About Us

AS (Antonios Sarhanis), RC and TH are Melbournite cryptic-crossword aficionados who, even after years of anagramming, punning and Spoonerising, still continue to be bewildered, bamboozled and yet ultimately exhilarated by Friday’s DA in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

This is our homage to DA, the wizardly warper of words, the master of multiple meanings and the handmaiden of the insufferably obscure, who manages to consistently and callously break us, only to have us return each week clamouring for more.

130 thoughts on “About Us

  1. Good to find this site, Friday’s crossword in the Herald is a highlight of the week. My wife and I leave the crossword on the table for either to add to if possible, sometimes as with the crosseord of 13th November we have still not completed it in a week. (I had miniscule instead of minuscule).

  2. And I’m glad you’ve find the site.

    And we too (RC and I) were thwarted by the minuscule mistake of writing miniscule.

    Miniscule should be correct!

  3. I am continually amazed, astounded & stupified by your collective ability to solve DA’s puzzles! But also inspired – I am getting better with help from your solutions and explanations). Am still decades away from completing one solo – particularly as I only attempt them occasionally.

  4. I can say I’ve improved markedly since starting this blog.

    There are a lot of tricks that are easy to miss without guidance, and luckily, with the help of everyone else on this site, they’ve slowly been uncovered.

  5. Have recently discovered this site and LOVE it! I have a store of old DAs with questions so I’m searching through the archive to find answers to things I don’t understand. Unfortunately I have the numbers of the crosswords rather than the dates in most cases but I’m getting there (maybe you could list numbers and dates somewhere?). Anyway to help with our DA education could a finished crossword with the clues be loaded when we are all said and done (maybe on a Tuesday). Happy to help and send/upload the scan if you like.

  6. Hey Jonathan,

    It’s great to hear you’re enjoying the site — and hopefully it will help you get into DA’s head and understand his clues better.

    Perhaps half the time I load up my own semi- or fully completed DA each week. I used to scan a copy and put it up, but I don’t have access to a scanner anymore and I’ve settled on just taking a photo of what I’ve done with my iPhone and putting that up.

    The other half of the time I haven’t done the crossword or I’ve lost it or I’ve just been too busy.

    I’d be more than happy to post your crosswords — I agree, it’d be better to have the crossword posted each week — so just send me a copy if one hasn’t appeared by Monday to the email address on the sidebar.



  7. Hey, are you blokes awake yet, or are you battling floods? The DA for 21-22 Jan is a rip-snorter.

  8. Nope, we’re not battling any floods — just forgetfulness.

    Sorry for the delay.

  9. Currently reading Puzzled and found this site. Was wondering if there is an equivalent that deals with other ‘easier’ days of the week for SMH cryptic crosswords

  10. Hey WMJ, I ‘m glad you found us.

    I don’t think there’s any other site that deals with the rest of the week’s Fairfax crosswords. But be that as it may, I’m sure someone, if not me, will help you with an answer or an explanation to any cryptic crossword clue that you should ask for help with.

    Just provide the clue and, if possible, the answer as a comment to any of the latest posts on the front page and no doubt someone will help you out.

  11. Coo-ee you blokes south of the border, it’s nearly sunset on Friday evening and there’s no corner set up yet for this week’s DA !

  12. Thanks for the reminder, Peter.

    This is what happens when a new job comes along that makes one do work at work!

  13. Fridays would not be the same without DA…

    In Ronnie Barker-speak DA’s cruciverbalisms have reignited my interest in helminthology.

  14. I have been reading this column for a month or so but so far it is of little use to me. I can get out the DA crossword most of the time but in at least 50 percent of the clues I cannot work out the word play and have problems with finding a complete understanding of others. One problem with your site is that you never give a complete explanation to any clue because of your ban on spoilers. I do the Times crossword and have become quite good at them and this has been greatly helped by the column “Times on the Times” where the answer and explanation are given for the clues. It would help greatly if you could do this for DA’s crosswords at some time after spoilers are allowed. It would be of great help to me (and I believe others) in translating his clues from DAnglish into English.

  15. There are other sites that provide solutions and explanations of crosswords. I’m at work, and a lot of the links I’ve vaguely recalled as being useful to you are blocked, so I’m sorry, but I can’t be more helpful than that.
    This site (I think) is more about sharing the joy of solving a puzzle together, rather than being a repository of answers.

  16. Yes, for me it’s the journey not the destination. After Friday, I don’t much care for the whys and wherefores.

  17. Hey John,

    There is no ban on spoilers on the Confusions thread. It’s considered polite, however, not to print out the answer directly because most people prefer a pointer in the right direction over teleportation to the exact destination.

    Also, feel free to just ask a question in any of the Confusions threads at any time, even for clues in the long gone past. People around here are usually pretty quick to respond.

    The spoiler ban is for the DA Reports thread, which is there to allow people to chit chat about the crossword without having the conversation lost between questions, hints and partial explanations running through, and also have anyone able to contribute without fear of the crossword being ruined for them.

    But if you just want the answers and succinct explanations, Ian, who often comments here, posts them each week over at the Australian Crossword Club in the forum at:


    Be warned, though: over in those parts, DA is not held in the same high regard as he is here.



  18. Hi guys, very pleased to have found you! As a long time serial crypticad I have struggled with the intriguing DA in my regular Sat Age for what now seems an age in itself. I am also subsequently thrilled to discover Ians great work at crosswordclub and am eagerly awaiting a copy of Puzzled on order. I look forward with excitement to greatly increasing my DA based learning curve with the grateful assistance of all.
    “all things I thought I knew, but now confess…..
    the more I know I know, I know I know the less!
    Cheers KW

    “all things I thought I knew, but now confess….
    The more I know I know, I know I know the less!”
    cheers KW

  19. Oops sry bout the repeat typo! Don’t know much about posting either!

  20. Hi AS, RC, TC et al,

    Am so happy to have found you!!!! I guess you have heard that before.
    I was introduced to cryptic crosswords a few years ago now and thank the ‘introducee’ every time I pick up a pen to devour another one. So far though, I have been really paddling around the edges.

    Until now, Age crosswords have always scared me, even the easier week day offerings, where I might only get a few meager answers each time.

    Recently, my doctor saw me doing a cryptic in the waiting room and happily we spent two thirds of the consultation talking about cryptics and this forum. I will be eternally grateful.

    I decided to print some past DAs and try to use the forum (and the completed masterpiece) to try to improve my skills.

    I have never contributed to forums of any type before, but felt compelled to write this morning after I found myself uttering a very audible “Yes” and pumping the air after managing to get one clue (without help), from an old DA.

    Looking forward to many happy hours and improving my skills enough to so that i no longer have to paddle, but can jump right in the deep end without floaties.

    Until next time

  21. I managed to complete the Age 19,434 but am stumped by the ‘secret message’ which was not int he solution printed today. Can’t get a handle on whether each of t he 4 answers are also in the grid or different. ‘Secret Agent ‘ seems to be the key, and there is Joseph (Conrad?)…. Any ideas?

  22. So pleased to find fellow DA fans. Don’t know if I’ll be back though…. Don’t want to spoil the fun & challenge of solving DA by getting help. (It’s always a sad moment when you fill in that last solution and the fun is over for another week! ) @Barbara – not giving away too much to say you’re on the right track but forget Joseph. (I went down this track but realized was overanalysing.) Treat each of the 4 segments separately … You already have an instinct on the theme and definition.

  23. Great story, michelle. I’m very pleased to hear that you’ve been bitten by the cryptic bug and that this site is helping you out. It shouldn’t be too long before you’re sorting out how to do DA crosswords.

    Thanks Robyn for filling Barbara in on the theme, a theme that I couldn’t work out either without some help from this very site.

  24. Found myself visiting again …. Have enjoyed the comments of other addicts like me. (All those other people who felt a loss around Christmas time when there wasn’t a DA crossword!) Thank you everyone for your stories and insights.

  25. Hi all,

    Just wanted to thank you so much for this site. I am an aspiring 16-year-old crossword solver and although I can never say that I have cracked an enitre DA, my clue count is gradually creeping up and up (I hit 8 two weeks ago – yay me!). Your site has been really helpful for me and has further fostered my incessantly growing addiction to cryptics. I particularly love reading the pearlers that appear in the DA Gold section. So yeah, thanks again.

  26. Hi, Harry. I dimly remember being your age (though I’m only half the age of some here!), “helping” my father with the Guardian weekend crossword, and thinking I’d *never* be able to finish one on my own.

  27. Ahh, I wish my parents were cryptic aficionados… I’ve recently taken to bombarding them with some DA gems, hoping to inspire them… no luck as yet though.

  28. @Harry…I was also your age once, attempting cryptics on the red rattlers heading for Uni. My mum was a great encouragiste.

    Keep it up and I reckon your “clue count” will be there in “a year or two”.

  29. Hi Trippers not sure how to go about this mods but just came across an article/reg feature in the (melbourne)magazine featuring the Guru DA entitled ….
    David Astle, cryptic crossword author and word guru on SBS TV’S Letters and Numbers The (Melbourne) Quiz …And the may be a little gold to be dug up here!!…
    Best things about Melbourne?
    Giddy mix of quaint and Avant-garde, with a conversation around the corner.
    Worst Thing?
    Remote surf, fractured cycleways.
    Best takeaway?
    Bala’s in Fitzroy.
    Best Coffee?
    Proud Mary, Collingwood.
    Best Restaurant?
    Miss Chu, Exhibition St
    Where do you get your hair cut?
    Lestat in Kew- and some people recon I should go there more often.
    Where do you live and why?
    Kew- it sounds like a letter !
    Tram or train?
    Bus is nearest to home, tram to the heart.
    What do you do for fun?
    Galumph in a Sunday park, playing touch rugby with other tragics.
    Who do you barrack for?
    Roos, Rebels, Storm.
    Where did you go to school?
    Barker (College) in Sydney, which ditched boaters and imported girls the year I arrived.
    Labor or Liberal?
    My Labor vote’s a protest squeak round these parts.
    Neil Mitchell or Jon Faine?
    If Radio National isn’t firing I’ll give Jon a go.
    Portsea or Lorne?
    I’ll pick the flowers. ……(Gold for mine)
    Drop punt or torpedo?
    I envy a deadeye wormburner.
    Top three apps?
    Appetite, appenines, apparel.no
    … (And food for thought)…..
    Describe Melbourne in three words?
    Zaftig, loquacious, sanguine.
    ……gotta love the guy!!!
    Cheers Trippers!

  30. I am a newbie to this blog… Just getting to the point of maybe getting a DA out over the weekend.
    Love most of his terrible puns and references….
    Got all but 1 this weekend……
    Totally flummoxed by 22 across… Could someone please assist,….


  31. Welcome, Detourer. Hopefully we’ll be able to help you find your way.

    22A: Bird is the definition. Second = MO (this is one of DA’s favourites), friendship bid = POKE (as on Facebook).

    Every week there’s a Confusions thread for this sort of question, so we can keep all the questions for one crossword in one place.

  32. I’ve known about this sight for a while, but its only since my move to the backwoods of China that I’ve really begun to appreciate it. My good friend and setting partner sends me DA every week, and with nothing better to do with my time than eat grasshoppers (which are fantastic!), its my one real connection to a normal life in Melbs. And he is of course nearly as good as the grasshoppers. Have been making my way through the back catalogue also. Thanks for putting all that stuff up. And for this site. Im not in prison by the way if you were wondering, but teaching a bunch of high schoolers in Kun Ming. Thank you all again, and i hope to join the community…but I’m always a bit behind time wise and so forth. saw the doc also, nice work. If i was back home, id love to meet you for a saturday coffee but alas its just me here and a plate of locusts… Thanks again.

  33. I’ve been doing cryptic crosswords for many a decade and each day I can rush through the cryptic in The Age in a lunch break – until I get to Friday. I’ve spent years trying to understand the highways and byways of DA’s brain and getting nowhere (my max until now was approximately eight to 10 clues). Finally I have relented. This weekend (26.11.2011), intrigued by DA’s note at the top of the clues, I had another crack with much the same result. Finally I relented, googled for solutions and found DA Trippers – thank you, thank you, thank you. A new world has opened. I no longer need to feel excluded from the DA nuthouse (with all due respect and affection). The day may not be far when, hopefully, I might be able complete a DA unaided.

  34. Welcome to the nuthouse, Carmela. I look forward to seeing news of your solo completion in the Pool Room before too long.

  35. rupert wherever you are, I’ve had a shot at a few of your crosswords and really enjoyed them. thanks for that. nice clues. difficult, but eventually gettable. cheers mate. nice work.

  36. Thanks, Daim. Just setting a crossword is fun, but it’s so much more fun to see people try to solve it. I imagine DA gets quite a kick out of this site. I was working on a mini-Twilight theme (don’t worry – I haven’t read the books or seen the movies so it wasn’t going to require too much sparkly knowledge) but it turns out that Stephenie Meyer spells her name without an A, so my carefully crafted &lit involving teen vampires cavorting and deleting a V had to be thrown away.

    I’m in Auckland, which gives me a head start over most of you on DA on a Friday. The SMH digital edition usually comes online at 6am my time, just when I’m getting up, but too early for sensible Sydneysiders (which apparently doesn’t include Gayle!).

  37. cheers rupert, good to know you don’t indulge in the twilight saga, would have been a lovely clue though. I’m way out of whack, in out back china. rely on my setting partner to photograph and e mail each sat. and so i only just got my head around this weeks now. thanks again for your contribution to this site. next time i set one ill send it your way!

  38. We have a “Cryptic Club” that operates on the weekend via SMS and DA is well known as “Don’t Atttempt”! He drives us all quite mad …… so yes we still “Do Attempt”. No luck this weekend though

  39. Finished yesterday’s crossword before bedtime! Yay – not often that happens. I love the variety David injects – themes that have to be discovered especially. Fairly obvious one yesterday, though. For me, his are the only crosswords worth doing and I was very upset when they were moved from Friday to Saturday in The Age. The Friday set me up for the weekend, but by Saturday there are already too many other things crowding in and it’s difficult to settle into the strange rhythm your brain needs for successful solutions. I like it that I can get a few clues to start with (maybe), and then I put down the paper and get on with other things, coming back now and then to see what the brain has come up with. This is especially the case at night – the cryptic is the last thing I look at, and then I sleep on it and, lo and behold, when I look again in the morning a couple of answers present themselves. The solution process is not obvious, not logical, not linear, and requires (I think) a brain full of an extraordinary mess of trivia and arcane knowledge that bubbles to the surface under the prodding of David’s clues. Long may we cross words.

  40. I always find DA’s puzzles aa challenge and rearely manage to solve them fully.So I share the task with my cousin who gets the SMH copy on Fridays, and I wait for it on Saturdays in The Age. We are looking for a clever murder mystery with DA-like clues at its sophistcated core. Are there any DA followers who can help us, please?

  41. Googling “cryptic crossword murder mystery” throws up a suspect by the name of Nero Blanc, who has written several murder mysteries which require the reader to solve a crossword. I’ve no idea if the crosswords are any good, but he may be worth investigating.

  42. rupert, would like to send you a crossword, for you to tear to shreds or maybe enjoy bits of it. pretty isolated out here in kun ming, so heres my email:trouting@hotmail.com
    drop me a line, and ill send you my latest.

  43. Had a letter published in The Age today on David’s crosswords. And yesterday morning I woke up, reached out for the crossword of 10th December, of which I’d only solved half a dozen clues, and saw all the other answers! This is such a wonderful example (to me) of the value of patience and of letting the subconscious do the work for you. I keep the puzzle on my bedside table and look at it while I’m dressing in the morning and in bed in the evening. I let the process take its course – and then the magic happens. Thank you so much, David, for the fun you provide.

  44. Hi guys – just found this site. Used to do the Ximenes and then Azed in The Observer in the UK, and Araucaria in The Guardian. Now in Oz I’m beginning to adjust to DA – it takes a while to get on the wavelength of a new compiler, and I suffer a bit from general ignorance about all things Southern Hemisphere (eg until today I’d never heard of the guy in this week’s 10a). My loss, and I’m learning. Have now completed two, and feel quite pleased with myself.

  45. Thanks, Rupert – yes, I do know about the Guardian online puzzles, and occasionally send off the prize one, just to keep my hand in.

  46. Hey Mary,

    The shoe’s on the other foot for me — I find it difficult to get going with the English setters, although I must admit I’m not one of the people who can knock over a DA in a single sitting, and sometimes not in an infinite number of sittings.

    And if it makes you feel any better, DA really does mine the depths of Australiana sometimes — I’m often at a loss at what he’s referring to, especially when there’s a reference to some outback place.



  47. DA and obscure Australiana: was there *anybody* that worked out 2330 was the postcode for Singleton, NSW without googling it?

  48. Oh well – not a bad way to get to know some obscure facts about one’s adopted country, I suppose. But thank goodness we’re now in the age of Google! (from which you may deduce that I go back a bit.)

  49. Letters with a Singleton postmark?

    I got the answer while assuming that Chesty Bond was an actress, but didn’t get the 2330 part until I looked it up later. I thought it might be something to do with bridge scoring.

  50. Jumped the gun a bit there.. AS, RC and TH, I was wondering if you might post a notice on your main page.
    I am urgently looking for a Sydney-based ‘expert’ (self-confessed of otherwise) to lead a short presentation on cryptic crossword solving at the Surry Hills Library this Thursday (1st March). Format is open – can be the practical basics, or about their personal passion.

    It is for the final installation in a series called ‘Your Better Life’, organised by a group of artists called ‘Bake Sale’ in associated with the City of Sydney and the Surry Hills Library’s ‘Late Night at the Library’ program. Past events have been courses on LOVE, CULTURE, ENTERTAINING, and this one will be SMARTS. It is a 20 minute presentation at 9pm preceding a demonstration from some dapper fashion aficionados. The remuneration is $200 and an extreme amount of gratitude for the presenter’s time and wisdom.
    Anyone interested should contact Megan megan.garrett.jones[at]gmail.com

    Many thanks.

  51. I do the Guardian cryptic every day but, living in Brisbane, I am stuck with the Murdoch garbage locally, so have yet to experience a DA puzzle. Can anyone direct me to one I can have a crack at to test my mettle, please?

  52. Dear DA Trippers, I have just discovered your excellent site and my cryptic buddy and I have also just completed my first ever DA. It took me so-oo long to find out.. but I found out…

  53. Nice one Susan. Was it a long and winding road down Penny Lane?


  54. Your secret’s out, you DApplers. Have just got an iPad so I now know that once you “complete” the puzzle you get told where you went wrong if at all. And here I was cracking the walnut with my OneAcross sledgehammer and Wikipedia/Wiktionary (as well as my head) and the old pen and paper.

    Clue: object to intercourse with a DA puzzle
    Answer: ********

  55. Like I needed another reason to give Apple money. But I fear this is not one that will wash with my wife. She already thinks I’m twisted for enjoying cryptics at all, and a bit simple for paying $1 a week for one particular setter. Several hundred dollars so I can know whether or not I got it right isn’t going to strike her as a good idea.
    Frank, while I’m dreaming, what are the Guardian crosswords are like on the iPad?

  56. Hi Rupert
    I’ll have to get back to you on that one – have other things to explore with the new toy plus job, study etc. I normally only do one of two of the Herald cryptics and Omega and not every week. My father does the Guardian and I have helped him out a few times. Despite his mild dementia we slaughtered yesterday’s cryptic on the iPad in about 15 minutes. I think he would now like to buy an iPad but like your wife my mother would be ropeable.
    the point about the SMH app is that (in theory) you could fill the crossword with Xs once you had gone as far as you could and check your answers but that would be cheating, wouldn’t it?

  57. Hello again, Rupert.

    SMH app is more cheat-enabling than I first thought. It is possible to get the answers for individual clues, individual letters and highlights of errors made in the puzzle, all this prior to completion.
    I think this is pretty weak.
    What’s next? An explanation of word play for each clue? That would be the end of DA Trippers as we know it.
    Having said that, I find it easier to do the crosswords on the iPad.
    Guardian crossword – I presume you mean the Guardian Weekly? It is the online version, it is not a particular app for iPad etc, so you can access the same from any computer at guardian.co.uk/crosswords. The puzzles are archived back to 2002 and searchable by setter and date.

  58. addit:
    It’s a great feeling to finish a DA on the iPad (without cheating – apart from using DA trippers) and then get a pop-up with congratulations.

  59. Hi, how do you guys get access to Saturday’s cryptic crossword on Friday? We ( – my wife and I – ) love DA’s work.

  60. Hey Graham,

    You’re obviously a Melbournite: the DA is published in the Sydney Morning Herald on Fridays, so a bunch of people commenting on this site get it early.



  61. I believe there are some people who meet at cafes etc around Melbourne who do DA’s crosswords together. Anyone have any details?

    Kind regard and thanks Jan

  62. I have heard there are groups of people who meet in cafes etc in Melbourne to work on the Sat DA cryptics.

    Anyone got any details?

    Kind regards and thanks Jan

  63. I looked for the on-line version of DA this morning. In despair with this mornings after two weeks of getting maybe ten clues each Friday. Oh such pride before the fall! Thanks for your wonderful website and the ‘suggestions’. I will now persevere with 5 July. Thanks to the team for 5D and 26A!

  64. Hi There,
    Just wanted to say that DA will be appearing on the 18th August at the Trentham (a small town between Daylesford and Woodend, Vic) Mechanics Hall as part of Words in Winter. He will entertain audiences with clue tips, stories of his life with dictionaries and lots of big words. We hope to have a few rounds of Letters and Numbers at the end followed by a Q&A in a relaxed setting. Should be fun! Call 5424 1354 or 5424 1146 to make a booking (or just turn up). Starting at 1pm.

  65. noooo – Have only just found this site – DA was about 15mins from me 2 weeks ago. I would have loved to have been there for that.

  66. Hi all,
    DA will be featuring in the Bridge and Mind Sports Festival on Friday October 11 in Murrumbeena (near Chadstone Vic).

    This festival is a great opportunity to meet DA and try a variety of different mind sports and of course meet fellow DA tragics.

    See http://www.vba.asn.au/msf for further information

  67. David,
    I’m an avid reader of your weekly column in Spectrum – not because of an addiction to crosswords but because of my love of language and your exposition of it.

    My eye caught your explanation of the ‘fossil’ word ‘fettle'(SMH Nov 9th 2013). For future reference, did you know that ‘fettle’ is what railway fettlers do? From the earliest days of railways in the UK (18th century)) it was necessary to ‘fettle’ the track by lifting the railway track where it had subsided and packing more stones underneath to make sure that the track was level and that trains remained on the track when passing. Now days railway track still needs to be ‘fettled’ but the work is performed by machines and machine operators rather than ‘fettlers’. To say someone is ‘in fine fettle’ is to my mind to say that they are in good shape and ready to perform as expected. What we don’t hear much anymore is ‘fettle’ being used as a verb but such a use would be legitimate ie meaning ‘to put in order’.

    Does such creeping obsolescence in language come about through laziness and carelessness? As an old Commissioner of Railways I have an aversion to the modern newsreader referring to ‘train station’ – no doubt an americanism’ when as recently as 30-40 years ago the term used was ‘railway station’. Similar corruption of our language occurs when people talk of ‘railway lines’. It used to be said that there was a railway line between Sydney and Bowral and it was composed of two tracks (one ‘up’ and one ‘down’). Each track comprised two rails fixed to sleepers which rested on the ballast.

    Like the difference between a boat and a ship, we lose so much meaning in communication when ‘whatever’ will do.


  68. John, though DA does pop in here occasionally, you’d be better off trying to contact him at his website, davidastle.com. DATrippers is aimed more for solvers (rather, those attempting to solve) his crosswords in the Age and Herald.

    I wonder if I fettled when I spread a load of sand on the ground to evenly support the weight of my water tank? Seems to fit the definition.

  69. I am often travelling and often do not get the chance get hold of the paper. Sometimes you guys post the grid (empty and filled), more so in the past than now – the last time was 3 weeks ago. Would it be possible to publish the grid on the web page? Even days later would do, sometimes I have no other way of getting my DA fix.

  70. Hi. First time on this site today and the first time I’ve ever got a DA out. Luv it.

  71. AS, RC and TH, thanks so much for providing this site. I only discovered it a few months ago and am enjoying the interaction amongst the cruciverbalists here (though there are a few posts I have not enjoyed!). I have been solving cryptic crosswords for 3 decades now and eagerly anticipate DA’s weekly contribution. Starting in February I have volunteered to run a 9-week “Solving Cryptic Crosswords” course for the local U3A here in the Upper Yarra Valley. I will be giving a big nod to DA. Cheers.

  72. Hi Lauren, call in again next Friday and look under the “Confusion” tab. Then you can either help others to work out answers (subtly, of course) or seek help yourself.

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  74. Can anyone help? If I need to resort to Confusion it’s usually well into the next week (I’m a ‘try-not-to-resort-to-help-so-leave-it-and-come-back-…and-repeat’ type – and modestly successful at keeping to type btw!) but everyone else has always lost interest in the relevant Confusion before the weekend is over.* Where can I post my questions (or other inputs) at that late stage so that Trippers will see them? Thanks
    (*And some who seem to start – and even finish – before dawn on the Friday: I’d be curious to know what their callings in life are! Very impressive!)

  75. You can pretty much always count on a reply no matter when you post a comment.

    Your comment will bob up in the list of recent comments in the top-right of this page, and people are generally helpful enough on this site that they’ll respond.

  76. Much appreciated AS.
    And it’s brought something up for me and I’ll try this: If Alan G sees this (January 23, 2014 at 3:54 pm above); Alan, I’d like to run a U3A cryptics thing locally (40 years for me). What’s involved? How do you volunteer? Any ‘syllabus’? Thanks

  77. Having attended the most enjoyable Laneway Learning cryptic crossword session with the inimitable AS in the role of host and teacher this past week, my wife andI decided to tackle this weeks’ DA – waiting until Saturday of course when we could sit down together. Took most of the day but I’m delighted to say we completed it, held up slightly by a quite acceptable answer to 1D I thought up that turned out to be wrong. I think we’re hooked… Cheers and thanks for the inspiration AS!

  78. How amazing that you solved a DA so early in your career!

    People go their whole crossword-solving career without having solved a DA.

    Impressive work. Glad to hear your a convert.

  79. Is there any way of sending a clue I made to DA to see if he can use it?

  80. Do not know if you can help me. I wanted to contact David Astle, as I heard him with Richard Fidler on ABC Radio recently. (He does not appear to have a FB site.) My query goes to 2 expressions from my parents, who have both passed away. One is the single word “hooey!” said in a disparaging tone and meaning “that’s nonsense”, I think. The other is: “What do you think it is: Bush Week?” which meaning I am not sure of. I am interested to know the origin and meaning of both expressions. Thank You.

  81. I’m just starting in the world of cryptic crosswords and love your site! I’m half way through DA’s book Puzzled and read he made a crossword with a chocolate theme. As a chocolate maker I’d love to try this one – do you know where I could find it?

  82. Hi All,
    New tripper and amateur cryptic solver here. Happy FriDAy to you all.
    I produce a podcast called Boarding Shortly and was wondering if anyone might be interested in discussing their interests in DA and/or cryptics in general on our show. We are also looking to do a short photo essay of DA fans in their favourite DA solving spot.

    If this sounds like something you might be interested in, feel free to get in touch at producers@boardingshortly.com.

    Otherwise, hope you all enjoy this week’s puzzle.

  83. I have been coming to this website for about a year now and love it. I started doing cryptic crosswords as a means of diverting my attention from HSC studies 47 years ago (Times then) and then about 3 years back after DS became more easily solvable (but beautifully presented clues I must add), I started on DA and can now complete them – albeit intermittently – over a weekend (with only a couple of wordplays left each time). I never open the Confusion until I have finished, no matter how stuck I get. I have become even more addicted over the past year and have used the site to go back and do older DAs, and have worked my way back to November 2011 via your blank copies from that era. In fact Arthur, Ray, Celia, Gayle and Rupert have become virtual acquaintances thanks to your site.

  84. Hi,
    Wondering if you might know of anyone who might be interested in being paid to design a Sydney based cryptic crossword


  85. Hey Ana,

    Best bet is to get into contact with LR (Liam Runnalls) or DA (David Astle).

    Their details are pretty easy to find by Googling.


  86. Hi Ana,
    There’s a guy in Sydney who has been writing cryptic crosswords professionally for twenty years, David Stickley. You can contact him and see his work at http://www.stickler.com.au or just Google him.

    Hope that helps


  87. As with most things I do, I tend to plod along then find something like this 20 years on…

    Working on one today from 2 weeks ago., but keep forgetting to get the next paper to check answers, though not sure that would help me for next time!

    I’ve managed to get 6 words, a huge score for me amid Astle’s abtruseness :)

  88. Seems your wordpress site has acquired some malware (dloplen) – hope you can fix it soon. There are lots of online guides to dealing with this problem.

  89. The site disappeared altogether. It has re-emerged today but with nothing in December. What’s happening?

  90. Hi
    can you tell me when you are running the next beginners class with Laneway Learning please

  91. Hi, folks!
    I’ve been compiling cryptic crosswords for my now-suspended U3A class and, since the middle of last year, monthly for our regional newspaper (gratis :-)). The newspaper is still publishing, but who knows when they’ll go the way of so many other regionals, it seems, in these COVID times? I’ll be bereft if and when they do, so do you know of any means of sharing puzzles (both to share mine and to tackle others’)?
    Johnno2 (occasional Confusion-help-seeker)

  92. DA’s colouring on 10th April (only just revealed to me – see over on Confusion :-)) is happily apt for my query above. My latest one, for which I’m working up the last handful of clues, is also coloured, encouraged by DA’s last colouring (red).
    My local paper HAS now gone into recess, so other outlets would be MOST welcome :-)

  93. I am so happy I found this page! I was just wondering if you had the answers to Sat 25th July 2020 quick crossword… we couldn’t get: ‘overpriced’

  94. How humiliating to see there are no other queries about DA of 11th Sept….today!
    7 and 14 down are driving me batty….could one of you clever people please help me finish this cryptic, while you sit back sipping your tea feeling smug?

  95. Back again….found the answer to 14 down, but still annoyed with myself that I can’t get the last one …7 down….please help.

  96. happy chappy – 7D – greek letter. 14D – anagram of “Volunteers”.

  97. DAJunkie….what can I say….7 down is obvious now, and it took me ages to find the answer of 14 down, I hadn’t heard of it despite using anagram. I appreciate your help, and still feel a bit of a goose for apparently being the only one needing help today.
    Thanks for fixing 7 down for me.

  98. I have been a fan, and occasional contributor, to this site for many years.
    However, since about last Friday I can no longer access via my home/NBN connection. I just get “Sorry, 403 error — you are forbidden”?!?
    So far as I’m aware I haven’t done anything to cause this.
    At first I thought the site must be down, but then realised I can access through my phone if I turn WiFi off (& and only use 4G)
    Is anyone aware of this issue, and if it is fixable?

  99. I did make sweeping IP address blocks to stop fraudulent traffic from messing things up here.

    I might have inadvertently caught you in that sweeping address block.

    Let me know what your IP address is if you do see the forbidden message again. You can find it just by Google searching “what’s my ip address” and clicking on one of the links.

  100. Happily working my way through DA archives (rationed to one a day), and have got to May 2017, but no puzzles on the page to print off – how do I access the puzzles?

  101. Very sad to report that Arthur C (Gus Comer) passed away on 1st May.

    He was 92, if not 93, and enjoyed and valued the exchanges about each Confusion for many years, and the help in the past from “Celia”.

    We last communicated about David Astle’s challenge on 3rd April.

  102. Only 4 posts on confusion today! And I get an error message so can’t post. What’s going on?

  103. Thankyou Mike for letting us know about Arthur C. I’ve been missing him. A man of honour and wit and all things good. He’s joined his dearly missed wife. Happy memories. Vale.

  104. Hey Mike,

    We are interested in your comment (14 May 2021 at 4:09 pm) about “Celia”. Why the quotation marks? She/They used to be on the page a lot and then just disappeared?

    What’s the deal??

  105. Arthur. First some corrections. Were last in touch about a Confusion on 23rd April, a week before he passed on – at 92 years of age. On April 1st he said he was off on his scooter to see Margaret so she may still be with us.

    Celia had helped Arthur with the crosswords for some time before withdrawing last year, when I took over. I may only be imagining that he implied Celia was male (I think he said “a hard taskmaster”). Anyhow their full name on Twitter etc is Celia Fate, presumably pronounced “seal your fate” – giving no more info on gender that their profile picture! Anyhow I often enjoyed their contributions to the Trippers.

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