DA Confusion for the 15th of January, 2021

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

98 thoughts on “DA Confusion for the 15th of January, 2021

  1. Morning All
    That took ages, misdirections galore. It didn’t help that I misspelt 2D – twice. Should have started in the NE corner. Suggest 6D, 6A, 8D and 15A as a scaffold. 18A had to be but I didn’t want to bung it in until I could parse it, and that came very late. My toehold for the theme was 4D.
    The SE was fun, after finally getting 20A. Great theme, and the laughs were worth the effort.


  2. Completely agree. Took a long time. Tough and all over the place.
    Most times I have ever had to back solve wordplay once guessed an answer – even though I have to do this often with DA.
    FOI was 6A.

  3. Yes, today’s crossie is a classic case of why cryptics are addictive. It’s pushing through the pain barrier with the endorphin rush at the end.
    I still have one to parse, but it’s a W word and don’t want to spoil too early.

  4. Abandoning ship today. Might be time to give up on DAs. After half an hour I only had seven, one of which was wrong, and after looking at the solution still couldn’t understand most. No idea what the W means. Over to the Guardian and Financial Times. Till next week …

  5. Late late start today, but found two easies when reading clues: 15A, 3D. Worried after reading earlier comments. DA’s easy ones I find difficult, if this is a hard one ….

  6. Well that was brutal! Took me more than double my usual time, not helped by misinterpreting what W was based on my FOI.

    FOI 14D, 6A, LOI 5D, 12A (which I did not know, had to look up). Still haven’t parsed 5D – it’s relation to 30A escapes me. Not sure there are many “good starters” today, maybe 28A, 24D, 27A, 15A, 8D.

    Graham M – I felt the same, but let’s not judge ourselves too harshly on one week’s struggle!

  7. AndrewT – 5D – first 3 words give 1,2,3. “30-acrosses” gives 4,5.

  8. Without giving away the W word please, can I have a a very gentle hint as to wordplay for 1A?
    I have the definition, and I believe the first 3 or 4 letters are ‘goof’, depending on what’s contracted.
    Am I on the right track? If hints aren’t possible without revealing the theme word, never mind, I’ll mull it over a bit longer.

  9. Struggled with this one. First ones 15A,27A,3D,6D,6A. My first themed clue was 20A which initially misled me about what the W was. LOI 10A. I worked out 12A from the wordplay before having to check the definition as I hadn’t heard of it.
    I think I can understand “sees mystery” in 1D but it seems a bit strained. Also “united” in 4D seems a bit superfluous but is necessary for a good surface.

    Favourite has to be 17D. Well I laughed.

  10. Go with 3 letters for a “contracted goof” Gayle and take “better” as a verb.

  11. Of course! Thanks DAJ and TimC for 1A. That was there somewhere in the depths of my mind. All the indicators are there, just had to get the grammar right.

    Agree with your comments on 1D, 4D and 17D TimC.

  12. Well that was a tricky one, both out after 2 hours. Thought the theme was clever, good one DA

  13. I’m surprised that no-one has pointed out that the clue for 1D should be 4-4 and not 4,4.

    Yes, I know that it’s a common mistake…

  14. Yes, it was fun. My fav 18A; FOI 6A, 6D, 15A; LOI 12A which stumps me still.

  15. SB – maybe this will help. 12A order of construction – 2,5,4,3,1,6,7

  16. Peter, re the 4-4 v 4,4. Isn’t 4-4 used on the front but 4,4 used inside? So either OK?

  17. Does 21D relate to the goddess who changed Icarus into a chattering partridge after his accident?

  18. I’ve been looking at this on and off all day and have just six non-themed answers, so I think I’ll join Graham and give up. Graham. you mentioned looking at the solution. Where can you do this?

  19. I think the best place to pick up the theme is 11A and 4D. At least, that is how I got onto it (after a couple of hours)

  20. I’ve been plodding for hours. I have answer to 5D, but need help with it. Haven’t got a clue (well I have been given the one we all have ), but 7D has been rattling me all day. Please help.

  21. hc, think of another word for apes and remove mates which gives 1-3 and “30 acrosses” gives 4,5. The question mark indicates that this is not necessarily made from glass but is commonly thought of as such. I’ve just noticed that the clue would be better with “apes'” rather than ape’s”

  22. For 7D “now and then, hammily” gives 5-7 and copied gives 1-4 taking into account the ‘retired’.

  23. GeoffD, the solution is available if you access the crossword through the online app.

  24. Tim C, thanks, I worked out the first 3 letters, but am blocking when it comes to the last 2 letters. I read DAJunkie’s reply and now yours, and I’m getting to the giggly stage because I know it will be so simple. This has been one of the hardest DA Fridays for me, and I truly admire those of you who could do it so quickly.

  25. hc – if you have 30A, then use letters 1 and 5, which are the the last 4 letters (s – plural) of the first 5 letters

  26. hc,
    5D have you got 30A? DAJunkie @9:48 gave the first 3 letters ( substract MATES from APES). Treat the last 2 letters as clued by 30A as if it’ s a cryptic clue, only it’s plural (30 acrosses). ie add an ‘s’ to the answer .

  27. OOOOH, DAJunkie, I’ll sleep on that! I have 30A, I have used letters 1 and 5 to finish the 5D answer, and I understand it . Now I am totally confused with your explanation that the letters 1 and 5 , which are the last 4 letters (s-plural ) of the first 5 letters . Thank you for responding, now I think I’ll take a nap and a couple of Bex! I think the giggles have overtaken any brain activity I might have had.

  28. And TimC has given 7D but I think it would have worked better as an across clue, unless you live in a 2 storey place and the bedrooms are upstairs, ie retired means went upstairs. That one gave me a lot of grief, also because I’d never heard of the director. Had to google a list.

  29. Thanks to you all again. Yes, I had to go fossicking for the 7D director. I’m going to print this page to keep for when I want to test myself for my skills at comprehension. Have a good week.

  30. I’d heard of 7D but if you’d asked me to name one of his works I would have been stumped. Having just searched, a lot of them are pretty well known.

  31. TimC @ 4.40 Yes re the apostrophe But as we know punctuation is often a misdirection. Best to ignore it. Maybe DA was trying to obscure what may have been one of the simplest parts of a clue he set today?!

  32. GeoffD, I see others have answered your question. I subscribe to the Herald, which allows me to look up their crossword solutions, but that other site also provides help with parsing — occasionally delayed a bit.

    I’m not usually a quitter, but I had an awful suspicion that the gain wasn’t going to be worth the pain today. I take my hat off to those who persevered. (For me today’s Goliath in the Financial Times had the right balance of challenge and reward.)

  33. Graham M, <>. When that happens to me I leave it till the next day. Sometimes in the morning they fall like dominoes!

  34. Well that was weird – the word ‘sympathy’ disappeared from inside the brackets.

  35. 8 words in, only, and I’m very much on Graham M’s page, but indulge me in a whinge: this one needs too much esoteric knowledge that I can keep to a rewardingly low number of ‘helps’. I call “Not fair!”
    Example, 12A (which I had to go to Danword for, cos having 3,5,7 didn’t provide a wordfinder match); who would know THAT!? (and it’s not even a type, it’s the personal name!)
    Example, 10A; I had the answer and could parse 4-9 but Google gave me nothing remotely W-ish when I entered “1,2,3” – I had to enter “1,2,3 ” to get the W type.
    I shudder to think how esoteric the other 11 Ws are…
    One other little beef: 11A – does anyone else call the item for 1,2,3,4-ing a “5,6,7”. Not me; it’s a “C _ _ _ _”. 5,6,7s are for wetness!
    And thank you, everyone, for the attempts to explain 5D (rivalling the SAUTERNES discussion!) but you’ve totally lost me. Doesn’t help that I haven’t got 30A (see above rant..😉)

  36. Edit:
    12A – …not even a [word] type, it’s the [word’s] personal name…
    10A – …I had to enter “1,2,3 [word] to get the W type…

  37. Hard going even though I got the theme fairly quickly.
    Can’t get 12A despite hints above. I have 1357 but it’s not in my Xword solver
    22D got the answer but not the wordplay.
    17D seems very tenuous, unless I have missed a joke.
    2D was witty.

  38. Like you Graham I’m not usually a quitter, but today’s may well be the first. I’ve got about half after hours of frustration and, despite what I’ve read here, have no idea about W. I could blame the fact that I was up most of the night but it’s more likely my senior brain I think. Too smart by half DA!

  39. Hi Johnno2

    Empathise. I got many because the cross-letters fit, but many – even the non-themed – are excessively contrived, imo.

    12A got me. Thought it was a spooky thing at first. When I got it, thought that the individual had to be everywhere. Got 1D then thought it had to be names of W. Got 4D and began to realise it was types of W.

    20A was the most amusing.

    Too much spouting etc

  40. robert. 17d is a huge joke. Split your answer into 2 words. Then look at the second word of the clue using the last 4 letters of the answer.

  41. My copy of the crossword lost the explanation line at the top – something about all Ws in the clues being the same word? Is that right? Would someone mind giving me the exact wording? Thank you.

  42. Thanks for all the advice about looking at the solutions. I subscribe to the Age but only ever do the crosswords with a pen and the paper. Never looked at the crosswords on-line so didn’t know the solutions were available. However I’ll take Carol’s advice and have another try tomorrow before looking at the answers.

  43. Hi Carol: the SMH has this: “W represents the same word in all 13 clues”.

    IMO, that is misleading. It’s types, names and features of Ws …. 1D may get you in

  44. Xmgjim – actually it’s types and names, no features – the one that looks like a feature is actually a type.

  45. Well morning has broken and I have the theme now but my goodness, this one is diabolical. I see why everyone is retro-fitting answers. For once I’m tempted to think the game is not worth the candle.

  46. Good on you, Carol. You have more staying power than I. I hope you’re having a whale of a time …

  47. Thanks Graham, I’m certainly learning a lot about a topic I never knew much about before…

  48. Thanks HandM- I got the joke, eventually!

    I agree with Johnno2’s beefs about 11A and 12A. 12A isn’t in Macquarie or Chambers – or Danword etc. I Googled it once I’d seen the answer at zinzan-xwd.livejournal.com/– surprised to find it is “famous” and Australian. I’ve lived in Oz for 35 years but never heard of it, nor 1A for that matter.

  49. If anyone is still there, could you please help me understand why 13A has a c instead of t

  50. Actually I have just realised that trash is the completely wrong answer for13 across but no idea about the correct answer.

  51. The last letter in trash is also wrong for 14D Netty. It’s not a common word for “ridicule”, but for “refuse” think of wheat.

  52. Netty, I too thought it was ‘trash’ at first.
    Richard – have lived in Oz for 60 years and have never heard of 12A either.
    17D – goodness gracious!

  53. I laughed as well melanie. I’ll get in hot water if I make any further observations.

  54. Had another look with fresh eyes this morning, but sadly less successfully than Carol. Got a few more answers but not much headway with the theme despite now knowing what W is. I’ve now looked at the answers and remain baffled by 10A and letter 4 of 1D. I’ve also never heard of 12A in 70 years. A lot of dodgy stuff this week I think.

  55. For 10A, Geoff, 1-3 is a W and 4-9 are “one” and half of “puzzle” ‘cracked’. I think letter 4 (say it out loud) in 1D comes from “mystery”, unless someone has a better explanation. My comment @ 10:37am yesterday was that I found it a bit strained.
    12A was also new to me despite having lived here for nearly 40 years, but I worked it out from the wordplay and then looked it up. I look on the odd new word as not necessarily a bad thing as one of the reasons I appreciate crosswords is the education they sometimes bring.

  56. Tim C, I took that fourth letter in 1D to be the algebraic unknown, as the letter before it in the alphabet often is.
    There was no way I could have worked out 12A’s wordplay – I’m afraid I just Googled famous Ws. And yes, finding out something new is always good. Knowledge is knowledge, even when acquired in a last desperate attempt to crack a DA!

  57. Carol, I hope you are not still “aflutter “with 17D…your “goodness gracious “gave me a smile.

  58. So you took letter 4 as the unknown, or mystery as well Carol. Good to know I’m not the only one.

  59. Ah, get the unknown algebraically. ‘sees’ as an indicator led me to think of the letter for the question Why? A bit like U for ‘you’.

  60. hc, I guess I’m an old-fashioned girl in some ways. (I concede it was clever, though!)

    Tim C, I still haven’t really parsed 1D to my satisfaction, but I’m moving on – most of the SW corner is still blank.

    Could someone please tell me if the first word of 22D is the definition?

  61. Lovely to hear there are some old-fashioned girls around. The first word of 22D is not the definition. It tells you to trim a four-letter word for carry, the 3 letters you have then “bag ” another 3 letter word for carry ( a bit of a slang word ) , which gives you W.

  62. From the Sunday solvers, can anyone help with the wordplay for 12A? We’ve heard of it (on the news every year, very famous), but have got absolutely nowhere with the wordplay.

  63. What a marathon for me even for a late starter FOI 8D
    Looked at Trippers Sat pm with 8 solved and no idea of theme. Discussion re 12A rang a bell and Google confirmed answer as type of W. Still have first word of 16D to crack.
    Enjoyed DA’s irreverent humour. 20A my favourite, have not worked out how 2nd letter of 18A is derived (2nd grade pork pie maybe ?)

  64. IanS, look at letters 2 & 3 of 18a together. I shan’t elucidate, lest the naughty words filter objects.

  65. Thanks GrahamM quite clever
    Soled 16D in the meantime another clever construction you’d expect nothing less of DA

  66. Probably the hardest DA I’ve ever got all the answers for, and I didn’t get all the wordplay. I attempt DA in little dribs and drabs, and coming back after a break definitely helps. I admire you people who can solve it in one session. (I only come here when I have finished or given up.) I’ve lived here for over 60 years, and I had never heard of 12A. I had the cross letters, interpreted “low” correctly and made a guess. The Internet confirmed it!

  67. Yes. Pretty tough, and I eventually looked at answers for 26d and 28a. Would have got 28a if I’d had first letter. Bit of googling for types of W, and was thrown as my first themed one was 20a. Was looking up all sorts of maps of the place for a bit, until I got 1,2,3 of 10a, which I’d heard of as a type of W. Still don’t get wordplay for 4D. Any explanations please??

  68. Hi Viv
    International as in TEST (cricket, Rugby League, Rugby Union) + the whale ie PILOT, gives original flyer, as in one who tests flies a plane. As TimC said above the ‘united’ is a bit superfluous but it adds to the surface in terms of sports and it just means add the next part of the clue, ie pilot.)

  69. @ Viv, I’m impressed you got 20a first as that was the only one that wasn’t a whale, but a homophone of whales. My favourite clue. That was one of my last. I could see how that would have thrown you off and looking at maps! Amazing how we all come to solve this from different entry points.

  70. 20A was my first ‘themed’ one and like Viv it sent me down a rabbit hole for a while looking at a map of Wales. It would have been my favourite as well if it hadn’t been for 17D.

  71. The really funny thing is that knob (at least according to Urban Dictionary) is a synonym of its reverse!!!
    Welsh is unusual …. 20A is pronounced with the Y=U and the U=Y.

  72. Franko, I looked up the herald from 8th …the definition is the name of the dramatist. Lifting the drink is the 3 letter word for the ocean, and reversing it. Lazily drained is removing the inner letters of lazily, and such hijinks means to move the letters in such..the answer is the dramatist. Good luck

  73. In defense of DA my friends and I have been following Migaloo for years. It is wonderful that so many more people have now heard of him. Look up son of Migaloo.

  74. Thanks hc, had sea backwards and ly, and such mixed, still didnt seem right, thats why I asked. Probably some Greek playwright, oh, well. Ta!

  75. My apologies Franko…Aeschylus. He was an ancient Greek tragedian, commonly regarded as the father of the genre. I was clueless until I consulted my battered crossword dictionary.

  76. Could somebody please explain to me how “a pork pie” becomes “abs” in 18A? Is it an obscure Australian expression?

  77. Not very obscure benadem, just crude and common.
    A + BS (abbreviation) in the vernacular.

  78. Thanks, Gayle. Took me a while to see the light even then! I won’t mention a certain Mr Trump, but assume BS is something he is renowned for. As a POM, I was well acquainted with the Cockney expression “telling porkies”, but the “bull….” abbreviation was new to me.

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