DA Confusion for the 12th of August, 2022

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

78 thoughts on “DA Confusion for the 12th of August, 2022

  1. Done and dusted.
    Learned several new words eg: in 24A/4A, 5D and 17D.
    And new meanings in 1D, 8D and 12A.
    “Worst” wordplay 10A/9D.
    “Best” wordplay 22A.
    Still working to fully understand wordplays of 18A/23D and 6D.

  2. Quite enjoyable today, with one or two curly ones. My first one in was 24a/4a, as it was pretty obvious from the definition, but the wordplay took me a while, with a very unfamiliar term. I learnt a new word for sex today. Sheesh, don’t we have enough euphemisims for it in the language? The “off” in 1d seems a little misleading and unnecessary. Not sure whether an anagrind is missing in 15a/21d. And yet another creative anagrind I’d never before seen in another clue. My favourite clue was 19a/25d. 29a & 30a are new to my lexicon, and I don’t get the wordplay for the latter (assuming I’ve got it right).

    On Wednesday, as a Herald subscriber, I got a survey/questionnaire that gauged people’s interest in potential new features for the website and papers. Did any of you get it? One interesting inclusion was whether people would like an easier DA cryptic. I’m not sure whether they meant in addition to the current one, or in lieu of. I hope it’s not the latter.

  3. Graham M,
    Sounds like we had very similar learnings today.
    Also agree re 1D. Word is not even needed IMO.
    Re 15D/21D, think it too has a “creative” anagrind as you describe.
    30A construct is 3,4,5,6 and 1,2. Does that help?

    And I have not received anything from SMH even though a subscriber.

  4. All done in about the usual time today.

    FOI 1D, 7D. LOI 6D, 5D (which was new to me). I knew 23D but not the 18A variety of it. And 13A has had the works of Tom Lehrer going through my head all morning!

  5. Interesting GrahamM. I got a SMH ”Editorial Poll” on Wednesday, but not a questionnaire as you describe about new features. Sounds like there might have been complaints about DA. That happened a few years ago when DA was on a Saturday, and resulted in him being moved to Friday.

    Don’t think they’re asking the right question. It’s not about ”ease” but a preference for a certain style. They should be asking if we would prefer more challenging and interesting Monday -Thursday crosswords. Even LR this week, who is closer to DA in style, and I was happy to see now has a regular Tuesday slot, was a little disappointing.

    I don’t know if people buy papers any more for the crosswords. They should bring back the “Prize”, maybe your choice of either hardcover dictionaries or an online subscription, or DA’s and other cryptic crossword books and resources, or a free subscription to SMH, whatever gets people in.

  6. Clark@11:00. I suppose it’s what first comes to mind. I took a while to twig to what was the def and what was the wordplay and was misdirected by the first two words. Had to get 19D first. I liked the surface reading, one of the better clues I thought.

  7. Thank you AndrewT for the Tom Lehrer earworm! I was familiar with many of his songs but didn’t know that one. Have been having fun u-tubing. The last 2 lines are a hoot:
    I’d rather marry a duck-billed platypus
    Than end up like old Oedipus Rex

  8. First run gave 16a,19a/25d,28a,1d,7d,15d/21d. LOI 24a/4a. A couple of dodgy anagrinds as mentioned earlier and the redundant “off” in 1d as well as the usual (lack of?) definition in 11a.
    Favourite was 8d for ‘congress’.

  9. Tim C,
    Yes agree – as per my comment above 8D was one of my learnings today.
    Not sure I understand your comment re 11A. To me it has both defn and wordplay.

  10. Just that “in Middle East” is not really a good definition of the answer. DA does it a fair bit with thinks like “in America” etc and I always find myself asking “what in America? Grass, shops, people, meals…..”

  11. Almost there – but I can’t work out 24A/4A. Where are the second and third letters clued??
    BTW I enjoy DA’s themed crossies and have fond memories of with yellow squares….

  12. Mike,
    24A/4A – letters 2,3,4,5 are clued as one group (not just 4 and 5)

  13. Thanks DA Junkie re 24/4A. I wish DA would mark clues where he is using words from our trans-Pacific cousins. 29A is another this week.

  14. Still going, with 18A/23D, 22A, 29A, and 19D to go. Gentle hints welcome.
    Re the survey – which I didn’t receive (as far as I know) – whatever it meant I’d hate to lose DA!!!

  15. SB, there is a movie in Australian cinemas at present with 29A in the title. The first letter of 29A is the last letter of 19D.

  16. Ah, yes ok I can see now how 22A works, at least first word. A bit slow going today

  17. I’m a long time subscriber but I didn’t get a poll. Maybe I said the wrong thing somewhere!!

  18. I certainly don’t see this DA effort through 15D/19D. At times, I was tempted to 1A it. I got 1D and 3D early, which made me pretty sure what 10A/9D would be, but the wordplay is so convoluted that it took some time to confirm it. That 3D, there are some good ones, e.g.13A and 8D. I don’t 12A to have seen that ‘flyer’ before, although I do like the earworm. In what context does the flyer exist?

  19. It’s to do with new books Jack and suggests a mixture of blurb and advertisement. It’s pretty obscure.

  20. Nearly all done. But still struggling with 12a, 18a/23d, 22a and 30a. Any hints welcomed.

  21. Thank you DAJ, Mike and Tim C for the flyer! NHO. Can stop googling birds now.

  22. Sandy Mc 12A. Tricky as there looks to be two homophone indicators.
    My take is first word is definition. (they) ‘sound’ (like). Homophone (on tape) ‘join’ as a noun, eg in sewing/clothing.

  23. 18a/23d. Definition is ‘green’ , ie a vegetable.
    ‘grass’ letters 1,2,8,9,10
    containing (integrally) IS + S(tar) CH at letters 3-7.
    Salt-free is instruction to delete the word for a sailor(salt/tar) from the word ”starch”.

  24. 18a/23d seems to be giving a bit of trouble, green is 1,2,8.9.10, is is is!! and 5,6,7 is starch without the salt (think sailor).
    22a, ruin is 1-3, liquor is 4-6 and buzz is 7-10
    30a, First two words are the definition, groupie in the wings is 1,2 and devoted lyrics is 3-6.
    Hope that helps Sandy

  25. Sandy Mc, 22A. I’m not financially literate but definition is first 2 words.
    Wordplay is a charade. Ruin 1-3, liquor 4-6, buzz 7-10.

  26. SandyMc, 30A. As Tim C says, first 2 words are definition, ignore the punctuation. The wings of ‘groupie’ are its outer two letters.

  27. “is is is” very good Tim C!
    Thanks for above contributions – explained a few missing word plays including 18a, 23d

  28. Despite the hints kindly given in this thread about the wordplay in 24/4A, I can’t work it out ( but the answer is obvious as soon as I saw the 2-2-2, 2-2-2). What am I missing?

  29. Lachlan – 24A/4A – the key is that “flyer” gives letters 2,3,4,5 (and 8,9,10,11).
    Does that help?

  30. Parsing for 6D anyone, please?
    GAYLE, perhaps I’m the only one, then, but I only buy Friday’s Age, specifically for the DA – though I do then ‘read’ it before settling in to the puzzle; he doesn’t QUITE justify the full $3.60 :-)
    I’m with the several of you about offing ‘off’ in 1D.
    TIM, I’m used to DA’s place clueing, a la 11A – my problem was the several ME possibilities in my having only 3 and 5, given my difficulty with 6D!
    JACK, kudos for your 6:01pm yesterday; possibly a record?
    JACK/TIM/GAYLE, what’s the flyer you’re talking about?
    Does anyone have 14D only as 7-11? Surely everyone likes to have it so the butter melts!
    Finally(!) who reckons we now know 5D exists only cos DA had to find something that fitted 1,3,5?!

  31. johnno2 –
    6D – “Cavalier” = anagrind. “intermittently frozen” = F,O,E. Plus “BY RULES” gives the fodder.
    Re “flyer” – see my entry just above.

  32. Thanks DA Junkie I was thinking along those lines and now see that word coming from a very obscure (to me at least) definition. So does the first and seventh letters come from the clue “old”? If so I haven’t seen that convention… I get the 6th and 12th.

  33. The off “off” in 1d was inserted, no doubt, to improve the surface. The kindest explanation I can come up with is that 1-4 might be “off-yellow”. But then the “y” serves the same function as the “off”. All this is unlikely. When it all boils down it’s just a less-than-perfect clue.

  34. A harsh but on point assessment by ZinZan (pussycat) of this week’s rubbish served up. I solved it, but it was neither interesting, absorbing nor enjoyable.

    Queue the diehard fan boys and girls being offended, but it’s true;-)
    I didn’t get the survey either, seems it’s only GrahamM , but I concur. Saturday is consistently a nice challenge, Sunday far too up and down. Some of the easier ones can have more thought put into our but on the other hand there should be the mix of difficulty to encourage and progress others through.
    And of course, maybe DA can get to play havoc with the rules and language for the benefit of the fans somewhere at the back of Good Weekend 😲😂

  35. DAJ – Thanks! D’oh!
    And I forgot there was a clue with ‘flyer’ in it (and I’d got it, being an old aviation industry type). I’d got its discussion caught up with the survey (‘flyer’?) and 8D (‘wings’) discussions, and references to birdgoogling
    GRAHAM – 1D: Well encapsulated!

  36. Perhaps if the Herald/Age were to ask DA to produce some more straightforward cryptics, he could begin by reducing his list of anagrinds from fifty down to four or five. “Squint”, indeed!

  37. Overall pretty reasonable for me, visited Trippers a couple of times during solving to get inspiration still digesting 24A/4A wordplay.
    FOI 11A LOI 22A
    Liked 16A , 19D & 20A
    Don’t have a problem with “off” in 1D, first section of answer is not a primary colour Thanks everyone

  38. Despite all the above I remain baffled by 24/4A, in terms of both definition and wordplay. Can anyone enlighten me please?

  39. GeoffD – 24A/4A – O BLAD I O BLAD A
    Defn – “60’s earworm”.
    Wordplay – “twice” O (“old”) BLAD (“flyer”) “pens” I (“single”) and A (“a”)

  40. I’m pretty sure I have 1A but can anyone parse it for me?

    I enjoyed this week’s, quibbles notwithstanding. About the right level of difficulty for me. I’m even getting better at spotting the out-there anagrinds!

  41. Double definition, Carol. The theatre is one in which surgery is carried out.

  42. Carol: ddefn – to go around, and something that might be done in an operating theatre.

  43. OPERATING theatre! Gah!

    Thank you.

    My two cents: I’d be disappointed to see public opinion force DA to make his crosswords easier.

  44. Thanks DAJunkie. I’d never have got this. Didn’t know what an earworm was (I’ve since looked it up) and even more obscure was “blad” for “flyer”.
    I didn’t like this puzzle much at all but don’t think they should be made easier. There’s always the option to simply not do one that doesn’t suit.
    I agree with Graham M regarding the obscure anagrinds

  45. I consider it sacrilegious to suggest that DA modify his creations in any way! Although sometimes totally flummoxed by particular clues, this is part of my continuing education as I transition towards my dotage. In any case, we have been on a long journey with DA by this stage, so we should be prepared for any type of trickery he is likely to turn to next.

  46. My three cents worth:
    I first was introduced to cryptic crosswords over 50 years ago – on the puzzle page in one of mum’s magazines I think.
    I was completely taken by the concept.
    Did them on and off. And about 20 or 30 years ago I started doing daily in the SMH.
    For the first umpteen years, I would simply jump over DA – I couldn’t get a one!!
    Then I stumbled onto this site.
    With some mainstays at the time like Rupert and I think even Gayle back then, they taught me how to get onto DA’s frequency.
    I still remember the feeling the first time I completed a DA. One of my personal best achievements / satisfaction after years of failure.
    I get that same challenge every Friday now and would hate to see it change.
    I am not a crossword designer in anyway so won’t debate some of the the technicalities others raise – and I have my issues with some of DA’s “tricks” – truncated words being my main one – but I still believe the lateral thinking skill he displays with words is sublime and I would not like it to change but rather keep evolving.

  47. DAJunkie – my thoughts exactly. He’s world class and even when he frustrates me I wouldn’t change a thing.

    Like you, I could hardly get a single clue and then one day I thought ‘There’s got to be a forum for this problem’. A quick Google found this site and I have never looked back.

  48. As I said yesterday, I’m not sure whether the survey was talking about an easier DA in addition to or in lieu of the regular one. I can’t imagine Mr Astle agreeing to dumbing down his crosswords without a fight. And despite the occasional whinges, I’m always in awe at some of the ways he often creates a totally misleading surface. 1a in this week’s is a good example.

    I also enjoy Saturday’s cryptic, but most of the others are usually pretty lightweight. I’m sure they’d be appreciated by people who are still cutting their teeth, such as DAJ thirty years ago!

    Should Mr Astle ever be hit by a bus, there are a host of really good free cryptics online from the Guardian and Financial Times, and there are excellent blogs like this one on Fifteen Squared. They have a regular clientele including some of the people on here. The difference is that you don’t go there unless you’ve finished and want solutions, a little like Zinzan’s site. But the Guardian has something similar to DA Trippers in the comments at the bottom of the crossword pages.

    I never cease to be amazed how many Aussies there are on the Fifteen Squared site. I’m on there too, but under a different name.

  49. I forgot to mention that the only drawback with doing British crosswords is that you have to acquaint yourself with a lot of Britishisms, including geographic names and intitailisms for various organisations etc. But you soon adapt!

  50. I don’t think having a following in Australia alone makes someone world-class. I’d expect to see crosswords published regularly in major UK publications at the very least.
    I find the discussion here interesting. Why would the question be asked? Clearly enough solvers have trouble solving DA. Solvers of the rest of the week’s crosswords have a right to ask for some consistency, rather than the current gulf in difficulty that divides DA and the rest. Those calling for no change should consider the majority who don’t attempt Friday’s crossword, but still pay for the newspaper through their subscription. I don’t think DA should change, but maybe he should be moved to his own spot as someone else suggested. That would bring in other compilers who hopefully would rejuvenate the current lot.

  51. Doug P
    Possibly we have different definitions of world-class. I don’t mean he has a global following; I just mean that I think his work is very high quality. If he were marooned on a desert island, writing his crosswords in the sand with a stick for only one other castaway to solve, I’d still say he was world-class.
    (Doesn’t mean he doesn’t annoy the hell out of me sometimes, though!)

  52. I approach DA the way I approach any other crossword, with a critical mind, so I do criticise some aspects of his setting fairly regularly (see above for this week’s crop). However, he has a unique style that I think outweighs the negatives that I find. I used to do the SMH every day, but sort of gave up a while back as most are not challenging enough for me (apart maybe from Liam Runnels and David Sutton). I usually do the Grauniad cryptic Mon-Sat and the Genius every month, the Speccie every week and Azed (an orthodox master very different to DA) on a Sunday. As Graham M mentions I’m also on the 25squared site with the same handle as on here. Only last month on there someone posted a link to one of DA’s articles on crosswords (this one https://www.smh.com.au/culture/books/boris-johnson-s-demise-proves-a-boon-for-the-puzzle-pages-20220718-p5b2i3.html ) which was well received. Contributors on there are from all over the place (the ‘English’ speaking diaspora) so he’s not just locally known.
    I’ve also joined MyCrossword recently and do a lot on there. Having just published my first crossword on there I can appreciate the craft and skill and how difficult it is to generate a good puzzle (and I copped some valid criticism on there for my first attempt). It’s easy to pick holes in a puzzle, but I can really appreciate how hard this stuff can be.
    Despite my frustrations at times, I hope they don’t change DA. Either don’t change or at least give him a special spot (Saturday prize? Weekly barred rather than blocked etc).

  53. Re SQUINT. DA does come up with some obscure anagram indicators, but verifiable.
    From Collins: adj, (informal), crooked or askew.
    We have to give him his due.

  54. Re DAJunkie’s experience
    I was introduced to cryptic s by my mother many decades ago by using my ability to solve anagrams by sight. Lindsay Brown was doyen of the day.
    I attempt the daily SMH cryptics and find DA the weekly challenge for the week.
    My performance improved noticeably after discovering Trippers and I appreciate the postings.
    I’ll vote for don’t change DA add another cryptic on Friday by all means
    I’ve been a subscriber to the SMH
    for years I don’t recall a survey but I may have missed the email in my collection.

  55. Great legacy IanS. Good on your Mum and DAJ’s.
    Is the ability to solve anagrams by sight a blessing or a curse, for you and/or your nearest and dearest? DA has said how he does it with everything, street signs, labels, etc.


    Lindsey Browne was DA’s mentor and DA was Liam Runnells’ (LR)
    Lindsey Browne was a polymath.


  56. Hi Gayle I enjoyed solving the 9 letter Target Time in the SMH
    I’ve slowed a bit these days and DA runs rings around me
    I’ve bought a number of his books and met him at a couple of Sydney Writers Festivals
    I’m quite a fan

  57. Great stories everyone. So much aligns with the distant period, puzzle sources, hooked people and personal quirks involved in me eventually becoming a happy DAer.
    I didn’t look up those ‘flyer’ = BLAD sources; I’d just taken your discussions of ‘flyer’ to mean the ‘old flyer’ once known as BA, now branded ‘British’, with OLD. I realise now this needed an anagrind (at least) so no cigar for me.
    Can’t wait to incorporate BLAD, INDRI, and particularly SQUINT adjectively, in my daily discourse. ;-)

  58. If anyone’s got the time, I recommend the meanjin article posted by me at 7.22pm yesterday.

    It’s quite long but touches on a lot of today’s Trippers’ discussion… anagrams, mothers’ influences, mentors, Lindsey Browne, and DA’s contact with British setters. There’s even a crossword at the bottom.

    DA often posts some of the British clues which have impressed him on his website davidastle.com. Aspiring setters can also try out clues with feedback from others. Happy cluing…. and solving, for the rest of us.

  59. I went to the meanjin website but couldn’t find anything related by anyone. Could you post a link? While you are here regarding Squint as an anagram indicator: you can’t give a different meaning to a word based on a dictionary meaning or thesaurus entry. Awry, for example, has other meanings than the one synonymous with Squint that would be suitable as an anagram indicator, but the one related to Squint doesn’t mean “in a mixed up way”. It’s like using Defeated as an anagram indicator because one of its synonyms is Beaten. It doesn’t work that way and DA should know that.

  60. Peter W, the link was already posted above by Gayle @7:22 yesterday.

    I’m with you on squint btw.

  61. Shame you didn’t bother to read my post. Neither word as associated with Squint has an anagram meaning.

  62. I guess then, according to Collins, we could rewrite the Nursery Rhyme as….

    There was a squint man, and he walked a squint mile,
    He found a squint sixpence against a squint stile;
    He bought a squint cat which caught a squint mouse,
    And they all lived together in a little squint house.

  63. I’m mostly aligned with johnno2.
    Really only buy the SMH on Friday and just for the DA, although the form guide is useful.
    Occasionally do the Saturday cryptic if I come across the SMH somewhere. It can sometimes be harder than expected, so I usually find it worthwhile. Mon – Thurs not so much.

  64. I know I’m weeks late, been away and catching up on 4 DAs now. Please can someone parse 11A for me? I assume in middle east is the definition.

  65. Viv, I also had trouble with 11A, , but it seems that no-one else did. Agree with your def.
    I took it to be: ”Agreed to contract” is instruction to delete last letter of YE(S) and the ”movers” are chess pieces, ie MEN.

  66. Thanks Gayle, I guess you’re right. If so, using ‘movers’ as a synonym for men would have to be the most flimsy connection I’ve ever seen, and I’m not usually one to complain about DA drawing a long bow…but this would do it!

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