DA Confusion for the 17th of March, 2023

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

93 thoughts on “DA Confusion for the 17th of March, 2023

  1. What a workout.
    Took forever to start.
    And became very frustrated.
    FOI 14D.
    Then stalled forever until finally got 27A – which gave me a clue as to theme.
    Then completed SE, NW, SW and finally NE, with LOI 8D.
    I thought there were some tough wordplays, which on top of the theme, made it even tougher.
    But once theme was cracked the Acrosses did seem to then flow.
    Tough ones I thought were 1A, 16A (but very clever also), 22A, 25A, 29A, 4D (but again liked it), 5D, 8D, 11D (but again liked)…
    Anyway – hope all enjoy.

    Well done DA.

  2. Just dropped in to see how everyone’s getting on. Echo DAJ’s comment. “Took forever to start”.
    Tried focussing on the downs but finding them difficult. 19D FOI, and only one so far. :-(

  3. Brilliant. I haven’t enjoyed a DA this much for a very long time. He’s obviousy put a lot of work into it.

    Easy starters are 14d & 19d. If you write the necessary letters down the side of your across clues, you’ll soon twig to the theme.

    Only two I haven’t yet fully parsed. Didn’t know the necessary slang for one clue, but it was easy to find out. And wasn’t familiar with a particular film, but again, easy to work out after a bit of research.

    An abundance of smiles today, too many to list, but I particularly liked 11a.

  4. Lord have mercy. One out so far.
    Thanks for your encouraging comments Graham M, will plug away…

  5. OK, 5 out now, plus 23,24 so hopefully the theme will crack soon and I’ll be on my way.

  6. Only two so far (the apparently easy ones!). Given my aversion to themed puzzles probably won’t waste much time on this one.
    Having enough trouble with the Quick this morning!!

  7. First pass through gave 12a, 15a, 3d, 7d (although I had a different first word for a while), 14d, 19d. Got the theme not long after which helped with the across clues. A few more question marks today (4d doesn’t have to be false, for one) than last week, but still enjoyable. LOI 8d.
    11a was good Graham M, and also 16a DAJ, but my favourite was 1a which had me going down the rabbit hole of marathon runners for a while.

  8. We each took 3 hours! About double usual timing. Very enjoyable DA, but don’t do this to us every Friday. Dementia deferred for at least a year after the effort this morning

  9. Tim C, no, 4d doesn’t have to be false but it often is. The word certainly has sinister undertones.

  10. I liked the themed clues and solving the riddle with the bonus of spelling the theme itself, but 5D & 8D we’re too hard for me.

  11. Brond –
    5D – yeah pretty tough – a 2LW for “Service” removed from a 4LW for “bird or peace” gives 1,2. “accepted” gives 3,4.

    8D – my LOI – “Try” (as in legally) gives 1,2,3,4. “to bring in” gives 7,6,5 – where “capsized” is the reverse indicator. Defn = “buoy”.

    Does that help your thinking?

  12. A hard-earned tip for anyone who is trying to parse 20d as VOLCANO.

    The answer is not VOLCANO.

  13. 16A didn’t turn out to be a word meaning heron which was a shame. Not having read the book, may I ask anyone who has whether every solution is found within its pages? 15A?!

  14. My FOI was 13A, so picked up the theme pretty quickly. However, there are lots of convoluted wordplays and it took ages to finish. Very enjoyable, except I’m not fond of 5D.

  15. It’s not likely that I’ll be reading the book Ian F, but I’ve just googled ‘harry spare 15a’ and I now wish I hadn’t. So it seems that 15a is in the book. If I had to pick one that isn’t I’d go for 20d.

  16. I spent a long time removing the L as the theme letter from the first word in 22a, as it fitted the correct answer. How wrong I was.

  17. Clark, there were several of those, I found to my early detriment: L in 9A and 10A, M in 12A, last N in 15A (actual word VERY well hidden here!), IanF’s 16A trajectory, other S in 27A, and S or T in 29A (another good hide here)
    An alternative 5-letter for 11A held me up for a while in the NE.
    He’s done the 13A thing before but this one’s ‘EXTRA level’ takes it to ANOTHER level. A big thumbs up from this ‘NB-o-phile’!

  18. VERY slow going today, just the easy ones (14, 19, 26D) and 8D with thanks to DAJ.
    Promises to be fun. Just to get me moving, is 2D def first 2 words?

  19. Remember when we weren’t allowed to post fewer than about fifty characters? Ah, those were the days.

  20. Thanks Graham. I now THINK I have 9A; giving me an extra letter to think about. Hm.

  21. Oh, and on 2D, I’m thinking 4+4. Just can’t get the 2nd half for the moment.

  22. Just paid a visit to zinzan. Methinks he got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning.

  23. 2nd half of 2 down is ‘hit’ (think gangsters) SB. “Yelled” is in 3d Graham M.

  24. OK I’m on a roll. NE and SW sorted; also 1A; still working on 10A, 15A, 16A, and SE.

  25. He may well have done Graham M. My list of question marks only had one in common with his complaints (11d). Just think that if we got our collective heads together, it could have been a 2/10 LOL.

  26. Ed@ 12.23. I also went for VOLCANO even though I couldn’t justify it. The answer was so much simpler to parse.
    Agree with TimC. 4D is not necessarily ”false”
    Liked the theme. Made me laugh.

  27. SB, if it helps with the across clues, I’ve posted a list which will help in the other thread.

  28. Thanks Tim. I’ll hold off for the moment.
    Aha. I see the theme now, and how 23/24 work. I haven’t read the book and you can be sure I won’t.

  29. With 23/24 SB you have to remember that 24 is an across clue and therefore you have to make an adjustment to the clue even though it’s listed in the “down” column.

  30. You won’t be reading the book like me SB, but you may find it amusing to see the connection between the book and 15a. See my post at 2:07 pm. I laughed with a slight grimace. I’ll never think of Elizabeth Arden face cream in the same way again. :)

  31. SB 23/24 Report, homophone, next word (although I don’t fully agree with it.) Bug next word.
    Definition is next 6 words but we we have to apply the instruction to one of those words.
    I still can’t parse 10A.

  32. “laces” is an anagrind in 10a Gayle. The fodder is sofa and “occasionally beyond”.

  33. Aha. I get 10A now. It’s an anagram, taking into account ‘occasionally’

  34. I see what you mean Tim. Curious, I did the same search and like you, wish I hadn’t.
    I’m now all out except for SE: 21A, 27A, 29A, 17D and 18D. I know what the missing letters are for the acrosses, even so, the wordplay and answers elude me. I’d welcome gentle hints – just the def for the 3 acrosses would certainly help.

  35. Defs for the 3 acrosses SB are “fridge” “sparse” and “next stop” all suitably modified. I’m off to bed now as I’m out of inspiration for compiling my next DA style crossword on MyC.

  36. SB 21 def last word with the operation applied.
    27 ditto.
    29 not fully confident but I saw the def as the last 3 words, again with the operation applied to one of those words

  37. 17D 1,2,3,4,7,8 containing (absorbing) containing abbreviation for zero pressure at 5,6

  38. 18D. Not sure. ‘Drum’ appears to be the anagram indicator. Or maybe ‘drum up’ with ‘up’ doing double duty as both part of the anagrind and the fodder. Def last 2 words.
    The apostrophe s is the link between wordplay and answer.

  39. Took me forever to crack, and then it all fell into place. Realised that writing out the, er, how do I say this without spoilers? Basically the hidden clue would have helped me get some across clues faster, reading down. Did anyone else do this, or did you realise after the fact like dumb old me?

  40. Not dumb Palindromeda – I was well into it before I realised what letters I was looking for.
    Graham M at 9.04 pointed to the strategy, but even so, you needed 23/24.
    Anyway, a lot of fun, and VERY clever. Thanks DA you made my DAy.

  41. Busy yesterday, did it in bed last night.

    @Graham M 5:55pm, I’m not a DA fanboy, and I usually agree with ZinZan, but I even think he is too kind this week. Any objective view of this without knowing author, would agree: as random list of answers, clued with an extra letter…. Where is the theme which was only thing that kept me interested. think his Melbourne radio show

    With all due respect DA these days does a great radio show in Melbourne, that overshadows his setting. Perhaps the love mostly comes from there??

  42. Am I the only one having trouble with 6D?
    Other than that, a great themed puzzle once I got the idea.
    Thanks DAJ for hint on8D.

  43. 6d, writer is 1,2,3,6, record is the usual 4,5 and ‘set of guns’ is the definition (a slang term) Andrew

  44. Thanks Tim – got it with a bit of help from my non-cryptic better half.
    Hadn’t come across that slang term before, but she had!
    All finished now!

  45. DA#2.
    zinzan’s funny. Calls a spade a spade. Knows the rules, but his tolerance for breaking them may be different to some, as it is for all of us. I enjoy his chat.

    zinzan is very brief in his annotations and is not a one-stop shop, nor the final arbiter (not that he professes to be). Often Trippers is needed for clarification. But I admire his knowledge and insights, and his ‘thing’ about DA, even if I don’t always agree, although I usually do. He makes me laugh.

  46. Graham M, can I have your opinion about laces for an anagrind?

    Also Mr Astle, 25A is not a ‘top’!

  47. Carol – 29A – if I recall correctly, last 5 letters were an anagram of “BITES”.
    Hope helps.
    And. for 8D I have a hint at 12:20 yesterday.
    Again hope helps.

  48. Have you anointed me as an authority on anagrinds, Carol? ;)

    I’ve seen plenty worse!

  49. Carol, I know I’m not Graham M, but my poor opinion is that “laces” as an anagrind is debatable. “Lace” is in Chambers Crossword Dictionary as an anagrind, but it’s not in the list of anagrinds provided by Dr Clue at http://www.clueclinic.com
    Chambers has Lace as a transitive verb meaning “to thrash…..to intermingle, eg coffee with brandy, etc; to intertwine”. I raised an eyebrow at it at first, but I think it’s OK given that definition. Better than some of DA’s “any old verb will do” anagrinds.

    29 across… the last 3 words (at is a filler) need ‘x’ removed to give “net stop” which is a definition (sort of) of a website.

    8d is 1-4, 5-7(reversed) but see DAJ’s comment above.

  50. I am surprised at the lack of comment regarding the poor homophone in 23d, particularly given that 23D/24A is a very vital clue in the crossword (perhaps second to 13A).

  51. Diplomatic indeed, Graham! In checking your link, I noted the impressive portfolio of travel books. Wow!
    Getting back to DA, I would expect that, should Harry and Megan find out about this crossword, they would probably demand royalties.

  52. I obviously don’t have as high a standard (very diplomatically put Graham M) as you Jack when it comes to ‘homophones’. The word homophone is never used in this type of clue so I’m pretty liberal when it comes to them. I you can hear “prince” as “prints” after a few scotches, with a mouthful of marbles, or even with an accent/dialect the it’s OK by me. There’s a push on 15Squared to refer to this type of clue as ‘aural wordplay’ rather than ‘homophone’ in the hope that it will hopefully lessen the endless “I don’t say it like that/I’m a rhotic speaker” discussions on there.
    I find it helps if you replace the ‘homophone’ indicator (in this case “report”) with “mutter” or “mumble” or the like.
    Nice book btw Graham M.

  53. This was very difficult for me and required lots of cheating. I still do not understand 10a and 22a. I’d love a full explanation. (In the side bar if such an explanation can’t be given in Trippers)

  54. Sue T –
    10A – Remove E from “bases” to give “bass” – the definition – as in fish.
    “Laces” is anagrind – “occasionally beyond” gives E, O, D as part of the fodder, with “sofa” the rest – to finally give SEAFOOD as answer.

  55. Sue T –
    22A – This is a double defn clue.
    Remove S from “vest, for one” to give “vet, for one” – as is a profession / job.
    This is one of the defns.
    “Hostile seizure” is the other defn.
    Both mean OCCUPATION – the answer.

  56. I found it very hard. Got two clues in 20 minutes then stuck. Cheated to get four more and then made progress- then got stuck for last 4 or 5, even though I worked out the theme fairly quickly. I didn’t get the title of the Kabul adventurer until I read Zinzan. I agree with several quibbles above, and thought Zinzan’s 3/10 was about right. Just too much artificiality—a few clues enjoyable but overall not a good use of 2 hours.

  57. I thought this was the best themer in a long, long time (I prefer non-themes, but only marginally).

    I don’t particularly care about the rules, and certainly not about loose homophone or anagram indicators. I would much prefer something abstracts like report/laces then the obvious ones you see in other crosswords.

    I read Zinzan every week for his view but I’ve come to realise he knows everything there is to know about crosswords except how to enjoy them.

  58. Patrick,
    so not true! On two counts.
    1. I don’t know everything about cryptics. I do however have a sense of fairness to the solver which does not always happen on a Friday. How many times do DA Trippers have to back-solve clues? It’s the whole reason this website exists. I gave the previous week a 8/10 rating because the clues were that good. So it can be done.
    2. I enjoy heaps of cryptics but not always on a Friday. DS does a great job on Saturday. LR can put together a decent puzzle. We won’t mention the other Fairfax setters. There are plenty of terrific Australian setters but they don’t do the Fairfax rotation. Then a truckload of English puzzles (not all, though) are immensely worthwhile.

    Always happy to discuss . . .

  59. Zinzan we agree with you on 2 counts.
    1. DA can be a little unfair sometimes and a little obtuse.
    2. There are lots of good overseas setters.
    Having said that, DA is still far and away our favourite. Mostly for his range and imagination.

  60. Cheers Zinzan for your thoughts. I am a regular if not uncritical reader of your blog!

    My view is broadly around the idea of solvability. That can mean solving via the definition and conches and then backsolving the wordplay, or constructing through the wordplay and then matching to the definition (say, for HEARTEN in the most recent DA). Regular reading of your (Zz) and this (DATr) blogs seems to suggest this is not a particularly common viewpoint.

    I thought this DA was worth an 8/10 as it was tricky, had a terrific multivalent (and topical) theme and was clearly constructed with the express aim to entertain the solver.

    I concur the other setters in the SMH/Age stable are simply not good enough. If it were up to me, I would transition the puzzles to a freelancer system like that used by the New York Times.

  61. Patrick, yes, I’ve always admired DA’s intent to make an interesting puzzle, either by answer themes or clue manipulation or general knowledge discovery. He doesn’t shy away from ‘hard to clue’ answers and some of his grids are very impressive jigsaws of answers. I think he’s an asset to the week, as many of the others are soooo bland.

    This week’s theme was, IMO, not that special as he could’ve applied that device to any of the answers, as long as he did it in 15 letters. He’s definitely had themes much harder to compile then clue. It’s hard to judge, as a setter, the true difficulty for a solver. When setting, you see the answers clearly and it makes sense. The solver has no such luxury, so how hard is it from scratch? Often, MUCH harder. I’ve done his puzzles forever so can knock them over as I can often ‘read his mind’ when solving. But I often wonder, what would a 6-12mth newbie make of this? Even a 5yr solver? Would they want to go again next week? He’s not nicknamed Don’t Attempt for nothing. Many people truly don’t. That’s a pity.

    This is when being consistent and fair in setting clues is important. Can a solver learn the ropes over time and feel confident? Are the answers attainable? Even if you back-solve, do you realise the clue told you all along? Or do you have to take leaps and liberties to make it work?

    We’ll see what he presents this week. I’ll try to be open-minded but I’m not going in thinking this is the highlight of my week regardless.

  62. Oh, and thank you to anyone who does read my (or Pussy Cat’s) assessment. I know DA Trippers is primarily for the fans and I don’t always conform to that!! But I do check here every week after write-up to see if we agree. Quite often do . . .

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