DA Confusion for the 12th of May, 2023

Have your confusions sorted out for what DA has already warned will require lateral thinking.

So get strapped in and ask your questions here should you be worried.

70 thoughts on “DA Confusion for the 12th of May, 2023

  1. Insomnia :(

    Thankfully, solved 16A without too much trouble. (4D helped.)

    Then got 17D, which I think (?) fits the special scheme. But still a bit baffled. The way it’s expressed is really blurry – one element? other part? – that I’m still flying blind.

  2. Very clever. Well done DA.
    FOI – 4D.
    LOI – 20D.
    Second one in was 1A – which gave me an idea – which helped me get 16A.
    And then away.
    Didn’t really stop or struggle once I got concept – just worked around clockwise from NW.
    In a lot of ways, 16A was actually the trickiest for me as did not know part of clue.

  3. Yes, I think 7D, 20D and 23D were as good clues as I can ever remember, very clever indeed.

    FOI 21A, 2D. LOI 26D, 23D.

  4. All done.
    Did enjoy today’s crossword.
    FOI 11a LOI 20d

    Got theme idea from 17d.

  5. Just plodding along ok, but meanwhile – it seems to me that 13A has a construction problem around the sequence of 1-6 and 4-10. Can anyone else confirm, or offer a proper parsing? Theme seems inapplicable.

  6. Good fun, a nice new gimmick. I’ve only marked sixteen themed clues, so clearly I’ve missed marking one. Hadn’t heard of the American movie, but I lead a sheltered life. Not entirely comfortable with the definition in 12a — my only (very minor) quibble.

    AG, I don’t see a problem with 13a. The gooey stuff is 3-5.

  7. Graham M – 12A – note the question mark at the end – clue is a “DAism” as I read.
    AG – 13A – as per Graham M.

  8. One of those rare DAs where I was able to finish without any feelings of being stuck or not understanding a solve. Nice ‘aha’ moments throughout, like 7D. Didn’t help me get back to sleep, tho. ;)

  9. Only have (nearly all) NE corner and the middle portion, still struggling after getting the theme even though I have confirmed how to use it, at least in one form on “one part” so far.

    Graham M, I’m obviously not qualified to comment yet, but for the 17th themed clue I did deduce from the instructions that both one-worded clues must be themed. Not sure if that helps as it’s probably obvious once solved that they’re themed and therefore are already in your 16.

    Another layer of potential brilliance at this early stage is I’ve noticed some “twinned letters” in the grid: ff, dd, nn, hh, pp (and mm near the middle if you think laterally). Does that continue?

  10. All done, and I echo Muntz’s last comment. DA’s best for some time.

    Thanks DAJ and Graham M – I now see 13A’s structure. I had the components right, but was reading clue words 3 and 4 as clueing letters 7-10, then prefixing that with letters 1-6 being clued by words 5-8. Reading it that way gives you two components in the wrong order.

    Nice misdirection in 28A, and for its simple surface 23D is just about clue of the year so far.

  11. Just to expand on 28A misdirection, I can’t be the only one who pencilled in a certain name and got delayed down there by it. Would love to know if DA saw that coming.

  12. DA was almost certainly chuckling when he wrote 28A. Quite a brilliant misdirection, with ‘actor’ the near perfect core for the solve. Yes, I pencilled in the same name.

  13. Can’t help but throw these in when they happen, surprisingly regularly: Just started but I see another ‘DA-coincide’. I have 27A in my current puzzle, clued with ‘A race facing hurdles, the French, after high’.
    Now back to pushing through this week’s confusion! (#loveNBs)

  14. 28A got me. My only thought was I scribbled in the answer was that it was too obvious. Which, hours later, it turned out to be.

  15. Very enjoyable. Like others, I was suitably misled with 28A – great misdirection.
    Just 2 to go, one of which must be themed according to my calculations – 12A and 2D.

  16. Agree that 16A doesn’t really help you solve the special clues. You have to solve one or two before it clicks. So, that’s annoying?

    Took my wife to see 28A, back in the day. She hated it. Kinda have to agree.

  17. SlowA: 5D seems consistent to me?

    Happening as adjective rather than noun. “It’s a groovy, happening scene, Austin”

  18. I have quite a few answers including 16a and 17d
    But I don’t get the theme’s mechanism
    Some helpful hints would be gratefully accepted

  19. Gayle & Melanie, in the themed clues, one element is the definition and the other defines a section of the answer two letters shorter. 16a will tell you how to derive that section. As I stated earlier, there are six themed clues in the across, eleven in the down.

  20. Only now joining in as I wanted the satisfaction of doing it myself without any significant hints – only took me 8 hours on-and-off. SE corner was bare until near the end.
    Agree with most of the comments, and yes I had pencilled in S-M-E-L- until it became clear that it didn’t work :-) – 23D was the key to that.
    All in all a very enjoyable trip!
    Hope Muntz sleeps better tonight!

  21. Not to be sniffy, why did people think it was the famous actor? The wordplay doesn’t seem to fit their name in any way…

  22. @Patrick: a little bit sniffy? Because it was 3, 5 and we all know one NZ actor who’s 3, 5.

    Just to be super clear: there are two words that are answers to the clue. One
    of the words lies within the larger word. The larger word is the actual answer.

    So: 80s sci-fi movie is powerful (6)
    Would be STRONG.
    80s sci-fi movie = TRON
    Powerful = STRONG

    The one word clues either can be split to give both words or have double meanings which give both.

  23. I am with SB last night at 11.25. I’d love some help with 2d and 12a

  24. SB and Sandy –
    2D and 12A are both “theme” clues – see Muntz’s (12.10 am – still having sleep problems???) very clear explanation and example.
    2D – think tall and pink for the bird, and the other word will appear within
    12A – the word within is a 4 letter word relating to hearing, and “review” is as in “see” or “observe”
    Hope that helps.

  25. Thanks Andrew. Your clue for 12a helped. But your other clue was for 3d, not 2d.
    BTW, I didn’t need help in how the theme works. Otherwise I would need help with a lot more clues.

  26. Got 2d now that I have all the crossers. So all out.
    Interestingly, today’s Good Weekend has a piece on 28a director!

  27. @Muntz I assume we’re thinking the same actor; I just don’t understand why anyone would write it in when it doesn’t match the wordplay.

  28. Good morning.
    Thanks Andrew. All out and understood. Very enjoyable. (btw, like Sandy, I didn’t need help in how the theme works.)
    Patrick, that’s really rather snooty. With no letters to go on, why would one not be misled by “NZ film actor (3, 5)” and then try to work back? Anyway, it’s a very clever clue – my pick of the week.

  29. I was a sucker for 28A, too. And wouldn’t even let go when I’d got 19D, finding TIM BALME! (Thanks google. Not.)
    A 14D parse, anyone? (seems I’m the only dunce on this one!)
    It’s clever (as was whole puzzle, and fun) but quibble re 7D? Its ‘one element’ and ‘the other part’ are one and the same. Or does the ‘?!’ make it read ‘Divali? Divali!’?

  30. Melanie
    12a has a 4-letter word meaning ‘of ears.’ Very medical. I don’t think the whole word is an easy synonym for ‘Review’.

  31. Johnno, re 14d …

    Flower defn
    Planted 5-7
    Tip 1-4, 8
    One 9
    Car’s contents 10

    7d works, I think. Letters 2-6 are the relevant language.

  32. Now that I’ve completed the puzzle, I still don’t understand where the extra letters come from.

  33. Thanks Graham M for help, but I’m still in the dark. I might have to wait until Sunday for enlightenment if someone is kind enough to come back then.

    johnno2 . I’m the dunce on the whole trick today but I can help with 14D as it isn’t one of those!
    planted> letters 5-7 (embed indicator) in …
    tip> letters 1,2,3,4,7
    (near, position indicator)
    one> letter 9
    car’s contents> letter 10

  34. Sorry, should have refreshed. Graham clever and quick in responding to johnno. I’ve got nothing.

    Vdub, I’m beetling along with you.

  35. Thanks, Graham. Now I see why I’m the only dunce! :-)
    Re 7D, I got that about the answer. My point [ tip? ;-) ] was about the clueing, in which the NB appears to require there be 2 separate elements/parts. Even Cyberopolis is Cyber + opolis.
    I think I’m happy now to accept that the ? and ! double up Divali, and say to myself, ‘Oh you tricky boy, Mr Astle!’

  36. Muntz, is there any special significance to the limits? In your example of STRONG is there any reason to use S and G other than to create the word STRONG? We wrote down all the outside letters and tried to see a pattern with them. Overthinking??

  37. Vdub / Gayle – it simple terms, 17 clues have two definitions:
    – one for an answer with the number of letters indicated, and
    – the other for an answer which is 2 letters shorter – by removing the first and last letter.
    This is given by 16A answer “OFF LIMITS”.
    So as example, 1A:
    defn 1: “Toys with” gives TRIFLES
    defn 2: “long arm” gives RIFLE.
    Hope clear and not too much info.

  38. Vdub, have you got 16A? Then it’s not so much where the ‘extra’ letters ‘come from’ it’s that clued letters ‘go’. They are the 16A 4-9 that go 16A 1-3.
    That’s a Saturday response. Happy to do a Sunday response tomorrow [ see you then, too, Gayle ;-) ]

  39. Oops, DAJ Sundayed as I was writing. It’s just gone Saturday arvo, so I guess fair dos, DAJ :-)

  40. DAJ is it just a coincidence that the ‘limits’ of toys in 1A, ie t–s are applied to the long arm to get the answer? Tried the same technique on 3D but couldn’t find a source for the ‘limits’ of the answer. Hope that makes sense. I have been completely baffled by this whole puzzle.

  41. Ah, got it now johnno2. I was reading the hints the wrong way round in terms of subtraction. Thank you! Much simpler than I thought. I got the middle bits but was trying to find a pattern in the other bits. As Veronica said, I might have been overthinking.

  42. Thanks Johnno2. I think I’ve finally got it now.
    Gayle it looks like we were both barking up the same wrong tree!

  43. Firstly, after feeling good about finishing, I checked the solution in Sat SMH and found my last 2 in (28A, 26D) were wrong! No good blaming Google for 26A, I should have known it!
    Sandy Mc – Oops – I must have been crosseyed and seen the second down clue as being 2D. Anyway, you have got it sorted.
    johnno2 – I think DA has given us enough information in 7D – Divali is an Indian Party – Party is the clue for 1-7, while Indian (language as per Graham M) is clue for 2-6. Yes, I found Tim Balme on Google too!

  44. Thanks , Andrew (and Graham again); I feel like you’re leading me, kindly, towards some actual correctness I can’t see. I do see that ‘Divali’ clues both the 7-letter word 1-7 and, 16A, the 5-letter word 2-6. However, the NB requires that there be two separate parts to the clue, one clueing the 7-letter word and one clueing the 5-letter word.

  45. johnno2, the party is not Indian, religious or political. I’ve thought it was Gaelic but its origin is debated.

  46. Apologies for belabouring the point I made about 5D yesterday (I can’t let it go!), but to spell it out for anyone still out there…Finland is not a Scandinavian country, it is a Nordic country. Scandinavian countries are Denmark, Sweden and Norway whereas Nordic countries are the Scandinavian countries plus Finland, Iceland and Greenland.

  47. johnno2 – in DA’s defense (not that he needs me to defend him, he’s a grown-up!), it depends how you interpret the wording of the NB – the way I see it, the clue (whether one word or more) leads to two related answers – one having the full number of letters, and one nested within it. Depending on the type of wordplay, it could be part of the clue for each answer, or in this case the one word implies two.
    Gayle – there may be more that I do not know, but when I Google “Divali” it throws up “Diwali” which it defines as a Hindu festival celebrating the godess Lakshmi.

  48. Yeah, Andrew C. We may be talking about different things. I was talking about the answer.
    As it’s an &lit, ”celebration” applies to both. Not sure if that answers johnno’s question.
    Who am I to comment on the tricksy clues anyway, as I’ve come late to the party. :-)

  49. OK Gayle, I see where you were coming from. Our friend DA likes to cross cultural barriers!

  50. Started last night and like many thought my FOI was 28a turns out my FOI was24a last one in was 20d.
    Was in the dark until DAJ and Graham M explained 16a and how it worked. Agree 28 very clever I had the wrong term for actor wasn’t after I got the answer the penny dropped. I always find the NB prefixed puzzles more challenging but also satisfying when I get the answers.

  51. Good take on the ‘Divali’ clue, Gayle! i.e. being an &lit, the requirement for two parts might be met by Divali as surface and Divali as definition (my concession was that it might be shorthand for ‘Divali? Divali!’)

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