there is recent discussion that the NY Times puzzle may be biased toward middle-class white males. Certainly you’d say The Times cryptic was along that line as well. So themes of opera and classic composers and poets are very erudite but alienate many potential solvers.
    I think DA today had a few contemporary answers with some classics. You can’t blame him for giving everyone a go ! He always has a wide range of vocabulary. That’s what you sign for when starting a DA.
    I’d read only three relevant books but I knew of the others.
    Possibly the next themed puzzle will fall into your lap.

  12. GeoffD Work on 5,17D! It’s an anagram including the “idle wings”. I wish I had found that instead of getting 2D early and assuming it was yet another load of Harry Pottie stuff.

    Neandertahl: I take your points but the underlying issue is the fragmentation of “knowledge” where my son would know more characters from on-line games…. The crossowrd market has been segmented for decades – in England the tabloids would have answers from Crossroads and later East Enders…. I would hate to see much more of DA driven by Twitter etc where you don’t have to know anything about a topic to know it is in/hot/fassish/cool….

    For myself I was misled by the “Starling” in 5D (who she?) and was looking forwards to David’s clue, say, for Turdus merula.

  13. I must stick up for DA here. Yes, this week’s puzzle was a challenge, but the clues were fair and anagrams well marked. My approach to difficult clues is to identify the weakest part and attack that. (Although it doesn’t always work). Take for example 5,17 down – a good place to start. Why Starling? It hasn’t got an obvious synonym and probably not part of an anagram, so why has DA chosen this particular bird? Maybe this is a misdirection, so off to the Internet to find out if there are other meanings. I confess to using the Internet as an assistant and why not? And yes, it is a misdirection and I was taken to an area which w as unfamiliar, but I had a direction in which to head. some themed answers were new to me but all good examples of their ilk. I encourage everyone to keep trying. My favourites were 12a, 20a and 4d.

  14. DA could never be accused of being biased in any direction. He is most catholic in his clueing, and his range of knowledge never ceases to amaze me.

    My first look at 5,17 today led me to seek out that particular character; from there, the themed answers were quite straight forward, as I am very familiar with all of them.

    Thanks DA for your continued provision of puzzling enjoyment.

  15. Well, I had 6-8 of 8A, from the last word of the clue and 3,4D. I thought it could be a name, and then a possible solution jumped out once I ‘saw’ the surname. I reversed engineered the wordplay and could see it was correct, which then helped me get 5/17 as had most of the crossers and could see it was anagram-ish. Got 6D from there, as the crossers and anagram fodder made it straightforward, but I have no other themed answers yet. I’m not sure that’s the way it was supposed to work, and only have about half out. I think it will be a slog.
    Given the discussion generated above, I think that makes it a good theme!

  16. I’m all out. Got the theme from earlier hints today, but got a bit misdirected thinking of highbrow examples. All fair, though.

    Bit puzzled by the first letter of 3d – can’t see that “fringe”.

    Also, can’t parse fully 22A. Thought 7d was good.

    Tim C: if you check in later, what was your second answer for 13A?

  17. Still going, xmgjim, but can help with 3d. 1-2 is an exclamation; the fringes are for 3-4 and 5-6.

  18. No fringes need for first 2 letters. They are given by the expression ‘boy’

    22A is an anagram of ‘deadline’ with the middle letters removed.

  19. xmgjim, 22D fails is anagrind. Anagrist is ‘deadline’ (with the heart dwindled).

    For 13A, I reckon ‘L’ as letter 2 works as well.

  20. Tks all. As usual, obvious when it’s pointed out. Misled by fringe of boy!

    Yes, TimC: that could work. In fact, you’d have the essayist in full and “skimmed” through, like stones on water. Very good.

    I got the second part of 2D because I recall DA using those novels before.

  21. Neanderthal (1343). I guess i deserve the rebuke, but I was shattered that I had never heard of most of those items. More disappointed, I suppose than annoyed. At 90, I read very little, never see a movie, so a lot of themes right outside my knowledge bank. Ah well, will try again next week, I got most of last weeks puzzle done.

  22. xmgjim, it still works with the essayist skimmed as the two different letters still give ‘ads’ at 1,2,6-8.

    I’m not the most well read person either ArthurC, but I’d heard of all of the themed ones so I was surprised at the comments this week. I guess it helped having younger children a decade or so ago to get 2D. 6D would be my favourite. Well worth a read. A famous opening line and the language is sublime.

  23. Oh and nice use of the word ‘catholic’ Jack @4:13 in its less common sense. DA is certainly eclectic.

  24. Interesting to read that some others found today’s … shall we say … unsatisfying. I’m not particularly into classic literature, and I sensed that I was going to find this puzzle overly difficult and not particularly rewarding. I persisted till I’d completed about half, then looked up the solutions, and was glad I hadn’t tried to finish it.

    I find that I’m overwhelmed by about one in ten of DA’s “themed” cryptics. C’est la vie. I don’t intend to seethe or think any less of our dear Mr Astle. I’m sure there are plenty of people who would have been in their element and thoroughly enjoyed solving today’s. Just not this little black duck.

  25. At the risk of revealing too much Geoff M, I wouldn’t lump “Starling”, 1D, 2D or 7D in the basket of ‘classic literature’.
    I’ve posted in DA Reports (spoiler alert) to try and see who is unfamiliar with some of today’s thematic answers as I’m intrigued.

  26. Tks Tim C:

    6D: Agreed. That novel has a really memorable opening sentence. Worth doing the exercise as to what the money mentioned there might now be worth, as an indication of how fabulously wealthy the suitor was.

    13A: absolutely works with both letters.

    I’d say 6D, 8A, 15D are the only “classics”

  27. I liked today’s though it was tougher than usual. I’m surprised he chose ‘Starling perhap’s’ as the pivotal definition. It’s fair, but the first word of the solution is not the usual association.

  28. Finally done. I was on the right track with Starling so it helped with the anagram. I knew 4 of the 5 from the theme but I didn’t 7d know and had the wrong words in the anagram for quite a while.

    This one was tough for me, although I did have a few d’oh moments when I got some of the answers.

    I didn’t mind it but I didn’t feel bad confirming some of the spelling.

  29. To be fair, once again, to DA, it was not he who introduced the word ‘classic’ into the discussion; classics some of the entries are certainly not. DA’s term is simply 5,17, and all of that all six certainly are.

  30. Terrific crossword! All done in around 2.5 hours while having dinner, downing some problematic beers and watching the Pamfers notch up a W. I’d heard of all the themed answers and knew who Starling was (I thought it might be famous cops). Three of of the six are from high brow classics and the other three from bestselling series that have turned into humongous film franchises. If you haven’t heard of them you need to get out more.

    I’m normally bearish on DA’s themes, especially elisions (like CC from a fortnight ago) but I enjoy this type, particularly when there are only a handful of themed answers (too many and it devolves to an exercise in backsolving).

  31. I ground my way through most of this, and I resorted to Google to nail a few which I normally avoid.
    Haven’t got 15d, 22a (I’ve got a starter for 22 but can’t parse it), help please.
    3D first letter – I saw the explanation above but feel swapping in a word like that could be indicated somehow b

  32. Maybe I do need to “get out more”, Patrick. And maybe I have a different range of interests.

  33. Geoff M: :D

    Meanwhile I find myself, as usual, struggling with one that no one else has mentioned except to say it was a FOI. Determined to solve it myself so I shall continue to gnaw away at it without asking for help.

  34. Didn’t start till about 6PM last night, gave up at about 11PM, with most of the right half done. Grabbed Spectrum at 6AM this morning, looked at the answers and thought “I wonder what the DA Trippers and Arthur thought of this?”

    I’ve not seen a “Trippers” page with so much philosophizing

    I’m an old spaghetti code programmer and have built a search engine based on Unix that that uses pattern matching to examine, among many dictionaries, dictionaries of Given Names and Family Names. This came up with “no hits” for a lot of these – I guess they were made-up names. Someone needs to write a dictionary of fictional fictional names!

    Keep warm down there Arthur. Good luck with Geelong – at least they’re in the 8. I went to school with Wayne Closter, played in his team.


  35. The only themed answer I’d heard of was 8A. Perhaps like Geoff M I have a different range of interests. Glad I didn’t waste too much time on this.

  36. Got 15d straight away after coming home.
    I’ll check for replies for 22a which still eludes me with a new last letter

  37. Phil,
    22a is probably the obscurest answer in the grid. Suffice to say that word 1 is the definition and the wordplay involves a ‘fail’ after something dwindles.

  38. I had to translate a few passages of 22A in school, a thousand years ago.
    For me, the obscure one was 11A. Never heard of the blasted thing!

  39. I found this one the toughest for a while but still very enjoyable. Misdirected myself More than once, but after putting the puzzle down a few times and coming back to it later, it all eventually fell into place. Very satisfying and I give DA a big tick.

  40. Not my reading genre, pure and simple. It wouldn’t matter if I got out more or stayed in. When I saw all the long answers related to the theme with the unforgiving grid, I knew I wouldn’t last long. Any crossword that’s going to need extensive Googling is an automatic turn-off for me. A crossword like this confirms a long-held belief that DA belongs on Sunday where solvers have a week to sort things out. Many of my crossword friends do the rest of the crosswords but don’t bother with DA. Maybe the extra time would be helpful.

  41. DA crosswords are a bit of an acquired taste, for sure. I have a friend who refuses point-blank to do them. They scared me for a long time, but with the help of this forum, I came to like them, to the point where I now find the other setters a bit dull sometimes.

  42. Some friends of mine often say, “I do the Herald/Age cryptic every day of the week except Friday.”
    My usual response is “That’s funny! I do that cryptic every day of the week except Saturday to Thursday.”

  43. I do the cryptics every day, but find some through the week quite unchallenging and unrewarding. Such as when nearly every clue is a poorly contrived anagram along the lines of “Dog confuses Adam Antil (9)”. (I made that one up!) DA’s are usually the most challenging and the most rewarding. Saturday’s are a close second.

  44. I’m with you Jack. I only do Fridays.
    CrOZworld keeps be busy for the rest of the week.

  45. Like Geoffl started late fri pm finally finished Loi 1D like many contributors had to google heroines to get answers and unlike a lot of trippers never find DA easy it’s always interesting and educational.
    My difficulty rating of the weeks Xwords is
    DA one. Sat two Mon to Thurs follow

  46. Can someone please help me parse 13A? No idea what’s going on in this clue

  47. 13a …

    The “essayist skimmed” gives 3-5, and “ads ” gives 1,2,6,7,8.

  48. Thank you? 18A I also cannot parse, could you help please.

    Loved the theme, all except 15D were known and loved by me

  49. Alright I give up. If anyone is still about, can they please tell me which word is the definition for 23a?

  50. I’m still here, Carol, despite my vowing to take my bat and ball on Friday!

    The first word in 23a is the definition. “Fail” is an anagrind. Take two letters from the heart of deadline and stir well.


  51. Oops, sorry, need to get my eyes tested!

    In 23a, the definition is the last word. “New” gives letter 1, “riders missing start” gives the rest.

  52. I find the Saturday xword by DS the most challenging and fulfilling, but I enjoy the different levels of the other days , its supposed to more difficult through the week, Sunday is a lot different. Every setter has their style and you get acquainted with it. Saturdays still leaves me with the same good challenge week after week, whereas DA on Friday can be ‘all over’, sometimes a contrived theme, others requiring lots of actual factual knowledge and more extended vocabulary. It should be difficult , yet solvable from anywhere in the English world you are.
    Last week for example DA’s cryptic was like quick for many clues, in that you needed to know just the definitions, and his quick had a number of cryptic type clues.
    I think the fanaticism about DA is related to its obscurity linking themes to knowledge, but to me it doesn’t test your ability to decode or decipher.
    And there are a number of people on here openly solving it with google for definitions or synonyms, which shouldn’t be a pre requisite
    Sorry if it sounds ‘rantish’.

  53. I don’t know where to post this, but I just wanted to have a whinge about today’s DH (23 June 2020). The anagram clues were contrived to the point of absurdity. This is just a sample:

    “Normal sight has cousin Bolivar in trouble” (9, 6)
    “Ivan duller doctor! And without peer!” (10)
    “Ailsa love Lt. Strange producing smelling salts?” (3,8) – the fodder is not even grammatical
    “Demi is not at work? Deep reflections?” (11)
    “Pat Hahn changed the coal tar distillate?” (7) – Pat Hahn?????
    “Pam’s bits arranged for religious procedures” (8)
    “Rita tiring badly? That’s troublesome”
    “Spiritual lassitude sees Tino and Ian in trouble” (9)

    LR yesterday was excellent.

  54. Wally, I doubt whether anyone is still reading this page this late in the week. (I don’t know why I am — perhaps Patrick was right!) I expressed the same sentiment a few comments ago. Why don’t you write a letter to the Herald/Age?

    Then again, who knows? This type of crossword may appeal to people just starting out in cryptics.

  55. GeoffM et al,

    No, this poor-quality stuff appeals to most of the regular SMH/Age solvers. I say “appeals”, but really it’s just what’s become standard cryptic fare, and for most, the only cryptic crossword they solve. Many more people do Sat-Thu than Fri, simply because they can solve them. I see comments around the web about these crosswords being the only good thing in the paper and prominent people happily endorsing the crosswords in general. It’s not a coincidence that the new owners (Nine) recently added an online crossword app and updated their Android app to include all the crosswords, clearly demonstrating their belief in the value of all of the crosswords (as they stand) to the paper/news product. DH, DP and NS have been writing the same stuff for 20 years – I don’t think they are going to change – and frankly, why should they?

  56. PeterW,
    they don’t have to change. They just have to be replaced (including RM). Or at least put into a rotation with other setters who might actually give a toss about what they produce.
    Why have only six setters ? Why not have 10-12 doing Monday to Thursday ? DA and DS can remain. It’d only improve the standard of all concerned.
    It’s the evident laziness that’s most annoying.

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