DA 1058

A slightly weird looking grid had me wondering if a theme or trick was at play. It wasn't. It turned out to be a standard solve with some interesting answers.

ACROSS :
7) HAIRLINE-CRACK : crypdef-ish : hairline being a minor break, so 'part' but also 'part' relating to hairline. The hairline is probably more the line across your forehead but in a general sense the 'part' is a line in the hair.
10,11) MESSIAH COMPLEX : Messi,(clap,home)*,x : 'game' doesn't do enough and x=times=by.
12) HOO-HA : -hoo-,-ha-
13) NEON TETRA : (teen,ran,to)*
14) TAFFETA : staff,e----t,a
17) TRESSES : stresses
19) MAX DUPAIN : ma(x)d,--u--,pain
22) CHAFF : cha,ff
24) NUDISTS : (dis--unts)*
25) TRADE-IN : dart<,ein
26) SELF-INDULGENT : s-----,elfin,dul-,gent : 'pretty' is weak.

DOWN
1) SAYS NO : (Sanyos)* : weird answer . . .
2) IRRITATE : irri(---g/t)ate : gawd, what a tortured clue.
3) NIGH ON : (no-hing)*
4) BEECROFT : be(force<)t : was that the clue in Melbourne ? Though I think we had a Melbourne based one a short while ago . . . Malvern or something.
5) GROMIT : g-----r,omit : another rubbish surface.
6) ACOLYTES : (least,coy)*
8) AMPHETAMINE : amp,(the)*,a,mine
9) EXHAUST FANS : exhaust,fans : meh.
15) FIXED FEE : fix,(-e-e-e-d -f)* : not sure how DA comes to think an anagram of alternate letters is the way to go.
16) AMASSING : a,M------,passing
18) EXCHANGE : ex,change
20) UNSAFE : -----uns a fe-
21) NOT OUT : on<,tout
23) AGEING : a,g(------e)in,-----g : bit overworked.

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DP 1500

Congratulations to DP for reaching 1500 Fairfax puzzles (plus Omegas and others). There is even a theme of some sort included. Not quite a DA type theme but just an instruction that 'it' is, well, 'wine'. Doesn't relate to 1500 or anything.

ACROSS
1) VINE : divine : a simple start which gives the whole theme away immediately.
3) CHAMPAGNE : champ,Ag,NE : did wonder for a moment how a 'champ' wins silver but came around to it.
10) TOTTERS : trotters
11) LORELEI : lore,lei
12) EPSOM : ddef : a clue from the 80s. Should find another answer if that's as good as the clue gets.
13) MARSANNE : mars,Anne
16) HERON : her,on : not too taxing . . .
17) TWO HEADS : ddef : swy is two-up. Why a 'threat' ? 'better than one' is incomplete as a second definition.
20) UPRIGHTS : up,rights
21) SNAFU : (as,fun)* : 'normality' seems inadequate. I think the 'effed-upedness' is the important bit.
22) GUMBOILS : gum,boils
24) TWANG : ddef
26) MINERVA : miner,v,a
28) ORATION : Horatio,no
29) HERMITAGE : ddef I guess
30) STAY : --st a y---

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LR 239

Pretty straightforward but competent.

ACROSS
1) BUFFET : buff,ET
5) BITTERN : bitter,-------
9) MEANTIME : mean,Tim,e----- : 'starts eating' isn't good enough.
10) IN A ROW : ddef
11) APOLLO : -a-,poll,O---------
12) KNEELS : hm(Neils)
14) COMBATANTS : c,wombat,ants
15) STEW : wets<
16) SERB : s-e -r-b-
18) ENTHUSIASM : e----------,(humanist)*
21) RUBBLE : ru(BB)le
22) DISMAY : ------d is may--
24) GATHER : ------g at her---
25) ANTELOPE : ant,(pole)*,e
26) RESTOCK : rest,-o-----,c--k
27) SENTRY : sent,Ry

DOWN
2) UNEMPLOYED : (my,nude,pole)* : amusing.
3) FAN CLUB : fan,club : but really the suits is 'clubs', a card may be a 'club'.
4) THIN OUT : (I,hunt,to)*
5) BREAKING THE BANK : ddefish
6) TOILETS : Toni,lets
7) ENABLES : E------,ban<,les
8) NOOK : N(O,O)K : haven't seen 'bubbles' used this way but other round things have appeared.
13) RED SNAPPER : red,snapper
17) BRUSHES : b---------,rushes
18) EMBARGO : (mob,rage)*
19) UPDATES : (taped,us)*
20) INSULIN : in,s----,-ulin-
23) FAIR : hm(fare)

Better than most days. I wonder how The Saturday Paper is going ?



DA 1057

After a few relatively easy puzzles, I found this one more difficult to get through. The first two I looked at, 10ac and 3dn, were the last two I placed, including needing to discover 10ac. I think however that the difficulty level was pretty right.

ACROSS
1) WEAK LINK : hm(wee,clink)
5) ABATES : a,Bates : of the Norman variety.
10) LOREM IPSUM : l(more)*ips,um : have a vague idea DA may have used this before but it wasn't obvious to me.
11) ULAN BATOR : (a,Labor,nut)*
12) ORIENTEER : -o-,-rie-,-n-,-t-,-e-,-er- : well constructed.
13) SALVE : s(l/a)ve
14) SAGACITY : saga,city : pretty good link between saga and city.
16) FEEBLY : f(bee<)ly
19) MISHAP : --mish ap------
20) TOASTIER : to(w/Asti)er : not my favourite.
23) NICHE : nic(----h)e
25) MEMOIRIST : me,(Iris,Tom)*
27,8dn) ROOT CANAL SURGERY : (root,canal)*='carnal too' : luckily I had 11ac already in, or else I would happily have had 'therapy'. Probably will catch a few out.
28) SPIEL : sel<>pi : I assume sel=salt. Should foreign words be allowed ? Any worse than Scottish or Latin ?
29) TRENDY : tr(end)y
30) HAYMAKER : ddef-ish : make hay while the sun shines.

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NS 1597

Having dealt with installing a new desktop and also setting up for NBN, then undoing that as some switched was yet to be flicked, I've been out of service for a while. NS today had a bit of a Roman numeral bent but didn't go for CONE. MONE and VONE aren't real words apparently.

ACROSS
7) HE KNOWS THE ROPES : (worksheets,phone)* : a very neat anagram clue to a slightly unusual answer.
9) DONE : D,one : a two step process as 501 > DI > D,one.
10) TATTERSALL : tatters,all
11) BEDLAM : (blamed)* : again, neat.
13) ATTAINED : a,TT,A1,Ned : really messy.
14) OSCARS : O,scars
15) WEIGHT : (the,wig)*
18) RE-ENGAGE : (green,era)*
20) COYOTE : coy,(toe)* : 'evasive: toe injury' is nonsense. There's no connection except they're two components of the answer.
22) RATIONALES : ration,ales
23) LENT : Len,t----
24) HE'S THE ODD MAN OUT : (donated,hot,sum,he)* : 'group' isn't good enough.

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DA 1056

These grids with yellow squares can be quite intimidating. The rubric also didn't give much away. The other problem, as it turns out, is that the yellow squares in 5dn and 10ac are adjacent but the third letter of 5dn isn't part of the ruse. That's a little unfair. Apart from all that, today was pretty easy. 5dn,1ac with a 'lawyer on the box' as (5,5) was always going to be Perry Mason. Extract 'person'. Four letters which I thought'd be MARY but was ARMY at play. It was straighforward then on.

ACROSS
1) see 5dn
4) EXPEDIENT : ex,pe(die)nt
9) TYRANTS : "TYRA",nuts : see 14dn
10) RAYMOND : "RAYM",on,D : see27ac : his first name, being Mr Burr.
11) HAIRSPRAY : ddef-ish : beehive the hairstyle. 'spray' gives anagram of 'hair'.
12) UNITE : unit,--e--
13) RAIL BED : (desirable)* : the clue eventually gets there.
15) CHIRAC : C("HIRA")C : see 11ac
18) SNIDER : re,din's < : doubtful on 'reverb'.
19) SIDECAR : ddef
21) HASTE : has,-t,-e
23) CROSSBEAM : cross,beam
25) RAT RACE : ran,trace
26) AIRHEAD : "AIRH",-e-a-d : see 11ac
27) BARMY ARMY : bar,my(-ar-)my : 'barmy' gives anagram of 'army'.
28) YO-YOS : ddef : a yo-yo is a biscuit type.

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DH 1129

I wonder how DH compiles his grids. Some days are heavy on chemistry and some are heavy on obscurity, like today. He must change his software settings or someone  else provides grids.

ACROSS
1) FAUCET : hm(four,set) : 'at' just goes along for the ride in the middle of the homophone.
5) COCKSURE : cock,sure
9) DIAMANTE : (maiden,at)*
10) GAZEBO : Ga(Z--e)bo : Zane ends what ?
11) JACK SPRAT : Jacks,(part)*
12) RITE : r(it)e
13) ANNE : ------an ne--
14) ENTRANCE : ddef
17) GAINSAID : gains,aid
19) MYER : ------ ----- ---m Yer------- : see the problem here ?
22) AGOG : ago,G
24) REDRESSED : re(dress)ed
25) ELYTRA : ---ely tra---
26) ENCEINTE : EN(nice)T,------e : obscure, archaic, word.
27) ASSAYERS : as,Sayers
28) APERCU : ape,R,Cu

DOWN
2) ABIDJUN : a,bid,Jun
3) COME CLEAN : come,clean
4) TO NEST : tone,TS<
5) CLEAR-HEADEDNESS : (Alec)*,R,headed,ness : 'right' again.
6) COGITATE : Co,GI,Tate
7) SIZAR : (sari)*<>Z : really, how many Fairfax solvers knew or care ?
8) ROBOTIC : Rob,otic
15) ADMISSIVE : ad,missive
16) FAIR GAME : ddef : 'hoop-la' is an example . . . not a definition or synonym.
18) ANGELUS : Ang(el)us : same cow in the Quick.
20) EIDETIC : cite,die <
21) see 23dn
23) GUTTA-PERCHA : gut,taper,cha

I think DH just churns them out. Too much guff today.



DA 1055

This had four long answers that opened up the grid. You could reach into another corner when the current one slowed you down. It was a steady solve with a few short-lived mysteries and one I'm not certain about.

ACROSS
1) GENOME MAP : (page,one,MM)* : 'edition' not strong enough and the definition was too obvious.
6) ARLES : --arles---
9) ARCHAIC : arch,CIA< : spooks=spies=CIA.
10) OSSICLE : (is,close)* : with the hammer and stirrup.
11) FORWARD SHORT-LEG : forward,short,leg
12) TREAD : tre AD : or 3AD in Italian.
14) MEDELLIN : me,Dell,in : the headquarters of Pablo Escobar.
17) BIVOUACS : ((o/AC)bvious)* : bit convoluted. Again 'high' doesn't do enough IMO.
18) ARENA : an,era<
20) HAVE A BOB EACH WAY : Carr><Marley : just a rebus which doesn't hurt every now and then.
23) TURN OUT : ddef : just seen that 'gate' is the attendance or turn out. Gate as somewhere to get out was diverting me.
24) OPALINE : ----o-,Pauline
25) CHEWS : hm(choose)
26) SMALL BEER : ddef : a 'pony' was smaller than a middie.

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NS 1595

The aNagramS queen. Will there be a 15-letter charade or cryptic definition ? Nah.

ACROSS
9) EMPEROR PENGUINS : (supremo,preening)* : 'swimming' works well, 'supremo' has some correlation to emperor. I guess it works.
10) REVENUE : R,e----,venue
12) IGNOBLY : (only,big)* : not nearly as good.
13) DISSENTED : d---d<>is,sent,E
14) GORKI : go,R,K------i : I assume it's right. Haven't checked.
15) STRAYED : (Eds)*<>tray
18) EARLY ON : (are,only)* : the clue is half a sentence.
21) USAGE : us,age : predictable . . . us/age.
23) IDIOMATIC : (midi,coat,I)*
25) DESSERT : hm(desert)
26) SEABIRD : (a,brides)* : 'dress' isn't good enough and 'gull' is an example only.
29) FEDERAL ELECTION : (alone,I,reflected)* : 'how to' is a bit DP-ish.

DOWN
1) HEIR : he,I,R : the third 'right' so far.
2) SPIV : VIPs<
3) PRINTERY : PR,I,(entry)*
4) URGENT : Ur,gent : URgh.
5) REKINDLE : elder< <>kin
6) EGGNOG : eg,gong<
7) BILBERRY : Lib<b(err)y
8) ASSYRIAN : (says,Iran)* : 'clearly' clearly not good enough.
11) EDICT : tide< <>hm(see)
15) SOUND OFF : ddef : could've improved the surface.
16) ROADSIDE : (reads,I,do)*
17) DAINTILY : (tiny,dial)* : 'made', again, not good enough. There has to be a sense of mixing somewhere.
19) RAMPANCY : ra(MP,an)cy
20) OSIER : OS,ie,R : fourth time.
22) EXEDRA : -ard exe----- <
24) INSOLE : in,(lose)*
27) IRIS : sir,I <
28) DONE : -e nod < : horrible little reverse hidden.

Right. Four times. Inadequate anagram indicators. Three times (at least).
'Nuff said.





DA 1054

Aagh, I hate it when the paper doesn't arrive on a Friday. Going on iPad, I completed in 27mins. I had to do some scribbling to see how clues worked. No particular tricks or themes today but a number of long answers.

ACROSS
1) PICK APART : pick a part
6,5dn) HEDGE TRIMMERS : I can't be sure. Is it to do with H/EDGE TRIMMERS being two different tools ?
9) RAM : ddef-ish : a little vague and unnecessary.
10) CONFISCATED : CD<>(fine,cost,a)*
11) PLUTONIUM : plum<>(out,in)*
12) ASSAI : as,said
14) ESSAYS : ---es---,says
15) TREE FROG : Sp(free,trog) : short for troglodyte.
17) SQUELCHY : (shy,cl-que)*
19) UPTICK : up,tick
23) ASKEW : a,s(---k)ew : isn't it 'darned' ?
24) LACTATION : isol(act)ation
25,22dn) AFFIRMATIVE ACTION : a nod denotes a yes.
27) GAP : gamp : a quaint name for an umbrella. A literary character name, I think ?
28) SCREW : ddef
29) HINDUSTAN : hind,US,tan : I think the definition is poor but DA continues to do ones like this, especially place names.

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