DA Confusion for the 21st of April, 2023

Get your confusions sorted out for this week’s glorious DA.

129 thoughts on “DA Confusion for the 21st of April, 2023

  1. Morning Trippers.
    I enjoyed this, even the backparsing. FOI 1A and 1D. LOI 18A.
    Early on I had an entirely different, and almost plausible, according to google, answer for 9A, but crossers and one pesky letter put paid to that. I wonder how many are familiar with one aspect of the wordplay?
    Struggled a bit in the middle down the bottom. Learned something new with 15D and a different spelling for 24A. Favs 2D,13D and 23A.

  2. Really struggled to get started today, two 3 letter solutions then stumped for quite a while. Had to again resort to working from the bottom up.

    FOI 4D, 25D. LOI 10A, 7D.

    Had never heard of 15D in the Diviner context, nor of that spelling of 24A.

  3. An honest-to-goodness DA today, with plenty of smiles and no real groans. Some took me a while, such as 15a & 7d. The only ones I haven’t fully parsed are 17d, 24a & 22d, but I’ll let my subconscious work on them for a while and check back in an hour or two. Didn’t know 5a, nor that meaning of 19d. 14a is a clever clue that brought a smile, but I’m not altogether sure I agree with the definition. I only knew 4d because it was in one of the Pommy puzzles recently.

    I enjoy giving 20a as an answer when pedlars overseas who speak little English ask me “How are you today?”

    16a is probably the easiest starter.

  4. All done. Enjoyable but taxing – agree with comments above. LOIs we’re 7D & 15A. Have fun!

  5. First pass 15a,16a,3d,4d,5d,22d. I never could spell 5d properly which held me up for a while. LOI was 2d (shouldn’t monster’s be monsters?). Only knew 4d like you GrahamM because it was in a grauniad crossword recently, and yes, I’m more familiar with the other spelling of 24a.

  6. About 1/3 along, straight forward so far (mostly NW corner). A clue that references romancing Grace Tame maybe a little bit in bad taste?

  7. Tim C. I think ‘monster’s’ is needed for the surface and DA is misdirecting and we have to ignore punctuation.

  8. Muntz. I thought DA was pushing the boundaries there. It made me wince also because she presents as having a mind of her own.

  9. Also the fact that she is known to have been the survivor of a predatory man. Surely there were better options available than using her name.

    Do you think DA ever reads this?

  10. The definition in 6d is incorrect IMHO. But maybe I haven’t caught up with spelling evolution.

  11. Construction of 7D involves a variety of cheese?

    6D seems straightforward to me?

  12. Doh. Pretty sure I’ve got the right answer, but stuck on how.

    24A had me flummoxed until I checked the German spelling.

  13. Incidentally, the definition in 14a works if we’re thinking of dogs, so I guess I can’t complain. I was thinking of humans when I commented earlier, as that’s its more usual context.

  14. Re 6d, my Oxford says that the answer corresponding to the clue definition has 4 letters, not 5. And the 5-lettered answer has another meaning, entirely unrelated to the definition. But maybe there are other dictionaries which disagree.

  15. Geoff W, I always thought the 4- and 5-letter versions were interchangeable.

    Muntz, if you still haven’t parsed 7d in a few hours, ask again. If I were to help you now I’d be struck off.

  16. 6D – According to Cambridge, it’s the US spelling, but I wasn’t aware of the 4-letter version until today.

    Don’t want to get anyone in trouble! 7D is not a high priority. Will sign off for now.

  17. There is in fact a 3, 4 and 5 letter spelling of 6d all meaning the same thing according to both Chambers and the full OED. The Australian Concise Oxford has just the 3 and 4 letter spelling. The 5 letter spelling is certainly less common.

    Gayle @11:46, I’m not convinced. Never seen “misdirection” like that anywhere else. It would work if the enumeration was (8) and one of the boxes had an apostrophe in it.

  18. I totally agree with you Muntz@11.52. You had already made that point, which is why I didn’t repeat it. I felt this clue was terrible for the reason you gave, but the last time I raised an objection about a clue it was supported by some and described by another as being ‘woke’. So this time I’ve held back. I’m glad you’ve said something.

    For the first time ever I emailed DA about a clue on 2/12/22, which was also meant to be humorous. I just found it sexist and sad. (Sole parent is glum with men scrambling. Single mum.) He acknowledged and apologised, saying that “(his) bid to embody the definition in the wordplay – the holy grail among setters – blinded (him) in recognising a lapse in judgement.”

    That was on a much lesser scale than today’s, but I suspect something similar was happening in his mind, as a setter. Frankly, I’m astounded that DA has clued (Grace) Tame in this way. Apart from this, in every arena I’ve read/watched/listened to him I’ve found him inclusive, compassionate and humorous.

    This kind of discussion also comes up on the Guardian blogs, ie ”it’s just a crossword” vs sensitivity, eg a clue about concentration camps or the Ariane Grande concert in Manchester where a lot of young people were killed by a suicide bomber.

    If you want to give Mr Astle feedback his address is on his website.

  19. I take your point Tim C@2.33 Misdirection is not usually in the def, but the wordplay. But eh, it’s DA.

  20. Very true Gayle @6:09. It is DA, but I still wonder whether it was a grauniad style typo and he meant Monsters’ !!!

  21. Yeah, Tim C, but you can’t have monsters’ heart, or can you? There’s only one heart.

  22. 22d, backwards, is one of those hi-tech assistants that I’ll never bother with.

  23. Clue on 2D? The chat above hasn’t helped. Last answer left!

    Also no idea how to understand the solve for 7D.

  24. Heart in circulation is 3,2,1. Nerves is 4-7. Definition Monsters (not monster or monter’s which is what the above discussion was about).

    “style of pizza” (missing a letter) in 7d is 1,2,4,5,6,7

  25. Thanks! Wasn’t thinking of Aussie monsters!

    And yes, pizza style, heard you left, makes complete sense (slaps forehead)

  26. Muntz, it’s late, and I promised I’d help with 7d, so I’ll be even more helpful than Tim. “Heard you” is the letter “u” that you remove from a common deluxe seven-letter pizza. It wraps around “essentially had”, or “a”. Just the last word, with its exclamation mark, is the definition.

  27. Quite hard today I think
    12a has me stumped… I’d love a hint please

  28. Like others I felt the clue for 14A was somewhat distasteful. Now that I have finally worked out the answer I’m quite disgusted.

  29. Yes, melanie, I’m finding it quite hard too. Still going on the whole of the bottom half except for 16A, 27A and 22D. I agree that 14A is regrettable, but am guessing she wouldn’t be fussed. I wonder.

  30. I presume that you mean 12D, melanie, in which case gambling pursuit is 1,2,9,10,11 and the rest is an anagram of claim and y (last to lay).

  31. Progressing – now down to SW (20, 23, 26A, 13, 17, 21D), with lots of wordplays remaining a mystery. Thanks Jack for 12D

  32. No one has mentioned it, but I feel that in the 25D clue ‘rent’ should be ‘rend,’ as ‘rent’ is the past tense and the answer is present tense.

  33. @GeoffD – agree

    I know that the person in question has coped with far more challenging issues in her life. But when someone has been ‘groomed’ by an abuser and then you combine “win the heart” and “easily influenced” (sic) in a puzzle item bearing her name – sheesh. It’s a terribly unnecessary and tone deaf bit of dreck.

  34. Thanks Jack
    In regard to the “monsters” controversy, this is a thing you often see in the Times cryptic, when they have apostrophe S on the end of a word . Maybe it’s a cryptic misdirection.
    I think rent is ok Jack

  35. Problem isn’t only with DA’s 14a clue or 2d mistake (?), it’s with the complete lack of editing for all Nine crosswords. It’s simply a complete abrogation of responsibility.

  36. Thanks MF and melanie, I could not find that noun on Google.

    A couple of observations, if I may: Firstly, I normally do the crossword’s paper version. For the past few weeks, however, I have been on a cruise and forced to use the electronic version. For some weird reason, I have found that I complete the crossword much more quickly on line. Once could be a coincidence, but not three in a row surely.

    Secondly, regarding the 14A controversy, I wonder whether it would be possible to ask the lady herself whether she is offended. I believe she would be ‘gracious’ enough to answer (as long as we don’t ask Scomo to make the inquiry).

  37. FOI 4D still have 13d 15a 15d and 19d to go
    Still have a few to parse eg 26a
    Agree with many Trippers that 14a was in poor taste
    Like Gayle hope DAJ is ok
    Apart from that I thought a fair test overall

  38. Didn’t get far yesterday. Nearly there today.
    Seems to me 14a is an example of how playing with words can sometimes lead to missing the significance of their meaning. Certainly should have been avoided.
    I am still struggling with 7d, 10a, 15a, 21d. I think I have 25a though I have never thought of is in relation to gun. I also have a word fro studio in 26a but no idea of a wordplay that would get me there.
    Any hints welcomed.

  39. As often happens, after posting i twig. All sorted now except wordplay for 26a.

  40. 26a remove first two letters (which are an abbreviation of a way) from a 9letter word for grander. End up with a French word for studio.

    Btw may I have a hint for 17d please

  41. Thanks Melanie. Re 17d sleeve without the temptress (1,6,7) allows a four letter word for ‘air’.

  42. I have no problem with 14A. And I have to laugh at DA finding himself in the
    cross-hairs of the Woke, after he pulled his Barry Humphreys-themed puzzle in protest at BH’s trans comments. Get Well Bazza!
    I liked Chris Rock’s recent insightful/inciteful comment: “Anyone who thinks ‘words hurt’ has never been punched in the face!”

  43. Brond, you can disagree on 14A without labelling me and others ‘woke’. That’s a lazy cliche and resorts to ad hominem attack rather than actually presenting a counter point.

    Also, we don’t need to ask the person in question what she thinks. In the context of her life experiences, being used in a crossword wouldn’t register a blip. That doesn’t mean it’s not clumsy, unnecessary and poorly judged.

    If DA started putting ‘golliwogs’ and ‘slopes’ in crosswords with reference to Adam Goodes and Sam Pang in the clues, we don’t need to reach out to them for comment. It’s just a given that it would be clumsy, unnecessary and poorly judged. At best.

    It’s not a contest. Some people here are clearly offended or at least surprised. Others aren’t. It’s a discussion. Disagree with ‘grace’.

  44. Dear all, can’t we all please just be nice to each other.
    Dear Brond, your insensitivity offends me.
    Dear Muntz, well said.
    I still don’t have 13D, 21D or 23A and would like a hint if anyone is still there.
    Oh, and while I’m at it, YES to the Voice

  45. SB, 23a is a palindrome (signified by “unfazed by backfiring”).

    13d means ground and comprises two homophones.

    21d has bones as definition. Sticky material is 1-3. Centre (marrow) of “casing” is 4,5.

  46. I never cared for his style of humour, but I could see he was a comic genius and one of a kind. Irreplaceable indeed.

    Also, could we please, please keep politics, culture wars etc off this page? I don’t know how the rest of you feel but I value this space as one that is free from ‘all that’. There are plenty of other sites for it.

  47. Nice thought Carol, but DA started it with his clue. People wouldn’t have gone there otherwise.

  48. Being thoughtful and respectful has nothing to do with politics or culture wars.

  49. Muntz – sorry, but as soon as the word ‘woke’ gets bandied about, we’re there. I’m so tired of it, and it poisons everything. Surely I’m not the only one?

    Anyway I’ll bow out. Till next week.

  50. Sorry to ‘shanghai’ this Confusion but been away and need help with my last, 31 March (#1146)
    * What was 9A, and how? (Then may as well tell me what 1D was, too!)
    * Parse for 4D?
    * Parse for 23D?
    Thanks! And see you all next week!

  51. Hi johnno2, I threw out my 31 March newspaper a while ago so it would have helped if you’d listed the clues and answers, but fortunately I’m a subscriber so I can go through the back issues.

    9a OBI, Dainty bird = Robin, wings away = obi = “closer to geisha”. An Obi is sash (belt) for a kimono.
    1d CLOUT, double definition
    4d PRODIGALLY, Insult = DIG (wounds is an inclusion indicator!!) Veteran = PRO, Partner = ALLY. Definition relates to the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32)
    23d INKY, Def = Jet, rank = Stinky; ST = Sat outside, flies from STinky to give INKY

    You can always try Zinzan if you’re stuck. :)

  52. Thanks, Tim.
    I hate ( equals ‘question’!) those clues where you first have to find an answer (‘Dainty bird’ = ‘robin’, ‘rank’ = ‘stinky’) before then doing the indicated operation on it.
    ‘Prodigally’ is a ‘D’oh’!
    ‘Clout’ is another, then, in my ‘occasional series’ of ‘DA matching’. In a recent puzzle I had it with ‘Nail power’. About on par with DA’s clue, I guess?…

  53. Hi Carol – I expect (hope) there won’t be any clues next Friday like 14A. Totally agree about the way ‘woke’ gets thrown around as a pejorative.

  54. I totally withdraw my ‘hate/question’ comment. Just realised how much I do it myself! Apologies, DA!

  55. If anyone’s still around, I did get in touch with David Astle about 14A.

    He replied, saying that the clue was “regrettable” as “I do take great pains to create surface stories that don’t wound the vulnerable”.

    David says:
    “The story behind the clue is my own flawed interpretation of its narrative, imagining a scenario of a supportive yell from the crowd that emboldens Grace, rather than any sinister reading. This, with the felicitous subterfuge of Tame as name and synonym felt ready-made for a deceptive anagram/definition.

    But in hindsight – especially in light of the clue’s answer which I failed to critically assess in my own edit and appraisal at proof phase – the clue was regrettable. I didn’t see the toxic or the harmful in the drawing board.

    However, in light of a new day, I can see the potential damage the clue might inflict and it hurts me to reflect upon that.

    In radio we say “when in doubt, leave it out”. I only wish I’d applied that rule to the clue

    My apologies ”

    I, for one, accept David’s apology.

  56. Thanks, Gayle.
    I saw neither clue nor answer, but,
    seeing David’s reply, I can imagine where the levels of feeling might have come from.

  57. No new thread for today yet?
    I’m all done. A fairly straightforward one today (28th) I thought.

  58. … though having looked them up it seems they did have punk origins, even though it’s not how they ended up. Fair enough.

  59. First pass 6a,11a,22a,1d,6d/26a,7d,13d,16d,21d,23d. LOI 15a. Sports knowledge needed for 9a, and 10a is not a common word. Also 18a and 1d will be unfamiliar to many I think.
    Favourites were 19a and 3d.

  60. Busy day today, and I only had an hour for DA, and I’m only half finished. Too many obscurities already — 16d, 22a, 18a, 23d — and to judge by Tim’s post, 9a & 10a that I haven’t cracked. So see you all next week.

  61. All done, in good time for me. Though I would never have got 10a without a word finder. And I still have no idea how 5d or 14a work.

  62. About 3/4 done.

    In a puzzle with several obscurities (18A was new to me), why choose the more obscure of the two words that fit the crossers in 10A?

  63. Sandy Mc, 5D employs a very old-fashioned phrase synonymous with a second meaning of the answer. If you’re under 60 you may well not have heard it used in real life. For 14D, think of an entirely different meaning for both one word in the clue and the solution.

  64. Thanks AG. I am over 60 and I think I get what you mean by the word for 5a but, while ‘in your cups’ may allude to how you get that way, it does not define it.
    As for 14a, I think the two words are spelled differently and they is no homophone indicator.

  65. I have been corrected, the two spellings are US and UK not the different meanings.

  66. Ah but googling the expression reveals all. Never heard it. Maybe I need to be over 70?

  67. What does the saying in your cups mean?
    Definition of in one’s cups. as in drunken. being under the influence of alcohol
    He’s a quiet boy, but when he’s in his cups he’s quite the unapologetic dancer.
    Synonyms & Similar Words.
    81 Synonyms & Antonyms of IN ONE’S CUPS | Merriam-Webster Thesaurus

  68. When FOI is 1A, I am often falsely encouraged but I have about three-quarters solved in 20 minutes. Liked 3d wordplay and misdirection (for me anyway) of the obvious in 16d. Had to google 18A but 1D very familiar albeit I would have got the clue faster had it been Boat boat’s bilge as that’s how I learned to sail.

  69. FOI 22A, 13D, 28A, 19A, 23D; Fav 16D; don’t completely understand wordplay fo 1A, 9A, 15A, 17A, 8D, 15D, and 21D; still working on SW corner (14A and D, 24A and 27A, 20D and 25D) and would welcome gentle hints

  70. SB – some hints:
    1A – fodder is “One from pub impedes”.
    9A – last 4 letters are the first four letters of a 9LW for “helping” with a 5LW for “scam” removed.
    15A – a 4LW and a 6LW (less 1 letter) – and defn is actually given by first word of 17A.
    17A – “wasting money” gives 7,6,5,3,4.
    8D – “fish in” gives 4,5,6,7,8,9.
    15D – “incomes” gives 1,2,3,8,9.
    21D – “observe” = 1,2.
    Hope helps.

    Hopefully you have progressed the others you have listed. If not just say.

  71. Struggling with a couple today most notably 16D. Initially thought it might be an anagram of ‘for austen’ but couldn’t make any word. Any hints please?

  72. GeoffD – 16D – you are right. Don’t know how to help other than to give you the answer.

  73. Thanks DAJ, yep, that helps a lot.
    All out now except for 20D which I’m sure must be very straightforward

  74. Yes, welcome back DAJ!
    I started off well, then hit a few 1A’s near the end. Thanks Jack for hint on 20D which helped with 27A. Now all done except 23D – hints welcomed please?

  75. Forget the help call – got 23D – simple once you see it! All good until next week now – good weekend to all!

  76. Aha! Just saw 20D – yep – a beauty! – Thanks Jack.
    Done and dusted, and heading for a VERY 20D weekend, if I may say.

  77. Thanks everyone and welcome back DAJ. Sadly I’m none the wiser. Sounds like it must be someone’s name rather than a synonym for ‘fiend’ as I first thought. I’ll await the answers tomorrow with interest.

  78. GeoffD – its also a 1922 film title (can’t be too many with 9 letters and starting with …), and, if you haven’t already twigged, is anagram of second and third words of 16D clue.
    SB – enjoy the weather and don’t get 5D!!

  79. Well now I understand why hints for 16D were so difficult. If you didn’t already know the answer it would be impossible to work out from the wordplay. I must say I find this sort of clue a bit unfair. Thanks again to those who tried to help.

  80. In your cups is a common journalist euphemism for drunk, especially if the subject is a woman. For a man, tired and emotional is used.

  81. Have 3 to go in SW corner 20d 25d and 27a I’ll have to give more thought to Jack’s 7:51pm post.
    FOI 24A had wrong 2nd word for 1A where I had equated jam to trap this affected 4d
    Liked 15a and 16a where ellipsis was in play.
    5D no problem for an octogenarian retired engineer.
    Thanks to Gayle for following up last weeks clue with DA and to TimC for picking up the thread from last week!
    Welcome back DAJ

  82. For those who follow DA’s Wordwit puzzles, and have good memories for such trivia, 16D may have been a bit easier, as the answer was one part of last Friday’s Wordwit. Does that mean we need to look out for Yoga theme in next weeks DA???

  83. Ian S – for 20D, see SB’s 9.40 post and think weather. 25D – don’t overlook the most obvious word to go before first word of clue. 27A – that was the one that kept me going until the end, and have only now fully comprehended the wordplay even though I had worked out the answer! First letter is given by first 3 words of clue. next 3 words give 2&3 and 4&5 (twin indicating a repeat), and last 2 words are the definition.

  84. Geoff D 16d was also a 1979 film by Werner Herzog. Not as obscure as 10a methinks

  85. Melanie, I’m clearly learning something today. Agree 10A was decidedly obscure also.
    At least I was familiar with the expression in 5D which seemed to throw many!! Showing my age!

  86. Did all but three answers on the flight from Melb to Sydney last night, just got the SW corner now.

    9A: The AFL legend was the first name that came to mind.
    10A: I knew it was a word and the only thing that fitted, but had to Google the actual meaning. Somehow my brain retains words without understanding why. Ditto for 1D.
    18A: ditto, somehow I recognised this as being a Judaic term
    22A: hardly obscure, surely?
    5D: thought this was Shakespearean, but turns out not… Again, my brain retains this malarkey, but I can’t remember people’s names
    8D: had no idea how to get 1-3
    14D: at one stage thought this was Amanda Muggleton! (Had the M G T, but then W spoilt that idea)
    16D: fell out straight away once I knew it was an anagram ending with U – thought this had wider currency tbh

    Overall, seemed to gradually unravel with one answer unlocking the next like clockwork. Always nice to finish without DA Trippers’ assistance :)

  87. Is it just me, or was the ‘remote’ definition for 15A a bit rich? Or is this ok when two clues are connected by ellipses?

  88. R & R – I think this is the way ellipsis is supposed to work, but some are more obscure than others.
    I learned something though – I thought it had 2 x n’s but apparently one n is the norm.

  89. Thanks Andrew, and funny you should mention the number of ns. I too thought two was right, as in planner vs planer, canner vs caner… But then again, our language is all but logical!

  90. Trivia Re: 16d the song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” sung by Bonny Tyler was written for a movie of Nosferatu that was never made.
    That’s why it’s full of imagery that doesn’t make sense for a ballad about whatever people think it’s about.

  91. Some more direct parsing, now, of 8D (1-3), 20D and 25D would be appreciated. Thanks!
    Re ellipsis discussion, I guess we usually expect the double-duty definition to be at the end of the first clue. At the start of the second is unusual?

  92. I’ve been grappling with the ellipsis clue format for a long time. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no rule to its use, or if there is one, no consistency in its application. Sometimes one clue crosses the ellipses (the definition or part of the wordplay for the first clue appears at the start of the second, or part of the second clue appears at the end of the first). Sometimes both clues cross. Sometimes neither do, and the ellipses are just there to make the surface sentence work. But I think we can all agree that the way it’s used in 3D is pure evil.

  93. Johnno2 –
    8D – I am still scratching my head!
    20D – smart = brainy, take b off to get the answer which is defined as hardly fair, ie bad weather.
    25D – host = army, take out second of prosecco (r) gives the answer which is the name that comes to mind for the first word of the clue.

    UStralian – I agree, but that’s DA for you! Evil but clever!

  94. Johnno2 / Andrew C –
    8D – Defn is “It’s sweet”. “fish” gives 4,5,6,7 (CHAR). “in” gives 7,9 (IN). “tails” positions that at end. “throw” = CAST – “nearly” removes last letter for CAS – “up” reverses for SAC for 1,2,3 – result SACCHARIN.

  95. Thanks DAJ – half the challenge with some of DA clues is to back-parse the clue once you have the answer!

  96. Nearly throw up = SAC
    That’s pretty difficult to see even when you know the answer

    (shakes fist at the sky)

  97. Muntz – actually 26A! Yes, I am still smiling at that one.
    Thought maybe we should run a contest (no prizes except personal satisfaction) for the best clue involving DA.
    My contribution (which I am sure will be trumped by other DA Trippers):
    Legless pre D. Astle puzzle (9)

  98. Today’s NS:
    15down Awfully real King in a play of Shakespeare (4,4)
    Has anyone seen a clue worse than this?

  99. Ah, Nancy. Yeah, you’re gonna want to avoid the Thursday crossword, unless you’re teaching a complete novice.

  100. Yes, NS (“No Sweat”) can be a bit lame sometimes, although has the occasional spark. Agree this was a very lazy one.

  101. As a subscriber I believe I’m entitled to reasonable crossword EVERY day.

  102. As a subscriber you’re entitled to a copy of whatever the editors decide to print every day. If you don’t like what they print, you’re entitled to send a sternly worded letter, or cancel your subscription.

  103. Goodness, that escalated quickly.

    PLASTERED of course, which repeats a DA answer recently :)

  104. Full marks Muntz! Looks like a few have taken up the challenge in 5 May DAC blog.

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