DA Confusion for the 4th of December, 2020

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

57 thoughts on “DA Confusion for the 4th of December, 2020

  1. All done.
    Still thinking about wordplay on 7d. I have an idea but it looks a touch clunky so I will look again with fresh eyes.

    FOI 12a
    LOI 7d


  2. Done and dusted. And yes Margaret, I must be on same thinking as you, as 7D is a bit clunky to me too. But, if you simply follow the cluing it does work.
    FOI 12A.
    LOI 13A

  3. Strangely enough 12a was my FOI too, from wordplay and confirming. Never heard of it.
    Agree about 7d. Some pretty good surfaces today. Liked 17a, 9a and 2d.
    Got misled by the ‘booze/r’ in 14d. My understanding of both was limited. And I initially misinterpreted the ‘AI’ element in the sans serif font, but I see there’s a difference. Think I might have a cornea flaw :-)

  4. Morning all.
    A straightforward DA, maybe he has a shocker in store for us.
    12a was my fifth, preceded by 23d, 1d, 22d, 17a.
    11a LOI.

  5. As a side issue I was wondering how many people here have been watching “Only Connect”? It is on SBS and you can see past episodes on YouTube or SBS on demand. It is, a tad, UK centric but it is a great exercise in knowledge and logic.

  6. A fairly typical DA today, with enough smiles and nothing too difficult. I read above that people found 7d “clunky”, but I haven’t clunked yet — I don’t get the wordplay. I wasted a bit of time researching Tommy Cooper and checking who was the ABC head (David Anderson). (Is the gist of 4d that heading the ABC is a bit of a sinecure, or am I missing something?) Mr Astle has introduced me to another Americanism in 13a.

    My first one in was 12a, but only because I’d read it was other people’s, so I went there first. There are quite a few easy starters today. My first five in were 12a, 23d, 25a, 19a, 20d (after I realised its fourth letter isn’t “a”).

    Now to the other puzzles, before I return to try to fathom 7d.

  7. All done. Easiest one in ages. 7D is a clumsy effort – far too messy a contrivance – lazy DA!

  8. GrahamM 4d . Def + charade for the 2 word answer. It didn’t hit me at first either. Simple eh?

  9. As above, 7d is my only problem. I think 2,3 and7 are worked with 5,6, but can’t get the reason for 1 and 4…am I on the right track?
    Feeling numb that the rest of it is fine by this time on a Friday; was DA feeling the season’s goodwill when he gave us this?

  10. Straight back, I have it ! I will miss returning to laptop through the morning to see what you clever people are saying to help the rest of us.

  11. Yes, it must be an easy one, I have found 12 at the top, FOI 9A, followed by 3D. Must leave it now and go to post some late Christmas mail.

  12. FOI 12a, so snap times 3. I had heard of it being the nerd I am. Other starters 13a,25a,3d,22d (for which I got the second letter wrong at first until I got 18d). LOI 4d (and yes Gayle it is simple).
    Favourite, only for its mention of a unique comedian, is 24a.
    All told, a bit of 1 down.

  13. Yes, thanks Gayle, 4d is not as devious as I was trying to make it.

    Still no joy with 7d, and my brain’s starting to hurt, so I’ll come back here in the fullness of time.

  14. Haha, yes Margaret.
    Graham M, I also was over thinking 4d hence my LOI. Also re 13a, it’s not listed as an Americanism in Chambers, but it’s not a word you hear very often.

  15. Oxford says it’s American. I’d never heard of it, but I lead a sheltered life.

  16. Must be an easy one today! Very, very, very rarely manage to complete DA’s puzzles but I did today and without cheating! I’m chuffed!!

  17. Thank you DA for today’s ID. For Coke, how’s this for 7D: Unflappable detailed light stirred eye specialist.

  18. Mike – I think I get your clue (with it involving “stoic”), and if so, not sure it quite works.
    If I have wrong, I apologise.

  19. And I am no crossword setter, but would this work?
    7D – Eye specialist using both eyes to remove brain first (7)

  20. I think you’re all being too hard on 7D. The surface is so good, you just have to cope with a little extra intricacy in the wordplay.

  21. Yes, despite my initial befuddlement, I agree that 7d’s surface is clever.

  22. Agree Ian F, the surface and intricacy are worth it. But there are ‘rules of engagement’ that if the def is obscure(-ish) the wordplay should be not so, or vice versa.
    I googled your suggestion DA Junkie and even with double duty happening, Onelook didn’t have that word (or the one I think you were thinking of). I might not be seeing what you’re seeing :-)

    All meant in good fun. DA’s site https://davidastle.com/ has opportunities for ‘lay’ setting. He chimes in too. Just went over there to see what was happening. 30 November WOW (Word of the Week) BALKANISE. LOL at some of the contributions.

  23. Glad you brought that up Helen and GrahamM. I checked the dictionaries and DA’s not wrong (of course) but I don’t think of that sort of ‘booze’ and ‘boozer’.

  24. It’s odd that no-one else commented on the non-word at 16D. Does DA make these words up?

  25. Google the word. It, certainly, isn’t something DA made up. It is a variation on “whitewash”.

  26. Several references to “surface” in the comments. Does this term have a special meaning in relation to crosswords?

  27. Brian, I guess it’s just its usual meaning of “uppermost layer”. It’s how a normal person (we cryptic cruciverbalists being anything but!) would read the clue without delving into the murky depths of the wordplay!

    On a different matter, I take issue with the definition in 24a in today’s (Saturday’s) cryptic.

  28. @ Brian, the surface reading is the standalone story, the image conjured by the clue itself, before the solver breaks it down in to the wordplay where often the words on the surface have a different form or meaning or function.

    Ian F mentioned the surface in 7d where you get a mental picture of the eye specialist excising the cornea flaw. In this case, the surface is very close to the answer, and a nice touch.

    In most clues the surface reading has little to do with the answer, eg: Offend the vainer WAGS.
    I imagined someone having a go at the vainer wives and girlfriends of the team at a cricket match ….. which has nothing to do with the answer HIT A NERVE. ‘the vainer’ is simply anagram fodder and WAGS’ a deliberate (with the capitalisation) misdirection and simply an anagram indicator.

    Some setters specialise in ‘good surfaces’, eg DS on a Saturday. Others don’t care as much. Same goes for solvers. I love a good surface that distracts me or makes me laugh.

    Hope that’s not TMI.

  29. Graham M said it much more succinctly. Hadn’t seen his post … taking too long to reply :-)

  30. @Graham M re 24a in DS, I thought so too but online dictionaries give climax as a second definition.
    How about: Almost sickle-shaped hairstyle coming to a peak? which kind of conveys both senses of the definition?

  31. For the 2 definitions questioned, Chambers has:

    DA 16d… n (facetious) a specious overlay, or ineffectual display, of concern for the environment (also vt).

    DS 24a… (music) adj and adv gradually increasing in loudness. n and increase of loudness; a passage of increasing loudness; a high point, a climax (fig).

  32. Yes, I guess having been raised on a strict diet of AMEB exams, I am a stickler for the “gradual increase”, but there does seem to be an accepted second meaning. I stand corrected. (Interestingly, when I ask Google Translate to convert it from Italian it says “growing up”!)

    I thought about admonishing you Gayle, for revealing an answer so early on Saturday, but for the sake of tripper harmony decided against it! Much better that you admonish yourself …

  33. Difficult but do-able. Got most of it at 3rd sitting with a bit of time available after almost nothing at the Fri breakfast and evening skim throughs. More anagrams than usual I guess is why many found it simple.

  34. All done I had 2 to finish when I visited Trippers Then the lightbulb moment when 11A and 1D fell into place.
    I like anagrams so was easier for me than usual. FOI 25A Loi 1D
    Still trying to figure wordplay for 1D I’d have thought snack instead of snap ?
    Still thinking about 7D and don’t get the connection for letters 2-6 in 18D with 22D
    Any thoughts welcome

  35. Ian, if you add “er” to 22d, it should make sense.

    The help I got from DAJunkie this morning at 8:22 solved 7d for me.

    1d, no, definitely “snap”.

  36. Thanks GrahamM 22downer is quite subtle
    and I need to go back to DAJunkie
    Cheers again for your insights

  37. Thanks Gayle I went to zin-zanxword solver a site Margaret mentioned eons ago then had a further look and now get it. Also looked at your post and confirms my construction.
    I found a new synonym for snap online after GrahamM affirmed snap. I never fail to learn something new each day !!

  38. I know it’s very late but could I have a gentle hint for 10A? Perhaps which word is the definition. At wit’s end.

  39. How dare I offer…It is usually my questions need answering!
    Carol, 10A definition is the first word of the clue.
    When something is “very” anything, we tend to say it is …letters 1 and 2 something. The rest of the answer is the word used for the block of peat or other material to start and maintain a fire .
    In my earlier days, I used something called lucifers to start a BBQ, and took a little while to stop looking at “nickname”, and get on with the answer.

  40. Thank you happy chappy. I made the same wrong turn!

    To be honest, the answer is a word I have heard of but I never really knew the meaning. If pushed I’d have said it meant a pithy saying or something like that. Live and learn!

  41. p.s.
    I was also distracted by DA using the bloody awful BBQ contraction. Why didn’t he use the perfectly serviceable ‘barbecue’??
    I kept thinking he would have only used it if it was necessary, but with those letters it was unlike to be anagrist…
    Anyway, as usual I come staggering across the finishing line long after everyone else has gone home. :)

  42. Carol, be happy that you have crossed the finishing line, whether staggering or not. I know several people who will not attempt the DA, even though I rabbit on about the help the DA Trippers give, and the feeling of willing support they provide. Pat yourself on the back!

  43. Thanks HC. I too have a few friends who won’t touch a DA. I used to struggle with him occasionally, but until I found this support group I mainly left him alone. Now DA is pretty much the only one I do!

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